Faculty Research Presentations

Flyer of event. Background of Seattle's skyline. Photo of Dr. Amelia Derr of the left side of the flyer. Information about the presentation on the flyer is the same as the text below/

How to Go Forth and Set the World on Fire without Burning Out

Dr. Amelia Seraphia Derr

Associate Professor, Social Work

Director, Bachelor of Social Work Program

Friday, May 12 at 12pm on Zoom

As students consider a career in social work/social justice, they are both drawn to it and daunted by the realities of well-documented stressors. Social Workers face one of the highest burnout rates of any profession and this has become even more severe over the course of the pandemic. After almost three years of COVID, there is a staggering need for mental healthcare and other supportive services, a significant loss of funding for social service agencies, and a radical shift in the way services are delivered. This has had a profound effect on all those working in this field, including social work students. A recent study found that 80% of social work students reported the pandemic had a negative impact on their own mental health (Council on Social Work Education, 2021). This project addresses the question of how to respond to this crisis through educating social workers in ways that build radical resilience and help sustain their commitment to social justice work. I examine current practices in social work education related to building resilience and capacity for social workers and offer customized best practices in educating students for sustained and generative careers. Though this presentation is geared towards social work students/curriculum, it is relevant to all our students at Seattle University.


The St. Joan’s Alliance and the Shaping of the International Women’s Rights System

Dr. Nova Robinson, History and International Studies

Thursday, October 13, 12:30-1:30pm

Hunthausen Hall 100, lunch provided


This talk will explore the impact Catholic feminist thought had on the development of the international women’s rights system between 1920 and 1960. St. Joan’s, a feminist Catholic organization, was founded in London in 1911 to encourage Catholic women to support the fight for suffrage in the United Kingdom. The organization later spread throughout the British Empire and took up the larger cause of women’s equality. Given its global reach, it was well positioned to participate in conversations about international women’s rights at the League of Nations and later the United Nations. Unlike some of the major secular women’s organizations, such as the International Council on Women or the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, St. Joan’s advocated for representation from the colonized world.

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Donna Teevan's presentation Header

The Jesuit University in a Secular Age: Theological Perspectives

Donna Teevan, Associate Professor
Theology and Religious Studies

Wednesday, May 25, 12:30-1:30pm on Zoom

Philosopher Charles Taylor has described our era as “a secular age.” There is no doubt that there have been fundamental shifts in the role that religious perspectives play in shaping worldviews in the West and that these shifts are part of the context of Jesuit education today. Fortunately, Jesuit institutions have a long history of engaging culture in a way that is world-affirming and adaptative as well as critical where appropriate.

In that spirit, this project undertakes a theological engagement with secularity and considers its implications for the mission and identity of Jesuit universities. It is my hope that such an exploration, undertaken in dialogue with the Jesuit educational and Catholic intellectual traditions, may contribute to a discernment of what is authentic and of value in the “secular age” in which we live and point to ways forward that are genuinely Jesuit and Catholic.

Dr. Maureen Emerson Feit presentation: From Transaction to Transformation

From Transaction to Transformation: New Models of Leadership & Capacity Building in Community Organizations

Dr. Maureen Emerson Feit, Director & Assistant Professor
Tuesday, May 3, 12:30-1:30pm on Zoom

Maureen Emerson Feit will present the initial results of a participatory study that asks the question: which pedagogical strategies are most effective in supporting a shift from transactional to more transformational approaches to leadership development for leaders of color in community organizations?  The study was co-designed with RVC, an organization that cultivates leaders of color, strengthens organizations led by communities of color, and fosters collaboration between diverse communities in King County.

