Uncensored May 2020 Faculty Trustee Report
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this report was received as a PDF file, but we've converted it to a webpage below, for easier reading on phones.
May 2020 Linfield Faculty Trustee Report
Daniel Pollack-Pelzner, Ronni Lacroute Chair in Shakespeare Studies
Introduction: Facing the Challenges Ahead
I’m writing to you in a difficult time at Linfield and around the world. We’ve all been working overtime to get our classes running in a new format and to support our students, who are reeling from this unexpected change. We’re all committed to providing an individualized, experiential, liberal arts education to our students no matter the medium. In the appendix to my report, you can read about the variety of creative ways that we’re redesigning classes and reconfiguring our professional practice to adapt to this crisis. To spotlight just a few examples: Randy Grant’s Economics of Running class is hosting a virtual race (“the quaRUNtine challenge”) to raise money for students facing food insecurity and housing displacement. Greg Jones is conducting a virtual wine tasting for his students to discuss pairings they could share with their families at home. Joan Paddock brought her music students to Australia (via Zoom) to interview a noted composer. Laura Kenow’s athletic training students Zoomed with students from the University of Montana and the University of Pittsburgh in a virtual on-ice spine boarding exercise. (Please don’t ask me what that involves!) And our amazing Nursing faculty has put its entire clinical instruction online, including virtual patient care, telehealth simulations, and practice in clinical judgment and critical thinking rooted in the liberal arts.
What we’re seeing right now across the world is the need for the kind of interdependent problem-solving that a Linfield education provides. Health care decisions need to be guided by ethical concerns and cross-cultural understanding. Responsible business decisions need to be informed by historical perspective, along with the best scientific and health care research. Arts organizations need mathematical models and business wisdom to survive.
The same is true for Linfield itself. We are facing dramatic uncertainty in higher education. We don’t know what the fall will bring, let alone the next five or twenty-five years. What we do know is that we will need a variety of intelligences to succeed. We have to be willing to work collaboratively, to work across difference, and to harness the collective wisdom of our community to solve our problems together. That means we need to be really thoughtful, deliberate, and participatory in our decision-making processes. And it means we have to recognize, in all honesty, that our community is deeply riven by distrust. If we are transparent and inclusive, we have a chance to start to heal so that all of our strengths can work toward a common goal. It’s our responsibility as trustees to take that long view. We have to set ourselves up to thrive in perpetuity, not to latch on to something that may seem expedient for the next few months, but that weakens our capacity for smart problem-solving down the road.
As we look ahead, whatever the conditions we face, we all want Linfield’s transition to a university to succeed. I’m glad that the University Working Group agreed that it’s more important to get this transition right than to rush it through. The faculty appreciates the chance to spend some time reflecting and gathering input about the best form of faculty governance before we present a proposal in the fall, without having to squeeze that crucial process into a narrow window when we’re devoting all our energy to helping students cope with remote learning, and when we’re particularly focused on helping students who don’t have reliable internet access, who don’t have stable places to study, who have to balance multiple roles at home, who are facing their own health challenges, and whose learning needs might not be readily accommodated by remote instruction.
I was glad, too, that the UWG recommended including more student and faculty voices on the board. That’s the right choice to allow us to move forward constructively and thoughtfully as one Linfield. In fact, ever since I became faculty trustee, I have requested that Nursing and Business faculty be invited to attend Board meetings. I think their perspectives and expertise are tremendously valuable for us all as we move toward a university. And the more Mary Cait Moriartys we can find, the better!
Changes to the Bylaws: Taking a Closer Look
When I looked more closely at the revised bylaws, however, I saw what was actually happening. The proposed change is to replace the faculty and student trustees with a new second-class category populated by each of the three divisions of the university. These “ex officio” trustees would be stripped of the power to vote, stripped of the power to make motions, and stripped of the power to attend executive sessions. Imagine how it felt to see this proposal and learn that at this moment—when students and faculty are giving our all, when we’re doing everything we possibly can to keep a Linfield education alive—the change that the Linfield leadership thinks absolutely has to be made right now is to disenfranchise the faculty and student trustees.
To be honest, it felt like a slap in the face. Disenfranchising the faculty and student trustees won’t help us tackle our long-term challenges. It won’t help us become a successful university. It won’t strengthen programs. It won’t attract students. It won’t retain students. It won’t attract faculty. It won’t retain faculty. It won’t save money. It won’t create revenue. It won’t build trust. It won’t strengthen shared governance. It won’t increase transparency. It won’t enhance our distinctiveness. It won’t serve our mission. It won’t improve the quality of a Linfield education. Let’s be clear: it’s a good idea to include more students and professors on the Board. But to say that you have to disenfranchise student and faculty voices in order to add them is a false choice.
I recognize that Linfield is distinctive in having full student and faculty trustees. Not all our peer institutions are that courageous or inclusive. We have made a choice to create something special, to be unique. We didn’t add Wine Studies because every other school did it. We didn’t add a marching band because all our peer institutions have one. We’re not developing a Master’s in Nursing because it copies neighboring universities. We’re trying to lean in to what we can do best that distinguishes our brand of complex problem-solving, that lets us attract students and faculty, that positions us for long-term success, that makes us a community where everyone is empowered to have a voice.
That’s what having student and faculty trustees has done. At an institution of higher education, we teach our students that we come up with the best solutions when we value multiple points of view, include all voices in a community, weigh evidence from multiple sources, and evaluate arguments not because of the power of the person articulating them, but because of the merits of the position. These changes to the bylaws would abandon those educational values. By removing student and faculty votes, by removing student and faculty abilities to make motions, by removing student and faculty participation in executive sessions, we would be saying that when things get tough at Linfield, we don’t really want to include everyone in the process of coming up with solutions.
So who wants these changes? When the Faculty Assembly asked the President to explain why the bylaw changes were being proposed, he refused. He said that the changes were up to the Board, and that he could not speak for the Board. (This was perplexing because the bylaws, both current and proposed, state that “the President shall be the official medium of communication between the Faculty Assembly and the Board.”) So I asked the Chair of the Board why these bylaw changes were being proposed. He wrote to me that he hadn’t seen the “draft of the bylaws that will be presumably proposed by the working group.” So I checked with the faculty member on the University Working Group. She said that after she voiced concerns about the proposed bylaws, the UWG was told by the Chair that they would not be participating in revisions to the bylaws because the bylaws were the purview of the trustees. (You can read this in the group’s report: “The UWG did not make and were precluded from making recommendations to the proposed revisions of the bylaws.”) Now we’ve learned that the Chair and the President were, in fact, the ones proposing the changes all along.
