2021 University and Faculty Fall Conference

Wednesday, September 1 – Thursday, September 2

For many of us, the academic year officially begins with University & Fall Faculty Conference. All faculty and staff members are invited and encouraged to participate.

PLU information regarding COVID-19 is available online and updated regularly.


Registration for this event has closed.

Faculty/Academic Deans


Note – Associates to Faculty Assembly may register using either the Faculty or Staff registration form depending on the sessions you plan to attend. PLU Retirees may register using the Staff registration form.

Pre-Conference Workshops & Events

Monday, August 30 - Tuesday, August 31, 2021

A variety of virtual and on-campus workshops and events have been scheduled for faculty and staff during Pre-Conference Workshops. Browse workshop/event descriptions below.

*Registration is required for Pre-Conference Workshops and Events. Please use the above registration links to register unless otherwise directed in the description. In light of our ongoing commitment to safety, particularly as we navigate the Delta variant, we will require all participants to wear masks.

Monday, August 30

Academic Program Leaders Meeting
Joanna Gregson, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
(Hybrid session, 8:15 – 9:30 a.m.)

All Academic Deans, Department Chairs, and Interdisciplinary Program Chairs/Directors should plan to attend this important meeting where we will gather on-campus to discuss the major academic topics for the 2021-2022 academic year.

This meeting is by invitation only; please RSVP via the Google Calendar event invitation. Contact the Office of the Provost (provost@plu.edu) with questions.

Getting Started with Sakai for Instructors
Sean Horner, Senior Web Developer
(Library 140, 8:00 – 10:00 a.m.)

Intended for new faculty and other instructors, this workshop provides a guided walk-through for setting up a Sakai course site. Such tasks include uploading a syllabus and other introductory course materials. Participants will also learn how to publish weekly instructional content, administer a gradebook, and send announcements. (Note: Instructors who have participated in the PLUTO Essentials program may find this “Getting Started” workshop a repetition of some content from that program.)

This workshop is open to all faculty/instructors. Registration is required.

Academic Dashboard Introduction
Kevin Berg, Associate Dean for Institutional Research and Records
Ardys Curtis, Chief Information Officer and Director of Information Systems
(Library 331, 9:45 – 10:45 a.m.)

If you are a dean or chair and have not learned about the power of the Academic Dashboard, sign up for this important session. The Academic Dashboard is a data reporting tool developed specifically for department chairs, deans and administrators which yields student, course, enrollment, registration, graduation, and other pertinent data. This tool provides a way to extract metrics and key performance indicators in a consistent manner. Information is displayed in graphical, spreadsheet and other useful report formats. This session is held in a computer lab, providing you hands-on experience using the Dashboard (you may bring your own laptop if preferred).

This workshop is open to academic deans and department chairs. Registration is required. (A session for Academic Division Staff with Academic Dashboard access will be hosted later in the fall semester).

Integrating Digital Content/Activities
Dana Shreaves, Instructional Designer
(Virtual session, 11:00 – 12:00 p.m.)

While teaching at a distance during the pandemic, many faculty invested time and creativity into the development of digital content and activities. When teaching courses on campus, there are many ways to integrate digital learning into your course design. This workshop will provide an opportunity to discuss your ideas and learn new ideas from your peers.

This virtual workshop is open to all faculty. Registration is required; the Zoom link will be sent prior to the workshop. 

Faculty Search Process and Procedures Training for Tenure-Track Search Committees
Laura Silcox, Associate Director, Department of Human Resources
(Xavier 150, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.)

This training will cover the legal obligations and best practices for a successful tenure-track faculty search at PLU. Participating in a process to select and welcome new colleagues to our university is some of the most important work we do.

This session is open to the Search Chair(s) and Diversity Advocate(s) for tenure-track search committees as well as Deans of units conducting tenure-track searches. (Search Chair(s), Diversity Advocate(s), and Deans are required to attend an HR training session, unless they have completed the training in the past two years. At least one more additional HR training will be offered during the fall semester). Members of tenure-track search committees and support staff may attend this session but are not required to do so. Registration is required.

WRIT 101 Assessment Workshop
Rona Kaufman, FYEP Director
(Virtual session, 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. – by invitation only)

Fall 2021 WRIT 101 faculty will be invited to participate in this assessment workshop. Rona Kaufman, FYEP Director, will send an email with more information

Backups and Data Security at PLU
David Rebar, Director for User Services & Instructional Technologies
(Xavier 250, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.) Cancelled

Learn about backup solutions available at PLU including Netstor and Google Drive and best practices for storing your sensitive data. Topics will include data encryption options, appropriate use of cloud storage, and types of data that may need additional security.