For many years, RVC has been active in larger, national efforts to address racial disparities in the nonprofit sector, challenging more traditional and transactional approaches to capacity building and urging funders to recognize the characteristics of many community organizations -- with their embeddedness in community,  attention to relationships, practices of shared decision-making, less bureaucratic and more responsive operations -- as strengths rather than deficits. Beginning in 2017, as they developed plans for the leadership development for their fellows, RVC staff worked with Dr. Feit to design a leadership program centered on transformational approaches to nonprofit management, resulting in a curriculum that combined critical theory with the Ignatian tenets of context, experience, reflection, action, and evaluation.

In 2021, with funding from ICTC, Dr. Feit returned to RVC and worked with alumni of three fellowship cohorts to reflect on their experiences. In this talk, Dr. Feit will be joined by Flo Sum, Fellowship Program Manager with RVC. They will share some of the challenges and insights fellows developed when working for racial justice and liberation within the nonprofit and philanthropic system and Dr. Feit will discuss ways that critical race and feminist approaches in the classroom can intersect with and complement Ignatian pedagogical practices.

Photography of Flo Sum

Flo Sum – RVC Fellowship Program Manager

Florence (also goes by Flo) was born and raised on Duwamish ancestral lands in Seattle. Their experience in nonprofit organizations led them to their graduate education and to RVC’s fellowship. Florence graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in American Ethnic Studies and Communications, and an MA in Public Administration with a focus on nonprofit management and education policy. Florence enjoys frolicking in the mountains, playing video games, eating their way around town, and training in Muay Thai and Krav Maga.

Both Extirpate and Vagabond Forever: Material Formations of Faith in Early Modern Compilation

Allison Machlis Meyer, Associate Professor, English
Wednesday, April 27, 12:30-1:30pm on Zoom

Dr. Allison Machlis Meyer will present work from an ongoing research project that asks how the processes of compiling eclectic, separately-created and separately-printed works into unique physical books—called Sammelbände—construct early modern thinking about religious difference. These compiled volumes provide compelling work for an examination of the fraught religious identities permeating the early modern period: they are polyvocal books that though their material form unsettle codified historical narratives about faith divides between Protestants, Catholics, Jews, and Muslims.

Dr. Meyer’s presentation considers how Hebraist Hugh Broughton’s 1613 Seder Olam participates in the Reformation’s turn toward a historical rather than typological relationship to Christianity’s Jewish origins, and how its compilation in Sammelbände with John Cotta’s 1616 The Trial of Witchcraft reveals the conceptual incapacities of Christian political theology that demands both the existence and supersession of Jews to navigate Protestantism’s newly historical sense of its past.

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Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs: Using Participatory and Collaborative Processes to Respond to Emerging Migration Trends

Amelia Seraphia Derr, Social Work
Thursday, May 27 at 12:20pm via Zoom

Current trends in federal immigration policies have resulted in a crisis of family separation and unaccompanied children being detained on the southern border, increased material and social hardships, and further marginalization of refugees, asylum seekers, and undocumented immigrants living in the United States.

In this national context, the role of local sectors has taken on a heightened importance; local governments, social service agencies, and congregations are often called upon to fill the gaps in services resulting from federal actions. However, when local migration responses are implemented without a collaborative and participatory approach they can exacerbate, rather than ameliorate, the situation.

This presentation describes a case example from the City of Seattle Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs (OIRA) that illustrates how collaborative and participatory programming leads to better outcomes and a more socially just context of reception for immigrants and refugees in Seattle.

On the Edges of Catholic Consciousness: Eastern Catholics in the US

Jaisy Joseph, Theology and Religious Studies
Thursday, May 20 at 12:20pm via Zoom

Dr. Joseph's presentation will draw from 22 months of ethnographic research of 3 Eastern Catholic churches in Boston: the Ge'ez Catholics from North Africa, the Melkite Catholics from the Middle East, and the SyroMalabar Catholics from South India. She is exploring what the immigration of these ancient expressions of the Catholic tradition in the past 50 years mean for our understanding of unity-in-diversity in the US Church today. 

