Monday, October 13, 2014 Seattle Pacific University

From the President

Kim Sawers
Strategic Vision and Strategic Plan

I love autumn. I love the crispness of the air and the vibrant colors expressed in nature. From the early morning fog to the overcast afternoon skies, there is something about this season that is both comforting and restful to me. 

This weather pattern shift has always impressed upon me the need for reflection – to assess what has occurred in the year-to-date and to take stock of current time and space. 

In a similar vein, there are “seasons” in the life of organizations – times when rest and reflection are needed, life-cycles of growth and development, and days when the thoughts of tomorrow provide hope and encouragement.

We have been engaged in a season of assessment and exploration – where we have been, where we are, and where we might be as we look at SPU’s growth and development in the years to come. Our collective thoughts have been captured and expressed through our conversations and resulting Strategic Plan.

At the State of the University, I highlighted various elements I anticipate we will experience together in the future seasons of SPU’s organizational development. 

As we fulfill our mission together, the Strategic Vision paints a picture of how SPU will be defined. It states:


KNOWN AS a premier Christian university that is orthodox, evangelical, Wesleyan, and ecumenical – selected by students able to excel at the highest academic levels, shaped by distinguished teachers and scholars, noted by a distinctive and diverse living and learning environment that reflects its Christian identity, and resourced with significant capacity to realize its mission and pursue its vision.

KNOWN FOR preparing students for service and leadership by fostering holistic growth through rigorous academic study, character formation, and vocational preparation that establishes a foundation for a thriving, faithful, and meaningful life.

KNOWN BY the lives of alumni who reflect the University’s value, are shaped by its mission, and embody its vision and commitment to global and cultural engagement, reconciliation, and human flourishing.

The Strategic Plan, then, provides the action steps to pursue the fulfillment of our goals and aspirations toward this end. I mentioned four broad themes that undergird this work. They are:

Institutional Profile
Culture of Excellence  

Institutional Sustainability
Leading Pedagogy
Fiscal Resources
Campus Facilities
Christian Mission
Holistic Essence

I also mentioned at the State of the University address that even as we move into new and future space and a different state, there are some things that will remain static at SPU:

• Our Christian identity – affiliated with the Free Methodist Church, grounded in our Wesleyan theological heritage, while remaining ecumenical in nature.
• A place where academic excellence and rigor exists, a residential and comprehensive university with a mix of strong liberal arts departments and high quality professional schools, guided by a commitment to holistic formation – developing competency and character, people of wisdom.
• A commitment to the ideals and values of diversity.
• Modeling reconciliation efforts in our world.
• Being a community – one that is: large but small, broad but deep, diverse yet whole, independent but collaborative, close but not cloistered, faithful but not dogmatic, demanding yet graceful, strong while hospitable, progressive yet grounded, and a place of thoughtful convictions though earnestly open.

However, beyond our core identity, values, and beliefs, we do not have the luxury to remain in a static state. We must lean and live into one that is dynamic – one that will strengthen and sustain the very values and ideals we desire to embody and advance.

Driven by our Strategic Vision Metrics and the targets and path outlined by each goal, objective, strategy, and action step, I conveyed a few institutional characteristics I envision we will achieve in our future state. They are:

- Our institutional and academic reputation and level of excellence will be recognized as the leading institution in our Carnegie Classification for the Western Region.
- Our students’ incoming academic preparedness will significantly rise, applications will double, and our selectivity will be marked by an acceptance rate below 50%, all while ensuring we are accessible and affordable.
- Our model of delivery will leverage technology in such a way that it will not only be an industry leader, but will serve as a core contributor to our sustainability.
- Undergraduate enrollment will increase within a managed growth philosophy that is informed by, and aligned with, our capacity to serve.
- 70% of our undergraduate students will live in programmed campus housing.
- Our graduate enrollment will be a third of our student body.
- Our campus footprint will be 50% larger than it is today.
- We will construct a new Student Union Building, fitness facility, an easily accessible and visible Welcome/Enrollment Center, renovate/replace the current Student Union Building for Academics as well as build out other academic space and faculty support, create enhanced space for music and art, additional student housing, and we will take greater advantage of the Nickerson corridor – where 20,000 cars travel each day – in regard to both institutional image and highest and best use.
- We will achieve an endowment level of $100,000 per FTE – over $300 million total.
- The curriculum, the student body, and the faculty will be substantially more international.
- Programs and methods of instruction will be increasingly interdisciplinary.
- Every undergraduate student will have a minimum of one external internship or extended research project – furthering their preparation for graduate school or enhancing employment prospects.

