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Students and Alumni Present at Symposium

Students and graduates of the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies program presented at the seventh annual Graduate Liberal Studies Symposium held in June 2013 at Dominican University in San Rafael, Calif.

Accompanied by department chair, Dr. Susan G. Carter, the students had the opportunity to present their work, share ideas and engage in discussion with students and alumni from other universities' graduate liberal studies programs including Stanford University, University of Southern California, Mount St. Mary's College of California, Dominican University, Reed College, Simon Fraser University and Maastricht University.

Marylhurst University's presenters were:

Jennifer Ortiz
Beyond Hull House: Jane Addams' Vision of Democracy through American Pragmatist Philosophy

Through her experiences and observations, Jane Addams was dedicated to a form of social progress that placed value upon the realized intellectual and creative potential in every person. This was the driving force she believed to exist behind the constructs of an authentic democracy – a significant lens through which Addams gauged social ethics, public policy and societal convention. In her first book, Democracy and Social Ethics, Addams examined relationships within society and the ethical implications of a democracy. She explored the societal models that only undermined relations between the wealthy and the poor; the older generation and the new one; the teacher with the student. Within these pairings, she found that mutual misunderstanding was the common flaw that sabotaged even the most worthy of intention.

Jerilyn Felton
Gone to the Dogs: A Structure for Ministry with Dogs Rather Than to Them

Attendees will learn about a structure for ministry in healthcare settings, where dogs become ministerial co-workers. While many chaplains and spiritual-care providers have been using their dogs in spiritual/pastoral-care efforts in an informal way, there are many pitfalls that go unrecognized that can have potentially serious consequences for the healthcare facility. Attendees will come to an appreciation of how a dog-ministry structure will minimize risks and maximize benefits. The Four-Footed Ministers Pastoral-Care Program, developed from a nine-month study at Maryville Nursing Home in Beaverton, Oregon, addresses issues of dog-human ministerial interactions and provides a preliminarily "road tested," safe, effective and repeatable program for doing ministry with dogs rather than to them. Attendees will be encouraged to further reflect on how the integration of this program into a healthcare facility maximizes overall spiritual and pastoral care.

Ben Mefford
The Potential of Singing to Improve Human Physical Health

While singing is valuable as an art form and may be utilized within music therapy as a tool for working with psychological or emotional conditions, there is little direct research on the possible physical health benefits of vocalizing sound. Underlying the physical process of controlled vocalization is a complex system of body functions working in cooperation. This system is highly developed and it may be inferred by its genetic persistence that it has continuously maintained high survival value throughout human evolution. By looking at the physical ability to produce controlled vocalization through the lens of evolutionary biology, it becomes possible to suggest several mechanisms by which singing may be physically beneficial to human health. The mechanisms discussed here are: the relationship which singing has to diaphragmatic breathing, the role of sustained exhalation in regulating acidity in the human body, and the affect of sound on pathogens.

Arthur Alan Smith
Spiritual Experiences: Two Case Studies

Current spiritual practice in the hospital setting is reserved only to visits by clergy when requested by the patient; however there are times when the patient does not fill out the spiritual tradition questions when admitted to the emergency department in an acute state. Smith proposes bringing together hospital staff, clergy and families of patients to determine if the moments outlined in two case studies are ethical. If not ethical, then what to do about them?

Case Study One: Elderly man with chest pains admitted alert and conscious to emergency room. Patient goes through traumatic invasive procedures to stop the myocardial infarct. In one of the patient's lucid moments, the technician asked about the medallion around the patient's neck. The medallion quoted a prayer invoking Mother Mary. Technician says the prayer out loud to the patient. The patient closes his eyes and sits up straight, loses consciousness and dies.

Case Study Two: Technician enters room where patient admitted with terminal cancer is slumped on his side against the back of the gurney. After a moment the technician says "In my Father's House, there are many mansions. I go and prepare a place for you." The patient moaned and curled up tighter. Later the technician transported the patient on the gurney to a medical floor. The technician returned to the emergency department, and over the speaker system a Code Blue to Room XYZ was called on the patient just transported.

Shelly Parini-Runge
Appreciative Organizing: Charting a Course for Social Change

The purpose of Parini-Runge's thesis was to explore how initiatives led through appreciative inquiry (AI), a method for fostering social change, could help organizers improve current community organizing practices. While AI's roots are grounded in action research, a conventional action research model requires a diagnosis to determine what is wrong with an organization or community. Her thesis posited that diagnosing key problems and prescribing solutions does little to strengthen the collective body of an organization or community, making social change initiatives difficult to sustain. A review of the action research and community organizing literature revealed a need for organizers to create opportunities for dialogue that focus on the strengths of the organization or community, not just the weaknesses. To accomplish this, a new combination of organizational elements is suggested in which community-based conversations and planning initiatives, led through a hybrid of appreciative inquiry, asset-based and traditional planning methods, help organizers improve current practices by using a method referred to as appreciative organizing.

Melinda E. Pittman
Laugh the World Awake: Toward a Declaration of
Liberation Comedy

Pittman's presentation is a deliberation on the philosophy and phenomenon of humor as an embodied project of evolving, individual equality and communitarian social justice. By deconstructing historical philosophic and aesthetic theories and combining those analyses with findings from contemporary neuroscience, a theoretical construct of liberation comedy is proposed and a provisional model of liberating comedy offered. Mingling techniques of stand-up, theatre and musical parody performance with feminist and other liberation theories, the use of humor as a tool of intellectual awakening is made experiential.

Drawing from contemporary philosophers and scientists, especially Willett, Critchley, Gray, Morreall, Brown, Eagleton, Scott, LeDoux, van Hooff, Beauvoir and Moi, Laugh the World Awake proposes an expansive and inclusive rather than universal theory concerning comedy that nudges embodied consciousness toward an egalitarian spirit. Such a declaration of liberating comedy may collaborate in disrupting millennia of aesthetic and philosophic superiority assumptions. The presentation seeks to deconstruct traditions that reduce "others," as "objects" of ridicule and exceptionality, to unequal social status. It reasserts the Beauvoirian affirmation that all can be "subjects of our own lives."

Jackie Barretta
Teambuilding Insights from Neuroscience

New discoveries in the field of neuroscience are disclosing how teams can perform at their peak, with the sharpest and clearest minds and the ability to take in more information, access intuitive insights and see possibilities that others miss. Barretta explores how to use emotion to create a powerful team spirit that strengthens a team's ability to perform in increasingly complex environments and gives practical pointers on how to increase creativity and performance on any team. The concepts are backed by solid research, and Jackie draws from her career of 25+ years as a successful leader in Fortune 500 businesses and Big Four consulting firms to make them real and practical.

 

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