Newsletter

Shareholders May 2017

Ross Stewart

From the Dean

Understanding, teaching, and living out the intersection between faith and our daily work is part of our “DNA” in the School of Business, Government, and Economics. Our mission statement begins with faith and ends with service, or work.

Deeply grounded in Christian faith and values, we develop leaders who advance human flourishing through service in business, government, and civil society. This issue of Shareholders takes us back to the fundamentals by celebrating recent instances of progress toward this goal, as well as sharing many resources that I hope will be a blessing and encouragement to you as you seek the same kind of integration in your own life.

Ross Stewart Signature

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


Professor Denise Daniels Awarded $1.5 Million Grant to Study Work and Faith

Denise DanielsA grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. will enable researchers from SPU and Rice University to examine the relationship between work and faith. They hope to gain an understanding of how people from diverse workplaces and socio-economic backgrounds integrate their religious views into their work.

Funded by the $1.5 million grant, Denise Daniels, SBGE professor of management, will collaborate with Elaine Howard Ecklund, Religion and Public Life Program director at Rice and scholar at the Baker Institute for Public Policy. Their study will explore the opportunities and challenges that influence the way individuals understand how faith informs their work. Daniels’ and Ecklund’s research will also explore how religious congregations and their leaders can support the appropriation of faith to daily work.

“The past ten years have seen an explosion in faith-based ministries, books, and articles on how people of faith can approach their work,” says Daniels. “But there really hasn’t been a large-scale empirical assessment of the intersection of faith and work. This research is designed to change that. We hope to better understand how people engage their faith at work as well as what faith-based institutions can do to best support their members as they engage in their daily work.”

The study will focus on U.S. workers and comprise a broad-based national, random-sample survey of approximately 12,000 people from multiple religious traditions or no religious tradition. Research will explore faith at work, as well as religious discrimination, and will include focus groups and as many as 200 interviews.

After the survey, the project will examine the unique challenges that Christians — including moderate, conservative, and liberal Protestants and Catholics — face in their workplaces and careers, how their faith does or does not address such challenges, and the opportunities for clergy to attend to these challenges.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 that exists to support the causes of religion, education, and community development.


Diapers and Skin Cream Claim Top Prizes at 11th Annual SVPC Showcase

Things we use every day can make a big difference, or so said the aspiring entrepreneurs competing in the Eleventh Annual Social Venture Plan Competition (SVPC) at Seattle Pacific University. Several of the winning projects used household products – or byproducts – in new and imaginative ways. The Showcase event, the finale of the SVPC, was held on the SPU campus Thursday, April 20, 2017.


Bill Pollard’s Personal Papers Donated to SPU

Former CEO and chairman of ServiceMaster Bill Pollard recently donated seven volumes of internal papers and speeches to SPU’s work and faith library collection. These documents provide unique insight into his lifelong endeavor to successfully navigate the challenge of communicating his Christian values to a diverse, multinational, publicly traded company.

ServiceMaster had four objectives under Pollard’s leadership:

  1. To honor God in all we do,
  2. To help people develop,
  3. To pursue excellence, and
  4. To grow profitably

In these papers, we see how he was able to communicate these objectives with both employees and board members who came from multi-faith backgrounds or no faith backgrounds. His discussion topics included:

  • The awesome responsibility of leadership
  • The importance of purpose and meaning in work
  • Knowing and doing what is right
  • The virtue of profit
  • The meaning of honoring God in a diverse workforce

In addition to donating the papers, Pollard is working with SPU to make it possible to access the collection digitally to develop scholarship around these papers in the academic community, and to encourage the use of this work in the classroom by professors and students.

“Knowing what is right and doing it are the essentials of what is integrity. In the absence thereof, a business will fail to perform its responsibilities to the societies in which it operates. The Center for Integrity in Business at Seattle Pacific University plays an important role in encouraging the business firm and its leaders to fulfill their responsibilities.”

— C. William Pollard
Chair, Fairwyn Investment Company; Former Chair and CEO, ServiceMaster


Work and Faith Collection

The SPU Library’s Work and Faith Collection has grown into one of the most comprehensive and unique compilations of its kind. Beginning with an initial donation from Pete Hammond in the winter of 2008, the collection has grown to include nearly 2,000 materials for students to discover in the Graduate/Faculty Study Room of the SPU Library.

This distinctive collection of books and resources is open to anyone who is interested in exploring the intersection of Christian faith and work, economics and business, faith and professions, and vocation. There are many materials for students and for those already working in business to help learn more about the integration of personal faith into professional work.