This evasive circularity is confusing. And this direct refusal to involve the community in the most important decisions affecting Linfield is disheartening. It goes against the University Task Force recommendation that “in addition to being sensitive to institutional culture, shared governance needs to be comprehensive, effective and provide assurances that stakeholders are heard and understood.” We have internationally recognized experts on governance in our Political Science Department, our Business Department, our History Department, our Sociology Department. We want to help Linfield University flourish. But we are being resolutely shut out of the process. I sincerely hope that the next phrase of revising the bylaws will be more transparent and inclusive than the first phrase has been to date.So what did the Chair and the President come up with? Well, more or less what you’d expect a Chair and a President to come up with when they didn’t consult the broader community. The changes to the bylaws would give the Chair and the President unchecked authority to make crucial decisions without consulting anyone. The changes would strip the powers of the student and faculty trustees. And before the Board has even received the forthcoming faculty proposal for effective university governance, the revised bylaws would already eliminate the Faculty Assembly as a deliberative and legislative body. So much for shared governance! I recognize that what we’ve seen is a first draft. It’s up to all of us, now, as fiduciaries of Linfield, to make the necessary revisions to align the bylaws with our values and to set us up for long-term success. I also recognize there are important trade-offs here. It’s true that one person acting alone can often make decisions faster than a deliberative body. (Unless that person is Hamlet.) But we pay a price for excluding expertise and leaving out community stakeholders. And I think this is a point on which the President and I differ. The President has said that he doesn’t believe that taking longer to make a decision or involving more people in a decision leads to a better decision. There are times that may be true. But the decisions looming on the horizon for Linfield are bigger than any one person can make alone, or even that one part of the university can make alone. We have an opportunity to create community by-in, to draw on the expertise we have in a wide range of fields at Linfield, to model the kind of collaborative problem-solving that we teach and that our world so desperately needs. Here’s the truth: other than changing the word “College” to the word “University,” none of these proposed changes to the bylaws are necessary for us to move forward in the fall. We don’t need to approve these changes in order for Linfield University to be launched. But if we do approve them, I fear for the future of Linfield. When we’re stressed and overburdened by the coronavirus, this is the wrong time to overturn the foundations of our community. We need to be thoughtful and deliberate. We can’t rush a set of changes that go to the heart of our shared purpose. And we need to consider what kind of damage these changes could cause in the long run.
Changes to the Bylaws: Taking the Long ViewWithout consulting a Track Changes version of the revised bylaws, it may be difficult for you to see what’s different, so I’ll summarize it for you. Nearly every section of Article XI, on faculty responsibilities, has been deleted. By contrast, Article IX, Section 1, the Presidential powers section, has swelled dramatically. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a more terrifying sentence in a governance document than this new provision: “The President has authority, within the limitations of the budget and University policy, to create and fill any administrative or academic positions the President deems necessary or convenient for the effective functioning of the University.” (I recognize that this sentence, like many of the proposed changes to the bylaws, has been copied and pasted from Willamette University. I’d be wary of sacrificing Linfield’s distinctiveness without looking a little more closely at the shaky direction Willamette seems to be headed.) Should a President be able to wield the power to create and fill any position at will without consulting the faculty and staff departments involved, without following any institutional procedures, without being subject to any institutional review? Are we this eager to throw checks and balances out the window? According to the proposed bylaws, if a President deems it “convenient,” he could, say, create an administrative position in the registrar’s office and fill it with a philosophy professor who’s fallen out of his favor. This power violates our Faculty Handbook; it violates the unanimous recommendation of the Linfield Jury Pool in response to grievances filed by faculty whom the administration has attempted to reassign without cause; and it violates the recommendation of our accreditors, who said that Linfield has to ensure “that fair and equitable treatment of faculty and staff continues even in a period of financial challenge.” If you give a President this absolute power, he can do anything to any professor or staff member that he wants. Here’s the key: We don’t make bylaws for people we know. We make bylaws for perpetuity. We make bylaws to limit the powers of Presidents we can’t anticipate. No matter how much we trust the current President, we have to imagine the possibility that a future President might use these powers in ways that would hurt Linfield. And then it will be too late to stop him. Since my family’s Passover Seder last month, I have been thinking about a haunting line from The Book of Exodus. As we know, Joseph and the Pharaoh had a fruitful partnership that benefitted the people of Egypt and the children of Israel. But Joseph died. And then “there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph” (Exodus 1:8). I assume I don’t have to tell you the rest of the story. We trust that goodwill and positive relationships will get us through, until you get a ruler who “knew not Joseph.” That’s when you need bylaws to check his unlimited authority. I’ll admit that this is personal for me. Last January, I wrote an article about the pernicious history of blackface minstrelsy that runs through the Mary Poppins books and movies. My article appeared on the front page of The New York Times. It was picked up by media outlets around the world and attacked by far-right groups. I started to get hate mail. I started to get death threats. My wife and children were threatened. I was placed on a “Professor Watchlist.” Linfield was inundated with messages from parents saying they would never send their children here. The President received requests to fire me. But I was lucky. Campus Safety tracked the threats. The Communications team fielded the hate mail. And the President stood up for me. He explained that it’s a professor’s job to pursue questions through academic inquiry, even if the answers might make some people upset. I appreciate the President’s integrity in a challenging situation. But what if we had a President who turned out not to share these values? I could have been reassigned to a desk job in the basement of the gym without any rationale other than that it was “convenient.” (There is, of course, honor and dignity in working in the basement of the gym; it’s just not what I’m trained to do!) We trust that the current President would never do that. But we have to take the long view. We need our bylaws to protect us from a President who “knew not Joseph.” What the current President has told me, repeatedly, is that he wants to be the only point of communication between Linfield and the Board. When I was first appointed trustee, he said that I was not to communicate with other trustees; I was only to communicate with him. (I’ll confess that I haven’t always followed his instructions.) He tried to keep me from sending my faculty trustee report to the Board. He tried to keep the faculty chair of the Promotion and Tenure Committee from reporting to the Board. If we adopt the proposed bylaws, we would be throwing away a triangle, with the faculty and the administration at the two bottom corners and the Board at the peak, connected to both. Instead, we would be pinning our hopes to a ladder, where everything runs vertically up the rungs through the President. And when the wind starts to shift, I’m scared to be on that ladder. That’s why I’m deeply concerned about the proposal to disenfranchise the faculty and student trustees. In executive sessions, the faculty and student trustees are often the only people with direct, independent experience of what’s actually happening at Linfield. And if we imagine future incarnations of the board that are less scrupulous than this one, they could declare executive sessions whenever they wanted to exclude those perspectives from the discussion.
