July 10 Workshop, Teaching Toward Diversity and Justice in Christian Higher Education

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Teaching Toward Diversity and Justice in Christian Higher Education

Lead Presenter/Facilitator: John Hatch, Eastern University, retired; CCSN Senior Fellow

Roundtable DiscussantsJasmine “Jaz” Gray, Pepperdine University; Diana Martinez, Pepperdine University; Jennifer Akamine Phillips, Pepperdine University; Sara Shaban, Seattle Pacific University

Date/Time: Wednesday, July 10, 2024 | 11:30-3:00 pm EDT


Description: How can Christian faculty do justice to the full scope of human/cultural diversity in their teaching? And how can we disarm the defensiveness felt by some students when class material confronts matters of diversity and social justice? Are there ways to turn resistance into willingness to take a closer look? How do we make sure we are promoting critical thinking rather than indoctrination?

In answering these questions, this year’s workshop will expand its representation of diversity with four new presenters, each addressing a particular area of cultural/physical difference. After an introductory presentation on teaching toward diversity and justice in Christian higher education, we will learn about the distinctive cultural assets and social challenges inherited and experienced by Asian-Americans, Latinas/os, Arabs (including Arab Christians), and people with physical disabilities/differences. The presentations will consider how to improve the cultural competence of our students related to these groups’ identities and situations, as well as support students from these backgrounds.

Besides workshop facilitator John B. Hatch (CCSN Senior Fellow), our presenters will include Jasmine “Jaz” Gray, Pepperdine University; Diana Martinez, Pepperdine University; Jennifer Akamine Phillips, Pepperdine University; and Sara Shaban, Seattle Pacific University

Following their individual presentations, the contributors will participate in a roundtable discussion about their experiences and insights as diverse faculty at Christian universities. During the  workshop, attendees will have several opportunities to ask questions and enrich the discussion.

John Hatch (PhD, Regent University), CCSN Senior Fellow, Professor and Chair of Communication Studies, Eastern University (retired). Dr. Hatch became interested in the intersection of faith, communication, and culture through his involvement in Youth With A Mission in Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and Navajoland during the 1980s. During his doctoral studies at Regent University, his intercultural interests broadened, and he began to focus on race relations and public reconciliation initiatives. Dr. Hatch’s research interests include racial reconciliation, public apologies, dialogic rhetoric, religious discourse, the rhetoric of popular music, and contemporary Christian music. He has made numerous presentations at academic conferences and published extensively on these topics. He is the author of an award-winning scholarly monograph on the rhetoric of racial reconciliation and an undergraduate-friendly anthology of speeches on reconciliation by diverse political and religious leaders. Connect with John here: https://www.theccsn.com/john-hatch-ccsn-senior-fellow/

Jasmine “Jaz” Gray (PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) believes that story transforms the soul. She is a narrative researcher with expertise in entertainment and patient narratives who is interested in both how people in marginalized communities can use narrative to develop resiliency and how the media production process can be used to empower those communities. After earning a bachelor’s with a concentration in Journalism from Middle Tennessee State University and a master’s in Television, Radio, and Film from Syracuse University, she spent five years in Hollywood working for companies including BET and Paramount Pictures. During that time, she founded the company’s first ad hoc committee to address health-related diversity among employees. Most recently, as a doctoral fellow at UNC Chapel Hill, she developed an innovative storytelling tool called life plotting which repurposes the narrative structure and character arc underlying fictional stories for use by real people, empowering them with self-affirmation and story sharing skills to learn about themselves and share their stories with others. For her academic work so far, she was awarded the 2020 Barrow Doctoral Scholarship from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC). Her passion for story also motivates the way she teaches and relates to students. She looks forward to continuing to support a new, diverse generation of professionals in the communication field. She is also excited to continue centering her work in service. Her nonprofit Jaz’s Jammies has collected nearly 7,000 pairs of pajamas for sick and displaced children and organized volunteer opportunities for over 2,000 people. Connect with Jaz here: https://seaver.pepperdine.edu/academics/faculty/jasmine-gray/

Diana Martinez (PhD, The University of Texas at Austin) is an Associate Professor of Communication in the Communication Division at Seaver College. Her research explores physical and psychological borderlands, a term coined by Gloria Anzaldúa to describe spaces of social, political, and cultural struggle. She is working on archival research with the Gloria Anzaldúa collection, and she is also interested in issues surrounding social movements, intercultural dialogue, public memory, and visual rhetoric. Her recent published research has appeared in journals such as Western Journal of CommunicationCommunication Quarterly and The Journal of Multimodal Rhetorics as well as edited books. She co-edited the monograph Latina/o Communication Studies: Theories, Methods, and Practice. She teaches courses in rhetoric and leadership, communication studies, and culture and serves as the faculty advisor for the Pepperdine Journal of Communication Research. Connect with Diane here: https://seaver.pepperdine.edu/academics/faculty/diana-martinez/

Jennifer Akamine Phillips (PhD in Progress, Azusa Pacific University) is a Fixed-Term Assistant Professor of Communication at Pepperdine University. Phillips’ areas of teaching primarily include Intercultural Communication as well as Public Speaking and Rhetorical Analysis. She grew up in Southern California and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from Pepperdine University. Phillips also earned a double Master’s degree in College Counseling and Student Development (MS) and a Master’s degree in Violin Performance (MM) from Azusa Pacific University. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Higher Education, focusing her research on Japanese American faculty who are advocates of racial justice in the college classroom. Her areas of study include Japanese American Identity and racial justice advocacy in higher education settings. Connect with Jennifer here: https://seaver.pepperdine.edu/academics/faculty/jennifer-phillips/

Sara Shaban (PhD, University of Missouri),identifies as a critical/cultural scholar focused on the intersections between media, women’s social movements, and geopolitics in the Middle East. Shaban’s academic work is rooted within the theoretical frameworks of transnationalism and femonationalism. Her award-winning research is published in the International Journal of CommunicationCommunication and Critical Cultural Studies, and Journalism: Theory, Practice & Criticism. Prior to life in academia, Shaban worked in U.S. local news as a producer before pursuing freelance journalism in Israel, the West Bank, and Sierra Leone. Shaban is fueled by her passion for social justice, specifically for immigrants and refugees. She was involved in initiatives to improve conditions for incoming refugees during the 2015 crisis and served as a volunteer and board member for the Immigrant and Refugee Women’s Program in St. Louis. Additionally, she served as the communications director for the St. Louis based NGO Project Peanut Butter — an organization committed to the eradication of child malnutrition throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Connect with Sara here: https://spu.edu/academics/college-of-arts-sciences/communication-and-journalism/faculty-staff-directory/shaban-sara

Registration Fee: $50.00


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