Academic Achievement

Professor and student

Seattle Pacific Seminary recommended for accreditation

Following a multiyear effort, all of Seattle Pacific Seminary’s graduate degree programs were approved for accreditation by the Association of Theological Schools. The committee noted “distinctive strengths” of the program including “theology faculty that are highly productive, intentionally student-centered, and ecclesially connected, modeling the school’s tripartite focus on the academy, the abbey, and the apostolate.”

SPU to launch new Film Studies, Urban Studies, and Asian Studies majors in Autumn Quarter 2016; more new majors on the way

Beginning this fall, the new Film Studies major will begin to graduate students who are knowledgeable in film history, writing, aesthetics, and theory, with basic exposure to production processes and practices. SPU has also added new academic programs in Asian Studies (a major and a minor), Urban Studies (a major and a minor), Theatre (a major and a minor in Costume Design and Production), History (a new Museum Studies major concentration), and Philosophy (a new Technical major concentration).

Yellow Ribbon program supports student veterans

The Yellow Ribbon program provides undergraduates up to
$16,000 per year for tuition — $8,000 from SPU and $8,000 in Veterans Affairs funds. It applies if someone is discharged from the military and qualifies for Chapter 33 with 100-percent entitlement. All SPU-funded sources of gift assistance (such as merit scholarships) awarded to each eligible undergraduate recipient count toward meeting the University’s Yellow Ribbon program commitment.

Theatre and music performances continue to inspire

The Theatre Department put together several amazing performances this past year, including “The Spitfire Grill: A Musical,” an award-winning production about a new parolee and her adventures at the only eatery in a small, struggling town. Also performed was “Elephant’s Graveyard,” a true tale of the tragic collision of a struggling circus and a town in Tennessee.

Initiative and task force work

Upon receipt of their final reports, the Academic Innovation and Global task force work has now been completed. With the Reconciliation and Vocational reports expected soon, the work of these task forces will continue into 2016–17. An earlier task force has led to the implementation of a new writing program and University colloquia, as well as the revamping of UFDN 1000 and UCOR 2000 courses.

Erickson Research Conference

The Erickson Undergraduate Research Conference, held on May 13, showcased one of the many opportunities faculty provide to work alongside their students in undergraduate research. Student presentations ranged from single quarter classroom-based original research projects to summative multi-year independent research programs and engineering design projects.

Social Venture Plan Competition

With the success of businesses such as Uber and Airbnb, a number of projects at the Tenth Annual Social Venture Plan Competition, held on April 14, focused on the sharing economy. However, several of the winning projects were those which featured products designed specifically for female empowerment or women’s safety. The top project was Afya International chosen as the $3,000 Herbert B. Jones Grand Prize winner by the combined votes of more than 70 judges representing the business, non-profit, academic, and professional community.

School districts invest in teacher leadership, partner with SPU School of Education

A partnership between SPU’s School of Education and several Washington school districts means that teachers can earn their master’s degrees in their school contexts, becoming even more effective day-to-day as they teach. The Master of Education in Teacher Leadership program now accepts applications to MEd in Teacher Leadership cohorts in the Lake Washington School District, Issaquah School District, and Olympic Educational Service District 114, with more locations to come.

Langford focuses on reconciliation in Weter Lecture

During the annual Winifred E. Weter Faculty Award Lecture for Meritorious Scholarship on Tuesday, April 12, Associate Professor of Theology, Discipleship, and Ministry Michael Langford gave a lecture about the concept of reconciliation from a theological perspective, called “Reconciliation as Holistic  Redemptive Transformation.”

Owen Ewald Delivers 2016 C. May Marston Lecture

For the 2016 C. May Marston Lecture on February 9, Owen Ewald, C. May Marston assistant professor of classics, delivered a lecture called “Science Fiction, Fantasy, and the Ancient World.” Focusing on the non-realistic fiction of the Græco- Roman world, Ewald explored the ways in which these works do not count as traditional mythology, but as creative works of individual talents.

Fr. Eduardo Fernandez delivers Palmer Lecture

SPU’s School of Theology and Seattle Pacific Seminary hosted the 39th annual Alfred S. Palmer Lecture on February 11. Fr. Eduardo Fernández spoke on “The Dialogue of Faith and Culture: Why the Arts Remain Essential.” His lecture explored how art continues to not only represent but also shape our understanding of community, revelation, spirituality, conversion, and worship — and how the relationship between art and theology points the way to an integration of spirituality, art, and liturgy, a synthesis we see in sacred images.

Rob Wall and Cara Wall-Scheffler deliver Walls Lecture

The annual Paul T. Walls Lecture in Wesleyan Theology explores the place of spiritual perception in Wesley’s understanding of how one comes to embrace the Christian faith. Robert W. Wall, SPU’s Paul T. Walls professor of Scripture and Wesleyan Studies, and Cara M. Wall-Scheffler, associate professor of biology, gave a May 4 lecture on “The Evolution of God’s New Creation,” in which they explored how the concepts of evolution and biology relate to the Bible and new creation. Randy Maddox, the William Kellon Quick Professor of Wesleyan and Methodist Studies at Duke Divinity School, gave a response. On May 5, Maddox, Wall, and Wall-Scheffler discussed how scientific studies and ideas relate to their theology and Biblical interpretation, and they shared Christian interpretations of evolution, human origins, and the problem of natural evil.

Futures in Music lectures continue

Funded by SPU’s Spiritual and Education Resources for Vocational Exploration (SERVE) Program and organized by SPU’s Music Department, Futures in Music lectures connect students with top Seattle artists in everything from radio to recording to rhapsody. Speakers in the music industry, worship arts, performance skills, and leadership discuss their career experiences, answer student questions, and occasionally perform. Assistant Professor of Music Brian Chin and the Music Department’s lecture series were mentioned in an article on February 4 in NewMusicBox, a multimedia publication from New Music USA dedicated to the music of American composers and improvisers and their champions.

Faculty books

  • The Accidental Executive: Lessons in Business, Faith, and Calling from the Life of Joseph (Hendrickson Publishers, 2015), by Al Erisman, executive in residence
  • The Confessions of X (Thomas Nelson, 2016), a novel by Suzanne M. Wolfe, instructor in English and writer-in-residence
  • Family Psychology: Theory, Research, and Practice (Praeger, 2015), by John Thoburn, professor of clinical psychology
  • Quantifying the Qualitative: Information Theory for Comparative Case Analysis (SAGE, 2016), by Katya Drozdova, associate professor of political science
  • River Song: Naxiyamtáma (Snake River-Palouse). Oral Traditions from Mary Jim, Andrew George, Gordon Fisher, and Emily Peone (Washington State University Press, 2015), co-edited by Richard Scheuerman, associate professor of curriculum and instruction
  • Roadmap to Reconciliation: Moving Communities into Unity, Wholeness and Justice (IVP Books, 2016), by Brenda Salter McNeil, associate professor of reconciliation studies
  • Why the Church? (Abingdon Press, 2015), by Robert W. Wall, Paul T. Walls professor of Scripture and Wesleyan studies
  • A World From Dust: How the Periodic Table Shaped Life (Oxford University Press, 2016), by Ben McFarland, professor of biochemistry
  • Worship Outside the Music Box: Theology of Music and Worship and Multi-Ethnic Ministry (Redemption Press, 2015), by Stephen Michael Newby, associate professor of music