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Panel Discussion: What Makes Work Meaningful?

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2018 GraduationMay 5th, 2018
Countdown to May 2018 Graduation!

What are you doing with your one wild and wonderful life?  Join us at 6PM on Tuesday, April 8 in the Cunningham Chapel for a panel discussion about work and meaning.

Work and Meaning Panel FlyerProfessor Carolyn Chen is living in the Silicon Valley this year, doing research for a book about the rising spirituality in corporations within the Bay Area.  I met her earlier this year and had a fabulous conversation about one of my favorite topics – finding meaning and purpose within the definition of work.  I knew when I talked with her that this was a conversation I wanted to continue on campus.  She is particularly drawn to NDNU’s mission and Hallmarks and we spoke of the difficulty of working for organizations that lack a grounding purpose that you can believe in.

She will be joined by Andrea Robb, who most recently worked at Lucas Film but who has also worked in other Bay Area corporations.  For those convinced that corporations are the embodiement of evil, I suspect you will have a much changed view by the end of this discussion.  Andrea is experienced and wise; I worked with her for many years on a Board of Directors in which we tackled many difficult questions related to women and social justice issues.  I was always impressed with her thoughtful leadership and the results that emerged from Board discussions under her direction exceeded even ambitious expectations.

Dr. Marianne Delaporte Chairs NDNU’s Philosophy and Religious Studies Departments.  She has been engaged in important and groundbreaking research into mysticism and motherhood and will also be joing us on this panel.  Many NDNU students have been fortunate to have been in her classes and speak highly of their introductions to new and important ways of understanding spirituality and religion.  She was last year’s Teaching Excellence honoree and we are delighted to have her contribute her expertise to this panel.

I am the final panelist.  I have been researching meaning and work for many years and am especially interested in the journeys of those who have found meaning in their work.  I am also fascinated by various definitions of work and look forward very much to being in conversation with each of the individuals on this panel.

Hope that you can join us!  We will have snacks afterward for those panelists who are able to stay (some of us have to dash back to class, but hope to continue the conversation in other forums soon).  Let me know if you have any questions; I can be reached at:



Dr. Therese Madden

Human Services Program Director

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