Academic Rigor

SPU's entrepreneurial student team Safa Himal placed first in the Social Venture Plan 2020.

Social venture competition goes online

The School of Business, Government, and Economics converted the 14th annual Social Venture Plan Competition to a virtual format in April. Student teams developed solutions to real-world problems, while pitching their ideas through documents, slide decks, videos, and live video conferences. A four-student team, Safa Himal, was the $5,000 winner of the Herbert B. Jones Grand Prize. The team proposed producing and selling portable toilets, capable of dehydrating human waste, to climbers and tour groups as an effective way to “pack in, pack out” while climbing Everest, protecting Nepalese water sources. A record-breaking 1,300 people viewed the competition site and voted for their favorite project.

Honors program curriculum revised

Newly revamped for Autumn Quarter 2020, the SPU’s Honors Program now includes a service requirement for students, a more diverse and interdisciplinary curriculum, and increased flexibility, with courses offered in multiple sections and at different times of the year. The changes are primarily designed to address equity and access, and to accommodate transfer students. Changes in the program over the last eight years have resulted in a steady increase of historically underrepresented racial and ethnic minority students participating.

Record Martinez Fellowship applicants

The School of Education had the highest-ever number of applicants for the Martinez Fellowship for Teachers of Color, a program of the Technology Access Foundation. The program focuses on recruitment and retention of teachers of color in public schools, educators who often feel isolated and invisible. SPU has long partnered in this program, and had six fellows this year, compared to an average of two to four. An increased level of donor support to the Martinez Fellows program will allow for a record 13 fellows to join the program in the 2020–21 academic year.

Business school’s accreditation renewed

SPU’s School of Business, Government, and Economics was accredited for another five years by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Such accreditation is known worldwide as the most recognized form of specialized/professional accreditation an institution and its business programs can earn. SPU’s program is among the 5% of business schools in the world and 30% of business schools in North America that are AACSB accredited.

Innovative career services offered

The Center for Career and Calling launched four new one-credit online career courses to help students more easily access skill-building resources for careers and graduate schools, apply to internships, and develop a clear sense of vocational calling. In June, in partnership with Alumni, Parent, and Family Relations, the “Help a Falcon Fly” program began connecting students with professionals in the SPU community for informational and mock interviews, short-term projects, job openings, and internships.

Educational inequities workshop

Through a partnership with SPU’s School of Education and John Perkins Center, Lincoln High School administrator Kianee Lee led an “Addressing Inequities in Education” workshop last October for 51 attendees focused on culturally responsive teaching. Two community partners, Urban Impact Emerald City Commons and Rainier Beach High School WA-BLOC, joined SPU students for the workshop.