Campus News


Academic Opening Fall 2018 | Faculty Workshops and Welcome Dinner for Incoming Students

The opening of our new Fall 2018 semester at Soka University of America featured a number of festive welcoming events for both new faculty and new students.  Throughout the day on September 5, a new faculty workshop welcomed SUA faculty who joined this year or last with a series of workshops. The workshops for new faculty included a welcome from the Dean of Faculty, Bryan Penprase, and a discussion about teaching at SUA and syllabus design with the Faculty Enhancement Committee, chaired by Peter Burns, and including Zahra Afrasiabi, Monika Calef, and Oleg Gelikman. The new faculty were also given briefings by Andrew Woolsey, Dean of Enrollment Services and Hyon Moon, Dean of Students, who together provided an overview of the characteristics and unique aspects of our SUA students.  The day also included an Advising Workshop and a welcoming lunch for the entire faculty with introductions to faculty joining SUA this year.  These new faculty include Sandrine Simeon, Assistant Professor of French Language and Culture, and Danielle Denardo, Assistant Professor of Sociology. 

Laureen Hom, our incoming PBRC postdoctoral scholar and instructor was also introduced. dozen large tables set up for the occasion. After a welcome from the Dean of Faculty, Bryan Penprase, students and faculty quickly began their discussions as they enjoyed a buffet dinner together. Dinner discussions ranged across all topics and included a chance for students to share some of their impressions and revelations from their Core I course, as well as a chance to get to know each other and faculty members better. After the dinner discussion, faculty were asked to introduce themselves briefly, and each faculty member stood up and provided a short overview of  their research and some of their favorite classes. The diversity of the faculty intellectual interests was dazzling, and the incoming students were able to begin to appreciate both the breadth of scholarly interests within the SUA faculty, and the strong and sincere interests the faculty have in meeting SUA students who might share some of these interests. As always happens at this event, a number of students were able to connect with these faculty members after the introductions and across the PAC lobby groups of students and faculty were in rapt discussion long after the dinner event ended.  Our incoming students at SUA had a wonderful beginning to their academic journey, and the faculty and students together look forward to a great new academic year.

The same evening featured the return of a SUA annual tradition, the Welcoming Dinner for Incoming Students, where our SUA faculty personally welcome our students to campus. Our incoming class, which includes 111 students from 16 nations and 23 states, represent a wonderful diversity of energy and talent and the faculty enjoyed greeting them as they begin their first full semester at SUA. This year the dinner was held at the Performing Arts Center lobby, and the students and over 35 faculty enjoyed a lively meal and conversation around over a


Article contributed by Bryan Penprase, Dean of Faculty

Photos Courtesy of Soka University Office of Photography Staff