2017 Summer Seminar Vote

April 20, 2017

Choose the Faculty Development Summer Seminar

The Faculty Development Summer Seminar is a multi-day seminar on a topic that is of interest to faculty from all areas across the university. The seminar is designed and led by St. Thomas faculty and supports faculty professional development in pedagogy, engagement of the profession or service. This year we received three proposals and now it's your turn to choose the seminar to offer this summer:

  • Academic Freedom and Free Speech in a Catholic University: Who Cares (and Why)?
  • Changemaking and Social Innovation for Every Discipline
  • Publically Engaged Scholarship

Here's what you need to do:

  1. Check your St. Thomas email for your link to vote.
  2. Read through the proposed seminar descriptions below or download a PDF with the seminar descriptions.
  3. When you're ready to cast your ballot follow the link in your email message to make your selection. Voting closes on April 28.

If you encounter problems or have questions, please contact Faculty Development at facdevctr@stthomas.edu.


Academic Freedom and Free Speech in a Catholic University: Who Cares (and Why)?

Facilitated by: Fr. Patrick Tobin (Adjunct Professor of Chemistry and Assistant Chaplain) and Teresa Collett (Professor of Law)

Proposed dates/time: Half days on June 12 to 15 or August 14 to 17 

This seminar will explore competing definitions of freedom, common good, and truth in the academic setting. How do we reconcile our institutional commitment to objective truth and contemporary understandings of freedom in research, teaching, and public discourse? Should Catholic universities prioritize research that addresses concerns of the Church? Can academic freedom undermine the common good? Does the Catholic Church support academic freedom? What are the limits of academic freedom in canon law? In civil law? How should Catholic universities reconcile claims of academic freedom and freedom of speech with our commitment to being a welcoming and safe community for all? Readings will include Ex Corde Ecclesiae, statements and policies of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and policies from a variety of universities, as well as statutes, regulations, law review articles and cases.

Seminar outcome: Participants will write a reflective/integrative piece that could be shared with other participants addressing the question of how their teaching and research advances our institutional commitment to the common good.


Changemaking and Social Innovation for Every Discipline

Facilitated by: Adam Kay (Associate Professor of Biology and Director of the Social Innovation Collaboratory, Ashoka Change Leader)

Proposed dates/time: Half days on June 12, 13, 15, and 16

Our recent designation as an Ashoka Changemaker Campus is testament to the way faculty and staff across the university already help students make the world a more socially and environmentally just place. The Ashoka designation helps us strengthen this culture and be more effective in realizing our mission. This summer seminar will help interested faculty from all disciplines better understand changemaking and social innovation-- what they are, how they relate to what faculty may already be doing in their courses, and how they can be used as frameworks to more effectively help students develop into well-rounded  agents of change in their communities and world. Our work will be helped along by social innovators from the Twin Cities and by leaders of BrightSide Produce, a St. Thomas social innovation that has partnered with more than a dozen classes over the last two years.

Seminar outcomes: Participants will create a new or revise an existing assignment that both advances disciplinary objectives and uses changemaking or social innovation to empower students to be agents of positive social change


Publically Engaged Scholarship

Facilitated by: Katharine Hill (Associate Professor of Social Work) and Amy Levad (Associate Professor of Theology)

Proposed dates/time: Half days on June 26 to 29 or July 10 to 13

How can we, as academics, be publicly engaged scholars? What does that look like in the context of our roles and responsibilities at the university?  While faculty are often comfortable in engaging with other academics in their scholarly roles, they may be less familiar in how to connect their expertise with community-based, or social change needs. Our skills and resources as academics are often meaningful and useful to advocacy, voluntary, and community-based organizations and groups- but they are also underused, often because we are uncertain how to use them.  Katharine Hill (Social Work) and Amy Levad (Theology) will facilitate this four, half-day workshop to support participants as they discern how they might be draw upon their skills and talents as professors to advance the public, common good.  We will also draw upon the talents and insights of others in the group and on campus.

Themes to be addressed include:

  • Why does your work matter for the public?
  • What are modes of public engagement open to you?
  • What skills and practices do you need to develop?
  • What support do you need?

Seminar objectives/outcomes: Participants will develop a plan for how to engage their work with appropriate community/public stakeholders