Shareholders June 2018

From the Dean

Ross Stewart

Have you ever bought a used car with a 100,000 mile warranty? At Flow Companies, Inc., such a warranty is standard. You don’t have to haggle over your price, and all dealership information is available to the public.

If everyone did business this way — to the advantage of all parties — more people would flourish as God desires.

We told the story of Flow Companies in Driving Trust, a film produced by Seattle Pacific University for our first MOOC (massive open online course) called Faith & Co.: Business on Purpose.

In the School of Business, Government, and Economics, we’re no strangers to combining faith and business. Our faculty members have researched, written, and taught on the subject for over 20 years. So it’s only natural that our first MOOC affirms business’ role as a conduit of God’s grace in the world. The course includes 13 videos highlighting business leaders who glorify God with their work, and excellent course instruction by Dr. Kenman Wong.

If you want to be challenged and affirmed in your vocation, I hope you sign up for our next course in late September!

Warm Regards,
Ross Stewart, dean
School of Business, Government, and Economics

Films, Free Course Inspire Viewers to See Business as a Calling

For months, Professor Kenman Wong watched the 13 short films being made for SPU’s first official MOOC (massive open online course) on his laptop. So he was happy to see the films on a 40-foot screen instead for their premiere in Austin, Texas. While a large, outdoor theatre may seem like a strange venue to premiere educational videos, the Faith & Co. films are not your typical course videos.
“We purposely made them evocative, so people can lean in and watch them,” says Dr. Wong, who produced the films and is the instructor of the online course, Faith & Co.: Business on Purpose. “These are stories, not anecdotes.”

The films anchor the eight-week course, and follow many business leaders who live out their faith through their vocation. Course participants may be surprised to learn the Christian values behind the Apple Store, a car dealership franchise, and other companies. The subjects talk about reimagining and redeeming the marketplace, while also divulging stories of attempted suicide, financial failure, and incarceration.

“Most have been touched by hardship, and almost everyone cried at some point during the filming,” Dr. Wong says.

The idea for the MOOC started with a generous donation from Eric and Keri Stumberg, the owners of Tengo Internet in Austin, Texas. Eric was changed by the idea of vocational theology in his 40s and got connected to SPU through Provost Jeff Van Duzer’s book, Why Business Matters to God.

“We want people to realize that their work can matter to God and for eternity,” Dr. Wong says. “A lot of Christian business people have felt like they were disappointing a spiritual mentor by choosing business over ministry.”

Faith & Co. premiere

The films were made in partnership with Untamed, a Seattle-based film production company comprised of USC film school graduate John Harrison and Sean Dimond, a filmmaker with a background in international advocacy work. The filming took place in locations across the United States, including Austin, Chicago, Nashville, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. — as well as in Ethiopia, Mexico, and Vietnam.

Dr. Wong says the subjects, who allowed the four-person film crew to follow them for up to three days, were incredibly humble and gracious. Many carried the crew’s heavy equipment bags to and from the rental van. “It was pretty amazing,” Wong says. “These are servant leaders who see their work as an expression of service to the community.”

SPU launched the first course this April with 150 participants from all over the world. The University expects closer to 1,000 students for the next course at the end of September. Watch the films yourself, and be sure to sign up for the course this autumn.

Faith & Co.: Innovative Pedagogy on Purpose

By Rolin Moe, Director of SPU’s Institute for Academic Innovation

Rolin Moe

Most online courses present information in a “one-size-fits-all” manner. Universities post textbooks online, record lectures, and embed quizzes. But I’ve yet to see anything as innovative as Seattle Pacific University’s Faith & Co.: Business on Purpose course.

The course created its learning content as a series of 13 short documentary films about different people with different careers, ambitions, and life experiences. Each story is a learning artifact on its own, but when put together a greater understanding of the course objectives emerges.

In filmmaking this is called the “spoke and wheel” approach, where instead of a linear plot the audience follows multiple unique stories that unfold within one general environment. The stories allow for personal reflection and shared experience. In our course, we understand each member of our learning environment comes from a different background, but has shared elements of their calling. The films anchor the course, and so learners reflect on common understandings and receive the necessary knowledge for success. The course instructor, Dr. Kenman Wong, uses his expertise to facilitate rather than lecture, providing information at key times in order to solidify understanding and preemptively uncover knowledge gaps.

The result is a rich tapestry of teaching and learning, where participants are informed and inspired. The learners can reflect on their new knowledge, not only in terms of an academic course, but also in their professional careers.

Alumni: Where Are They Now?

Alan Turanski ’99
President of GloryBee and Beekeeper

Alan Turanski

As a student at Seattle Pacific University, Alan Turanski felt unsure of his future calling. Then he took a business ethics class with Professor Kenman Wong. Alan remembers Dr. Wong saying, “If Christians would run their business six days a week in accordance with the Bible, it could change the world.”

“That lit a fire in me,” Alan says. He began to think of his family’s business, GloryBee in Eugene, Oregon, a purveyor of honey, beekeeping supplies, organic foods, and other natural products.

“I started to see GloryBee as something that had this potential to be significant for God’s kingdom,” Alan says. 

Now almost 20 years later, GloryBee is a leader in sustainability and a certified B corporation, and Alan is the company’s president. 

