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Seattle University


Scholarly Staff

Written by Mike Thee
June 5, 2012

Seattle University's Student Development staff members have been busy lately-and not just with their "day jobs" of enhancing the SU experience for students. A number of staff members have recently published significant new scholarly works.

Michele Murray, associate vice president for Student Development (left), has coauthored Teaching College Students Communication Strategies for Effective Social Justice Advocacy. The book examines the close relationship between principles of deliberative democracy, communication and conflict resolution.

"We all have our own particular way of communicating around issues of social justice, and our go-to style might not be best," Murray says. "What we're trying to do is motivate people to develop multiple communication styles."

The book examines five different communication styles. The book itself is written in a distinct style known as "scholarly personal narrative." Contributors "use their own personal voice," Murray explains, but "the frame of the story is made up of scholarly theories." Among those contributors are Jake Diaz, vice president for Student Development, and Diane Schmitz, director of Commuter Student Services.

This is Murray's second book. She coauthored Helping College Students Find Purpose: The Campus Guide to Meaning-Making, which was published in 2010.

Joining Murray in scholarly pursuits are Bernie Liang, director of Student Activities (center), and Monica Nixon, director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs (right). Both coauthored chapters to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Higher Education, a groundbreaking new book.

For her chapter, Nixon interviewed 26 Asian American Pacific Islander student affairs leaders. Though their work in the field spans four decades, each respondent functioned as a strong advocate for Asian American Pacific Islander students, says Nixon, "helping students to discover their voices, representing students in institutional settings, and pushing schools to be more inclusive."

Nixon speaks with gratitude of the field's pioneers. "For decades Asian American student affairs professionals and graduate students served in isolation on their campuses," explains Nixon. "The early pioneers recognized the critical nature of supporting one another in student affairs work and laid the ground for developing the professional connections to sustain ourselves."

Liang's chapter focuses on the experiences of professionals who identify as multiracial or multiethnic and Asian Pacific American-with multiracial meaning across races and multiethnic referring to those who identify with two or more ethnicities within the Asian Pacific American community (e.g. Chinese and Filipino). "We asked respondents to look at their lives longitudinally-from childhood to experiences being student affairs staff," explains Liang, who received a master's in SU's Student Development Administration program. "The common connection was that folks needed to feel supported in order to come to terms with their identity-whether that was as child growing up or working at an institution."

As far as Liang and his coauthors can determine, their research is the first foray into the subject and it "(points) the way toward a new realm that's in desperate need of some more research."