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Common Day of Learning Promotes Scholarship

by University Relations

Faculty, staff, and students gathered to share their academic discoveries at the 21st Annual William E. and Ernest L. Boyer Common Day of Learning (CDL), a multidisciplinary conference promoting scholarship and learning. The university suspended all regular activities and classes for the day, allowing the entire community to participate in this time-honored tradition.

Held on March 6, CDL featured 111 individual, group, discussion, and poster sessions by 266 presenters from nearly every university department, centered around the theme “Give Me an Understanding Heart” and 1 Kings 3:12. “This year’s theme defined education as instilling understanding among students,” said HeeKap Lee, Ph.D., director 
of CDL and associate professor in the Department of Teacher Education. “We gain understanding by reviewing general principles, questioning assumptions, and thinking deeply. At CDL, students and faculty did just that in a campus-wide pursuit of understanding.”

Keynote speaker Albert Wolters, Ph.D., offered insights from the book of Job in his lecture, “Where Can Wisdom Be Found?” (Job 28:28). Wolters, professor of religion, theology, and classical studies at Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario, Canada, has published extensively in the area of biblical studies. A recognized authority on the Christian worldview, he also penned the influential book Creation Regained. In his keynote address, he analyzed the heated conversations between the suffering Job and his friends, revealing that people often
find divine wisdom not in explanations, but in truly understanding one another.

After more than two decades of celebration at APU, CDL continues
 to grow. “This year, CDL featured a greater number of presenters and a wider range of disciplines, fostering further collaboration between different fields,” said Lee. “Most of this year’s sessions featured faculty and students from different departments working together on collaborative research. Also, for the first time, APU’s Inland Empire Regional Center hosted its own CDL on March 7.”

Audiences chose from captivating sessions throughout the day that encouraged awareness and understanding of important academic and societal issues. Jessica Cannaday, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Teacher Education, shared her findings from five years of research on the social and emotional needs of gifted students, those with naturally heightened intellectual or creative capacities. “Gifted students develop cognitively 
at a faster pace, but asynchronous social and emotional development may lead to awkward social interaction, which can cause bullying, mistreatment, and peer isolation,” said Cannaday. “CDL brought us together in learning about this important issue and seeking to understand an often-misconstrued student population.”

Students also took advantage of this valuable opportunity to share important academic findings with faculty and peers. In “Celebrating Excellence in Undergraduate Research: Winning Entries from the Fifth Annual Honors Paper Competition,” Christy Ailman ’14, a math and philosophy double major and Honors student, presented her winning paper, “Philosophy of Math: The Beginnings of Mathematical Deduction by Induction.”

“Common Day of Learning offered a rare opportunity to speak on a subject that fascinates me with professors and other students, extending learning past the classroom and across different disciplines,” said Ailman.

Originally published in the Summer '13 issue of APU Life. Download the full issue (PDF).