Santa Clara University

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The Faculty-Staff Newsletter, e-mail edition
Santa Clara University, March 1, 2006, Vol. 6, No. 9

Table of contents

SCU celebrates opening of Commons on Kennedy Mall
Fund honors legacy of Fr. Dan Germann
Spirituality, Science, and Health: What’s Going On and Why?
de Saisset exhibit ignites the imagination
Developing empathy through information technology
Build.Plant.Grow. takes root
SCU Events
SCU in the News
SCU People
Grants, awards, and publications

SCU celebrates opening of Commons on Kennedy Mallfyi March 1, 2006 tracker image
Kennedy Commons Dedication
Kennedy Commons dedication

Students, parents, faculty, staff, and community members joined Jim Purcell, vice president of university relations, and SCU President Paul Locatelli, S.J., on Saturday, Feb. 25 for the dedication and blessing of the University’s newest and greenest building, The Commons on Kennedy Mall.

The Commons sits between Swig, Dunne, McLaughlin, and Walsh residence halls and houses two state-of-the-art classrooms, a multipurpose room, and patios for outdoor events.

“This is the living room for all the students who live in the residential communities,” said Phil Kesten, professor of physics and director of SCU’s Residential Learning Community program, referring to the RLCs housed in the dormitories overlooking the new building.

Plaques posted throughout the Commons explain the eco-friendly construction materials in detail. In one hallway, part of a wall is exposed to show straw bales which are used for insulation. Meredith Swinehart, a senior at SCU and the first to be awarded the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics’ Environmental Ethics Fellowship, spoke about the importance of sustainability and how the new building is an example of the University’s commitment to building new construction projects with an environmental conscience.

Locatelli closed the dedication ceremony with a blessing of the building.

Fund honors legacy of Fr. Dan Germann
Dan Germann
Dan Germann, S.J.

In honor of Fr. Dan Germann and his 25 years of service at SCU, the DISCOVER program announced earlier this year The Daniel V. Germann, S.J., Endowed Fund for Ministry and Community Engagement. Earnings from the endowment will go toward strengthening the University’s immersion programs, a learning experience near and dear to Germann’s heart.

“So, I look to the future really to say that it means that I need to hang on to a faith in God and that God knows what he is doing.”
—Dan Germann, S.J.

Germann traveled on one of the University’s very first immersion trips and throughout his time at SCU impressed upon students the importance of social justice, faith, and engaging in the world around them.

The endowment will provide funds for students who otherwise would not be able to afford the trips. “This fund honors Dan’s legacy at SCU and contributes to his ongoing commitment to faith and justice work,” said Robert Senkewicz, history professor and close friend of Germann.

To learn more about Fr. Germann and the endowment fund, visit the DISCOVER program’s A Tribute to Dan Germann Web page. There you will find a link to support the Germann Fund as well as a video about Fr. Germann which includes his thoughts for the future.

Spirituality, Science, and Health: What’s Going On and Why?

Television evangelist Pat Robertson may garner all the headlines connecting God and illness, but he has got it wrong. God doesn’t cause bad health, but science suggests that He might somehow be connected to better health.

The latest scientific findings linking spiritual factors with favorable health outcomes will be presented on March 22 at a one-day workshop, sponsored by SCU and the Society of Behavioral Medicine, entitled “Spirituality, Science, and Health: What’s Going On and Why?”

The current empirical evidence will be reviewed, along with promising new areas for research and practical application. “High-quality, double-blind, randomized trials demonstrate there is a relationship between spirituality and health, but it’s a complex one. We’re not saying anything is magical,” notes Thomas Plante, professor of psychology and one of the directors of the conference. Read more.

de Saisset exhibit ignites the imagination

Michael C. McMillen’s Red Trailer Motel and Tracey Snelling’s Dark Detour are on display through March 18, 2006. Read more.

de Saisset Exhibit          de Saisset Exhibit  de Saisset tenement sculpture
Michael McMillen, Red Trailer Motel, 2003. Tracey Snelling, The City, 2005. Tracey Snelling, Tenement, 2005.


Developing empathy through information technology

Students taught by William James Stover, Ph.D., an associate professor of political science, use information technology to team up, strategize, and role play complex international scenarios in class. But it’s not only fun and games.

Students on three continents are developing skills in international relations as well as empathy for other countries. “What I’m trying to do is incorporate into strategic studies, political science, and international relations the whole concept of empathy—the ability to participate in another’s feeling, interests, values, and perceptions,” explains Stover.

To foster that international empathy elsewhere, he brought the technology to Lebanon last December to teach a graduate course in strategic studies at St. Joseph’s University, a Jesuit university in Beirut. Stover developed a simulation of a plausible Middle Eastern international relations scenario. Lebanese students researched and played the roles of the United States and Israel, while Stover played the roles of various Arab countries.

