2014–15 Undergraduate Catalog
ENGAGING THE CULTURE, CHANGING THE WORLD
Located just minutes from downtown Seattle, the leading urban center in the Pacific Northwest, SPU is committed to engaging and serving in the modern city, cultivating a global consciousness, supporting the church, and addressing the crisis of meaning in our culture. These, we believe, will be some of the Christian university's most important contributions in this century.
We seek to graduate people of competence and character. At SPU, each student is profoundly important. We focus our curriculum and resources on shaping graduates who will be effective and positive change agents in the world. This means that we work to prepare individuals who understand their own giftedness, who are both liberally educated and skilled in their chosen field, who exhibit honesty and integrity, and who value serving others.
We seek to become people of wisdom. As a university, SPU believes that one vital means of transforming lives is through ideas: ideas that matter; ideas that can bring light and understanding where there is darkness and confusion; and ideas that lead to wisdom. We support our faculty in the pursuit of this kind of scholarship, and we educate our students to become thinking Christians who are able to speak clearly and intelligently about their convictions.
We seek to model a grace-filled community. As we serve our students and commit ourselves to the life of the mind, we believe our best work is done in community. In our life together at Seattle Pacific, we strive to treat each other and all people with respect, kindness, and care. Recognizing and respecting differences among individuals, our goal is to become examples of grace, forgiveness, and civility in a culture that is too often polarized and contentious. [Back to top]
Guiding the work of Seattle Pacific University are these goals:
Our mission at Seattle Pacific University is to engage the culture and change the world, through competence, character, wisdom, and community. We believe our faith in Jesus Christ is the informing and sustaining power through which we fulfill this distinctive calling.
Our position of faith within the Christian church is shaped in four ways:
1. We Are Historically Orthodox. We affirm the historic Christian faith, as attested in the divinely inspired and authoritative Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, and as summarized, for example, in the Apostles' Creed and Nicene Creed. We affirm that God is triune, and that the three divine Persons the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are co-equal, co-essential, and co-eternal.
We affirm that by the grace and power of God, the universe was brought into being, is continually sustained and governed, and will ultimately be brought to its promised consummation. We affirm, further, that we human beings are created by God in God's own image to be stewards of creation, and that we are called to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love others as ourselves. In these divinely appointed tasks we have failed, so that we are now subject to judgment and death.
Yet we rejoice that God's grace is available to us through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; and that through faith in Christ we are delivered from sin and death and empowered by the Holy Spirit for lives of joyful obedience to the Father. Finally, we respond to the Spirit's call to participate in Christ's body, the Church; to embrace Christ's mission to the world; and to live in the hope and assurance that Christ's return will bring to completion God's saving work.
2. We Are Clearly Evangelical. We stand within the broad evangelical tradition of Christianity and, as such, we joyfully accept the task of proclaiming the evangel God's good news to the world.
We understand this to mean that Jesus Christ is the Lord and Savior of the world and that he alone can liberate broken and fallen human beings from sin and death. We lift high the authority of Holy Scripture as divinely inspired, embraced by the Church as central to our understanding and witness. We affirm that the Holy Spirit works in human hearts to kindle faith in Jesus Christ, to restore people to a right relationship with God and each other, and to begin transforming people into the likeness of Christ.
And we believe the gospel promise that light, health, wholeness, and peace are abundantly available to everyone who asks. Yet we also believe that we are called to practice what we preach: First, by cultivating vital Christian piety; and second, by engaging the surrounding culture through public testimony and loving service.
3. We Are Distinctively Wesleyan. Standing within the Wesleyan holiness branch of historic and evangelical Christianity, and recognizing the Free Methodist Church as our founding denomination, Seattle Pacific University is informed by the theological legacy of John Wesley and Charles Wesley. We share their conviction that God's saving purpose is the renewal of human hearts and lives in true holiness through the transforming work of the Holy Spirit.
We are shaped by their emphasis on the importance of the human response to the Spirit's renewing work, including the vital role of the spiritual disciplines and practices such as prayer, meditation, worship, Scripture study, charitable giving, public witness to Christ's saving love, and service to those in need all of which serve as means of God's grace. Above all, we embrace the Wesleys' hope that God's transforming love is offered to all persons, addresses all areas of life, and will not rest content until it has redeemed the whole creation.
4. We Are Genuinely Ecumenical. As heirs of John Wesley's catholic-spirited Christianity, we seek to gather persons from many theological and ecclesial traditions who have experienced the transforming power of Jesus Christ. We believe that theological diversity, when grounded in historic orthodoxy and a common and vital faith in Christ, enriches learning and bears witness to our Lord's call for unity within the church.
