Schedule of Events
Tobacco-growing Virginia farmers may face a difficult decision in the near future as the demand for tobacco wanes. How should they respond? Should we care? When faced with a complex question like this, it is often useful to turn off our natural tendency to respond with a flip answer and instead try to embrace every aspect of the question we can find. What are the sociological implications of declining demand? Economic implications? What are farmers' views? Have there been similar disruptions in history?
Our collective task is to find out as much as we can about the problem from as many angles as possible before we devote ourselves to a solution. In this way, we stand a better chance to avoid wasting our time on enticing technological plans that have fatal flaws evident from a broader perspective. As luck would have it, this kind of multidisciplinary attack on a problem is just what the Richmond Quest is looking for.
The Richmond Quest is a challenge issued by President Bill Cooper to seek a problem "that will be complex and multi-dimensional, one that will require a year of meaningful discussion and debate to answer . [It] should be approachable by a variety of academic disciplines. It should lend itself to investigation each of the major schools of the University of Richmond-arts and sciences, business, continuing studies, law, and leadership studies. The question should be sufficiently broad and important that it is conducive to consideration in coursework, research and co-curricular activities. The question should be of major significance, such that even partial might lead to pioneering discoveries and insights."
We are seeking a broad and complex understanding of the plight of the Virginia farmer, but arriving at a compelling statement of the problem fulfills the Richmond Quest objectives as well. And just to add some spice to the Quest challenge, a student submitting the chosen problem will be rewarded with one year of free tuition.
We will, therefore, broaden the central question of this course in the form of a Quest submission. Any student who wishes to submit his/her work to the Quest review committee is free to do so, as are groups of students who have pooled their efforts.
II. Schedule for Developing Proposals for the Richmond Quest
Wed, Jan 13 Announcement of Richmond Quest project
Fri, Jan 15 Assignment: Find article or other source of information that sheds new light on the plight of the tobacco farmer. Derive from it a new way of viewing the problem.
Mon, Jan 18 Due 8:00 A.M. (by E-mail OK) One sentence description of the viewpoint you developed
Mon, Jan 18 Group discussions of new viewpoints
Fri, Jan 22 Due in class: Four copies (double spaced) of Quest proposal (see Proposal Guidelines) regarding the plight of the Virginia tobacco farmer. All proposals must be by individuals. Copies distributed in class to others.
Weekend Review four proposals (see Review Guidelines)
Mon, Jan 25 Group discussion: Round 1 of review. Reviewed proposals returned.
Wed, Jan 27 (OPTIONAL) Due in class: 21 copies (double spaced) of revised Quest proposal. Group proposals OK. Copies distributed in class to others.
Fri, Jan 29 Group discussion: Round 2 of review. Reviewed proposals returned.
Sun, Jan 31 (OPTIONAL) Submit final Quest proposal. May be submitted online (http://www.richmond.edu/news/quest/submit.html) or by E-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or in person Friday (Judy Wilkinson, 203 Maryland Hall).
Mon, Feb 1 Due (everyone) in class: one copy of original proposal, all critiques, any subsequent revisions.