Through the exercise, students began to understand “what it’s like to be a participant, policy-maker, or decision-maker in Israel or the United States, based on what is going on in the contemporary Middle East,” Stover notes. Read more.

Build.Plant.Grow. takes root

In an effort to build intergenerational ethical reflection in a congregation, the Character Education Program at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics has launched a new nationwide weekly character education program for churches: Build.Plant.Grow: The Word This Week.

The interdenominational program follows the Lectionary readings, focusing lessons on one of the three Sunday scripture readings. A pilot group of approximately two dozen schools and congregations have been using the program since January. Detailed Build.Plant.Grow weekly lesson plans are available online.

Through guided questions, contemporary stories, and pertinent activities, the lessons highlight the personal relevance of the Bible stories by focusing on their character-building themes, like courage, perseverance, and honor. “We’ve gotten the most buzz back from Catholic schools that are currently using the program,” notes Steve Johnson, S.M., director of character education at the Ethics Center.

Many of those schools are excited about having students from grades 5-8 teach the lessons to the children in the younger grades. Other congregations are using the program with families and extended families. “It becomes an opportunity for people to share faith around a story,” Johnson explains. “The lesson plans give them something concrete to work with. It takes the weekly readings and brings them to life. It gives them a way to put this into their real daily life.”

The program draws its title from Jeremiah 29:5–7: “Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce…multiply there and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare, you will find your welfare.”

SCU Events

Spring Awakening, March 3–5 and 8–11, 8 p.m.; Wednesday–Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday, Louis B. Mayer Theatre: Written in 1891, this frank tragedy continues to challenge and enlighten audiences as it confronts issues of abortion, rape, suicide, and morality. Contains strong adult content; under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent. For tickets or more information, contact the Center of Performing Arts Box Office at 554-4015.

Faculty Recital: Songs of the British Isles, Saturday, March 4, 8 p.m., Recital Hall: Let the SCU vocal faculty take you on an enticing musical journey to the British Isles! Repertoire will include Ralph Vaughn-Williams’ haunting song cycle "Along the Field" for voice and violin, featuring the poetry of A.E. Housman's "A Shropshire Lad," along with songs by Michael Head, Gerald Finzi, Roger Quilter, and other British composers. For tickets or more information, contact the Center of Performing Arts Box Office at 554-4015.

Ethics at Noon: "Africa, Ethics, and AIDS: Catholicism Under Pressure of a Pandemic," March 6, 12 noon, Sobrato Commons: Speakers include: James Keenan, S.J., Gasson Chair, Boston College, and Professor of Moral Theology, Weston Jesuit School of Theology; Paul Crowley, S.J., SCU Religious Studies; and Teresia Hinga, SCU Religious Studies. A lunch will be served.

Santa Clara Community Action Program's 40th Anniversary Celebration and Auction, Friday, March 10, 6 p.m., Adobe Lodge: Santa Clara Community Action Program hosts the annual Special Olympics Northern California Soccer and Basketball tournaments. All proceeds will go toward hosting these events. To purchase tickets or to make a donation, contact Erin Lovette.

More SCU events.

SCU in the News

Some of the links to the news stories below may be archived or require registration. If you need help retrieving a story, please contact fyi.

Kirk Hanson (Markkula Center for Applied Ethics) was quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle  in a David Lazarus column about the blurring of lines between political and corporate interests. Read the column.

Margaret McLean (Markkula Center for Applied Ethics) was interviewed on KLIV-AM about the decision made by two anesthesiologists not to administer the scheduled lethal injection to death row inmate Michael Morales because of ethical concerns.

Jerrold Shapiro (counseling psychology) was quoted in a Wall Street Journal article about effective ways to broach financial issues with family members. Read the article.

More SCU in the News

SCU People

New to Student Life this academic year:

  • Daniel Cassidy, University Advisor and Tutoring Center, Drahmann Center
  • Emily Garcia, Coordinator of Accommodations, Drahmann Center
  • Courtney Hamilton, Assistant Director, Employee Relations, Career Center
  • Michael Harvey, Presidential Fellow, Office of Student Life
  • Robert Haun, Manager, Student Employment, Career Center
  • Lisa Osteraas, Office Coordinator and Transcript Analyst, Drahmann Center
  • Parinaz Zartoshty, Co-Coordinator, International Student Resources, Drahmann Center
Grants, awards, and publications

Francisco Jiménez’s (modern languages and literatures) book “Breaking Through” was selected for the 2006 Napa County Reads: One Book, One Community program.

To submit grants, awards, and publication information, click here

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