This workshop is open to all faculty and staff. Registration is required.

Implicit Bias Training for Tenure-Track Search Committees
Jen Smith, Dean of Inclusive Excellence
(Xavier 150, 2:30 – 4:00 p.m.)

During this training, we will complicate some of the myths about diversity and hiring (particularly in regards to race) that have maintained faculty as predominantly white, outline where bias can impact the search process and best practices to mitigate it, and discuss strategies for reading and assessing teaching/diversity statements.

This session is open to members of tenure-track search committees as well as anyone interested in learning more about implicit bias and the search process. (Members of tenure-track search committees are required to attend an implicit bias training session, unless they have completed the training in the past two years. At least one more additional implicit bias training will be offered during the fall semester). Registration is required.

Tuesday, August 31

Interdisciplinary Chairs & Program Directors
Suzanne Crawford O’Brien, Interim Dean of Interdisciplinary Programs
(Virtual meeting, 8:00 – 8:45 a.m.)

Meeting for all Interdisciplinary Program Chairs and Directors. Invitations have been sent via Google calendar.

Re-Engaging Students in the Classroom Using an Equity & Trauma-Informed Lens
Jen Smith, Dean of Inclusive Excellence
(Xavier 201, 9:00 – 10:30 a.m.)

Although many of us are looking forward to returning to in-person teaching, it is also likely that many of us have lots of questions, concerns, and anxieties about this transition. Returning to the classroom will not be a return to “normal.” Much has been disrupted — and continues to be — in relation to not only the pandemic but also the deepening climate crisis and continuing fight for racial justice, among other ruptures. Such disruptions, while often deeply painful, can also be productively unsettling, uprooting routines and practices that cloak inequitable dynamics and requiring one to think and do differently. So, how do we account for these disruptions — both in regards to our students and ourselves — and make space for their continuing impacts in our classes as an opportunity to deepen student engagement and learning? During the workshop, we will review the definition of trauma, explore the principles and practices of trauma-informed pedagogy, cultivate critical self-awareness of how our positionality informs this work, and outline concrete strategies for applying these principles and practices as we move back into the classroom.

This workshop is open to all faculty and staff. Registration is required.

Open House! Office of DJS/dCenter/CGE
Hosted by the Office of DJS/dCenter/CGE Staff
(10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.)

Join staff from the Office of DJS/dCenter/CGE for a drop-in open house. Stop by the Office of DJS/dCenter/CGE, DJS Classroom, and DJS Lounge, located on the lower level of the Anderson University Center. Light refreshments will be provided. 

This event is open to all faculty and staff. Registration is appreciated.

Drop-in Photo Session
John Froschauer, Campus Photographer, Marketing & Communications
(Red Square near tent, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.)

Stop by this drop-in session if you are in need of an updated photograph for your faculty/staff profile. Wearing your PLU gold name tag is recommended.

This event is open to all faculty and staff. Photos will be available on a first-come, first-served basis during the event time.

Introduction to Hypothes.is
Misty Berlin, Instructional Technology Team Manager
Adela Ramos, Associate Professor of English, and Advisor for the Center of Student Success
(Virtual session, 1:00 – 1:45 p.m.)

This in-person introduction to the application will provide faculty and staff with the basics of using Hypothes.is on Sakai, with ideas for how to use it, and for connecting assignments to learning outcomes

This workshop is open to all faculty and staff who work with Sakai. Registration is required.

Hypothes.is in the In-Person Classroom
Autumn Ottenad, Hypothes.is liaison
(Virtual session, 2:00 – 2:45 p.m.)

This online workshop offered by Autumn Ottenad, our Hypothes.is liaison, will provide new and seasoned faculty with ideas for how to use the application in the in-person classroom by providing strategies for group work, class discussion, and more.

This workshop is open to all faculty. Registration via the link below is required.

Academic Support for Students – CSS Pushing for Success!
Kris Plaehn, Executive Director, Center for Student Success and Director for Retention
(Xavier 201, 3:00 – 3:45 p.m.)

This session will focus on the academic supports for PLU students including the Center
for Student Success work, Tutoring, SI and includes some great “cheat sheets” that you will be able to use throughout the year! Empower yourself with the info that will empower your students!

This workshop is open to all faculty and staff, and will be of particular interest to new faculty and staff advisors, and staff who support students. Registration is required.