Executive Sessions: Presidential AssessmentI respect the confidentiality of executive sessions, and I will not discuss anything specific that we have learned from them. But I do think it’s important to recognize the general topics that those sessions explore. In my time on the Board, executive sessions have been used for two things. One is at the end of every meeting to provide feedback on the president’s job performance. The other was at our last meeting to discuss the history of sexual misconduct on this Board. Let’s take those two topics in turn. As we face unexpected challenges, we need our President to be in the best possible position to lead us forward. We all recognize that our current President is energetic, charismatic, a champion of underrepresented students, eager to connect with potential students and community partners, unafraid to make difficult choices, and untiring in his efforts to work on behalf of Linfield. Those are admirable qualities. To help our President succeed as a leader, it’s the board’s responsibility to assess the President’s performance, affirm what’s going well, and provide constructive feedback for improvement. In order to do that, we also need to recognize that the President has lost the confidence of the vast majority of the faculty. As you know, last spring the faculty took an informal, internal vote about their level of confidence in the President. About 30 percent voted that they had confidence in the president; about 70 percent voted that they did not. That vote was not publicized except in a letter from the faculty to the President and the Chair last summer. So far as I am aware, the letter has never received a response. Since the trustees have the responsibility to assess the President, we need to do some serious listening to learn why there is this rift at Linfield, and what we can do to heal it. As trustees, we also need to ask why three of the most respected academic leaders at Linfield— the Dean of Faculty, the FEC Chair, and Chair of Academic Affairs—have all resigned in the past year. There are serious areas where the President could use our help to improve: learning to value others’ expertise, learning to receive criticism without responding with hostility or bullying, learning to put the best interests of the college above his own reputation. We need to create an environment where meaningful critique can take place without fear of retaliation. We all want Linfield to thrive, and we need responsive, credible leadership to help Linfield stay strong. In the letter to the Chair and President last summer, the faculty recommended that the Board institute a formal, comprehensive evaluation process for the President. That would provide the President with useful feedback to help him become even more successful. That’s an area where I think we do want to align with other successful institutions of higher education. That would also put Linfield in line with recommendations from the Association of Governing Boards. According to AGB, best practices for Presidential Assessment include a formal, comprehensive, 360-degree review led by an outside evaluator. When I proposed to the Chair last summer that the Board adopt AGB best practices for a formal, comprehensive, 360-degree Presidential review, he told me: “That’s never going to happen.” The Chair did say, however, that it would be appropriate to revisit this topic as part of reconsidering Linfield governance as we transition to a university model. So I’m raising it now for us to revisit. When my job performance was assessed this year, I underwent a formal, comprehensive, 360- degree review. I wrote a 26-page narrative of my achievements and growth at Linfield in relation to our established, published criteria for promotion. Those criteria were vetted by colleagues at peer institutions. My departmental colleagues also had to evaluate me in relation to established criteria. All my classes were open to anonymous evaluation by all my students. Outside colleagues wrote letters evaluating my professional activity. Linfield staff wrote letters evaluating my contributions to the community. Then the Promotion and Tenure Committee reviewed my colleagues’ and students’ evaluations. Then the Committee’s recommendation was reviewed by the President and the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board. Then the entire Board reviewed the recommendation. That’s how I got promoted at the last Board meeting. Everyone with whom I worked had a chance to provide meaningful feedback. Why not do the same for the President? If student and faculty voices are excluded from Presidential assessment, the Board would lose a valuable source of independent information that could help the President become the inclusive leader we need to face grave challenges ahead.
Executive Sessions: Sexual MisconductLet’s turn to the second topic: sexual misconduct. I can see why the Chair and the President might not want faculty and students involved in discussions about the history of sexual misconduct on the Board. We see things really differently. I think that if four different members of the Board have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct since last February—and that’s only the number of reports that I know have been filed with our Title IX officers and HR Director—then that constitutes a crisis. There are about 40 members of the Board. So at least ten percent of the Board has been accused of sexual misconduct in the last year. If ten percent of Linfield’s faculty had been accused of sexual misconduct in the last year, would that constitute a crisis? If ten percent of the Linfield student body had been accused of sexual misconduct in the past year, would that constitute a crisis? But the Chair has said that we’re not in a crisis. The Chair told us that he has never seen any evidence of trustee misconduct. The Chair has dropped sexual misconduct from our agenda. The Chair said that Ronni Lacroute’s call for concrete action was “an emotional response uninformed by current needs.” That’s a point on which we differ. As far as I know, there has been no accountability for past decisions on the Board that left our students vulnerable. As far as I know, none of the reports of trustee misconduct that have been filed in the past six months have even been investigated. Instead, we have been sent a training video designed for K-12 teachers. So I could see why, if the Chair wanted to continue to act as if we were not in a crisis, then it would not be convenient to have the faculty and student trustee in the room for that conversation. I’m going to share some things that may be upsetting for you to read. They were certainly upsetting for me to experience. But I share them because I saw at the last Board meeting the power of what the trustees can do when we’re all given the same information. I saw trustees expressing real concern for the safety of our community, genuine surprise that we had not been aware of the true situation beforehand, and a clear commitment to concrete steps that could make us safer and stronger in the future. I have to be candid with you. Because the Chair has stood by his unconditional praise for David Jubb, even after he was aware of multiple accusations against him, it has been nearly impossible for me to convince my colleagues and students that it is safe for them to bring their experiences with trustee misconduct to the Chair. Unfortunately, the Chair has lost credibility with the campus community on issues of sexual misconduct. That means it has fallen to me to report to the Board the allegations of misconduct that have been brought to my attention. And the process of reporting those allegations has made me deeply concerned about how we handle this issue. When I told the Chair that there had been multiple allegations in the past year of sexual misconduct by trustees against students and faculty, and that we needed to think proactively about sexual harassment training, guidelines for proper trustee behavior, and alternate formats for social events, the Chair accused me of pursuing a secret agenda to grab power. The Chair told me that the Board never had a problem