An Open Letter Of Thanks To My Colleague

Last night I had the honor of attending the lecture of Mary Catherine Bateson, a lovely event orchestrated by Dr. Jenny Sasser. Students, alumni, community guests, faculty, and staff filled Flavia Salon to hear Bateson speak about her experiences and perspectives, her books, and her ideas about the importance of engaging and supporting elders in our society.  Oh – and an organization she founded,

Bateson’s ideas truly resonated with Marylhurst’s mission of providing access to learning for adults (as she herself pointed out – in fact, she had studied us!). Though I hate to just provide sound-bites and take such lovely ideas out of the significant contexts in which they were presented, she did say some really neat things, including:

  • “Experience is the best teacher – but only if you do your homework.”
  • “We are not what we know, but what we are willing to learn.”
  • “I’m still me. I’m the person I’ve been becoming my whole life.”

I was reminded once again about the very special work we get to do each day here, together, and I can’t stop thinking about it. Thank you, thank you, Jenny, for your work in bringing her here – I am grateful for the gift, and I hope she can come back soon!

PS, Readers: For a good sense of Bateson’s work and what we experienced last night with her, check out some posts from her blog, such as Learning to teach, Teaching to learn


Though It’s About You, It’s Also Not *All* About You

Image from The Center for Dewey Studies, SIU Carbondale

“I believe that education is the fundamental method of social progress and reform. All reforms which rest simply upon the law, or the threatening of certain penalties, or upon changes in mechanical or outward arrangements, are transitory and futile…. But through education society can formulate its own purposes, can organize its own means and resources, and thus shape itself with definiteness and economy in the direction in which it wishes to move…. Education thus conceived marks the most perfect and intimate union of science and art conceivable in human experience.”

–John Dewey, My Pedagogic Creed, 1897

A Destination

I recently ran across the Reach & Teach website. This organization’s tagline is “Transforming the world through teachable moments.”  They call themselves a social justice learning company.


On their website is a great collection of definitions of social justice. Please – take a tour.  May these ideas inspire!

And what’s more – they have a store!

I think we need this poster in my house:

ABCs of Living Green

And, OMG – check out their books!

I could stay here all day!

Let’s Achieve Good

Yesterday I attended the Continuums of Service conference here in Portland, Oregon.  Several hundred people from several states were in attendance — all of us focused on service-learning, social action, and social justice work within higher education. It was an amazing group to be in and I felt privileged to be in the presence of so many who care and who spend their time trying to make making a difference.

One thing I learned about — from the keynote speaker Sean Stannard-Stockton — was The Girl Effect, created by The Nike Foundation. Watch the video here:

The Nike Foundation explains:

We sought out where we could make the greatest impact. We found it in adolescent girls. Invest in them, the theory goes, and you will unleash a powerful ripple effect.

As Stannard-Stockton pointed out, true social change does not come about by doing good things; it comes about by achieving good. As we begin Spring Into Service, let’s focus on what we collectively will achieve toward understanding and reducing food insecurity in our state.

Starting with the Opening Reception on Tuesday, April 6th, please Spring into Service and join us in achieving good.