Les and Leslie Parrott

The state of Oklahoma is battling one of the highest divorce rates in the country. Governor Frank Keating recently announced the nation's first-ever statewide marriage initiative to reverse the trend, backed by $10 million in government funds. To give the initiative the credibility, visibility and expertise needed to succeed, Keating has recruited Les and Leslie Parrott from Seattle Pacific University to be the project's scholars-in-residence.

Keating's aide met the Parrotts at a conference of marriage experts last year in Washington, D.C. Authors of articles, video training seminars and best-selling books on building lasting relationships, the Parrotts have taken a 12-month academic leave from teaching and directing the renowned Center for Relationship Development (CRD) on the SPU campus.

"This is not an experimental thing, but a very unusual opportunity to make a difference on a broad scale," says Les Parrott, Seattle Pacific professor of psychology. He and his wife, Leslie, a marriage and family therapist, co-direct the CRD. "Forty-nine other states will be watching what happens in Oklahoma. And what they'll be watching is the application of programs that have come right out of the CRD within SPU's newly formed School of Psychology, Family and Community."

The Parrotts will have broad input into the Oklahoma initiative that includes shaping and conducting marriage education in universities throughout the state; training service providers and pastors in the latest strategies for marriage preparation; implementing a plan to cover the state with a network of marriage mentors; serving as program spokespersons for national and international media; and writing a regular relationships column for both of Oklahoma's major daily newspapers.

"Our goal is to establish a self-sustaining program that is easily replicated in other states," Les Parrott says.


Seattle Pacific University's Office of University Communications received four awards at the recent Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District VIII Conference in Seattle. Among the honors was a Gold Award for Response in the "Periodicals/Tabloids" category. This was the eighth time in 10 years that Response has received a Gold or Grand Gold Award from CASE District VIII.

University Communications also received a Grand Gold award in the "Promotional Writing" category for the SPU Viewbook; a Gold Award in the "Web Site Coordination" category for the SPU Web Site; and a Silver Award in the "Viewbooks and Prospectus" category for the SPU Viewbook. A Silver Award in the "Student Handbooks" category went to the Seattle Pacific Office of University Services for the Campus Living handbook.

CASE is an international association of education advancement officers, including alumni administrators, fund-raisers, public relations managers, publications editors and government relations officers. CASE District VIII includes the U.S. states of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington, as well as seven provinces in Northern Canada.


Russ Oliver works full-time in customer service for a private high-tech firm. His goal is to achieve the professional certification required to move to the network engineering side of the company. But complicating matters has been his weekend duty as an active Naval Reservist. Most of the available certification programs include frequent weekend classes.

Most, that is, except for the Microsoft Certification Systems Engineer (MCSE) 2000 program offered through the Center for Professional Development (CPD) at Seattle Pacific University. Other than an occasional Saturday that Oliver has been able to work around, all classes are held two evenings per week, three hours each.

"It's very convenient for my schedule," he says. "This high-profile certification will help me tremendously to move from what I do to what I want to do. And as an added bonus, I receive graduate academic credits."

CPD, which offers the specialized Microsoft certification program both online and on campus, is aiding a growing number of professionals in the community to meet market demand for high-end training. In addition to MCSE training, other certifications provided by CPD include Comp TIA Network Plus, Human Resources, Human Performance Improvement (HPI) and Computer Animation.

Frank DiGirolamo works in human resources at the corporate offices of Starbucks Coffee. He says his HPI certification class at Seattle Pacific brings him into valuable contact with "some of the best professionals in specialty retail, heavy manufacturing and high-tech."

"Our goal is to provide professional education to meet the specific needs of individuals and organizations in the community," says George Myers, CPD director of continuing education. For more information, call the CPD office at 206/281-2604, or click to visit the CPD website.

Marcia Butchart

For the second time in three years, an English major at Seattle Pacific University has taken first place in the annual Student Writing Contest sponsored by the Conference of Christianity and Literature. Senior Marcia Butchart entered her research paper on Herman Melville's antihero, Bartleby the Scrivener, and won the nonfiction category. In 1998, Sara Mike '99 won in the same category.