So when Dr. Wong called him last year to ask if he could take a couple of days out of his schedule to be filmed for Faith & Co., Alan naturally said yes.

“Western culture has trained us as Christian business people to focus on brick and mortar success, versus defining success wholistically,” Alan says. “Hopefully the films will springboard conversations about faith and business.”

Kristi Drake ’83
Chair of Executive Advisory Board

Kristi Drake

Kristi Drake, co-owner of Le Panier Bakery in Pike Place Market, has recently been appointed as chair of the Executive Advisory Board (EAB).“I believe education is vital for our society,” she says. “The EAB helps students determine their own strengths, gain knowledge, and seek their passions.  I am grateful for whatever part I can play in contributing to their lives and the life of our community.”

Two early standout characteristics of her leadership are building out the board with a keen eye toward diversity, and more fully engaging board members with faculty and students in a number of practical ways.

Tim Hanstad ’85
Social Entrepreneur in Residence

Tim Hanstad

Tim Hanstad served as SBGE’s Social Entrepreneur in Residence for Spring Quarter.  He taught Business and Global Poverty and mentored students.  Tim is co-founder and senior advisor of Landesa, a Seattle-based nonprofit that works in more than 50 countries to secure land rights for the world’s most impoverished. With a particular focus on women, Landesa has helped more than 115 million families gain land rights.

SBGE Fulbrighter Headed to Jordan

Abigail Jensen

When you look at senior Abigail Jensen’s credentials, it is no surprise she was chosen for a Fulbright award as an English teaching assistant in Amman, Jordan. Abigail, a Global Development and Linguistics double major, speaks five languages (including Tagalog and Urdu), lived in China for 13 years, and has volunteered both in China and Seattle with refugees from many different countries. Last year, she spent a summer in Jordan as an intern for The Life Center, where she taught English, translated between English, Chinese, and Arabic, and fell in love with the country.

“As I was about to leave for my internship, Professor Brad Murg basically told me that I was going to apply,” she says. “But he assured me that he would read over my essays and that the long application process would be worth it. Without him, I wouldn’t be here.”

She will be in Jordan from September 2018 to June 2019, and is excited to reconnect with friends, improve her Arabic, and explore more of Jordan’s natural beauty. “I hope that I can be the best possible teacher for my students.”

Abigail is one of three Global Development majors chosen for a Fulbright. Rachel Long will go to Kyrgyzstan, and Rachel Weeks was a finalist and is now an alternate for Laos.

Recent University Events

First Frank Haas Integrity in Business Award Given to Eric and Keri Stumberg

First Frank Haas Integrity in Business Award Given to Eric and Keri Stumberg

Tengo Internet in Austin, Texas has discovered a way to “tithe” office space by renting two offices below market rate to a non-profit and an Anglican rector. The company also pays all employees full benefits and a living wage. “Everything we do is based on our theology,” CEO and founder Eric Stumberg told Made to Flourish in an interview.

That intentional intersection of faith and business is why SPU presented Eric and Keri Stumberg with the first Frank Haas Integrity in Business Award during the Seattle premiere of Faith & Co.: Business on Purpose in Upper Gwinn on April 6, 2018.

“Eric is a role model for Christian business people,” says Gene Kim, executive director of the Center for Integrity in Business.

The Stumbergs were also the principal donors to the Faith & Co. project. The award was named for Frank Haas, a founding member of the CIB and real estate developer in Florida. “Frank was a man of integrity and strong business ethics who integrated his Christian faith and his business,” Kim says. The award will be offered annually.

Farming and Solar Power Hot Topics at Social Venture Plan Competition

Farming and Solar Power Hot Topics at Social Venture Plan Competition

The 12th annual Social Venture Plan Competition (SVPC) was held April 12, 2018 at SPU. The $5,000 grand prize went to Itheno, a team that developed a process to help Indian farmers turn unused rice stubble into bioethanol and fertilizer, instead of burning the leftover rice straw. Farmers would pay a subscription fee to have their rice stubble removed and get bioethanol for household and farm use in return. The fertilizer and excess fuel would be sold for profit.  The Ithenoteam included junior Global Development Studies major Cheyenne Thornton, senior Global Development Studies major Kristina Brennan, and senior Exercise Science and Global Development Studies double-major Naomi Miller.

 The Solairo Project came in second, winning both the $3,000 runner-up award and the $1,000 People’s Choice award. The Solairo Project has developed a low-cost, solar-powered heating and cooling system for use in refugee camps. Team members included senior Economics and Global Development Studies major David McCordic, senior Business Administration major Jeffrey Peterson, and senior Engineering majors Garrett Berkey, Luke George, Natalie Holmstedt, and Daniel Houser.

We were delighted to present the following speakers this spring:

Nancy Lurker ’80, president and CEO of pSivida, March 6
Lurker, a veteran in the biopharmaceutical industry and an alumna of SPU, presented her talk, “Life as a Pharma CEO: The Good, the Bad, and the Amazing.”

Atefeh Riazi, United Nations chief information technology officer, April 25
Riazi talked about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and how data and technology can help advance shared objectives.

Joseph Whinney, founder and former CEO of Theo Chocolate, May 8
Whinney discussed how he founded the first organic and fair-trade chocolate maker in North America.