BLACK AND AFRICAN-AMERICAN CATHOLICS: Educating and Working for Justice

Thursday, April 29, 12:30-2pm PST on Zoom
Mary-Antoinette Smith and Charisse Cowan Pitre


Dr. Mary-Antoinette Smith, College of Arts and Sciences - English:
Her Fierce Faith: Introducing Ellen Tarry (African-American Catholic Convert and Pre-Civil Rights Interracial Justice Advocate)

This presentation promotes the timely relevance of African-American Catholic convert Ellen Tarry (1906-2008) as a teacher/writer/activist who engaged in pre-Civil Rights Movement interracial Catholic Social Action (CST) during the 1930s and 1940s. While working in Harlem with the Russian émigré founder of Friendship House, Catherine de Hueck, and other white advocates, she sustained a fierce faith and devotion while challenging the demoralizing Jim Crow laws and egregious racial injustices perpetrated upon African-Americans. As observed in her memoir—The Third Door: The Autobiography of an American Negro Woman (1955)—Tarry's interracially collaborative social action derived from an understanding that “the deep roots of racism and segregation required more than the passing of new Congressional bills to bring reason and fairness into the attitudes and actions of white[s] . . . toward people of African descent.” For her it required faith-in-action combined with de Hueck’s cultivation of an interracial apostolate at Friendship House that was wholly committed to the truth that Black Lives Matter—then, now, and always, ad infinitum.

Dr. Charisse Cowan Pitre, College of Education: 
Black Catholic Educators on Identity, Reconciliation and Teaching for Justice in the Era of the Black Lives Matter Movement

This talk will share findings of a study examining the experiences of Black Catholic educators in the era of the Black Lives Matter Movement. The project presented contributes to the literature on Black Catholic educators and Black/African heritage teachers. African American pedagogical approaches have been documented in the literature as transformative and powerful but remain undertheorized in educational research, policy and practice. Existing literature largely focuses on the recruitment and retention of African heritage educators, emphasizing the importance of reconstructing teacher education in a way that values and affirms their lived experiences, transformation, and wholeness. Through surveys and interviews, this study captures the voices of Black Catholic educators describing their experiences and conceptions of teaching for social justice, including reflections on wholeness of identity, reconciliation, and resistance during this unprecedented time of racial reckoning in the United States.

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Peter Amah and Dylan Medina
School of New and Continuing Studies 

Thursday, February 27
12:15-1:30 pm

Lunch at 12:15pm
Presentation begins at 12:30pm
Hunthausen 100

The research team investigated the various ways that XR (virtual reality) technologies can be incorporated into the online educational experience at a Jesuit Institution.


Sharon A. Suh, PhD
Professor, Theology & Religious Studies

Monday, February 24
12:00-1:30 pm

Lunch at 12:15pm
Presentation begins at 12:30pm
CHDN 145

Dr. Suh will discuss her recently completed project Finding Safety in the Body: Trauma-Informed Mindfulness Practice that examines trauma-informed mindfulness practice for survivors of trauma with a particular emphasis on embodied difference or the whole person. While trauma-informed mindfulness addresses multiple manifestations and symptoms associated with individual experiences of sexual abuse, child abuse, domestic violence, and trauma associated with large scale events such as war and natural disaster, there is scant discussion, analysis, and resource directed toward healing and resilience from an intersectional perspective. Mindfulness and contemplative practices for healing trauma often overlook the very fact of intersectionality -- Suh argues in an upcoming article that careful attention is required to offer survivors healing modalities that attend to their intersectional lives.

Flyer for Faculty Fellowship presentation on Tuesday, January 28th. Natalie Cisnero will present on The

Natalie CisnerosAssociate Professor, Philosophy

Tuesday, January 28
12:15-1:30 pm

Lunch at 12:15pm
Presentation begins at 12:30pm
Hunthausen 100

Dr. Cisneros will discuss her recently completed project The “Illegal Alien”: A Genealogical and Intersectional Approach, which introduces a new approach to social justice concerns surrounding migration and immigration by exploring the implications of “illegal alien” subjectivity for philosophy as well as for theoretical accounts of race and racism in the United States.


