Laura I. Rendón, professor emerita at the University of Texas-San Antonio, will be the featured speaker April 5 at Wartburg College’s annual Michaelson, Briner & Kildahl Literary Symposium.


Rendón’s virtual presentation, “Allegory of an Academic Immigrant: Crossing Borders to Find Authentic Presence in Higher Education,” will begin at 11:30 a.m. The community can access the event on Zoom at  

“I have a unique story about how a Mexican American low-income, first-generation student who grew up in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands achieved success in higher education,” Rendón said.

Using art and poetry, as well as employing Gloria E. Anzaldúa’s theory of conocimiento/critical awareness, Rendón will chart her personal and academic development navigating geographical, social, cultural and academic borders. She also will review what she perceives to be newly emerging challenges as higher education and our society grapple with individual and collective trauma and the need for a post-pandemic, justice- and equity-based vision of education. 

Rendón is a passionate advocate for students who face the same barriers to education that she did. She also is a teaching and learning thought leader who has published extensively on finding success for underserved student populations. Among her most notable works is “Sentipensante Pedagogy: Educating for Wholeness, Social Justice and Liberation.”

“Dr. Rendón’s sentipensante pedagogy is well established in the field of education and inclusive pedagogy, and her academic journey and approach to supporting students are greatly influenced by literature and the arts,” said Zak Montgomery, Wartburg’s Harry and Polly Slife Professor in Humanities. “We are excited to learn from her experience and engage the whole community in conversations about how studying the humanities, in particular literature, carries with it the potential to transform lives and foment needed change in our world.”

The Michaelson, Briner & Kildahl Literary Symposium is presented by the Slife Professorship in Humanities with generous support from Steve and Jane Noah and other donors to the MBK Endowment.

The symposium was created through a leadership gift commitment from the Noah and Dale and Judy Goeke in support of an annual event that would bring an author, poet or other literary figure to campus to engage students, faculty, staff and the broader community in activities to stimulate critical thought. It celebrates the legacy of former Wartburg English professors Sam Michaelson (1966-92), K.D. Briner (1966-76) and Phillip Kildahl (1961-77 and 1980-82).


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