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University & Faculty Conference

2018 University and Faculty Conference: Community Building

August 29 - 30 with Pre-Conference Workshops August 27-28

Rahuldeep Singh Gill, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Religion, California Lutheran University

Dr. Gill is Cal Lutheran’s Campus Interfaith Strategist, who launched CLU’s Asian Studies Minor, served as Associate Director for CLU’s Center for Equality and Justice, and served as the Center’s Director until 2016. He also teaches at Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union as Visiting Associate Professor of Sikh Studies and works with organizations to Inspire Connected Communities. Dr. Gill has twice won CLU’s Diversity Professor of the Year. He encourages discussions in his classes, broadens students’ perspectives, deepens their appreciation of diversity, and inspires them to be more understanding and compassionate.

His research explores the life and works of the Sikh tradition’s most important interpretive writer, Bhai Gurdas Bhalla (d. 1636). His first book, Drinking From Love’s Cup (OUP, 2016) re-visages the life and context of this important poet, as well as translates a selection of poems.

8:15 a.m. - Chapel

Ness Family Chapel
Karen Hille Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

8:45 a.m. - University Conference

Olson Auditorium

12:00 - 1:00 p.m - Lunch and Conversation

Olson Auditorium

4:20 - 4:50 p.m. - Meeting for Academic Advisors for New First Year and Transfer Students

Scandinavian Cultural Center

5:00 - 7:00 p.m. - President's Reception


1:00 - 1:30 p.m. - Faculty Committee Organizational Meetings

1:40 - 2:10 p.m. - Interdisciplinary Program Committees

2:20 - 3:15 p.m. - School/Division Meetings

3:20 - 4:15 p.m. - Department Meetings

8:00 - 9:40 a.m. - Reception and Opening

Chris Knutzen Hall

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. – Reception

8:30 – 9:10 a.m. – Address – Provost Joanna Gregson
Introduction of New Faculty

9:10 – 9:40 a.m. – Address – Faculty Chair Michelle Ceynar

9:40 - 10:00 a.m. - Break

10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. - Faculty Plenary Session I

Chris Knutzen Hall

Building an Inclusive Community through Awareness: The Impacts of Bias on Individuals and Organizations

Discussing issues of privilege, power, and identity strengthens a campus community by creating a climate where we can connect across a myriad of perspectives, where everyone’s unique experiences are valued as essential to the learning and office community, and where talent is attracted and retained. However, there is also the risk that when we engage in such conversations, we may say something that not only offends someone but also reinforces the power structures that marginalize and exclude them based on their identities, thus negatively impacting their sense of belonging. This leads not just to feelings of anger and stress for individuals but also weakens their investment in the community, which is thus deprived of their talents, skills and perspectives and hampers its ability to be innovative and excellent. In such instances, we may not even recognize when a word or comment is tied to an experience of marginalization.

How we handle these difficult moments depends on our level of comfort and skill. Some people may avoid such conversations or become defensive, furthering our divides, rather than effectively engaging in ways that foster learning and working environments that are inclusive and creative for everyone. This interactive workshop builds on previous University Conference sessions about identity and diversity and is designed to increase participants’ self-awareness and knowledge of racial microaggressions and other common, sometimes well-intended, comments that are laden with unconscious bias. Gaining awareness and knowledge of our biases is at the heart of critical inquiry and will strengthen our learning community and enable us to thrive in the coming years.

12:00 - 1:00 p.m. - Lunch

The Commons

Faculty, please collect a free lunch card at the Commons entrance.

1:00 - 2:00 p.m. - Faculty Plenary Session II

Regency Room

Building an Inclusive Community through Action: Skills for Interrupting Bias

Communities are only as strong as their communication skills. Directly addressing instances of bias is the surest way to create an inclusive and welcoming learning and working environment for all students, faculty, and staff. In this session, participants will learn strategies for effectively engaging in situations when they commit, witness or are the target of a
microaggression. Practice will be based on actual scenarios that PLU faculty have experienced.

2:00 - 2:20 p.m. - Break

2:20 - 4:20 p.m. - Faculty Plenary Session III

Chris Knutzen Hall

Mission, Distinction, Collaboration: General Education at PLU

The Faculty Assembly formed an Ad Hoc Committee to consider whether revisions to the General Education Program “might better serve our students and our educational mission” with the goal of bringing “a revised curriculum to the assembly for vote sometime in Fall 2018.” The Committee has continued its work through the summer and is facilitating this session to ask faculty to help refine the proposal which will be coming to the faculty for a vote this fall. This session will:

  • Briefly review the evidence we have gathered from students, faculty, alumni, and other schools suggesting that we should consider revisions to PLU’s General Education Program to better serve our educational mission, create a more distinctive core for the PLU undergraduate experience, and meet internal and external goals for assessment.
  • Briefly explain the proposal(s) we have developed over the summer for the revised curriculum we are calling the “Liberal Arts Core.” This presentation will offer a foundation for discussion at the first Faculty Assembly of the year.
  • Invite faculty to work together to imagine how courses we already teach and could develop fit into a revised curriculum. This interactive portion will be the primary focus of the session, providing opportunities to collaborate across disciplines, share what you hope to bring to a revised curriculum, and express what you most want from our university’s Liberal Arts Core.

4:30 - 6:00 p.m. - Faculty Social Hour

*New Event!* Continue Faculty Conference conversations and celebrate a new academic year with colleagues while sampling bubbly concoctions amidst Anderson University Center’s beautiful Lower Plaza.

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