until I became a trustee. The Chair told me that if I really cared about sexual misconduct, I would be going after the faculty, who were the true predators. Then the President said that I was putting Linfield at risk by reporting claims of sexual misconduct. The President threatened me with personal liability. Having previously made comments to me about measuring the size of Jewish noses, the President said that people like me were overreacting to the appearance of swastikas on campus. Finally, the President said that people like me were destroying Linfield from within and could only show loyalty by accepting the teachings of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. The reason why I am sharing this information with you is because I think we need to be very careful and intentional about how we respond to people who bring forward allegations of sexual misconduct. This was my first experience, and it was a rough one. I’m worried about what that experience would be like for someone who doesn’t have tenure, who’s not in a position of privilege at Linfield, who doesn’t know their legal rights. I’m worried, too, about the message we’re sending to students and colleagues if we vote to disenfranchise the student and faculty trustees directly after the meeting where they shared concerns about sexual misconduct with the Board. No matter how well intentioned that decision might be, the timing can’t help but appear retaliatory. If we tell ourselves that we’ve already done all we can about sexual misconduct at the last meeting, that we need to put it aside, that there’s no connection to the issues we’ll face as a university moving forward, then we’re deluding ourselves. When I asked my students this week what they wanted trustees to keep in mind when the Board makes decisions about Linfield’s future, the number one issue they raised was their concern that Linfield was mishandling sexual assault allegations. Across all my classes, it was the issue that students felt most passionately about, the one that they said most affected their decision about whether to return to Linfield in the fall. I get that it’s really tough to hear that people you admire and an institution you love might be complicit in behavior that’s horrifying. I get why, when I’m bringing forward things that are alarming and might even make you question the organization you’ve been part of, it’s a natural impulse to get defensive. To feel angry. And then to direct that anger against the person who brings the bad news. I have faith, however, in the integrity of the trustees. I have faith that the trustees can handle difficult information and use it to make us stronger. We are all here because we care deeply about the well-being of our students. If we tell students that they will now no longer be able to participate in the executive sessions where sexual misconduct is discussed, what message will that send to survivors in our community? Whatever the intent behind the bylaw changes, their effect is to say that if you report sexual misconduct, you will be disenfranchised. Instead of excluding voices, we need to be thinking about how we rebuild trust as a community so that everyone feels empowered to work together for a better Linfield. Part of that work, as Mary Cait reminded us at our last meeting, is listening to the voices of people who have been hurt, seeing what we can learn from them, and then figuring out how to repair our communal bonds. That’s what will enable us to meet the difficulties that await us in years to come.
Conclusion: Working TogetherI know my voice may sound harsh to you. This isn’t a voice that’s comfortable for me. I’d rather work collaboratively and constructively. I’d like to assume goodwill. But it’s been a disheartening year. Last spring, it was an attack on academic programs and employment contracts. This fall, it was sexual assault. Now it’s an attack on shared governance. At each step, the faculty have tried to pursue appropriate means of mitigating this harm. We have written letters, sent memos, filed reports—all while recruiting and retaining a record number of students for this year. As far as I am aware, our letters have gone unanswered. Our memos have not been acknowledged. Our reports have not been investigated. Continuing to pursue these avenues is starting to seem foolhardy. Our accreditors’ recommendation that Linfield ensures “that faculty and staff complaints are addressed in a timely manner” seems not to have been heeded at all. And having a group of employees who are repeatedly demoralized is no way to provide the best education for our students. But it doesn’t have to be this way. In the appendix to my report, you’ll find a list of faculty achievements that highlight the many ways we have rapidly adapted to the coronavirus crisis and found ways to keep students engaged. I have also included the inaugural report from the Lacroute Initiative for the Liberal Arts at Linfield. A team of Linfield professors, called the Lacroute Scholars, worked with the administration to realize the vision of a brave trustee who said that we should stop demonizing professors and start supporting the interdisciplinary, experiential education that we all believe in. That’s what will benefit students. That’s what will allow us to tackle complex, global problems. That’s what’s good for Linfield in the long run. And that’s what can happen when we work in true collaboration.
APPENDIX: The Lacroute Initiative Report and Linfield Faculty Achievements
The Lacroute Initiative Report
The Lacroute Initiative and PLACE received 22 proposals to fund projects for the Spring Round 2020. It is now funding 14 programs with several other programs still under consideration. Proposals range from instructional development to events. The Lacroute Initiative is also sponsoring four new online innovation in teaching and event initiatives. Here are some of the grants:
The Linfield Youth Movement Field Day (2021) event will bring new tradition of activity and enrichment to the Linfield campus. The Field Day was established to serve the underrepresented Native community in Oregon and the Linfield YM Field Day will bring Native American elementary school students to our facilities to participate in a day full of activities, including sports to cultural arts. Students, staff, and faculty will be encouraged to participate in a variety of ways, including the planning and implementation of the full day of programing. This program will help Linfield further integrate the rich diversity of people, places, and perspectives in our community. Incubator grant, Natalie Welch, convener.
As Linfield grows the opportunity for the development of a multidisciplinary Sport Institute will further advance the creative and collaborative solutions through the lens of sport. A sport institute will allow Linfield students, staff, and faculty to work with community and corporate partners in new ways. Events and research are just one way a sport institute can bring together a diverse group of people across and beyond our Linfield community. The institute can leverage the power of students, faculty and staff to experiment and innovate in fun new ways while advancing in the liberal arts. Incubator grant, Natalie Welch, principal investigator.
An Interprofessional Approach to Health Policy and Advocacy. A key component for being a nurse is being civically engaged. Part of this engagement is understanding how the government affects healthcare at all levels (federal, state and local), as well as both legislatively and through agency decisions. The purpose of this grant is to begin compiling student-produced videos that teach students how to be engaged in political advocacy. The videos will involve students participating in advocacy and reflecting on why it is important, how they prepared, the result of their efforts, and what they learned from the engagement. The goal is to create a series of videos that other students, both within nursing and in other disciplines, can view to learn how to be advocates before government and elected officials for issues they care about. Micro grant, Jordan Ferris & Kevin Curry (Co-PIs).
