Professional Development

Campus Life supports robust professional development for professional staff, including attending conferences, becoming involved in professional organizations, and continued education. There are myriad opportunities also at Pacific Lutheran University and in the Puget Sound region of which Campus Life professional staff have been able to take advantage.

Dream Gonzales, Community Director for Ordal & Stuen Halls: “As an emerging professional in student affairs, the Community Director role has allowed me to explore my interests within and beyond my role. They are more than willing to find areas in which I can cater the work to something that I care about and will serve me well in my future endeavors.”

Professional Development Opportunities

Professional Conference Presentations:

  • 2022: NASPA Western Regional Conference & Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) Annual Conferences – Jes Takla (with two PhD cohort members) presented Radical Imagination and Critical Creativity Praxis for Liberatory Futures. 
  • 2019: NWACUHO (Northwest Association of College & University Housing Officers) Regional Conference – Levin Betron (former Hong/Hinderlie CD), Dan Murray (former South/Pflueger and Tingelstad CD), and Marco Polo Ramirez Becerra (former Stuen/Ordal CD) presented CAREfully Designed Teams: Deconstructing Bias and Creating Inclusionary RA Selection Practices.
  • 2018: WOHESC (Washington & Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference) – Tess Matsukawa (former Harstad CD) and Saiyare Refaei (PLU’s Former Coordinator for Sustainability Integration) presented Intersectional Environmental Justice Education and Programming: Listen, Organize, Act.
  • 2018: Saying It Out Loud Conference (hosted by Department of Social and Health Services) – Maggie Hendrickson (former Tingelstad CD) presented Introduction to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.

On-Campus Workshops & Continued Education

  • PLU Tuition Remission Benefits
  • PLU Human Resources Workshops
  • Student Life Presentations/Workshops
  • University House Lunch Speaker Series
  • PLU Lectures & Events 
  • Wild Hope Staff Seminar
  • PLU University Leadership Seminar
  • Faculty/Staff Reading & Discussion Groups through Center for Diversity, Justice, and Sustainability, such as J-Term Book Group (recent books have included):
    • 2024: Never Whistle at Night: An Indigenous Dark Fiction Anthology (Hawk & Van Alst)
    • 2023: Asylum: A Memoir & Manifesto (Edafe Okporo)
    • 2022: As Long As Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from colonization to Standing Rock (Gilio-Whitaker)
    • 2020: THICK, and other essays (McMillan)
    • 2019: Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen (Vargas)
    • 2018: Radical Hope : Letters of Love and Dissent in Dangerous Times (De Robertis)
    • 2017: Black Girl Dangerous : On Race, Queerness, Class and Gender (McKenzie)
    • 2016: Citizen : An American Lyric (Rankine)
    • 2015:The New Jim Crow : Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (Alexander)
  • Other PLU workshops and educational campaigns (e.g., PLU Listen)

Saiyare Refaei (left) and Tess Matsukawa (right) presenting at WOHESC conference (2018).
Saiyare Refaei (left) and Tess Matsukawa (right) presenting at WOHESC conference (2018).
Jes Takla when she presented at ACPA in 2015 on PLU's Love Where You Live campaign and the power of storytelling.
Jes Takla when she presented at ACPA in 2015 on PLU's Love Where You Live campaign and the power of storytelling.

Passion Projects and Experiential Opportunities

Campus Life professional staff do so much at PLU beyond working with our department. As members of the Campus Life team, professional staff have opportunities to support university-wide co-curricular learning and leadership programs. Beyond Campus Life, PLU is an incredibly collaborative campus that provides opportunities for professional staff to gain a wide variety of professional experiences. Below are just a few examples of ways in which professional staff have collaborated across the institution.

Opportunities within Campus Life:

  • Planning Annual Collaborative Student Leader Training and ongoing Professional Development
  • Co-Creating and implementing sessions for LUTE Welcome, PLU’s New Student Orientation
  • Planning and facilitating new student leader/staff hiring process
  • Planning and facilitating new professional staff hiring process
  • Creating new themed learning communities and events for those communities
  • Serving as a Club Advisor
  • Coordinating the LuteConnect (1:1 RA/Resident meetings) process as part of the community development model
  • Serving as NASPA Undergraduate Fellowship Program (NUFP) Mentors

Opportunities at PLU:

  • Co/Instructing or presenting for a PLUS 100: Transitions to PLU (1-credit course)
  • Facilitating sessions for Center for Diversity, Justice, and Sustainability Retreats: (e.g., Students of Color Retreat, Men’s Retreat, Women’s Retreat, Queer Student Retreat)
  • Serving as a Lutes as Active Bystanders facilitators
  • Collaborate with Student Media (e.g., Pro Staff have had DJ shows on LASR [Lute Air Student Radio])
  • Facilitating Returner Reflection Series

Jess Verdejo, Former Community Director for Harstad Hall (2019-2021), Student Engagement Coordinator (2021-22), and Associate Director for Campus Life (2022): “When I first came to PLU, Jes Takla encouraged and fostered ways to get involved in the knowledge communities in NASPA. Due to her leadership and mentorship, I have been confident to be the Region V Rep for the Assessment, Evaluation, and Research Knowledge Community (KC). It has been great to get support from Campus Life to go to conferences like the Western Regional. PLU has pride in giving back to the field through these professional development opportunities. “

Paul Metellus, Former Community Director for Pflueger Hall: One of the best things about working in Residential Life and PLU is the investment in professional development opportunities on and off campus.  This does not only include conference attendance, but opportunities to get involved in other areas and committees that make me a more robust professional.”

Maggie Hendrickson, Former Community Director for Tingelstad Hall:I have appreciated how much support and encouragement we receive as CDs to engage in professional development….our team spent time exploring trauma stewardship with other higher ed professionals at the Puget Sound Colloquium and followed it up with participating in the South Puget Sound Higher Education Diversity Partnership Institute focused on decolonizing academia that was hosted on campus at PLU. In addition to taking time to learn together as a full team, we are consistently encouraged to find opportunities that align with our individual passions and where we see ourselves in our professional futures.”