One of the key features of the Sheedy Family Program is the monthly Sheedy Dinners. At these events, Sheedy students and affiliated faculty gather with a visiting business leader or researcher – someone whose career leads them to grapple with “big questions” about business or work in particularly innovative or high-impact ways – for an evening of food, thought, and dialogue.
The structure of the Sheedy Dinners is nothing like most academic talks or business presentations. The guest speaker presents for only about 25 minutes. They share a bit about their career journey – how they got where they are and why – then raise one question that is central to their work, and how they try to answer it. Because the speakers come from many fields and backgrounds, their questions and stories vary. Past questions have ranged from “What causes burnout?” to “What is the role of the humanities in venture capital?” to “How can we address racial inequities in modern workplaces?”
The remainder of the evening is devoted to liberal arts style dialogue. In small groups over dinner, students and faculty take turns sharing their own questions, inspired by the guest speaker’s presentation. There is no designated leader, nor required prompts; the people at each table designate the direction of the conversation. At the end of the evening, students also have a chance to engage in Q&A with the guest speaker.
The Sheedy Dinners take place monthly on Thursday evenings from 5-7:30 p.m. Dress is business casual. Attendance is required for all Sheedy students, unless studying abroad, as a condition of being in the Sheedy Program.
If you are a Notre Dame faculty member interested in attending, please reach out to Chris Hedlin (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Paul Blaschko (email@example.com) for a list of upcoming dates and speakers. We’d love to have you join us. We also welcome suggestions for future speakers.
The goals of the dinner and dialogue series are fourfold:
- Education: Students to interact with knowledge experts and emerge with new perspectives on (and concern for) the issues/questions at the heart of the experts’ work.
- Professionalization: Students network with business leaders and academic faculty and practice narrating their own professional identities.
- Honest conversation: Students and faculty feel comfortable sharing what they don’t know or the real questions on their minds.
- Community building: The Sheedy Family Program is a rich intellectual community, rooted in liberal arts style dialogue. (As we often emphasize to students, robust dialogue leads to robust communities.) The Sheedy Dinners play a pivotal role in cultivating that sense of community.