Quantitative Reasoning Center. Quantitative Reasoning is interdisciplinary in nature, centered on framing, communicating, and critiquing arguments using numeric data. In most of their future careers in all fields, and as involved citizens and community leaders, our graduates will be interacting with data and quantitative arguments frequently, perhaps daily. The QR Center at Linfield College would support student learning in this area, as well as foster collaborative, interdisciplinary, and innovative pedagogy among faculty across a diversity of disciplines whose courses include quantitative elements. Incubator grant, Yanna Weisberg and Chad Tillberg (Co- PIs).
Transgender Inclusion. While the transgender community is increasingly visible, many are often uneducated about the lived experiences of existing outside the “typical” gender binary. We are inviting Trystan Reese, nationally recognized LGBTQ+ educator, to deliver a keynote address and provide two workshops on transgender inclusion, one for school faculty/staff and one for students with an eye toward building shared language and understanding of Linfield College’s commitment to LGBTQ+ students, staff, and community members. Following Trystan’s visit we will consult with him to prepare future targeted training in areas that an ongoing self-assessment and climate survey suggest are needed (perhaps also working toward building a set of web resources and training that can be used in the future). Macro grant, Tanya Tompkins, convener.
The goal of the Queer Connect task force is to engage the institution in a collaborative and comprehensive self-assessment of campus climate, resources, and policies as it relates to queer students, staff, faculty and administrators. Through these efforts we hope to make visible and meaningful changes, and in the process raise awareness and knowledge of LGBTQIA+ issues on campus and in our community. Ultimately, we hope to use these connections to apply for a Pride Foundation Community Grant in order to fund a regional Queer Center which aligns with several goals of the Linfield College strategic plan (Goal 2B: Establish and promote Linfield’s expertise as a reciprocal partner and resource regionally. Strengthen and promote Linfield’s service to regional organizations; Goal 2C: Promote civic learning and capacity through partnerships with regional constituents). Micro grant, Kristen Anderson and Tanya Tompkins (Co-PIs).
What’s the Big Idea? is a student-faculty, cross-disciplinary study group created six years ago to promote life- long engagement with learning in the liberal arts. The group consists of five faculty members from five different disciplines and ten selected students, two from each discipline. Each academic year, the group meets five times at a professor’s home for dinner and to discuss a reading selected by one of the five faculty-student teams. This group has read plays and short stories, discussed Native American history and multiverses, argued about slave reparations and what fairness means. The students are not getting a grade, but always come eager and prepared. As part of the Lacroute Initiative, we will start two new groups—one on the Portland campus and one in McMinnville. This will expand the reach of What’s the Big Idea, allowing more students and faculty to explore the cross-disciplinary connections vital to a liberal education. Macro grant, David Sumner convener.
Linfield Sustainability Task Force: AASHE STARS Inventory-Institutional Tracking of Campus Sustainability. Adopting sustainable practices, minimizing environmental impact and eliminating greenhouse gas emissions within the next decade in accordance with recommendations from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the existential complex problem of our time. There are no silver bullet solutions and a sustainable future requires numerous significant, as well as countless small, changes to institutional practices and culture. The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) is an organization designed to catalyze institutions of higher education to lead the global sustainability transformation in response to the climate crisis. AASHE provides resources to assist institutions including the Sustainability Rating Assessment and Tracking System (STARS), a self-reporting tool for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. Thus, the goal of the Linfield College Sustainability Task Force (STF) is to conduct a comprehensive inventory and assessment of sustainability initiatives and programing on both the Portland and McMinnville campuses using the STARS tool. The interdisciplinary and inclusive structure of the task force builds on Linfield’s liberal arts tradition to facilitate collaborative dialogue and creative problem solving to achieve our institutional sustainability goals and objectives. This sustainability initiative capitalizes on our need, as a community, to take unprecedented action to address the climate crisis as well as our region’s recognition as an environmental pioneer and the growing student interest and career-related demand for sustainability expertise. Macro grant, Bill Fleeger convener.
Creating a Culture of Connection between Linfield’s Portland and McMinnville Campuses
This project focuses on creating a “culture of collaboration” that bridges the geographic divide between our two campuses (in Portland and McMinnville) by measurably increasing the participation of Linfield faculty in interdisciplinary teaching and scholarship. Stronger connections between faculty on the two campuses in teaching will be realized through an initial push for more guest lecturing in courses with the long-term goal of creating new team-taught courses and/or course modules. Increased collaborations on scholarly activities will be achieved by promoting interdisciplinary presentations at regional scholarly conferences with the long-term goal of producing co-authored publications. The project will begin with an initial series of opportunities for increased engagement, which include a faculty book club, faculty social events on both campuses, and “lightening talk” events for sharing innovations in teaching and insights from current scholarly projects. Micro grant, Kim Jones, Jackson Miller, Paul Smith, and Morgan Torris-Hedlund, project leaders.
Linfield Libraries and the Writing Center will create a new writing lab in the Nicholson Library on the McMinnville campus. This will expand the already successful Writing Center currently housed in the library. The new lab will be a technology rich environment that will not only support the Writing Center but will also be available to support faculty teaching and learning. Macro grant, Ginny Norris Blackson and Rachel Norman, Co-PIs.
The Second Year/Sophomore Academy Innovation Team will research and discover programming, innovative approaches, and classroom support to engage students and encourage their liberal arts education to become more meaningful, comprehensive, and to shape everyday decision making. A team comprised of a faculty member, staff member, student, and community member will explore components to build a year-long, integrated, supplementary, and complementary program that allows for reflection, integration, connection, and application of the students’ liberal arts learning. Through the implementation of the Sophomore Academy, students will be able to: A) understand how to better connect their curricular and applied experiences to explore, decide, and/or confirm their academic areas of interest and major selection; B) learn how their worldview can better engage in the community to solve complex problems; and C) determine appropriate academic and experiential learning to help determine additional education continuation and career direction. Macro grant, Michael Hampton, principal investigator.
