Center Director Profile

Faculty Headshot

Mark Oppenlander

Director, Center for Applied Learning

Phone: 206-281-2942
Office: SBGE Center House

Education: BA, Seattle Pacific University

Mark Oppenlander has written for a newspaper, worked on a farm, sold used cars, drafted press releases for a college, worked in a controller’s office, and served as a security officer — not necessarily in that order. Most recently he served as the box office manager and general manager for Taproot Theatre, a nonprofit arts organization in Seattle that was founded by SPU alumni. He returned to work at his alma mater in 2005.

In his role as director of the Center for Applied Learning, Mr. Oppenlander now assists students as they sort out their own sense of vocation and calling, overseeing programs and initiatives that bridge classroom education with real-world applications. He has personally placed over 1,700 students (and counting) with mentors or job shadow hosts through SPU’s Mentor Program and has managed the extension of the program as it began to serve students from majors and disciplines across campus in 2006. Mr. Oppenlander was also involved with the inception of SBE’s annual Social Venture Plan Competition (SVPC) in 2007, and he has overseen its growth from a fledgling program to a centerpiece of the School's annual calendar of events.

Selected Publications

  • "Organizing a Social Venture Competition in a Small School Environment" presented at CBFA 2007. Lead authors were Sheila Vortman and Ross Stewart, along with Herb Kierulff, Regina Schlee, and Mark Oppenlander.
  • “Science or Art? How Looking at the Data Led Us to a More Creative Mentor Matching Process” presented at the UNM Mentoring Institute, 12th Annual Conference, Albuquerque, NM, October 2019.

Why I Work at SPU

Mark Oppenlander, Director, Center for Applied Learning

"I work at SPU because I believe that developing people of competence and character is critical to human flourishing.  I’m especially captivated by the work we do in CAL.  I’m a strong believer in a liberal arts education – but I know that it’s just a beginning.  Our students need to be able to contextualize their values and skills in a professional setting if they are to have a chance at making an impact for the Kingdom of God.  It’s a privilege to be on this journey with them."