I hope that you will enjoy this Matteo Ricci College newsletter, which is a way for the Dean's office to highlight, on a quarterly basis, recent and upcoming events in the College for our students, faculty, staff, colleagues, and friends. Having started as Interim Dean in June, I have many people to thank for their support for the College during this time. I am thankful to MRC's faculty and staff, in particular the dean's office staff (Fran Henderson, Beth Layton, and Dan Washburn) who have shown great energy and dedication to the good of our students. On behalf of the College, I am grateful to the members of the MRC Student Coalition, who called the College to create a far more inclusive curriculum and culture. I am also grateful to the students who, whether they were part of the Coalition or not, have demonstrated an openness to learning about institutional racism and other forms of inequality and who are committed to trying to build a more just world, beginning with self-examination. In that, they are carrying on the tradition of discernment, reflection, conversation, and engagement that inspired the original vision of the College. Thanks are due to the MRC Strategic Planning Task Force, whose membership and charge you can read below, for their commitment to envisioning the future of the College. Czarina Ramsay, Director of Seattle University's Office of Multicultural Affairs, has conducted two insightful and illuminating workshops for MRC faculty this Fall on creating and sustaining an inclusive classroom-- for which we are deeply grateful. Thanks are also due to the members of MRC's Conflict Transformation committee (James McCarty, Christina Roberts, Ben Howe, Mckenzi Bravo, Robert Gavino, Max Cargal-Bley, and Emily Lieb), who have worked to plan events such as the September 23 workshop with Robin DiAngelo and Darlene Flynn on "Racial Dynamics in Daily Life" (see below), as well as several Restorative Circles which were held this quarter. We hope that many of you will join us at two Town Hall meetings in December and January to help us continue to envision the future of the College and its programs.
We write to inform you of the formation of the Matteo Ricci College Strategic Planning Task Force. The members of the task force are a group of ten SU faculty, eight students and alumni, and one member of the Seattle Prep faculty who have been convened after the events of this past spring. This group was initially formed to look at the Matteo Ricci College curriculum. As we began our work, we recognized that there is an opportunity to review more broadly the operations and culture of the college through the framework of a strategic planning process. As a result, the University and the College are taking advantage of this opportunity to think more holistically about what should be--and what can be--the purpose of a Jesuit humanities college in the 21st century. Starting in the Fall, the MRC Strategic Planning Task Force will sponsor a series of town hall meetings at which we will present the work we have done so far, solicit input, and engage in constructive dialogue with faculty, students, alumni, and other community members. The full membership of the Task Force, and its charge, are included below. If you have questions, please contact one of us. Please join us in thanking the members of the MRC and Seattle University community who have agreed to engage with us in this important work.
Christina Roberts Associate Professor of English and Director, Women and Gender Studies (Co-chair)
Emily Lieb Assistant Professor, Matteo Ricci College (Co-chair)
Darlene Flynn and Robin DiAngelo led a presentation in Campion Ballroom for Matteo Ricci College. Students, faculty, and staff learned together about racial dynamics in daily life. It is our goal to pursue the themes of "Understanding, Engagement, and Transformation" this year and into the future. Following the workshop, the Dean's Office surveyed MRC community members for their reactions. 84% of respondents found the presentation to be Very Good or Good. Comments included: "The two speakers were incredibly candid, blunt, and knowledgeable, and everyone seemed to be very open to learning and being vulnerable," and "The whole university should see this presentation." Regarding future MRC events, students recommended that we "find a way to incorporate views of other people of color (Asians, Pacific Islanders, Latinos, along with African Americans)," that we focus on "how to change things," that we incorporate more small group interactions, that we invite other colleges to our discussions, and that we continue the discussion of racism in classes and additional workshops.
Kevin Plissner--Dublin, Ireland--Stint Ireland
Madeline Olson--Chikuni Mission in Zambia.
Anna Pickett--Granada, Spain in the ILACA Program