High Impact Experiential Practices (HIEPs): What they are, why they matter, and PLU resources available to support their development
Elli Pippin, Assistant Director for Career & Experiential Learning, Alumni and Student Connections
Tamara R. Williams, Executive Director, Wang Center for Global and Community Engaged Education
(Virtual session, 4:00 – 4:45 p.m.)

This session is designed to introduce the PLU community to the concepts, educational benefits, and terminology related to four High Impact Experiential Practices: Community Engaged Learning (CEL), Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CURES), Internships, and Global Learning. It will also provide an update on the resources and an upcoming funding opportunity available to support PLU faculty in developing HIEP in new or existing coursework.

This event is open to all faculty and staff. Registration is required.

University Conference

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

*In light of our ongoing commitment to safety, particularly as we navigate the Delta variant, we will require all participants to wear masks.

Chapel All are welcome for the first chapel of the new academic year.
(Lagerquist Concert Hall, Mary Baker Russell Music Center, 8:15 – 8:45 a.m.)

University Conference
(Olson Auditorium, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.)
As we prepare to begin the 2021-2022 academic year, join us for University Conference — a time to gather to connect and reconnect with colleagues and draw strength and inspiration from our in-person community. The session will offer small-group activities to share lessons on what you have learned and reimagined over the last 18 months, and to re-engage with the university’s vision as we move into this significant academic year.

Welcome Back Reception
(Red Square, 5:00 – 6:30 p.m.)
Join members of the PLU community at our traditional welcome back event. At the conclusion of Wednesday’s workday and faculty sessions, you and your spouse/partner/significant other are invited to join campus colleagues for local wines, beers and other refreshments.

*Faculty Fall Conference begins this afternoon following University Conference Lunch. Please see the schedule below.

Faculty Fall Conference Schedule

Wednesday, September 1 - Thursday, September 2, 2021

The main sessions of this year’s Faculty Fall Conference will be held virtually with an optional in-person Faculty Social for those who would like to convene and reconnect with colleagues on campus. Committee/Unit meetings (listed below) may be held virtually or in-person, details will be communicated by unit head/committee chair.

*In light of our ongoing commitment to safety, particularly as we navigate the Delta variant, we will require all participants to wear masks for all on-campus components. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Interdisciplinary Program Committees
(Meeting details and modality communicated by Program Chairs/Directors, 1:40 – 2:10 p.m.)

School/Division Meetings
(Meeting details and modality communicated by Deans, 2:20 – 3:15 p.m.)

Department Meetings
(Meeting details and modality communicated by unit, 3:20 – 4:15 p.m.)

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Opening Remarks
Rick Barot and Tony Finitsis
Pastor Jen Rude
(Virtual session, begins at 9:30 am)

Provost’s Address
Joanna Gregson
(Virtual session, 9:40 a.m.)

Faculty Chair’s Address
Bridget Yaden
(Virtual session, 10:00 a.m.)

Faculty Panel on “Faculty Excellence in a Time of Crisis”
featuring Rick Barot, Kory Brown, Renzhi Cao, and Michelle Ceynar
(Virtual session, 10:30 – 11:15 a.m.)

Closing Remarks
(Virtual session, 11:15 a.m.)

Faculty Committee Organizational Meetings
(Meeting details and modality communicated by Committee Chairs, 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.)

Faculty Social
Join your faculty colleagues for a wine and cheese social,  featuring live jazz!
(Optional, held in Red Square, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.)


Tuesday, September 7, 2021


The Convocation ceremony dates back to customs from medieval universities meant to welcome new students and new faculty and set intentions for the year ahead.

In keeping with a specifically-PLU tradition, faculty process down Hinderlie Hill and welcome new Lutes in an outdoor receiving line as students enter Olson Auditorium. Staff colleagues, please consider lining the path from upper to lower campus, celebrating our students as they march down the hill. This year, the ceremony takes on a special meaning as students will convene together in Olson Auditorium — masked up — to share the tradition and energy of the day in person.

After students have entered Olson, faculty and staff are welcome to process into the building and stay for the ceremony, but your attendance at the full event is not required this year. Convocation will be livestreamed and viewable from your office.

Convocation Schedule for September 7, 2021:

9:30 a.m. – Faculty begin line-up under the Mortvedt Library portico
9:45 a.m. – University offices close to allow all employees to attend Convocation
10:00 a.m. – Convocation
11:15 a.m. – University offices reopen
12:00 p.m. – Classes begin

Printable Schedules

Pre-Conference Workshops & Events

University/Faculty Conference

Save the Dates

Please save the dates for the following events:


Questions? Please contact the Office of the Provost, (253)535-7129 or provost@plu.edu.