"Faculty members single out particularly good papers and encourage students to enter competitions," explains Associate Professor Mark Walhout, chair of the English Department. He saw potential in Butchart's paper, which explored Bartleby, a mysterious copyist who infuriatingly intones "I prefer not to" at every request. Returning the paper to its writer, Walhout urged her to enter the competition.

But winning the competition and $100 of books from William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. wasn't Butchart's favorite award. "For me the real prize is my involvement with the English Department at SPU," says the 53-year-old former missionary. "Everyone here is like a jewel in my life, and my life has been so incredibly enriched. That far outweighs any other prize I got."

Bill Woodward

The Pacific Northwest Historians Guild has bestowed its Lifetime Achievement Award on Bill Woodward, professor of history at Seattle Pacific University since 1974. The honor is reserved for historians who have left an indelible mark on the preservation of the region's past.

Woodward's contribution comes through a breadth of original research, writing, public speaking, consulting school districts, and teaching future teachers of Northwest history. "This is a wonderful honor for Dr. Woodward and the University," says Provost Bruce Murphy. "It celebrates Bill's passion for history, his wide knowledge of the Northwest, and his longstanding commitment to serve the community."

In addition to the Lifetime Achievement Award, Woodward has received other recent recognitions. The Washington State Historical Society gave him the John McClelland Jr. Award for the best article published in 1999 in Columbia Magazine, the official magazine of the Society. And the Museum of History and Industry (MOHI), which plans to open its new museum of metropolitan Seattle History in December 2004, has named Woodward one of two principal historians for the new facility.

Finally, Woodward has been invited to become a member of the World War II Oral History Advisory Committee by the World War II Memorial Educational Foundation and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction in Washington state. The oral history project, created by a Washington state legislative statute, will collect and assemble oral histories and develop curriculum for the state's K-12 students to ensure that the memories of World War II veterans and home front supporters are not lost.

Ian Stewart

Ian Stewart describes teaching at the University of Auckland in his native New Zealand as very British and very limited. "I never asked my students what they thought. I was trained in the old school teaching model -- give a lecture and walk out."

Times have changed for Stewart, now a professor of accounting at Seattle Pacific University. As chair of the Faculty Development Committee in the School of Business and Economics (SBE), he is a champion of cooperation between professors and students to enhance learning. "This is a different approach in which we ask students, 'What were the most important lessons learned?' and 'What questions do you still have?'" says Stewart.

Because of his dedication to faculty development and student learning, this past academic year his SBE peers named him to a three-year term as the Joseph C. Hope Professor of Leadership and Ethics. Hope was one of the founders and primary boosters of the School, and its first dean.

Associate Professor of Economics Lisa Surdyk says Stewart provides strong leadership. "Part of what he's done is plan and organize workshops that deal with teaching, scholarship and faith integration," Surdyk says. "He brought incredible determination and hard work to this."

SBE Dean Alec Hill adds that Stewart is known for his integrity, work ethic and zeal for the University's mission. "I call him our faculty development guru. He's the one we turn to for advice and coaching in pedagogy. And students love him."


What's the largest fresh water lake located in Africa? (Answer: Lake Tanganyika).

This was only one of many questions correctly answered by Seattle Pacific University's trivia team, otherwise known as the Masters of Minutiae, in the sixth annual Washington Literacy Trivia Bee on May 4. It was the first time the University sponsored a team for the Bee, which helps support volunteer-based literacy efforts throughout the state.

Team members were Doug Downing, associate professor of economics; Tim Surdyk, budget and information systems manager in the Provost's Office (and former contestant on TV's Jeopardy); and Linda Lambert, library specialist for the humanities and the arts.

Wearing blue SPU sweatshirts, and escorted on stage by the Falcon mascot, the trivia trio made a strong debut at the Bee, coming in fourth out of a field of 30 teams. They even beat out former champs Mensa, an organization for certified geniuses. Next year promises a run for the trivia trophy.

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