PLU Lectures, Presentations & Workshops

Learning doesn’t end when you graduate! PLU alumni continue their quest for knowledge, engagement, and critical thinking as they explore new ideas, challenge their beliefs, and listen to new perspectives from diverse groups. We are excited to offer a new series of presentations called PLU Experts & Insights, which are virtual webinars on interesting and current topics, highlighting experienced PLU faculty and alumni. PLU also offers other lectures, conferences, and workshops that are open to the community. See upcoming opportunities below.

Are you interested in sharing your knowledge with other Lutes? We are looking for alumni and faculty who would be interested in participating in the PLU Experts & Insights series. Submit an interest form!

Share Your Expertise!
If you are interested in sharing your knowledge and expertise with other Lutes, fill out an interest form!

Chris Stevens Celebration of Service

Vulnerabilities Amplified: The Impact of COVID-19 on LGBTIQ+ Communities Globally
Keynote presented by Amie Bishop, MSW, MPH

Wang Center for Global and Community Engaged Education is pleased to announce the
5th Biennial Ambassador Chris Stevens Celebration of Service
to celebrate public service and the life of Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

Watch now the recorded Alumni Panel
Reflections on Community Health Service in a Global Context:
A Panel Presentation of PLU and Peace Corps Alumni
Margaret Chell ’18, Peace Corps volunteer, Guinea
Colin Hartke ’08, Peace Corps volunteer, Mozambique
Anne Hoblitt Linn ’08, Peace Corps volunteer, Senegal

Watch the recorded Keynote Presentation,
Vulnerabilities Amplified: The Impact of COVID 19 on LGBTIQ+ Communities Globally
Keynote presented by Amie Bishop, MSW, MPH,  Ambassador Stevens’ friend and former Peace Corps volunteer,
Senior Advisor for Outright International, and Global Health and Human Rights Consultant

15th Annual David and Marilyn Knutson Lecture

Tuesday, April 20, 7 - 8pm PDT

World Balance vs. Personal Salvation:
An American Indian Postcolonial Perspective
Keynote presented by Rev. Dr. George “Tink” Tinker

Dr. Tinker will address the differences between the genuine equality of American Indian Peoples and the hierarchical worldview of the eurochristian West. Given the reality of the radical imbalance of eco-devastation threatening life today, and the historical trauma experienced by American Indian nations, Tinker will explore how the survival of American Indian cultures and cultural values may make the difference for the survival
and sustainability of the earth as we know it. But, he notes, it is a whole new way of living.

Dr. Tinker is an enrolled member of the Osage (ni-u-kon’ska wa-zha-zha) Nation and has been an activist in urban American Indian communities for many years. He joined the faculty of Iliff School of Theology in 1985 and has brought an Indian perspective to this predominantly Amer-European seminary. On campus, Tinker works closely both with students of color and with Lutheran students. As an American Indian academic, Dr. Tinker is committed to a scholarly endeavor that takes seriously both the liberation of the Indian peoples from their historic oppression as colonized communities and the liberation of White Americans, the historic colonizers and oppressors of Indian peoples. Rather than focusing on mere intellectual ideas and the realms of metaphysics and notions of god, his theological reflection is unashamedly political and social in its reflection. He considers his own community involvement as crucial his intellectual development.

PLU Chapel on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at 10:30am (pacific time) will feature Dr. Tinker. Join us for these virtual event which are free and open to the public! Registration is required to receive the Zoom link.

The People's Gathering

Thursday, April 22, 8:30am - 3:00pm PDT

Advocacy, Advancement & Anti-Racism:
What Is It & How Do We Engage?
Cost: $69.00

For every step we take toward justice, the construct of race and systems of racism continue to block our progress. In a few short weeks, one year will have passed since George Floyd was murdered with a knee on his neck by a Minneapolis police officer. Closer to home, it has been more than one year since Tacoma police murdered Manny Ellis, whose case remains unresolved. Just a few months ago, the Seattle police department gained national attention for its excessive use of force in crowd control during the Black Lives Matter protests. And let us not forget the recent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by those claiming to be patriots while attempting to impede the certification of a lawful election. Most of those domestic terrorists walked free, shielded by their whiteness. Most recently, there has been a spotlight on the rising violence against people of Asian descent.

Undergirding each of these cases is the murky and messy issue of individual and systemic racism and how we may be impacted by and/or implicated in both. It’s a conversation most people avoid. Yet, the conversation must be had as part of imagining and creating a more just society.

