Shareholders February 2017

Ross Stewart

From the Dean

We are listening!

I am always grateful for feedback from our alums, whose experiences and perspectives help us prepare SBGE students to be real-world contributors. Since the October Alumni Breakfast, we have been hard at work implementing new processes and programs based on your input. Thank you for your ongoing influence at SPU! As you read our news, you will see innovative projects, recent achievements, and opportunities for you to connect with other alums and develop in your profession. I trust that you will be encouraged and invigorated. Please keep the communication flowing — we need you!

Ross Stewart Signature

Ross Stewart, Dean
School of Business, Government, and Economics

New Course Offering Soars

This quarter, SBGE students are flocking to a new class, Climate Change: Economics, Business, and Political Perspectives. Taught by Dr. Reed Davis (Political Science), Dr. Randy Franz (Business), and Professor Jennifer Meredith (Economics), the format is deeply integrated and innovative — and popular, too, as evidenced by the wait list. We sat down with Dr. Davis to learn more.

SBGE: Thank you for taking time to give us a glimpse into this class. How did it come about?

RD: There were a couple of significant motivators. To begin with, Dr. Franz had noticed, many years ago, that some professors were teaming up with other professors and was struck by the potential of such intellectual cross-fertilization. Also, SPU recently initiated a new class emphasis called “Ways of Engaging.” These classes demonstrate curricular innovation that open up new avenues for student involvement concerning policy issues or intellectual ideas, as well as applied engagement outside the normal framework of classroom pedagogy. Then, when Political Science and Global Development Studies joined the School of Business and Economics a couple of years ago, there was a natural opportunity to create a course that would explore topics simultaneously from three different academic perspectives.

SBGE: How are the three professors sharing class time?

RD: Each of us gets a two-week module of three classes per week. For instance, I have this Political Science module for two weeks and then everybody shifts — I get Dr. Franz’s Business class, and Professor Meredith gets my Political Science class. We are also bringing in guest speakers from economics, business, political science, a theologian, and a scientist. Since this model is new, we are a bit anxious to see if we can each communicate the essential elements in only six lectures.

SBGE: This is a first for SBGE?

RD: Yes. Actually, I think this might very well be the first “triple play” at SPU — where you have three completely different departments collaborating on a class. There is precedent for two professors or classes to mesh but I think this is a first attempt to pull together three different disciplines in order to tackle an issue.

SBGE: How does each professor (or discipline) contribute to this discussion?

RD: Basically, we are trying to understand how you assess economic consequences or the economic dimensions of the problem, how you conceive possible solutions and their impact on businesses, and how political leaders and citizens think about these problems. We're offering a course on climate change and not one of us is a climate scientist. Nevertheless, we’re trying to alert students to the fact that there is a host of problems in a democracy that demand expertise, and in the absence of any particular technical knowledge you might have, you are still expected to make responsible decisions. How do you do that? How do you begin to think about a problem that you might not completely understand? We are trying to get students to consider from three different perspectives simultaneously how we can effectively address a massive problem like climate change.

SBGE: I was going to ask you about outcome goals. You just defined one. In addition to that, what are your hopes for student understanding and response, during and following this class?

RD: For me, and I believe I can speak for all three of us, I think that students need to be aware of the concrete decisions they can make in their own communities that can have profound environmental impacts. One of the problems is that when discourse and public discussion reach a certain level of intensity, things begin to become counterproductive because people insist on increasingly dramatic solutions. The trick is to find an approach that motivates the public into action. We have to somehow assume joint responsibility for the problem. I encourage students to think locally, to develop an attachment to their own community, and to be aware of the needs. For example, the Duwamish [River] needs to be cleaned up. There has to be the motivation for each of us to take steps to solve these problems rather than have solutions imposed by a central agency.

SBGE: How are you planning to wrap up at the end and pull all the pieces together?

RD: We hope that our students will do that in a big group discussion and debate. We will be holding a mock congressional hearing on a nationwide carbon tax where students will represent an industry, a political party, or an economist, and then we hope to see that integrated thinking reflected in their papers at the end of the quarter. 

SBGE: What are your hopes for the future of this kind of integrated course?

RD: The three of us are excited about the concept and I think SBGE likes the idea very much, so I feel confident that it will continue.

SBGE: Do you have some ideas for topics for the future?

RD: Yes. Immigration is an idea we have discussed. There are no simple solutions; everything is going to have an array of consequences that you must reckon with in coming up with responsible public policies and solutions.

SBGE: Would you like to add any other comments?

RD: The collaborative dimension for faculty members has been most rewarding. We have already learned quite a bit from one another, and I think that we all have slightly different takes on the problem of climate change, but that certainly has not impeded fruitful cooperation. It’s as interesting and exciting, one faculty member to another, as we hope it is to students.

Distinguished Speaker Luncheon

Glenn Lurie

At the 16th Annual Walls Distinguished Speaker Series Luncheon, SBGE will host alumnus Glenn Lurie, recently appointed president and CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Operations. This signature event will be attended by 250-300 students, faculty, and key constituents.

