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Role Reversal: Faculty Become Students


SPU classroom

Every Thursday during winter quarter, a group of eager learners gathers to hear lectures, discuss texts, turn in assignments, and share thoughts about what they are learning. These aren't freshman students, however; these are Seattle Pacific University's newest faculty members. They are enrolled in the University's "New Faculty Seminar."


Seattle Pacific  is known for its outstanding academic quality, which is due in large part to the stellar faculty members who teach here. The aim of the New Faculty Seminar is to support faculty members as they acclimate to the University. It helps them understand what it means to teach at a school that is historically orthodox, clearly evangelical, genuinely ecumenical, and informed by the Wesleyan tradition. New faculty members explore their Christian faith in light of SPU's unique mission, and learn ways to integrate faith into their classrooms and scholarly pursuits.


"There are two components to this seminar," says Director for the Center for Scholarship and Faculty Development Margaret Diddams. "We want faculty to understand who we are at Seattle Pacific, and then we want them to understand what that means for their teaching and scholarship."


Seminar topics range from "Free Will and Vocation" to "Faith in the Classroom: Teaching to the Whole Person." Each week there is ample time for dialog. "This is so valuable," says Assistant Professor of Business Ethics Bruce Baker. "We are being given a chance to reflect on why we chose SPU. This is not just a job, it's something with deep significance — it's a calling."


Director Diddams agrees that the opportunity for reflection is one thing that makes the seminar so valuable. "Our faculty members have such a heart for students," says Diddams. "They feel called to teach at Seattle Pacific, and I get to help them explore how special this place is. It's a blessing to be here."

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