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ACURA 2019 Annual Conference ~ Vulnerabilities and Thriving: Transformational Infrastructure in Higher Education

  • 10 Nov 2019
  • 12 Nov 2019
  • Providence, RI


  • Graduate/seminary student Registration
  • ACURA/NACUC Members only
  • Non-Member Registration

Registration is closed

Friday, November 1, 2019

Dear ACURA/ NACUC Friends and Colleagues.

The excitement on College Hill, the home of Brown University and of The Rhode Island School of Design, is mounting. We are so looking forward to welcoming you next weekend for ACURA’s annual conference, Vulnerabilities and Thriving:  Transformational Infrastructure in Higher Education meeting from Sunday, November 10 through Tuesday, November 12, 2019.

Registration for the conference will close Monday, November 4th.   Find a link for registration and the full schedule for the conference at:

My colleagues in the Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life at Brown are truly delighted at the prospect of our time together and hope you will contact us with any needs you may have.

If you need to arrange for the Shuttle to pick you up from TF Greene, the Providence airport, for transport to the Homewood Suites, the conference hotel, that can be booked by calling their front desk at 401-942-2001 and dialing zero to reach the operator.  There is a $10 fee. 

Peace and Blessings from all of us here,

The Reverend Janet M. Cooper Nelson

Chaplain of the University 

The Association of College and University Religious Affairs

 Vulnerabilities and Thriving: Transformational Infrastructure in Higher Education

November 10-12, 2019

Hosts:   The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life at Brown University, Providence RI 

Accommodations: Homewood Suites Hotel:  

Request ACURA block

***ACURA Program.pdf***


Sunday, November 10

4:30 to 6:00 pm

Registration and Reception 

Brown RISD Hillel, Lobby, 80 Brown Street

Shuttle departs Hotel lobby for Hillel at 4:15 pm

Book Signing: Celene Ibrahim, The Groton School

One Nation, Indivisible: Seeking Liberty and Justice from the Pulpit to the Streets

ACURA thanks Brown’s “Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT)” initiative for support of this event. 

6:00 to 8:30 pm

Opening Supper Brown RISD Hillel, Social Hall Welcome to Hillel: Rabbi Josh Bolton, Executive Director, Brown RISD Hillel Opening Blessing: Rabbi Michelle Dardashti, Associate Chaplain for the Jewish Community and Rabbi, Brown RISD Hillel Greetings: Rev. Joanne Sanders, President, ACURA Remarks: Christina H. Paxson, President, Brown University Music by: Harmonizing Grace Gospel Choir of Brown University Celene Ibrahim, The Groton School One Nation, Indivisible: Seeking Liberty and Justice from the Pulpit to the Streets Introduction: Abtsam Saleh, OCRL Field Work Intern, HDS, MDiv ‘20

Shuttle returns to Hotel from Hillel lobby at 8:45 pm              

Monday, November 11

8:45 am

Brown Faculty Club, Huttner Room, One Bannister Street

Welcome to ACURA at Brown and RISD

Shuttle departs from Hotel lobby for Faculty Club at 8:15 am

9:00 am


Vulnerability and Resilience: The Impact of Quaker Education on Personal Transformation 

Sa’ed Atshan, Coordinator, Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program; Assistant Professor, Peace and Conflict Studies, Swarthmore College Introduction: Rev. Janet Cooper Nelson, Chaplain of the University

10:10 to Noon

Concurrent Sessions

Block One

10:10 to 11:00 am

Landscape Room, Upstairs

Religious Literacy: A Queer Field or a Field with Many Queer People? Benjamin P. Marcus ’13, HDS MTS Program; Religious Literacy Specialist with the Religious Freedom Center of the Freedom Forum Institute Moderator: Rachel Leiken ‘16, OCRL Field Work Intern, HDS ‘20

Huttner Room

Beyond “Free Speech:” Discourse and Conflict on Campus

Yolanda Castillo-Appollonio, Director of Student Conduct and Community Stand-ards; Marlina Duncan, AVP for Academic Diversity, Associate Dean of the Gradu-ate School; Shay Collins, Director of Institutional Equity and Community Engage-ment; Moderator: Rabbi Michelle Dardashti

Block Two

11:10 to Noon

Huttner Room

The Room Where it Happens: Sacred Spaces that Speak Inclusion, or Not? Koren Bakkegard, AVP for Campus Life, Dean of Students; Ulli K. Ryder, Director, Intercultural Student Engagement, Rhode Island School of Design; Benjamin Mead, Assistant Director for Retreats and Spirituality Programs, Iona College; Charrise Barron, Interim Director Brown Center for Students of Color; Moderator: Jermaine Pearson, Associate Chaplain for the Protestant Community

