Tag Archives: features

Adventuresome Civility: The Brave Work of Finding Common Ground

  This season is brimming with questions of who we are to each other — how we should relate to each other in the spaces and time we share. You’ve heard the buzzwords to describe America’s condition — polarized, divided, a widening spectrum. You may have also heard pleas from leaders, or even your own friends and family, for civil discourse. This season is brimming with questions of who we are to each other — how we should relate to each other in the spaces…

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How Much Do Our Words Matter?

Although we have always known it intuitively, science has confirmed the tremendous power our words have on ourselves, communities, and the world. In fact, words can literally shape the material world. The words we speak not only reflect, but shape our thoughts, and our thoughts shape the physical structure of our brains. An NPR interview between host Ira Flatow and science writer Sharon Begley, “Can Thoughts and Action Change Our Brains?” revealed how findings in neuroplasticity suggest the way we think can not only change…

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The Logical Approach: Learning to Disagree Agreeably

Imagine a group of friends gathered around a table — eating, talking, and enjoying one another’s company. As these friends discuss life, their conversation turns to politics and they quickly discover they hold different views on particular policy issues. But instead of descending into a heated exchange or changing the subject, the friends begin to respectfully discuss and debate the merits and weaknesses of each position. Although this scenario may seem unlikely in the emotionally charged political climate we are living in today, PLNU’s Speech…

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The Social Media Silo Situation

The year is 2016. The place, Facebook. A 30-something man is scrolling through his newsfeed when he sees the inflammatory headline of a news article bashing the presidential candidate he supports. Angrily, the man glances up to see who posted the article, hesitates momentarily, and then “unfriends” the “friend” he has not seen since high school. Is the man right to remove the offending presence? After all, the article was clearly biased, and discussing politics over social media never changes anyone’s mind, right? Navigating the…

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44 Years Advocating for the Arts: Q&A with Dr. Karen Sangren

“ … the arts have been an inseparable part of the human journey; indeed, we depend on the arts to carry us toward the fullness of our humanity. We value them for themselves, and because we do, we believe knowing and practicing them is fundamental to the healthy development of our [students’] minds and spirits. That is why, in any civilization — ours included — the arts are inseparable from the very meaning of the term ‘education.’” — National Standards for Arts Education Dr. Karen…

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Risk and the Entrepreneurial Mind

Not only did Jeremy Swift (03) not get paid for his internship at a startup email marketing company, but it also cost him. Every day on the job, he bought a downtown parking spot and a Starbucks latte for the boss as part of his internship agreement. “I didn’t care,” Swift said. “I wanted to be part of something that was bigger than me and had potential for success.” He was a junior at the time and was eager to become part of the PLNU founding team of…

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Native Narratives: Re-telling History Through Story

The stories told and passed down through generations are what we use to form ideas about who we are as a people, country, tribe. These stories of family and culture, land and origin, if remembered, give value to our experiences and inform our identities, our relationships with each other, and our purpose and meaning. The story of America’s origin told for centuries centered on Christopher Columbus, a European explorer, who was commissioned by the Catholic monarchs of Spain to discover and claim new land. Here, he…

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Exploration: Cultivating Curiosity

In PLNU’s Early Childhood Learning Center (ECLC), there sits an unlabeled piece of play equipment. “It kind of looks like a jeep, or a car maybe,” said Susan Rogers, director of the ECLC. “Because it’s unnamed, it can be a number of things. That’s what’s amazing; it can be absolutely anything to the children.” It has been a bus and a spaceship. Four or five times a week, it goes to Disneyland. It’s gone to Paris. It’s even gone to the moon. And it can go…

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Connecting the Dots … from Here to Mars

Thirty years ago, on Jan. 28, 1986, President Ronald Reagan decided to forgo his State of the Union because that day, a Tuesday, became a “day for mourning and remembering.” It was the day the Challenger Space Shuttle exploded 73 seconds after launch, killing all seven astronauts aboard. Among the brave skyriders was civilian volunteer and elementary school teacher Christa McAuliffe. Imagining the pain and confusion of America’s schoolchildren watching the launch from classrooms across the nation, the president offered these words of wisdom: “I know…

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Stewardship of the Sacred

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” These words by 19th century environmental philosopher John Muir perfectly capture the heart Rick Jenkins (09) has for his work as supervisory park ranger at Gateway National Recreational Area in New York City. Like Muir, Jenkins is a strong advocate for the preservation of the natural world, not only for the enjoyment and recreation of visitors, but, more importantly, for the…

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Seeking the Unseen

Dr. Kris Koudelka, assistant professor of biology, spends his days working in the realm of the invisible. Based on indirect detection, his research can’t be seen or summarized in a concrete sense, but rather consists of what Koudelka describes as “moving liquid around in small tubes” and analyzing it with the help of a variety of machines. But, it’s this aspect of his work—the inability to really visualize what’s taking place—that forces him and his students to grow the most, offering opportunities to think critically, problem…

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The Restorative Power of Street Art

“The idea of being made in God’s image—that we were created and that we can create—is an incredibly powerful characteristic of being human,” said Dr. G. James Daichendt, PLNU’s dean of arts and humanities and professor of art. For Daichendt, what it means to be human involves creativity, an impulse seen and experienced clearly in art. And according to him, the most exciting and meaningful movement in the art world today is street art, an area he has studied extensively. From stickers found on the backs…

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