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Presidential Plenary

What is a plenary? In a conference that is ordinarily divided by department or discipline, a plenary is a session that students and faculty from all fields are welcome to participate in.

The Academic Excellence Showcase hosted the first Presidential Plenary, a themed interdisciplinary session welcoming submissions from all departments in 2017. PURE and President Fuller, in collaboration with co-chairs Laurie Burton and Melinda Shimizu, invited submissions to the special Academic Excellence Showcase Plenary Session. The theme was solar eclipses, and the plenary included student presentations ranging from mathematics to poetry as well as a special introductory lecture by Melinda Shimizu.

The Showcase team hopes to continue this tradition in future showcases. If you have an idea for future Presidential Plenaries, please fill out this suggestion form: Plenary Theme Suggestions.

 

2017 PRESIDENTIAL PLENARY THEME: ECLIPSES

PURE and President Fuller, in collaboration with co-chairs Laurie Burton and Melinda Shimizu, invited submissions to the special Academic Excellence Showcase Plenary Session on Solar Eclipses to be held on the day of Showcase June 1st 2017Presentations of all formats were welcome, by students of all disciplines, that addressed the topic of solar eclipses, including their history, cultural significance, scientific understanding, mathematical predictions, and aesthetic inspiration. Since Western Oregon University’s founding in 1856 there has been only one total solar eclipse visible from campus, which took place February 26, 1979. The next will be this summer on August 21, 2017. Solar eclipses occur about every 18 months somewhere on Earth, but occur far less regularly in any one specific place, and Total Solar Eclipses are especially rare. During a Total Solar Eclipse, locations in the path experience total darkness, the temperature may drop 20 degrees, stars become visible, and the corona of the sun may be viewed. People who have viewed Total Solar Eclipses have described the experience as spiritual, memorable, and with feelings that it is an once-in-a-lifetime event. Such an event also inspires great curiosity into the science and history behind what we experience today and how people have experienced similar events in the past. To that end, we invited all Western students to submit a proposal to present in the Eclipse Plenary Session. Participants will present at this special Plenary Session on June 1st where we will explore the many facets of Solar Eclipses and the stories that surround them.