Once the faculty or staff member(s) serving as a Strategy Lead has refined our action steps and developed measurable targets and goals, we will prioritize the plan, infuse funding and other resources, and begin the plan’s implementation. We will keep the community apprised as all of this takes shape.

I do love the autumn season. At the same time, I know it is a season that will not remain forever. Soon winter, spring, and summer will return. I always anticipate with great hope the beauty and enjoyment I will discover within each.

Our academic year is off to a great start. The energy and forward momentum are palpable, and are created and fostered by the good things you do on this campus each and every day. Thank you for all you do.

Campus News & Events

Free Basketball Season Tickets

Falcon Athletics is excited to launch the first Faculty/Staff Season Ticket package for the upcoming men’s and women’s basketball season. The best part is that it’s free. Faculty/Staff package holders receive a number of exciting benefits, and the first 50 to register will receive a Falcon’s seat cushion. For more information and to register for tickets, visit the website and select the ticket information for faculty and staff. If you have any questions, contact the Falcon Ticket Office at


John Perkins
Service, Community and the John Perkins Center

Do you want to keep updated on the service and community engagement of the Perkins Center? You can stay connected to where campus is serving in both urban and global contexts, and reflect with the Center around issues of justice and reconciliation. You’ll also learn about the Center’s events and events in the larger Seattle region. Sign-up for the weekly newsletter by emailing Caneshia Warren in the Perkins Center at You can read the first newsletter of the academic year online.


Stan Humphires
Zillow Chief Economist on Campus

The School of Business, Government, and Economics Dean’s Speaker Series brings together outstanding local and regional business professionals with undergraduate students to share their insights and bring the work world into the classroom. The Autumn Quarter event features Dr. Stan Humphries, chief economist of Zillow Inc. His presentation is Wednesday, October 15, 3-4 p.m. in the Library Seminar Room. Stan joined the company as one of its earliest employees in 2005 and created the Zestimate and its first algorithm. Since that time, Stan has built the industry-leading economics and analytic team at Zillow.


Blood Drive October 15-16

The Puget Sound Blood Center bloodmobile is coming to campus October 15 and 16, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. They will be located on Third Avenue West, adjacent to Tiffany Loop. Take advantage of this opportunity to serve the community and help save the lives of others who are in need of this service. Sign up online to make an appointment.


Next Sitecore/Contribute Brownbag Lunch Is Thursday

Have you been trained in Sitecore or Contribute but you don’t feel comfortable and keep putting off making changes to your site? Join members of the UC Web Team on Thursday, October 16, for our monthly brownbag Q&A. Sitecore/Contribute Brownbags occur the third Thursday of most months, noon to 1 p.m. in the Lower Weter large conference room. If you have changes you need to make to your website and you’re nervous about making them on your own, bring them with you and we’ll walk you through them. If you have questions, contact University Communications Web Writer Kathy Henning at or 206-281-2329.

Documentary About Youth Homelessness

The Tent City 3 Host Committee is sponsoring a series of community education forums around the topic of homelessness. The next event is a screening of the award-winning documentary “Invisible Young” on Wednesday, October 22, 7-9 p.m. in First Free Methodist Church. The documentary looks at youth homelessness primarily through the stories of four Seattle young adults who talk about their childhoods, their parents, and why and how they ended up on the streets — and how they survived. Discussion will be facilitated by Associate Professor of Sociology Karen Snedker and the director of the documentary, Steven Keller. The event is free and wheelchair accessible.

SPU’s Motivate Me Cigna Wellness Program

Are you interested in learning about how your pursuit of personal wellness could impact more than your health? Find out about the incentives available to faculty and staff through the “Motivate Me” program by attending a 30-minute session in the Library Seminar Room. For more information, contact Human Resources 206-281-2809.

Monday, October 20, 1 p.m.
Thursday, October 23, 12:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Tuesday, November 4, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, November 5, 1 p.m.
Thursday, November 6, 1 p.m.

Campus Dining Specials This Week

Common Grounds (Weter Hall) and Academic Perks (Student Union Building): Warm up with a grande Caramel Apple Cider drink for only $3.99. Pastries are 20 percent off after 12 p.m., so come visit us in the afternoon for a delightfully discounted snack.

