Spring Hill Faculty Presents Research at Justice Conference

Mon, 08/05/2013 - 8:15am
Mural Project

Four members of the Spring Hill College faculty shared their research findings at a national conference on the Commitment to Justice in Jesuit Higher Education over the weekend. 

Creighton University hosted "On Fire at the Frontiers," August 1-4. Sponsored by the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU), which represents the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the nation, the goal of the conference is to establish a fuller, more humane conversation among all people through their work for justice in Jesuit higher education.

Wanda Sullivan, associate professor of art, and Janden Richards, associate professor of graphic design, discussed “Community Through Art and Design,” a portrait and mural project aimed at connecting college students with underprivileged and impoverished members of the community. Spring Hill students’ art projects included work with the homeless, the Boys and Girls Club, and schools for autistic and mainstream children.

“The projects build empathy, helping students to identify others’ needs,” said Sullivan. “They are challenged beyond theoretical understanding of design principles. Exposing our design students to a broader range of cultural experiences helps them question not only how a design looks, but also what it communicates and means.”

Dr. Catherine Swender, associate professor and department chair, English and writing, and Dr. Carolyn Simmons, associate professor and department chair, chemistry, presented “Creating Community Engagement through Imaginative Creation in Writing and Science.” This project explored how Spring Hill College’s service-learning classes channel students’ imaginative energies and help form new spaces of meaning along the frontiers of class, race, and privilege.

“At the center of these spaces is the potential for discovering and creating new things in such a way as to empower those whose voices have often been silenced or excluded,” said Swender. “Our research shows how pairing college students with inner-city public school students has become a strong force for mutual transformation.”

Keynote speakers were Rev. David Hollenbach, S.J., University Chair in Human Rights and International Justice at Boston College, and Sister Margaret Farley, R.S.M.,  Gilbert L. Stark Professor Emerita of Christian Ethics at Yale University Divinity School and past president of both the Society of Christian Ethics and the Catholic Theological Society of America.

The conference included 47 breakout sessions covering a wide variety of topics, from pedagogy to research to governance, from a variety of disciplinary and institutional perspectives. 

Spring Hill College Provost Dr. George Sims and Dr. Kathleen Orange, director of the Foley Center and associate professor of political science and law, also attended the conference. Orange is a member of the Commitment to Justice in Jesuit Higher Education’s National Steering Committee.


*The photo depicts a portion of Sullivan and Richards' mural project at Palmer Pillians Middle School in Mobile, Ala.