Maintaining a Commitment to Social Justice: Labor conditions for school psychologists Faculty Fellow Presentation on January 30th with headshots of Gregory Moy, Jason Parkin, and Ashli Tyre

Gregory Moy, Jason Parkin and Ashli Tyre

College of Education - School Psychology

Thursday, January 30
12:15-1:30 pm

Lunch at 12:15pm
Presentation begins at 12:30pm
Student Center 210

The research team examined school psychologists’ perceptions of their labor conditions and how they impact their ability to work for social justice. In this presentation, they aim to contextualize the research questions and share themes that emerged from the responses we collected. There will be a discussion of the findings and its implications for school psychology training and research.

The Last Jesuit: On the Leaving of Indian Missions in the Northwest

Wednesday, October 16

12:15-1:30pm in Hunt 110

There has been a great cultural shift in the last twenty years, in both the Society of Jesus and in the identity of tribal people in the United States. The research is focused on what is occurring in the realm of religion and spirituality on traditionally Jesuit- Catholic reservations on the Columbia Plateau of the Pacific Northwest, and how this history now informs the development of Indian spirituality. This presentation is a brief overview of my work with people of the Coeur d’Alene Reservation in Idaho.

Ted Fortier is a cultural anthropologist who specializes in Indigenous Spirituality, Culture change and People of the Pacific Northwest. He is the founder of the Anthropology Department at Seattle University. His courses include Indigenous Rights, Archaeology of the Pacific Northwest, Indigenous Human Rights, Darwin and Evolution, Anthropology of Religion , Shamanism and Cultural Anthropology.

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Text: Barriers to Health for Washington State Residents from the Republic of the Marshall Islands Robin Narruhn Thursday April 25 Faculty Fellows 2019 Headshot of Robin Narruhn

Dr. Robin Narruhn, ICTC Faculty Fellow

12:15pm, Thursday, April 25

CHDN 145

 Text: No Human Involved: Three-Fifths Justice in the United States Angelique Davis Wednesday, April 17 Faculty Fellows 2019 Image: Angelique Davis Headshot

Angelique Davis, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of Global African Studies

12:15-1:30pm, Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Chardin Hall 145

Lunch begins at 12:15, Presentation begins at 12:30pm.

Please join Dr. Davis for this presentation based on her book project, which examines how our legal system determines police shootings of unarmed Black  people as “justified.”  The talk illuminates how a police culture of dehumanization allows these murders to continue.

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Individual Tax Provisions and Income Inequality through a Catholic Social Thought Lens

Thursday, May 31 in Pigott 106
12:15pm lunch, 12:30-1:20pm presentation

Against the backdrop of rising income inequality in the United States is the recent overhaul of federal tax regulations that nevertheless leaves intact certain individual tax provisions that together are estimated to cost the US budget more than $5 trillion dollars over the next decade. This calls into question the extent to which these major tax provisions are consistent with an economic system that promotes integral human development, a central theme in Catholic Social Thought (CST). Our examination of the home-mortgage-interest deduction, the preferential tax rate on capital gains, and the income exclusion for employer-paid health insurance premiums highlight the importance of confronting the tradeoffs among CST principles of human dignity in an economic system that continues to preserve regressive tax provisions.  This project was inspired the authors’ participation in the Spring 2016 faculty seminar on Catholic Social Thought.

The authors, in alphabetical order:

Stacey Jones is a Senior Instructor in the Economics Department of the Albers School. Her research is primarily on the historical development of women's role in the US economy, including women's role in the labor market, higher education, and the household.

Susan Weihrich teaches primarily in the area of taxation. She is a frequently invited speaker in the areas of Federal tax policy. Her research has been published in tax journals, corporate finance, accounting and auditing journals. She has many years of experience in tax compliance and has assisted in the Seattle University’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program for over 20 years. She  was the first recipient of the Seattle University “Spirit of Community Award.”