Public History, broadly defined, presents historical interpretations for public consumption outside more traditional academic formats. Because public history projects produce tangible output for display to others, they can be especially appealing ways for students to put their knowledge and skills to work. Building on the success of the History Department’s oral history project and the rare opportunities afforded our students by SoAn’s Anthropology Museum, we propose the creation of a learning community that will read and discuss a series of articles on best practices and pedagogical challenges in this field. Our goal is to compile a list of topics and readings that could form the basis for a possible future Public History Minor at the college. Ideally, this learning community will also advance the liberal arts at Linfield by generating concrete, interdisciplinary ideas regarding future museum display topics, related collaborative projects across departments, and new opportunities for our students. Micro grant, Lissa Wadewitz and Hillary Crane (Co-PIs).
The Lacroute Screening Series will showcase a new movie or tv series once a month, followed by a panel discussion featuring students, faculty, and staff to discuss the text’s themes and resonances with Linfield courses as well as broader political conversations. The Screening Series focuses on the ways in which art and culture can do important work related to anti-racism, combatting homophobia and transphobia, increasing awareness of power imbalances, and dismantling oppressive hierarchies. Curators for the series are: Lindsey Mantoan, Assistant Professor of Theatre; Colleen Johnson ’21; Kat McCann ’22; Hailee Foster ’21. Macro grant.
An Iliad is a one-man show adapted from Homer’s epic poem. Performed by Sam Hannigan’21 and directed by Lindsey Mantoan, the play addresses numerous violent revolutions in addition to the Trojan War of the original text; demonstrating the ways in which war is cyclical, going around and around, revolving again and again, An Iliad reflects the PLACE theme of Revolutions. Incubator grant, Lindsey Mantoan, principal investigator.
Narrative Studies. An interdisciplinary minor would be offered for Mac campus students, and for those nursing students who originate on the Mac campus, comprising a core course in the nature of narrative across media and disciplines, followed by a menu of existing courses from which to choose (professors will have agreed to add and integrate specific content focusing on existing narrative matters in the courses). Students might choose a series of courses allowing a focus in the humanities, in science, in education, in business and marketing, according to their particular affinities. A final integrative project rising out of the student’s interests in narrative would be completed before graduation. Micro grant, Anna Keesey, principal investigator.
Virtual Ethnography of Religion: Religious Studies Online Fieldwork. What, you may wonder, are various religious institutions (Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu) doing to support their members at this time of social distancing and stay-at-home orders. How are people finding solace in community? In our religious studies courses at Linfield, we commonly ask students to attend services at local religious institutions belonging to traditions different from their own, if they have one. We then ask them to write a report and reflect on the experience. These "experiential learning" projects get students outside the classroom and their comfort zones, and they often tell us, sometimes years later, that these are some of the most impactful learning experiences of their college careers. What can we do now to help our students have similar experiences? It turns out that many religious institutions, both locally and globally, are switching to offering "virtual" services, including online church services, rituals, prayers, meditation sessions, and so on. As a result, we have retooled our fieldwork project to enable students to do “online fieldwork” and still gain benefits from the experience: a deeper appreciation for religious and cultural differences as well as what connects people to one another; a greater sense of civic engagement; perhaps even an unexpected source of comfort at this challenging moment. Would you like to engage in some “online fieldwork” of your own? If so, you can try the assignment our students are doing this semester in our introductory course, Approaches to Religion. View the assignment here. Online teaching innovation grant, David Fiordalis convener.
Global Languages and Cultural Studies and the Spanish Club and Lacroute Initiative sponsored “Voces de la pandemia” a special edition of the “mesa de conversación” on Friday, April 3rd from 12:15-1:15 (PCT) via Zoom, focused on the current coronavirus pandemic with voices from other Spanish-speaking individuals in various locations in the world. This event was open to all students, staff, and faculty with some knowledge of Spanish. A panel discussed the pandemic, not only focusing in the United States, but also providing a platform for those in other countries to share their voices. Featured speakers are language assistants Ana Belén Castelló Ríos from Spain, Morgane Cielen from France, student Nicholas Mifflin currently in the US and Lizette Becerra a Fulbright recipient, Linfield alum in Mexico. Online event grant, Sandra Terra convener.
Teaching Art Demos Online. As a ceramics instructor, I regularly show students how to make clay move. However, my students rarely get the chance to see from my perspective and have a chance to see how my hands are positioned. Thanks to the Lacroute Initiative, I’ll be filming clay making and firing demonstrations from my own point of view using a head mounted camera. Sometimes I’ll make videos and sometimes I’ll live stream the lesson- often I’ll do both. The video content I produce will be freely available to the Linfield communications team and freely available to the public at full length on YouTube. Online innovation teaching grant, Joe Robinson, principal investigator.
Linfield Faculty Achievements
Jennifer Bansfield (Nursing) shared this lovely note from a student: “I just wanted to send out a note in response to your announcement on Blackboard. [You are a professor who is] thankful for what their students are going through, so I personally can appreciate that. It is very refreshing that you are willing to admit to fault and error, then collaborate and move on together in a positive way. Thank you for setting an excellent example of self-reflection in practice and I look forward to the rest of the semester with you.”
Eve Brindis (Music) is directing Zoom choreography workshops and dance rehearsals for the newly-found virtual student dance showcase.
Tania Carrasquillo Hernández (Spanish) has been awarded the Princeton University Library Research Grant to advance her book manuscript on the Puerto Rican writer Rosario Ferré at the Firestone Library. Furthermore, she has also secured the publication of her essay “Crime, Women, and Fiction: Narrating Urban Puerto Rican Femicide in Ana Lydia Vega's Pasión de historia” in the edited volume Crime and Crisis in Transatlantic Literature and Visual Culture (edited by Nick Phillips and Diana Aramburu) to be published by Vanderbilt University Press.
Diane Chaplin (music) performed a solo cello recital on Facebook (sponsored by Artslandia) and has another one on the Portland Cello Project Facebook page scheduled for April 28. She’s also recording a solo cello concert for broadcast on All-Classical radio’s Thursdays@3 program (May 7). She has learned a lot about collaborative online recording this past month. Her Linfield string students are currently making “layered” recordings of their ensemble pieces, playing along with each other’s recorded parts through an online app.
Virlena Crosley (Business), Russ Paine (Business), and Michael Hampton (Career Development) collaborated to create a new Jan Term 2022 study abroad course where students will interact with and learn from those involved in value/supply chain activities in companies that operate in Germany, Italy, and the U.S. This course is intended for all Linfield majors.
