12.5 Minute Lectures

It's the classic college lecture—condensed. In a nod to our 125th Anniversary, Gonzaga faculty are sharing their expertise on a variety of compelling and timely topics in just 12.5 minutes. These lectures were presented as part of our Zagapallooza Alumni Reunion and Fall Family Weekend, October 19-21, 2012. Each lecture is described, along with live recordings the lectures & Q&A, where available.

"Open the Pod Bay Doors, HAL."

October 20, 1:00 p.m., CG101
Paul DePalma, Computer Science

My work concerns computer recognition of human speech. There have been great strides in the past two decades with the introduction of probabilistic methods in automatic speech recognition. These systems don't work nearly as well as we would like with speech from multiple people using an unconstrained vocabulary.  Beginning with the observation that speech and writing differ in significant ways, I've been working—with two collaborators from outside of GU—on a set of techniques to build a recognizer that bypasses words altogether, passing on the sense of speech, rather than actual text, to another piece of a dialog system. This, of course, is what humans do when asked, for example, "What did Mary just say?"

Saturday Literacy Tutoring Program

October 20, 1:00 p.m., JP017
Deborah Booth, Education

Gonzaga education certification students provide reading literacy tutoring to homeless and low income children of all school ages on Saturday mornings by utilizing partnerships with non-profit organizations and schools.

The Valuable Legacy of the Enlightenment

October 20, 1:30 p.m., CG101
Wayne Pomerleau, Philosophy

Not only was our country founded by Enlightenment thinkers, but American Jesuit education originated during the 18th century period of the Enlightenment. Such Enlightenment values as reason, experience, science, nature, liberty, equality, education, progress, and happiness still pivotally motivate our private choices and public policies.

Globalization and the Practice of Folk Catholicism in Michoacán, Mexico

October 20, 1:30 p.m., JP017
Pavel Shlossberg, Communication and Leadership Studies

Based on two years of ethnographic fieldwork in Michoacán, Mexico, my presentation will discuss the pastorela (Shepherd's Tale) danzas, which are performed during the Christmas season in indigenous and mestizo communities throughout Michoacán, Mexico. Blending Christian allegory with symbols and scripts from global popular culture, these masked, carnivalesque performances that discuss and depict faith, sin, and salvation, also comment upon the joys and struggles of everyday life in contemporary Mexico.

Twilight: Understanding the Global Phenomenon

October 20, 2:00 p.m., CG101
Claudia Bucciferro, Communication Arts

A scholarly analysis of the Twilight franchise in relationship to larger cultural and social trends. The books and movies will be considered, emphasizing the relationship between the text, the audience, the entertainment industry, and other aspects of the multimillion-dollar franchise.

Rome and the USA: Why Ancient History Still Matters

October 20, 2:00 p.m., Jepson 017
David Oosterhuis, Ph.D., Classical Civilizations

Is the US a modern Roman Empire? Since the founding of our country ancient Rome has been part of our political discourse. We'll look at why people keep bringing up history from 2000 years ago (hint: politics and religion), as well as just what works in this comparison and what doesn't. Is there a point to bringing up Rome?

Vanishing Point: Alzheimer's Disease and Its Challenges to the Federal Rules of Evidence

October 20, 2:30 p.m., CG101
Ann Murphy, Law School

As of 2012, an estimated 5.4 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's disease (AD). By the year 2030, due to the overall aging of our population, the number of individuals with AD is expected to increase dramatically. Courts will consequently confront evidentiary issues involving parties, defendants, witnesses, and victims who are suffering from various stages of the disease. Testimony of course involves descriptions of events that happened in the past and thus frequently involves memory. Solutions and advice for adapting to the future onslaught of cases involving individuals who suffer from AD are presented.

Preservation of Historical Walser Houses in Alagna Valsesia, Italy

October 20, 2:30 p.m., Jepson 017
Sara Ganzerli, Ph.D., Civil Engineering

The focus of this lecture is the structure of Walser houses located in Alagna Valsesia, Piedmont, Italy.  The Walser house displays a unique structure, conceived as a response to the harsh environment of high mountains. The “Walsers,” a Germanic people, migrated to the Italian Alps starting in the 14th century. The house represents an amazing synthesis of functionality, durability, structural soundness, and architectural elegance.

A Tao Complexity Tool:  Leading from Being

October 20, 3:00 p.m., Jepson 017
Caroline Fu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Doctoral Leadership Studies

From ancient times to the present, inspired leaders make sage decisions amid confounding complexity. Those decisions emerged from diverse thinking paradigms of multiple frames of reference guided people from all walks toward sustainable success. Such leaders, leveraging complexity and human responsiveness, seem able to intuitively discern essential constitu­ents for success obscured in complex circumstances and to navigate through turbulence. Using this practice tool can help one explicate such leadership perspicacity so that success can be within the grasp of any col­lective. Having the understanding of at-the-moment being, the transforming leaders found ways to embrace complexity and design interventions to see if the choice of mechanism matched the imaginary intervention results.