Updates from Aquinas College about COVID-19 are at aquinas.edu/coronavirus.  Updates on our plan for Fall 2020 are at aquinas.edu/saintstogether.

Chesley Lecture Series

  • Brent Chesley

The Chesley Lecture Series, formerly the Aquinas Lecture Series, was renamed in 2017 in memory of Dr. Brent Chesley, who co-founded the series in 1991 along with Dr. Dan Brooks. Together they organized more than 200 presentations by Aquinas College faculty and staff for over 25 years until Brent’s death in 2017. The Chesley Lecture Series is held on Tuesdays from 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. throughout the academic year in the Loutit Room. Please see the calendar below for lecture topics.

Lecture Series Co-Organizers

We look forward to seeing you at the next event! Please feel free to bring your lunch.

Dr. Daniel Wagner

Dr. Jason Duncan

Fall Semester 2020:


Tuesday, September 8, 2020: Dr. Briana Asmus (Education)
"Shifting Landscapes: New Boundaries of Social Justice Education in Teacher Preparation"

Teacher educators take on new challenges preparing the teacher workforce of today. From capitalism to border crossing to climate change, there has never been more pressure to prepare critically and culturally literate teachers to face a multitude of challenges, and address a multitude of issues, in the classroom. Simultaneously, increased standardization threatens to shift the focus away from this type of teacher education. This presentation will explore some of the issues associated with preparing a socially just teacher workforce prepared to meet 21st century challenges. 


Tuesday, October 13, 2020:  Dr. Jennifer Hess (Biology)
Sabbatical Report - "Reporting from the Frontier: The First Natural Science Faculty Sabbatical"

Dr. Hess will report on results from her tripartite sabbatical projects:  a pre-genetic counseling major feasibility study, collaborating on writing a case report for publication, and collaborating on an article concerning teaching bioethics.  Also, she'll report on side projects that materialized along the way.  Interestingly, since no other faculty member in the sciences has ever taken a sabbatical, Dr. Hess will report on lessons she's learned about taking a science sabbatical at AQ.


Tuesday, November 10, 2020: Michel Pichot (World Languages)


Tuesday, December 1, 2020: Dr. Rebecca Flaherty (Biology)
“Cell Signaling Responses to Bacterial Infection during Pregnancy and Post-delivery: Implications for Diagnostics and Therapeutics”

The bacterial pathogen Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a major contributor to pre-term birth, miscarriage, and other pregnancy and post-delivery complications for mothers and their babies.  This presentation will highlight recent work exploring how these bacteria induce changes both in the behavior of maternal tissues that protect the developing fetus and in newborn infants.  Implications of this work on diagnosing GBS infections and developing new therapeutic strategies will also be discussed.


Spring Semester 2021:



Tuesday, January 19, 2021: Dr. Jason Duncan (History)
Sabbatical Report - The Little Magician’s Greatest Trick: Martin Van Buren and the Winning of the Presidency, 1836

The presidential election has been overlooked in the political history of the era from 1815-1845, often referred to as the Jacksonian Era.  In 1836, Vice President Martin Van Buren, who was neither a founding father or a military hero, as previous presidents had been, won the presidency through a national party he had helped to create.  Thus the 1836 election is an important milestone in the political history of the United States.


Tuesday, February 9, 2021: Dr. Stefani Boutelier (Education)
“Action Research in Higher Education” 

Dr. Boutelier has used action research to explore and navigate the SOE graduate thesis program. During this presentation, she will discuss her findings related to how action research applies to higher education, how work labs and accountability partners increase community during the independent phase of research, and how effective technology increases the infusion of these processes. 


Tuesday, March 16, 2021: Dr. Amanda Lahikainen (Art History)
Sabbatical Report - “Envisioning Trauma in the 1790s and the Cultural History of Modern Warfare”


Tuesday, April 13, 2021: Jen Lendrum (Sociology)

Tuesday, April 20, 2021: Deborah Steketee – Sustainable Business 
Sabbatical Report – “Extraordinary Returns: Culture, Social Capital and Climate Crisis Action”

Relying solely on market-based or regulatory approaches to deal with the climate crisis won't be enough to deal with the changes we are experiencing in the Anthropocene. What more can we do? This presentation highlights what we have learned about successful natural resources management and how those lessons apply to our collective future.