The morning session has four dynamic presenters that will bring diverse perspectives on the theme:

  • Carmen Best, Seattle Police Chief (Retired)
  • Sakara Remmu, Founder, Lead Strategist, Washington Black Lives Matter Alliance and Founder, Washington Voters for Black Lives Matter
  • Dr. Karen Johnson, Director, Washington State Office of Equity, Office of the Governor
  • The Hon. G. Helen Whitener, Justice, Washington State Supreme Court

Down in a Hole

Monday, April 26th at 4 p.m.


a new book by Earl Smith, PhD and Angela J Hattery, PhD, tells the story of inmates and correctional officers who work in solitary confinement units in a Mid-Atlantic state prison system. Based on 3 summers of ethnography and 100+ interviews with inmates and staff in 7 prisons (including one prison for women), what emerged was a story deep racial resentment. Building prisons in rural, economically depressed, predominantly white counties and filling them with mostly Black and brown bodies from urban areas creates a toxic environment under which race relations emerge. And, the white racial resentment such that the COs and officers believe that their lives are significantly worse than those of the men and women they are assigned to lock in cages for 23 hours a day. Understanding the structural impact of solitary confinement on both inmates and COs complicated our understanding of the outcomes of solitary confinement on physical and mental health and makes a case for abolishing its use in the United States.

PLU Experts & Insights

Thursday, April 29, 6 - 7pm PDT

Living on the Salish Sea:
An Introduction to Southern Coast Salish Culture and Ecology

Presented by Dr. Suzanne Crawford O’Brien

This lecture will introduce us to the Indigenous people of southern Puget Sound. We’ll consider their traditional ways of life and how their cultures, communities and spiritualities reflect their relationships with the natural world. We’ll take a particular look at the role of salmon in stories and ceremonies, and its symbolic importance in the creation of a sustainable way of life.

Suzanne Crawford O’Brien is a Professor of Religion and Culture and Director of Native American and Indigenous Studies. Her area of specialization is Religion and Culture, with emphases in Native American religious traditions, and comparative studies of minority religious communities in North America, including religion and healing, gender and ethnicity, and religion and popular culture. Her research interests address questions of healing, place, and ecology, and how religious belief and practice can work to promote ecological and social justice. Suzanne has written many books and most recently, she published Religion and Culture in Native America, written in collaboration with her mentor Dr. Inés Talamantez.

Join us for this virtual event which is free and open to the public! Registration is required to receive the Zoom link.

Jolita Hylland Benson Education Lecture

Wednesday, May 5, 5:30 - 6:30pm PDT

Rough Patch: On Writing About Painful Experiences for Kids
Keynote presented by Meg Medina

Award-winning and New York Times best-selling author Meg Medina will discuss the Rough Patch: On Writing About Painful Experiences for Kids. Meg Medina writes picture books, as well as middle grade and young adult fiction. Her works have been called “heartbreaking,” “lyrical” and “must haves for every collection.”

When she’s not writing, Meg works on community projects that support girls, Latino youth, and/or literacy. She serves on the National Board of Advisors for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators,
and is a faculty member of Hamline University’s Masters of Fine Arts in Children’s Literature.

Join us for this virtual event which is free and open to the public! Registration is required to receive the Zoom link.

Upcoming Workshops

Continuing Education at Pacific Lutheran University offers a variety of professional development courses and programs to meet the needs of business professionals and life-long learners. Discounts for the workshops below are available for PLU alumni, students and current employees. Contact Continuing Education at prior to registering for the discount code.

Principals of Cyber Risk Management

Tuesdays & Thursdays, May 4th – July  1st, 6:30–8:30pm

Recent events have magnified the ever increasing risk of using the Internet for daily operations.

This course will teach you how to manage cyber security and protect yourself and others using your webservices. This course teaches the  importance and role of cyber risk management, prominent cybersecurity frameworks and their appropriate uses, and best practices for “cyber hygiene” in an organization.

This workshop is open to the public and there is a fee.
A discount is available for PLU alumni, staff, & students.

Social Media Workshops

Intro to Social Media – May 11th, 6:30 – 8:30pm
Maximizing Your Impact – May 18th and 25th, 6:30 – 8:30pm

Are you a small business owner looking to connect with your clients?  Does social media seem the ideal way to connect the community to the services your non-profit provides?

Social media has a myriad of uses and benefits, but carries with it ethical considerations, strategic decisions, and technical challenges. In our workshops, participants work with experienced social media professionals to hone their skills and maximize their use of various social media platforms.

These workshops are open to the public and there is a fee.
A discount is available for PLU alumni, staff, & students.