Broadening Our Discussions

To Our Faculty, Staff and Students:

First, a huge thanks to everyone who attended Thursday’s meeting with our Thinkers group. We heard a wonderful mix of observations, both from within the Tink and also people participating online. And though perspectives differed on who we are as an institution today, they came together around the enormous potential that exists on this campus—and in our broader community.

The richness of discussions during and after the meeting makes us even more eager to see these conversations extend across the university. As noted when we announced this process in December, this process depends on broad engagement. The more you think and talk with one another about "what is" and "what could be," the better our opportunity to achieve our aspirations.

Several of you have approached us about beginning these discussion groups, and we hope many more will take part. Below are some guiding principles for your groups, and below them are more specific points regarding process.

Ideally, your groups will be:

  • Self-Organizing. These activities are about you. We are providing a general infrastructure and set of directions, but we think it is best for our community to organize and manage these events.
  • Informal. We want these gatherings to be welcoming and open...something relaxed. You can even encourage your attendees to bring their own beverages, brown bags, and/or snacks to share.
  • Open to all. We would love to see faculty/staff/students collectively involved in our conversations, as well as individuals from across the disciplines.
  • Even more open through technology. If you are able, use Zoom to help bring people to the table who can't attend in person. It is a great tool that can be embedded into the calendar and accessed with mobile phones, tablets, and computers. More information is available on the University Technology website.
  • Held during the day and evening. We know we have many different constituencies with many different needs.
  • Located throughout campus and beyond it. Consider locations all over campus—from the dining halls to the Tink steps, to building lobbies and formal meeting spaces. Also keep in mind the beautiful spaces around University Circle, including its museums.
  • Aware of the many ways our library systems can assist. Please use the library system to obtain books, articles, and videos for review if they are not available free of charge online. Kelvin Smith Library is such a resource—as is the Cleveland Public Library.

How to begin… and finish:

  1. Choose what. Decide on the book, article, video, or podcast and/or debate/discussion topic to host. If you don't have a specific idea in mind, some suggestions from our community can be found at
  2. Then when and where. Pick the date, time, and location for your discussion(s).
  3. Let the community know. Use this form to provide information about the event that we will post on the Think Big website calendar.
  4. Ask for assistance (if you would like). If you are interested in having a facilitator as part of your discussion, please email
  5. Tell us your Big Three. Once your discussion(s) have concluded, please share the one to three "big thoughts" around which the group coalesced. Submit your thoughts via our form.

Again, thank you for participating in this process.