Tina Zamora is an Associate Professor in the Accounting Department of the Albers School. Her research examines how economic and fairness incentives, financial and nonfinancial information, and corporate governance factors impact individual decisions and organizational performance. Her work is published in top journals in finance, business ethics, auditing, management accounting, and accounting education. Prior to joining academia, she worked in the Japanese and Korean Tax and Audit Practice of KPMG LLP in New York City.

Struggling in Seattle: Embodying Islam in the Pacific Northwest

Wednesday, June 6
12:15pm lunch, 12:30-1:20pm presentation

This presentation will explore the issues faced by Seattle's Muslim community, and how local Muslims deploy theological and spiritual tools to address these issues. The presentation will particularly highlight the experiences of the Somali community.

Ali Altaf Mian is assistant professor of Islamic studies in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies. He completed his Ph.D. in religious studies in 2015 from Duke University. His research interests include: Islam in South Asia; Islamic law and ethics; gender and sexuality; feminist theory and practice; Sufism and comparative mysticism; continental philosophy; comparative religion; theory and method in the study of religion. Currently, he is working on two manuscripts: Muslims in South Asia (contracted with Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming in 2019) and Surviving Modernity: Ashraf ‘Ali Thanvi (1863-1943) and the Politics of Muslim Orthodoxy in Colonial India.His publications have appeared in peer-reviewed journals such as Islamic Studies Muslim World, and Journal of Shi‘a Islamic Studies.

Encountering Laudato Si’

Thursday, April 19

12:15-1:20pm (Lunch at 12:15, presentation begins at 12:30pm)
HUNT 100 


Forms of Life: From Technocratic Paradigm to Eco-politics

Inspired by Pope Francis’ critiques of technology and calls for a “bold cultural revolution” in Laudato Si’, this paper argues that environmental injustices issue from a dynamic between technologies of power and the powers of technology. The paper puts Laudato Si’ into dialogue with Peter Sloterdijk’s account of Ignatian anthropotechnics and Giorgio Agamben’s thoughts on Franciscan forms of life so as to sketch a vision of an eco-politics guided by contemplation.

Laudato Si’ and Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness

This project brings Laudato Si’ into dialogue with Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness (GNH) program. The GNH concept implies that sustainable development should take a holistic approach towards notions of progress and give equal importance to non-economic aspects of wellbeing.


More about the faculty:

Jessica Ludescher Imanaka is an Associate Professor in the Albers School of Business and Economics at Seattle University, where she holds a joint appointment in Management and Philosophy. She teaches Ethical Reasoning in Business, Ethics in Business, Spiritual Business, and select Philosophy classes at SU. Imanaka’s research has focused on corporate social responsibility, theory of the firm, political economy, sustainability, environmental justice, globalization, philosophy of technology, and Catholic social thought. Her papers have appeared in The Harvard International Review, Business and Society Review, The Independent Review, Environmental Ethics, The Journal of Catholic Social Thought, The Journal of Jesuit Business Education, Somatics Journal, The Journal of Management for Global Sustainability, and the International Journal of E-Business Research.

Jason M. Wirth is professor of philosophy at Seattle University, and works and teaches in the areas of Continental Philosophy, Buddhist Philosophy, Aesthetics, Environmental Philosophy, and Africana Philosophy. His recent books include Mountains, Rivers, and the Great Earth: Reading Gary Snyder and Dōgen in an Age of Ecological Crisis (SUNY 2017), a monograph on Milan Kundera (Commiserating with Devastated Things, Fordham 2015), Schelling’s Practice of the Wild (SUNY 2015), The Conspiracy of Life: Meditations on Schelling and His Time (SUNY 2003), a translation of the third draft of The Ages of the World (SUNY, 2000), the edited volume Schelling Now (Indiana 2004), the co-edited volume (with Bret Davis and Brian Schroeder), Japanese and Continental Philosophy: Conversations with the Kyoto School (Indiana 2011), and The Barbarian Principle: Merleau-Ponty, Schelling, and the Question of Nature (SUNY 2013). He is the associate editor and book review editor of the journal, Comparative and Continental Philosophy. His forthcoming manuscript is called Nietzsche and Other Buddhas (Indiana 2019) and he is currently completing a manuscript on the cinema of Terrence Malick. He is an ordained priest in the Soto Zen tradition.