Landscape Room, Upstairs

Inside/Outside: Blessings and Challenges of External Affiliations Michael Grabo, Associate Counsel, Office of General Counsel; Matthew Branch, Assistant Director for Student Activities; Rabbi Josh Bolton, Executive Director, Brown RISD Hillel; Moderator: Fr. Albert Duggan, OP ‘03, Associate Chaplain for the Catholic Community


Veteran’s Day Ceremony

Procession from the flagpole on the Main Green to Ruth Simmons Quad 

1 to 2:30 pm 

Lunch and Conversation

Huttner Room

Blessing: Megan O’Brien Crayne, Brown RISD Catholic Community

Spirituality within the Work of Diversity and Inclusion

Shontay Delalue, VP for Institutional Equity and Diversity; Matthew Shenoda, Associate Provost for Social Equity and Inclusion, Professor of Literary Arts and Studies, Rhode Island School of Design; Andre Willis, Assistant Professor of Reli-gion; Moderator: Rev. Janet Cooper Nelson, Chaplain of the University

3:00 to 4 pm

Stories from the Field: Facilitated Conversations

A Place for Data in Chaplaincy Work?

Rev. Kate Smanik, Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life, Colby College

Page-Robinson Hall, Room 440, 69 Brown Street

ODL Work to Build Capacity

Vassar Colleagues: Rev. Samuel Speers and Elizabeth Aeschlimann

Page-Robinson Hall, Room 411, 69 Brown Street

Judaism on Campus: Where is the Work

Rabbi Michelle Dardashti,Hillel Student Lounge, 80 Brown Street (Additional sessions will be posted.)

Shuttle returns to Hotel from Page-Robinson lobby, 69 Brown Street, at 4:15 pm

4:00 pm


Campus tour, good coffee, bookstore, hanging out

6:30 pm

Banquet 20 Washington Place, Rhode Island School of Design

Blessing: Jermaine Pearson, Associate Chaplain for the Protestant Community

Greetings: Rosanne Somerson, President, Rhode Island School of Design

Music by: The Alef Beats of Brown University

Lessons from the Resilience Project: Souls—Not Just Minds—in CrisisIntroduction: Vanessa Britto, MD, Associate Vice President for Campus Life and Executive Director of Health and Wellness

Speaker: Daniel Jackson, Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT; Author,Portraits of Resilience 

Tuesday, November 12

9:00 to 10:30 am

20 Washington Place, Rhode Island School of Design

Continental Breakfast and Small Group Conversations

Discerning the Shape of the Future and Articulating Professional Standards

10:30 am to Noon

ACURA Business Meeting


Adjourn -----


For Sunday November 11th street parking will be easily available; both metered and not.  Meters are not monitored on Sundays.

On Monday, November 12th the Faculty Club offers spaces along both sides of Bannister Street. Park as indicated by the signs. Retrieve a parking pass from the console inside the front door of the Faculty Club to display on your windshield. These spaces are available all day.

The Conference Hotel also offers parking for which a fee is charged. Conference sites are walking distance from the hotel or the Shuttle service from the hotel lobby may be utilized.

Places to go 

Rhode Island School of Design Museum 20 N Main St, Providence, RI 02903 

Sydney Providence (All day café) 400 Exchange Street, Providence, RI 02903 

First Baptist Church in America 75 N Main Street, Providence, RI 02903 

Café Choklad Two Thomas Street, Providence, RI 02903 

David Winton Bell Gallery 64 College Street, Providence, RI 02912 

Mills Tavern 101 North Main Street, Providence, RI 02903 

The Athenaeum 251 Benefit Street, Providence, RI 02903 

Jacky’s Waterplace & Sushi Bar 200 Exchange Street, Providence, RI 02903 

Gracie’s 194 Washington Street, Providence, RI 02903 

Brown Bookstore 244 Thayer Street, Providence, RI 02912 

Breakfast and late afternoon snacks will be available at the conference hotel.  Meals included in registration are as follows: 

Sunday, November 10 - Opening plenary/Keynote dinner
Monday, November 11 - lunch, snacks, and dinner

Conference Hotel is Homewood Suites by Hilton in downtown Providence.  Rooms are available at a conference rate of $169 per night  A free shuttle will be offered for transportation from the conference hotel to Brown University.

To ease your registration process, we encourage you to use paypal or a credit card for this transaction.  Invoicing is possible for special circumstances.

ACURA/NACUC Member Registration – $300  

Non-member Registration – $450  

One Day Registration (Monday) – $250 

Graduate/seminary student Registration  - $200 

ACURA is a collegial association that brings together professionals working in higher education to support pluralistic, inclusive approaches to claiming the role of religion, spirituality, and ethical identity in colleges and universities.

Copyright Ⓒ ACURA