Campus Conversations about Elections and Politics

politicsAs the country prepares for a change in presidential leadership, PSU is acting to ensure that our campus community has the resources necessary to learn, engage in dialogue, and act in impactful ways. I wish to draw your attention to some upcoming sessions for faculty to support students for political transition, and to a campus-wide lecture series to understand the complexities of how government works and its implications.

Supporting Students for Political Transition
The Office of Academic Innovation (OAI) has organized three sessions on Supporting Students for Political Transition. OAI invites all faculty to join for coffee and dialogue to share classroom resources; for example, exchanging advice on how to navigate challenging classroom discussions. Each of the three sessions will feature different resource-based discussions.

Sessions will be held in OAI (SMSU 209 Mezzanine):

  • Thursday, January 12, 2017 – 9:00am to 10:00am
  • Tuesday, January 17, 2017 – 12:00pm to 1:00pm
  • Monday, January 23, 2017 – 12:00pm to 1:00pm
  • Wednesday, February 1, 2017 – 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Please RSVP to let OAI know you will be attending.

Provost’s Office Lecture Series
The Provost’s Office will host a campus-wide lecture series beginning on February 9 on pre- and post-presidential election-related topics to help our community understand the complexities of how government works and its implications.

The lectures will be held on Thursdays, from 2:00-3:00 p.m., in Hoffmann Hall and open to all students, faculty and staff at PSU. There will be a 30-minute opportunity for discussion after each of the 30-minute lectures.

Some possible topics include: how administration transitions work, should the electoral system be changed; strategies behind political campaigns; historical voting patterns; the role of age, race and gender in elections; authorities of the president and how various parts of government work; discerning fake news from real news; current U.S. trade agreements and how they might or can be changed; the senate confirmation process; or how to have meaningful conversations with those with whom we politically disagree. This list is limited and I imagine there will be a rich array of topics suggested by faculty members who wish to participate.

Selection of Lectures
The official call-for-faculty volunteers to give the lectures in their areas of expertise will go out this week. Faculty will be asked to provide the proposed title, learning outcomes for the lecture (limit 200 words), an abstract (limit 200 words), and their CV.  Individuals can propose a lecture, or a group of colleagues can propose a panel.

An ad-hoc advisory committee will help me select the lectures. Members of the committee are Professor Winston Grady-Willis (School of Gender, Race and Nations), Dean Laura Nissen (School of Social Work), Professor Jose Padin (Sociology), Jose Rojas Fallas (ASPSU), and Professor Jason Podrabsky (Research & Strategic Partnerships).

The selection of topics and the faculty presenters will be announced in late January. The lectures will be video-taped, and posted on the Provost’s Office website. Faculty are encouraged to think of ways to incorporate some of these lectures into class discussions and assignments where relevant.

Please feel free to post a comment to this blog and to also let us know if you have ideas for other opportunities we can create for learning and dialogue.

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