Julie Cross (Music), the Principal Accompanist and Voice Instructor, has been working on making audio accompaniment files for music majors to practice with, and for her students as well. She’s learning technology to work with videos, too, and to account for the slight time lag.
Chris Dahlvig (Business) was first author of Institutional Expenditures and Student Graduation and Retention with Jolyn Dahlvig, PhD, and Craig Chatriand, PhD, which was published in Christian Higher Education; presented Building and growing the dream: One world-class vineyard’s business strategy and story with Virlena Crosley, DBA, at the Western & Business Management International Research Conference in Dijon, France; and presented The data process chain with John Gamiles, CPA, for the Oregon Society of Certified Public Accountants (OSCPA) September Not-For-Profit Knowledge Network. Chris currently serves on the board of the OSCPA Educational Foundation which will award over $100,000 in scholarships to accounting students in Oregon this year.
The Economics of Running class taught by Randy Grant (Economics) successfully launched the registration platform for its virtual race. The class normally puts on a face-to-face running event in mid-May, but the students have pivoted well to create an alternative. Net proceeds from the event will go to the (yet unnamed) fund to help students facing displacement, food insecurity, and other issues related to COVID-19.
Greg Jones (Wine Studies) has been holding a sensory evaluation class online. Instead of tasting dozens of wine varieties and styles from around the world, the students and he do virtual tastings and discuss wine and food pairings that they can share with the family while isolated at home. Dr. Jones has been knighted into the Oregon Wine Brotherhood, and he has published “Vintage Ratings: Applications of a Ranking Procedure to Facilitate a Better Understanding of Climate’s Role in Wine Quality” in the International Viticulture and Enology Technical Reviews.
Laura Kenow (HHPA) writes: The athletic training program has joined with other programs in the Pacific Northwest to share educational zoom meetings for our students. For example, our students have been able to join via zoom with students from the University of Montana and the University of Pittsburgh in a virtual on-ice spine boarding exercise; join with Pacific University students to learn more about what the ATs Care program is doing during the pandemic; and attend a virtual lecture with students from U of O on evidence-based treatment of chronic ankle instability. We’re hopeful these sharing opportunities among regional programs will continue after the quarantine and social distancing end.
Kathryn Kuskie (Nursing) shared this note of appreciation for the Nursing Simulation team: “What a remarkable team you have in the Simulation members. The ‘patients’ were consistently remarkable and both Kiki and Kathy were awesome facilitators. Our students are so lucky to have such a dedicated group leading their clinical experiences! An excellent example of what Linfield nursing faculty and staff can do when challenged—where others might accept ‘good enough,’ we get and have come to expect exceptional! Thanks for all you do to enhance our ability to provide our students with experiences that support confident, knowledgeable professionals.”
Gary Laustsen (Nursing), as one of 14 members on the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education’s (CCNE) Report Review Committee, participated (via Zoom) in the Spring review over 100 accreditation reports. He also completed two peer reviews for the Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and one for AAN’s Nursing Outlook.
In March, Lindsey Mantoan (Theatre) attended the Mid-America Theatre Conference, where her paper, “New Conventions for a New Generation: High School Musicals and the Pivot from Golden Age Broadway Values,” won the annual conference award. Information about the Robert A. Shanke Theatre Research Award can be found here.
Dawn Nowacki (Political Science) is teaching the second semester of first year Russian to a student who transferred in from Alaska and needs it for her BA language requirement. She needs a second year for her International Relations major, which Dawn plans to provide next year.
Joan Paddock (Music) created a daily music community for warm-up, connection, and practice discipline for trumpet students. Participants include horn, trombone, and trumpet players including a member of the Portland Opera. The Linfield concert band Zoomed to Australia to “Meet the Composer” with Jodie Blackshaw. Students formulated all interview questions; the resulting interview was fabulous and inspirational. Dr. Paddock will facilitate (with the help of others) an all campus and alumni sing and play Linfield’s Alma Mater which we hope will result in a video post for Linfield’s Social Media.
Russ Paine (Business) has been using music to introduce and stimulate discussion on topics such as Ethics. He’s currently using “Everyday People” by Sly and the Family Stone.
Janet Peterson (HHPA) wrote a piece for the Wilderness Medicine Magazine on COVID -19 Breaking News – which focused on the effects of the pandemic on outdoor activities. The article is linked here: https://wms.org/magazine/1259/covid-19-updates - March 24, 2020.
Daniel Pollack-Pelzner (English), wrote two articles for The Atlantic—one on how theaters have historically responded to pandemics and one on the little-known history of West Side Story. He also wrote a piece for The New Yorker called “What Shakespeare Actually Did During the Plague.”
Amidst all the upheaval and social isolation and a steep learning curve in Zoom, Gayatree S. Sarma (Business) managed to successfully recruit and remotely advise a group of students to participate in Effie Collegiate Integrated Marketing Communication competition. The group has created and submitted an extensive plan, along with a case video for their client IBM. She worked closely with Natalie Welch (Business) in spearheading this effort. Also, two of her papers (one collaborative) have been accepted for the Green Cities Conference in Augsburg, Germany for this summer. She is looking forward to virtual attendance!
In the Spring semester of 2020, Johnandrew Slominski (Music) recorded a CD for the Soundest Recordings label (released Spring, 2020), presented original research at the Music Teachers’ National Association conference in Chicago, and recorded more than two dozen online musical and curricular resources for STAR Autism Support.
Anna Song (Music) performed by invitation with In Mulieribus as conductor/artistic director at the opening concert for the Northwest Division American Choral Directors Association Conference in Spokane, literally just days before states went into lockdown on March 10, 2020.
Kathleen Spring (Library) was slated to present “You can publish that: How librarians can promote a culture of undergraduate research and scholarship” at the 43rd annual UKSG Conference in Brighton, England in March. She is also completing her first year on the planning committee for the Acquisitions Institute at Timberline Lodge, an annual national conference which usually takes place in late May (although not this year).
David Sumner (English) collaborated on research with a student, Madeleine Glenn, who will present “Interviewing and Editing, and The Natural World: How to find the Readable Essence of Interviews with Three Nature Writers” at the Student Symposium.
Verena Sutherland (English Language and Culture Program) has learned to use Blackboard, the Google Suite, YouTube, Doodle, Zoom, and many other resources to teach English grammar and literary analysis to her international students who have returned to Japan, and despite time zones and technological lags, real learning is happening.