Subway: For the month of October, the meatball sandwich is $5 for a foot-long size, and the ham sandwich is $3 for a 6 inch.

Campus Space Requests

From Conference Services: As a new academic year has begun, and event requests are coming in, it’s a good time for a few reminders about requesting space on campus. All space requests for meetings and events can be made through SPU Room Finder. For general campus space (classrooms, meeting room, etc.) the typical response time for a request is two business days. Requests for Upper Gwinn may take a bit longer, as the space is in high demand and many times Conference Services needs to consult with other event requestors and service providers to confirm all event details before putting the space on hold. Once you receive a “Hold Email,” pay close attention to the deadline date of keeping or releasing the requested date as other clients may be waiting for the same date. Please remember to wait for an official confirmation before moving forward with the planning of any event. If you have questions, contact Conference Services at 206-281-2187 or

Falcon Local Games This Week
Thursday, October 16
Volleyball vs Alaska Anchorage, Brougham Pavilion, 7 p.m.

Saturday, October 18
Cross country -- Seattle Pacific at Emerald City Open, Lower Woodland Park, 10:30 a.m.
Volleyball vs Alaska Fairbanks, Brougham Pavilion, 7 p.m. More

Faculty/Staff Bulletin Deadline

The Faculty/Staff Bulletin is published every week during the academic year. If you have information or event news, send it as soon as possible to Bulletin Editor Tracy Norlen at Submissions may be edited for clarity. The next Bulletin will be published Monday, October 20. The next deadline is Thursday, October 16.

Faculty & Staff News

tina schermer sellers
Schermer Sellers Is Plenary Speaker

Tina Schermer Sellers, clinical professor of Marriage and Family Therapy and director of Medical Family Therapy, was the plenary speaker for the Colorado Psychological Association’s annual conference titled “Speaking the Unspoken ― Challenging Topics for Behavioral Health Professionals.” The conference was held at Copper Mountain, Colorado, in September. Tina’s talk was titled “The Naked Truth About Sex and the Soul – Taboo Topics for Patients and Clinicians.” She talked about how the topics of sexuality and spirituality are often experienced as unacceptable conversations for clients and therapists alike, yet intimately woven into our meaning systems and thus into our experience of illness and care provision.

Margaret Brown
Brown Leads Symposium

Associate Professor of Psychology Margaret Brown led a symposium at the Society for the Teaching of Psychology Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, on October 10. The symposium was titled “Developing Psychologically Literate Citizens Through Service Learning: From Knowledge to Engagement.” Service learning was discussed and recommended as the high impact pedagogy best suited to fulfilling the American Psychological Association’s learning goals in the most recent APA Guidelines for Undergraduate Psychology Major.

Scott Edwards
Edwards Serves on AAMFT Division Affairs Committee

Department Chair and Associate Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy Scott Edwards served on the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) Division Affairs Steering Committee in Washington, D.C. in August. From his previous role as chair of the Council of Division Presidents and AAMFT board member, Scott was invited along with other leaders from the United States and Canada to attend a working conference for the final stage of the AAMFT Division Affairs Committee. The committee made recommendations regarding the future structure of AAMFT, impacting the profession, training programs, and the public.

Alberto Ferreiro
Ferreiro Invited Speaker

Professor of European History Alberto Ferreiro was an invited speaker in September at the conference “Tagung, Konzil und Fürst.” The conference was sponsored by the Institut für Historische Theologie Katholisch-Theologische Fakultät at the University of Vienna. He gave a paper titled "Sanctissimus idem princeps sic venerandum concilium adloquitur dicens: King Reccared's Discourses at the Third Council of Toledo (589)." The conference was on the theme of councils and secular authorities with papers spanning from Nicaea (325) to the Second Vatican Council. The papers will be published in the journal Annuarium Historiae Conciliorum, published by the Internationale Zeitschrift für Konziliengeschichtsforschung, Paderborn/Rome.

SPU in the News

Baker’s Article in The City Journal

An article by Bruce Baker, assistant professor of business ethics, was recently included in The City journal, published by Houston Baptist University. The article, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century: Tale Without Morality,” focuses on the controversy over inequality in capitalism.

Volume #42 , Issue #34 | Published by: University Communications

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