Glenn Lurie was the featured alum in our November 2015 issue of Shareholders. Glenn has worked in the wireless industry for over two decades and has played a key role in many innovations that have significantly influenced how modern consumers interact with mobile technology. He is known as an outstanding leader in his field and was named one of the top ten “Mobile Game Changers” by Russell Reynolds Associates in 2014.

Sponsorship is provided by the Burton and Ralene Walls Distinguished Speaker Series Endowment. This endowment was established with Seattle Pacific University in 2013 to further the entrepreneurial spirit and knowledge of SPU students. Burton is an alumnus of SPU with a major in business. His uncle, Paul Walls, served SPU as a member of the Board of Trustees for 31 years. Burton’s father, F. Wesley Walls, also served SPU with distinction for 38 years in various positions, including founding director of the School of Business. Burton and Ralene are longtime supporters of SPU. Their hope is that this endowment will assist SPU in its mission of engaging the culture and changing the world.

Dean’s Speaker Series

Sharlyn TurnerSPU alumna Sharlyn Turner, partner with the public accounting firm of Peterson Sullivan, LLP, presented at the Dean's Speaker Series on the importance of being open to new opportunities.

Larry Gossett This Winter Quarter, King County Councilmember Larry Gossett shared his story and discussed the challenges of public policy and administration.

Graduate Program Updates

A new track, Cyber Security, was recently approved for the MS-ISM program. Consisting of four new courses, it will also be available to MBA and MA in Management students:

  • ISM 6332 Information Security Risk Management
  • ISM 6333 Cyber Security and Disaster Response
  • ISM 6334 Cyber Crime Investigation and Digital Forensics
  • ISM 6335 Cyber Security, Business, and Public Policy

We have also received approval for two more courses to round out the Data Analytics track in the MS-ISM programs.

  • ISM 6357 Business Intelligence and Analytics Tools and Programming
  • ISM 6358 Decision-Making with Business Intelligence and Analytics

This previously established MS-ISM track has also been added to the MBA and MA in Management programs as well.  These new offerings position us to be up-to-date in the field and to offer students multiple pathways to engage with these important topics.

Networking for Grad Program Alums

A graduate alum networking group kicked off on February 2. To stay informed about upcoming events or get involved in planning them, contact Tara (Daniels) Burton at or Jimmy Avery at

Professional Development with Stephen M.R. Covey

We are pleased to announce the return of our Lessons in Leadership Speaker Series, offered through SPU's Center for Integrity in Business. The first event is scheduled for April 18, 2017 in Upper Gwinn. Stephen M. R. Covey, leader of Speed of Trust, will present.

Covey will demonstrate that trust is hard, real, and quantifiable. It measurably affects speed and cost. A function of character and competence, trust can be created or destroyed. Trust can also be effectively taught and learned. This session will focus on:

  1. Making the business and economic case for trust
  2. Showing how the ability to generate trust is the critical leadership competency in this new, global economy
  3. Demonstrating how to master the skill of engendering trust — both personally and in your organization

Stephen Covey

“The ability to establish, grow, extend, and restore trust with all stakeholders — customers, business partners, investors, and co-workers — is the key leadership competency of the new, global economy.”

— Stephen M.R. Covey

Advanced registration will be required. For more information and for updates on event registration, visit the Center for Integrity in Business.

SPU Places Second in National Business Competition

SBGE students at Private Business Valuation Challenge

Four SBGE students finished second runner-up in the Private Business Valuation Challenge held at the Buckhead Club in Atlanta, GA, over Veterans Day weekend. Pictured from left to right are team members Bailey Rivas, Zach Dedekind, Allison Galvan, Daniel McConnell, and advisor Randy Beavers, assistant professor of Finance. Competing schools also included Georgia State University, Mississippi College, University of Northern Iowa, University of Southern Indiana, University of Tennessee, and Wharton School (the University of Pennsylvania’s high-reputation business school, which SPU bested in the finals). This national valuation challenge competition, now in its fifth year, was founded by Dr. Herb Kierulff, former SPU professor of Finance, and was previously hosted by Seattle Pacific University. Upon Dr. Kierulff’s retirement in 2015, the competition moved to its new home at Georgia State. Professor Emeritus Kierulff was honored at the event.

SafeCase Wins SVP Seattle Fast Pitch

SafeCase team wins SVP Seattle Fast Pitch Read about the first-place finish in the College Track by SPU’s SafeCase team at the 2016 SVP Seattle Fast Pitch. This is the second consecutive year that an SPU team has won at this important competition. TK Threads took first last year.

Economics Honor Society: Omicron Delta Epsilon

Omicron Delta Epsilon For more than 20 years, SPU has been home to several national honor societies for SBGE students: Beta Gamma Sigma and Sigma Beta Delta, for Business and Accounting majors, as well as Pi Sigma Alpha, for Political Science majors. Recently, SBGE received a charter for chapter Mu of Washington of the International Honor Society in Economics, Omicron Delta Epsilon.

After Winter Quarter grades are posted, our charter class of Omicron Delta Epsilon will be nominated for membership and recognition. Now, top scholars in all our majors may qualify for graduation honors.