The University Record, September 30, 1998

Parker Palmer to keynote 'Day of Dialogue' on community

By Jane R. Elgass

Parker Palmer, one of the nation's leading thinkers and writers on teaching in higher education, will be the keynote speaker at "Rediscovery of Community in Higher Education: A Day of Dialogue with Parker Palmer" Oct. 7-8.

The "Day of Dialogue" is sponsored by the Council for Ethical, Spiritual and Religious Dialogue, which was appointed as an advisory committee by Maureen Hartford, vice president for student affairs.

The Council is composed of faculty, staff and religious professionals and each year it sponsors a "'Day of Dialogue' to bring together the University community to discuss issues relevant to our ethical and spiritual lives," explains Don Postema, campus pastor emeritus, Campus Chapel, and vice chair of the Council. "This year it's a time for focusing on concerns about community, teaching and learning at the U-M."

Postema says the Council hopes Palmer's appearance and presentations will "help spark a deeper reflection within the University on the challenges of teaching and the University's role in supporting a community--community among teachers, community among students and community among teachers and students."

Palmer is a senior adviser to the Fetzer Institute, founder of Fetzer's Teacher Formation Program for K-12 teachers, and recently was named one of the nation's 40 most influential leaders in higher education. His most recent book, The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life (Jossey-Bass), is a best-seller.

Palmer will deliver an address, "Rediscovery of Community in Higher Education," at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 7 in the Michigan League Ballroom. There will be a "Conversation with Parker Palmer" for faculty, staff, students and religious workers 3-5 p.m. that afternoon in the Vandenberg Room, Michigan League.

On Oct. 8, 9-11:30 a.m. in the Vandenberg Room, discussion will focus on "Creating a Community of Discourse about Teaching and Learning." Immediate concerns and issues at the University will be explored in an address by Palmer and responses by a panel that will include staff, faculty, students and a member of the Board of Regents.

In addition, Palmer will be a guest on WUOM's "Todd Mundt Show" 1-2 p.m. Oct. 7 and be at Shaman Drum for a book signing 2-3 p.m. that day.

In addition to the Council, sponsors of this year's "Day of Dialogue" include the Division of Student Affairs; Liaison for Ethics and Religion, Office of the Dean of Students; U-M Association of Religious Counselors; Center for Research on Learning and Teaching; and the Fetzer Institute.

Interested individuals are invited to join an e-mail discussion about the "Day of Dialogue." To do so, contact Richard Mann at and you will be added to the group.

For more information on the program, contact Len Scott, U-M liaison for ethics and religion,, or 764-7442; or Matthew Lawrence, U-M Association of Religious Counselors,, or 665-0606.


Council for Ethical, Spiritual and Religious Dialogue

The Council for Ethical, Spiritual and Religious Dialogue, appointed by the vice president for student affairs, is composed of U-M faculty, staff, students, alumni and affiliated religious leaders.

Its goal is "to encourage dialogue among all members of the University community, including secularists, skeptics, seekers and believers, so that diverse ethical, spiritual, religious and spiritual expressions flourish." This is accomplished in several ways:

• Promoting personal and scholarly inquiry into ethical, spiritual and religious issues.

• Pursuing common ground while exploring, not simply tolerating, differences.

• Nurturing open, honest and constructive discourse on values.

• Engaging each other in a search for ways to enrich the climate for both the study and the practice of ethics and religion in the University community.

• Working cooperatively with groups in the broader community that have similar aims.

• Offering counsel to the University administration and community about these concerns.

The Council meets the 3:30-5 p.m. the fourth Tuesday of the month in Room 3000, Michigan Union. The next meeting is Oct. 27.

For more information about the Council, contact Don Postema, 662-2402, or; or Len Scott, 764-7442, or


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