Learn more about this collection.


Center for Integrity in Business

Shortly after the arrival of Jeff Van Duzer as dean in 2001, SPU’s (then) School of Business and Economics set out to promote the idea that Christian theology is relevant to business practice and to scholarship, and that business can be a force for good in the world. As a result, the Center for Integrity in Business was launched.

Currently directed by Gene Kim, the CIB tackles the real-life challenges facing business leaders today. The Center offers a rich repository of resources related to the integration of faith and business as well as opportunities to engage in continuing education through seminars, roundtable discussions, and classes toward certification. The CIB recently hosted Stephen M. R. Covey on campus for Lessons in Leadership, a daylong, professional seminar.

Check the CIB website for Business Parables by Rev. Dr. Bruce Baker, Associate Professor of Business Ethics, and Ethix magazine, edited by Dr. Al Erisman, Executive in Residence in SBGE and former director of CIB. Ethix was co-founded by Dr. Erisman and a colleague in 1998, and currently features an interview with Randy Wilcox, retired president of the Americas for Otis Elevator Co. (Mr. Wilcox recently taught a class for SBGE.)


Recent SBGE Faculty Contributions

SBGE faculty members are active in the following Work and Faith endeavors:

  • An open online multimedia course on the integration of faith and business is in development through the CIB under the leadership of Executive Director Gene Kim and Dr. Kenman Wong. You will be hearing more about this exciting project in the months to come.
  • Kiros is an organization that helps Christian business people make a deeper connection between faith and work. Dr. Erisman is on the board and Dr. Daniels has spoken at meetings twice in the past few months.
  • Dr. Daniels participated in the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship symposium in January where she spoke to hundreds of pastors on the intersection of Faith and Work.
  • Dr. Daniels and Dr. Erisman are involved in the leadership team for the 2018 Faith@Work Summit. Dr. Daniels was a speaker at the 2016 Summit and Dr. Erisman co-edited the book from the 2014 Summit that was published last year.
  • Dr. Erisman is chairing the Theology of Work Project. Explore this link for some wonderful resources!

Books on Work and Faith by SBGE Faculty Members

The Accidental Executive; The Purpose of Business; Connecting Faith and Work in the 21st Century, (by Dr. Erisman) draws on past Ethix interviews to examine the career of the biblical Joseph, who spent time at both the bottom and the top of the corporate ladder.

Dr. Erisman also contributed significantly to the Theology of Work Bible Commentary

Business for the Common Good: A Christian Vision for the Marketplace by Dr. Kenman Wong

Why Business Matters to God (And What Still Needs to Be Fixed) by past dean (now SPU provost) Dr. Jeff Van Duzer
Downloadable Study Guide on Why Business Matters to God


Thank You, Dr. Erisman!

Al ErismanYou likely noticed the many occurrences of Dr. Al Erisman’s name in the above list of recent contributions. Dr. Erisman will be retiring from SPU in June, after 16.5 years of service to SBGE as an executive in residence. Having come to the University following a distinguished 32-year career at Boeing, he leaves a rich legacy in leadership, scholarship, innovation, and partnership. We are especially indebted to Dr. Erisman for his far-reaching, truly global work on behalf of SBGE as well as for his revolutionary ideas surrounding faith/work integration. As a past recipient of the SBGE Ambassador of the Year Award, we are confident Dr. Erisman will continue to be an ambassador for SBGE, SPU, and, most importantly, for Christ.


Save the Date: Grand Reunion and Parents Weekend

Save the date for Grand Reunion and Parents Weekend, taking place October 6–7, 2017. All alumni reunions have moved from Homecoming Weekend in winter to an autumn Grand Reunion. Registration for this event will open in early June.


Alumni Nominations Now Open

As most of you know, SBGE presents awards for Alum of the Year and Young Alum of the Year at our annual alumni event. Our criteria for these awards is consistent with SPU’s criteria for similar awards, including:

  • Excellence in their field
  • Walking out Christian faith and mission
  • Service to SBGE
  • Service to the world

Please email your nominations to Kathy Stegman (kstegman@spu.edu) by May 19, 2017. A task force of SBGE faculty will review the nominations and determine the winners. Be sure to include the nominee’s name, organization, and your reason for nominating him or her. Note that nominees for Young Alum of the Year should have graduated no more than 10 years ago.

Previous winners include:

2015–16: Kathleen Cummins and Brian Biege
2014–15: Jeffrey Wilcox and Bryan Papé

Thank you, and have a wonderful summer!