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Fall Convocation Heralds the 2022-2023 Academic Year

By Joanie Harmon
Students on Kerckhoff patio

Wasserman Dean Christina Christie and Amanda Tachine of Arizona State University kick off the fall quarter at SEIS.

The beginning of the 2022-2023 academic year was celebrated with Fall Convocation, presented online on Wednesday, Sept. 21. Wasserman Dean Christina (Tina) Christie welcomed students, faculty, and staff back to campus for the first official in-person fall quarter since the pandemic. Amanda Tachine, assistant professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University, and author of “Native Presence and Sovereignty in College,” presented her talk on “World Building for Futures of Belonging and Presence.” 

Professor Tachine, who is Navajo from Ganado, Arizona, is also a postdoctoral scholar at ASU’s Center for Indian Education. Her research explores the relationship between systematic and structural histories of settler colonialism and the ongoing erasure of indigenous presence and belonging in college settings.

Dean Christie welcomed the Zoom audience, thanking Amy Gershon, director of the SEIS Office of Student Services and her team, for their contributions to student success, and recognized the School’s associate deans and department chairs and convocation speaker Tachine. Christie underscored the importance of the SEIS community “as a family.”

“I do not use that term lightly; it is something I very strongly believe,” she said. “As a student in an Education or Information Studies program, as a member of our faculty or staff, as an SEIS alum—you are part of this extended family, with all of the care and support that comes with it. 

Like the members of any family, each of us is unique. We all bring our own strengths, experiences, ideas, and goals. Each of us walks our own path. SEIS faculty and staff, as well as your fellow students across our two departments, are here to support you and guide you on that journey. But ultimately, the path will be your very own … It means that each of you will leave a mark on this school and leave it different from how you found it. And that is exactly as it should be.”

Christie referred to writings by the late UCLA Professor of Education Mike Rose, and expanded on his sentiments.

“Our dear colleague Mike Rose once wrote, ‘A good education helps us make sense of the world and find our way in it,’” said Dean Christie. “We aspire to make the School of Education and Information Studies a place where that happens, where the world makes a bit more sense, and where your place within it becomes clearer. But I’d like to build on Mike’s words. I’d like to take them one step further. 

“Of course, we want you to be able to make sense of the world and find your way in it. But we also want to give you the tools to change the world for the better … We are all here because we share the common mission of improving the world through the study and practice of information science and schooling. We share a commitment to creating a more just community, whether that community is local, national, or global. And we share an optimism that this change is actually possible—that we can each be part of a broader force, a broader movement toward equity and justice.

“You represent the next generation of scholars and practitioners. In the years to come, your work will take you in many directions, but I hope you never lose sight of the shared optimism that brought you to this work in the first place.”