Consultants Give SPU High Marks,
Say, “Get Ready for More Students”
A TEAM OF THREE visiting science faculty members recently
toured Seattle Pacific University’s science facilities. The visitors
came from national universities known for their strong undergraduate
research programs. In a review following the tour, the team gave a
“thumbs-up” to SPU’s plans for an expanded science program, with a
new 63,000-square-foot science building as its centerpiece.
The Murdock Charitable Trust, a major donor to undergraduate research
programs in various Northwest universities, sponsored the visit by
the three scientists.
Says Professor of Biology Bruce Congdon, “We’ve been in conversations
with Murdock about the possibility of them supporting our science
program through donations. The visit gave us an idea of where our
science program is now and what it needs to thrive.”
Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Joyce Erickson was with President
Philip Eaton and others for the consultants’ exit review. “First,”
says Erickson, “one team member told us we had a very exciting faculty.
He said his university would be happy to have any one of our faculty
The new science building also impressed the team. According to Erickson,
the scientists told SPU, “With a science facility like the one you’re
building, expect increased enrollment.”
In particular, the consultants gave Seattle Pacific credit for designating
so much space for undergraduate research. Says Congdon, “Our plan
to incorporate more undergraduate research into the curriculum is
in concert with what’s happening across the country now. Science majors
will be expected to do more research, and professors will be expected
to mentor the students.”
In recent years, SPU biology students have conducted original research
in such diverse areas as the incidence of HIV in Haiti and the effect
of calcium ions in nerve cells. Chemistry students are involved in
research, as well. “The value of undergraduate research is that before
they graduate, students get to apply what they learn,” says Congdon.
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