Morgan Torris-Hedlund (Nursing) writes: This year I completed my PhD, I helped students get a poster accepted to the Western Institute of Nursing's conference, I had my own poster accepted to a military nursing conference, I am helping to write a chapter on family-centered nursing and environmental health, and learned I will be teaching in the new Master's program.
Gennie VanBeek (Education) and Grace Tissell, Education Department Program Coordinator, have partnered to teach a new class this spring, EDUC 480: Education Career Exploration. The course is designed for seniors who have majored or minored in Education who wish to pursue Education-related careers such as school counseling, special education, and school social work. Students in the course explore career opportunities with a specific focus on personal interests, strengths, passions, goals, and values, as well as graduate school and certification opportunities that build on undergraduate preparation.
Natalie Welch (Business) represented Linfield and Indian Country as a panelist on a webinar entitled “Around the World: COVID-19 & Sport” hosted by The Global Sport Institute at Arizona State University. There were over 200 viewers and the webinar was picked up by several news outlets. She’s also collaborating with other Indigenous scholars to highlight the impact of COVID-19 on sport in Indian Country.
Joe Wilkins (English) has new stories and poems appearing in forthcoming issues of The Southern Review, Poetry Northwest, and Southern Indiana Review. His essay “Where Paradise Lay,” previously print-only, was digitally released by Orion Magazine to honor the passing of the legendary John Prine. His debut novel, Fall Back Down When I Die, is now available in French and Spanish editions.
Finally, a special report from Julie Fitzwater (Nursing):
Our world has been forever changed, and our nursing students are anxious and worried about what tomorrow may bring. I want to acknowledge our nursing faculty and staff for being strong and knowledgeable to provide structure and expertise to help our students focus on learning. Linfield’s BSN program was profoundly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as all healthcare professional programs in the country. All direct patient care clinical experiences, an essential element of professional nursing education, were ended on March 18th. The leadership team presented a plan to the Oregon State Board of Nursing for completing the semester clinical courses using alternative learning experiences which was quickly approved. These learning experiences had to be developed and implemented by our faculty and staff immediately. Developing and implementing new curriculum while still teaching is an amazing feat that our nursing teaching team and staff have accomplished. (Nursing Dean Kim Jones adds: “the SON had to put both class AND clinical online. The plan had to be approved by the OR State Board of Nursing. Julie’s leadership as Director of Clinical Education made it possible for the SON to not only continue spring semester but admit a full cohort for summer.”)
Semester 1 clinical faculty led by the faculty coordinator Morgan Torris-Hedlund emergently began moving the curriculum into an online format using Blackboard and Zoom. These clinical experiences are usually provided in the Experiential Learning Center where students are able to get immediate feedback from expert faculty. The faculty members include full time member Donna Potts and adjunct clinical faculty Linda Anzalone, Rhonda Vander Sluis, Sandra Lupton, Caroline Booker, Ashley Corey, and Carolyn Parchinsky. Nursing faculty have worked quickly and expertly to provide innovative ways to assist students in meeting the outcomes for their courses. Supply kits were sent home with students so they could practice and video-record themselves for faculty to observe. This foundational clinical experience is important to provide students with knowledge and skill in assessing clients, administering medications safely, and beginning a reflective professional practice. Our clinical faculty have worked selflessly to adjust and adapt to this new format working as a dedicated team and they deserve our deepest appreciation.
Semester 2 & 3 clinical faculty led by faculty coordinators Kimberly Kintz and Marcella Gowan have had to replace direct patient care hours with virtual simulation experiences. The clinical faculty must provide structured debriefing for these clinical experiences, a skill that takes time and training. Our expert simulation faculty Kathryn Kuskie and Kiki Fornero have created a training video and presentation to assist clinical faculty in emergently learning debriefing skills and made themselves available once a week to problem-solve. These expert faculty created debriefing guides for clinical faculty to use. Our clinical faculty had to learn online teaching methods using Zoom overnight when normally they would be at clinical sites with clients assisting our students in real time. These clinical faculty have been gracious and patient, learning on the fly and supporting their students. Every one of them deserves our appreciation. Many are clinically working nurses on top of their teaching appointments. They are: Florence Omekara, Peter Alandt, Linda Sheffield, Matthew Dunn, Jean McCormick, Lisa McKerlick, Jessica Nesher, Nichole Slykhous, Cristin McQueen, Alex Engels-Smith, Trish Badger, Matthew Bagley, Maryanne Bletscher, Thalia Delgado, Jeffrey Gander, Veronika Greenwood, Kellie Hoss, Jane Kendall, Michelle Kennedy, Mary LaMagna, Laura Linnman, Samantha Madden, Robin Olafson, Xiaomei Peng, Ginny Connell, Jordan Ferris, Joy Holland, Kathleen Orrick, Carol Roberts, Marla Spadafora, Jan Virk, Ingrid Flanders, Kathryn Crabtree.
The staff of our Experiential Learning Center (ELC) have shown outstanding teamwork and flexibility as the needs of the nursing students have altered since Spring Break. The simulation team developed virtual telehealth simulations for students using the Zoom platform and the ELC staff are acting as the clients in these ongoing simulations. The simulation faculty including Kiki Fornero,Kathy Kuskie, and Sandra Davis are working to delivery virtual simulation experiences daily to our students. It is a huge undertaking for delivery to over 250 nursing students in a short time frame. Each telehealth simulation is 4 hours long and the team is delivering a morning and an afternoon session most days of the week running two groups of students at a time on the Zoom platform.
Christina Untiet (ELC manager) and the team consisting of Dina Banning, Beth Ross, and Shawn Harrison have been crucial to the success of the alternative clinical experiences for our students.
Semester 4 clinical faculty led by faculty coordinators Ericka Waidley and Pamela Wheeler teach the nursing students who are about to graduate into the profession. Adjusting to online Zoom meetings and alternative clinical experiences has been immediate. Students need support and reassurance about their ability to graduate and readiness to enter the profession. Clinical faculty are focusing on the clinical judgment and critical thinking skills essential to the nursing profession based in the liberal arts. Their leadership has been crucial.
Clinical faculty are vital to our students’ learning; fulltime and adjunct faculty have worked tirelessly under difficult circumstances in ways we did not imagine when this semester began.
We are all in this together.