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!

PLU Experts & Insights

Wednesday, February 24, 6 - 7pm PST


One Call Away: Learning in a Remote and Technical Universe
Presented by Mario Peñalver, ’03, ’09

When it comes to parenting a child, sometimes the hardest skill is also the one staring us right in the face. Take it from the ADHD son of a Cuban pediatrician: Keep the lines open, with providers, with educators… with your own child. This presentation offers some practical advice for those navigating an online universe with children who struggle to focus inside of it. And while you’re at it, take home some practical tools that are all just one finger-tap away. When you register you can submit questions for Mario to answer during the webinar!

Mario Peñalver (MA Education, BA English, Pacific Lutheran University; MA Humanities, University of Chicago): CTE Teacher of Distinction for Peninsula SD, and 2017 Teacher of the Year for Truman MS (Tacoma SD), Peñalver is also a former guest columnist for the News Tribune and a Pierce Loughran Memorial Scholar for the Yeats Society of Ireland. He is a current member and presenter for the National Association of Career and Technical Educators and a former member of the Prezi Educator Society. During the off-hours, Peñalver contributes to the local theatre community as a producer, director and performer.

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

Give a Gift That Pays You Back

Friday, February 26, 12 - 1pm PST

Join Steve Slotemaker, Relationship Manager at TIAA Kaspick, along with Doug Page and Kaarin Austin from the PLU Gift Planning team, as we discuss ways in which you can give to charity while also receiving income. Steve will outline the types of gifts that provide income, and the situations in which these gifts make sense. Doug and Kaarin will tell stories about when this has worked well for PLU donors.

Join us for this virtual event which is free and open to the public!
Can’t come at this time, but still interested in the topic? Register today, and we will be sure to share the recording with you after the event.

Chris Stevens Celebration of Service

Tuesday, March 9, 12 and 7pm PST

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.

PART I: Alumni Panel, 12 – 1pm
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

PART II: Keynote Presentation, 7 – 8pm
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

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

PLU Experts & Insights

Wednesday, March 24, 6 - 7pm PST



COVID, Triage, and the Ethical Challenges of Public Health
Presented by Dr. Paul Menzel, Professor of Philosophy emeritus

Many ethical challenges presented by COVID-19 are difficult. Beyond grabbing headlines, they may be even more difficult when probed philosophically. Menzel will explore two of them especially: What should count most in establishing a priority order for vaccination? And what should be the relative importance of treating people already infected (acute “crisis” care) compared to preventive measures to minimize infection? With philosophical examination, some important considerations and viewpoints emerge that seldom arise in the public debate.

Professor Menzel taught philosophy, including biomedical ethics, at PLU from 1971 until his retirement in 2012. He has published widely on moral questions about health policy and health economics – including Prevention vs. Treatment: What’s the Right Balance? – as well as end-of-life choices. Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking: A Compassionate, Widely Available Option for Hastening Death, a volume he is editing and authoring with three colleagues, will be published this summer by Oxford University Press.

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


15th Annual 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 eco-devastation threatening life today, and the historical trauma experienced by American Indian Nations, the survival of American Indian cultures and values may make the difference for the survival of the Earth.

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.

Join us for this virtual event which is 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?
Keynote presented by Carmen Best, Retired Chief of Police Seattle

This People’s Gathering session of the race dialogues will include discussions on how we can all be more involved in moving the diversity, equity and inclusion mission forward. The People’s Gathering is a professional/personal development learning experience that provides a supportive space in which participants can engage in frank and open dialogue about race and racial disparities that are systemically present in work, school and everyday life.

Carmen Best served with Seattle Police Department for 28 years, becoming the first African American woman Chief of Police. Carmen currently manages a global security account, spanning 5 continents, & is an MSNBC Contributor as a Police Policy Expert.

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, March 16 – May 13th, 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 – March 16, 6:30 – 8:30pm
Maximizing Your Impact – March 23rd and 30th, 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.