We are also well aware of other dividing walls that separate people from one another, walls that Christ desires to break down walls of gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, language, and class. We believe that Christ calls us to value diversity and to seek ways for all persons in our University community to grow in their individual giftedness and to contribute in meaningful ways to our common life and work. Thus, in all of our diversity, we are centered in Christ, and called by him to shape, model, and participate together in grace-filled community.
Therefore, we commit ourselves to this faith, and to these shaping influences that define our community of faith, and we pledge ourselves, with humility and conviction, to live as best we know how in loving relationship with Jesus Christ and in faithful service to others. This we believe to be the defining center of our lives and the guiding aspiration of our life in community at Seattle Pacific University.
We are committed to learning for cultural engagement. We seek to rigorously investigate the critical issues of our time and to offer thoughtful and Christian insight to these issues. We believe these issues can be investigated through a variety of academic disciplines; however, they cannot be fully understood through only one discipline. Therefore we are committed to interdisciplinary learning learning that explores these critical issues through several disciplinary lenses in order to come to a clear view of the issue.
We are a learning community and all that we do is intended to support learning. Therefore our work with student life, residence life, student leadership, university ministries, athletics, lectures, and symposia are all intended to contribute to learning along with the curriculum.
An Integrated Curriculum
Research indicates that students do not see the connections between general education, majors, and their future. Through a three-part curriculum, we seek to integrate general education with the major in ways that help students make the connections.
We begin with a commitment to a very distinctive Christian Common Curriculum. In the first quarter of their freshman year, SPU students are enrolled in University Seminar, an intensive exploration of a special interdisciplinary topic. Twenty to 25 students enroll in each course to form a cohort and attend other freshman classes in the Common Curriculum together. Their University Seminar professor serves as their first-year academic advisor. The relationship between students in the cohort and their professor are intentional and support our belief that the best learning occurs within a relational context.
In their freshman, sophomore, and junior years at Seattle Pacific, students participate in two parallel sequences of required courses. Cumulative and developmental in nature, these classes are designed to support and enhance students' learning in the majors.
The University Core sequence explores key human questions in three classes:
The University Foundations sequence looks at the basics of faith in Christian Formation; Christian Scriptures; and Christian Theology. A senior capstone course in the student's major adds application and personal calling to the picture.
Model Grace-Filled Community
OUR CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY
Programs contribute to our vision to be a grace-filled community that nurtures people of competence and character, cultivates the scholarship of wisdom, and equips people to engage our culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ. For more information regarding the theology and programs, see SPU's University Ministries (OUM) and The John Perkins Center for Reconciliation, Leadership Training, and Community Development (JPC).
The John Perkins Center, and University Ministries provide learning opportunities for the campus community through Faith/Learning Forums. Forums are special events regularly offered by these departments addressing various contemporary topics from the perspective of the Christian faith. These often follow a debate or panel format with time for questions and answers.
We also assist in the planning of all-campus convocations, a rich and vibrant tradition at Seattle Pacific University. Beginning with Opening Convocation at the start of the academic year and extending to Graduation in the spring, these events provide an opportunity to celebrate together as a community and to reflect together through the seasons of the academic year. Both OUM and JPC offer a variety of programs designed to engage the SPU community in a holistic lifestyle of worship, discipleship, and service.
Gathering in Worship
Living as people who are reconciled to God and others means stepping outside of ourselves and engaging with the lives and stories of our neighbors. University Ministries facilitates the formation of deeper personal relationships by supporting these small groups on campus:
Relinquish Prayer Ministry
THE JOHN PERKINS CENTER FOR RECONCILIATION, LEADERSHIP TRAINING, AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
Christian Community Development
The John Perkins Center at SPU allows students to learn through partnership with local leaders engaged in community-transforming work in Seattle and across the globe. Receiving training, exposure to effective models, and volunteer support, students provide needed service while building cross-cultural skills and awareness.
Local Community Service
Latreia coordinates quarterly service projects for students seeking to explore a variety of service opportunities. Additionally, an online volunteer database lists a wide range of local community service needs.
Global Community Service
Seattle Pacific Reachout International (SPRINT) exists to cultivate lives that are awakened to and transformed by God’s purpose and passion for a broken world. From the outset, student involvement has been pivotal in launching the missionary movement in North America. SPRINT wants to continue this legacy of raising students at SPU who will light the fire of a new generation, eager and enthusiastic about God’s purpose and plan for the world. That’s why we offer SPU community unique global learning and service opportunities to challenge you to ask big enough questions:
In trips ranging from two to six weeks to cities and villages around the globe, students will step out of their comfort zone, experience and encounter God, learn from the faith and example of others, and engage in models of reconciliation and community development that demonstrate the wholeness of the Gospel. The trips are designed to help participants discover and develop the following: