Spring Conferences Reinforce a Culture of Scholarship

by University Relations

APU hosted numerous conferences and lecture series this spring, showcasing APU faculty’s scholarship along with the work of other national and international thought leaders. “Scholarly discourse stands as a hallmark of academic quality, demonstrating faculty leadership and strong faculty-student relationships,” said Mark Stanton, Ph.D., provost. “Many of these conferences allow our students to experience the challenge of giving a professional conference presentation alongside outstanding academics.”

This spring marked the Department of Biology and Chemistry’s 10th year hosting a semester-long series of 14 weekly lectures that drew renowned scientists from a variety of fields to campus to present their research. This year’s lineup included Clifford Gee ’12, Ph.D. in Chemistry candidate at the University of Minnesota, as well as researchers from the University of Southern California, Claremont Graduate School, and Keck Graduate Institute School of Pharmacy, covering topics from public health to neuroscience.

Alongside the growing interest in science and its impact, the value of communication in a complex world has never been more apparent. Nationally recognized communication authorities collaborated with APU faculty and students in presenting research related to the theme “Blending Identities, Technologies, and Cultures” at the 27th annual David C. Bicker Communication Ethics Conference hosted by the Department of Communication Studies on February 20. Presenters agreed that combining diverse views and different forms of media promotes crosscultural understanding when communicating today’s issues and implementing new forms of storytelling.

Effective communication begins with a strong respect for the written word. Honoring that philosophy, APU held the sixth annual James L. Hedges Distinguished Reading Lecture on March 4. Established in 2009, the series celebrates the written word by showcasing writers who explore the world through their creative use of language and literary forms, whether in poetry or prose. This year, renowned author Diane Glancy, Ph.D., visiting professor of creative writing at APU, shared pieces on her experiences visiting Syria. “Dr. Glancy joins a list of accomplished writers who have presented at this lecture,” said Mark Eaton, Ph.D., professor of English and director of the Center for Research on Ethics and Values, “and drew more than 100 people eager to engage with her.”

Another important event gathered critical thinkers March 26–27 as the Office of Diversity hosted the fifth national Christians on Diversity in the Academy (CDA) conference “This interdisciplinary forum attracts scholars and practitioners from across the U.S. and allows us to engage in critical analysis around key issues of diversity for Christian higher education, stimulating reflection and change in the academy,” said Stanton. Keynote speakers included Damon A. Williams, Ph.D., prolific author and global leader; Mary Poplin, Ph.D., professor at Claremont Graduate University and authority on justice and philosophy in the university educational system; and Alvin Sanders, Ph.D., author and professor with a passion for developing Christian organizational leaders to serve a multiethnic America.

After the culmination of the spring semester, the Department of History and Political Science hosted the Christians in Political Science conference May 29–31, centered on the theme “Freedom and Responsibility in the Modern World.” More than 50 scholars from APU and around the nation presented papers on a variety of topics related to American government, campaigns and elections, international relations, political theory, public policy, and religion and politics. Featured speakers included Andrew Busch, Ph.D., Crown Professor of Government at Claremont McKenna College; Lawrence Mead, Ph.D., professor of political science at New York University; Jean Schroedel, Ph.D., professor of political science at Claremont Graduate University; Victor Boutros, JD, federal prosecutor with the United States Department of Justice; and David L. Weeks, Ph.D., professor of political science and dean of the APU Honors College. “The intersection of faith and politics has always been rich scholarly territory, and this conference welcomed all those interested in these subjects to join us,” said Daniel C. Palm, Ph.D., professor of political science and chair of the Department of History and Political Science.

Originally published in the Summer '14 issue of APU Life. Download the PDF or view all issues.