Cherishing the Wisdom of Community: A Benedictine Contribution to (Graduate) Leadership Education

Thursday, February 15

12:15-1:30pm(Lunch at 12:15, presentation begins at 12:30pm)
HUNT 100

Dung Tran, PhD

The Organizational Leadership program at Gonzaga University has taken graduate students to a Benedictine monastery as part of a course on "Leadership and Community" for 15 years.  As an alumnus of this experience, the presenter will discuss how the understanding and experience of a monastic community leads to effectively engaging the world during turbulent times.

Dr. Dung Q. Tran, the son of Vietnamese refugees, is an inaugural instructor of Organizational Leadership at Seattle University. In terms of research, Dr. Tran is interested in how spiritual, ethical, and values-based perspectives shape leadership theory and practice, with a particular focus on leader identity development.

Faculty Fellow: Trung Pham "Wonder," "Rupture" and "Mother." 

Featured Faculty Member

Fr. Patrick Kelly, SJ, has collaborated with the ICTC on many lecture seminars and events. In this lecture given at Villanova University, Fr. Kelly talks about the intersection of faith, spirituality, and collegiate sports. 

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The Relationship Between Theology and Religious Studies in the 21st-Century Catholic University

with ICTC Fellow Donna Teevan, PhD, Seattle University

May 2, 2017

Dr. Donna Teevan is an Associate Professor in the Theology and Religious Studies Department at Seattle University. She is a systematic theologian who teaches Core courses on God; Christology; women and theology; and science and religion. She also teaches courses in historical and contemporary theology for majors. Her primary research interest is theological method.

Dr. Teevan's research focuses on the present and future of theology and religious studies in the context of undergraduate education at Catholic colleges and universities.

Meena Rishi, PhD: "Laudato Si’, Ecological Debt, and Carbon Pricing: An Empirical Exploration" 

Robert Efird, PhD:  “Effective pedagogy: Responses to Laudato Si' and Pope Francis’ Call for Ecological Education”

March 7, 2017

Rishi is a professor in Economics at Seattle University. She teaches International Political Economy, Asian Economic Development and Macroeconomics. Her scholarly work focuses on capital flight, institutional approaches to development, International finance and pedagogy. She is frequently invited by academic institutions in India to present her research and engage in scholarly collaborations.

Efird is an associate professor in Anthropology, Sociology and Social Work. He is an applied cultural anthropologist with a special interest in environmental education and collaborative research with community partners. His current research focuses on environmental learning in China and in the Pacific Northwest. 

Sharon Suh, PhD: "Occupy this Body: Meditation as Political and Recuperative Strategy."

Michael Jaycox, PhD: “Sustaining the Movement for Black Lives: Intersectional Narratives of Resistance”

March 1, 2017

Suh is assistant professor of Theology and Religious Studies and Pigott McCone Chair at Seattle University. Her presentation, “Occupy this Body: Meditation as Political and Recuperative Strategy,” is also the title of a book she is working on to examine mindfulness and meditation as social justice praxis and reparative political strategies.

Jaycox is assistant professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Seattle University. His presentation, “Sustaining the Movement for Black Lives: Intersectional Narratives of Resistance,” will examine how critical perspectives on class, race, gender and sexuality might offer a basis for reconstructing the natural law methodologies that characterize the Catholic moral tradition.