Monday, October 27, 2014 Seattle Pacific University

From the President

Kim Sawers
What You "See" Is Not Necessarily What You "Get"

Young Johannes awakens to noises from the outside ― sirens blaring, voices screaming and shouting, wood cracking and windows shattering, children crying, dogs howling, footsteps coming closer … closer. Suddenly, the front door is kicked open by the heel of a black boot and all Johannes sees is a big, thick hand reaching for the nape of his neck and then he feels a stinging and dizzying sensation as the same hand, curled into a tight fist, proceeds to beat upon his scrawny 5-year-old body. Why? Because he did not answer the door fast enough. Who did the hand belong to? It was the local police on the prowl as part of their regular raids. Such was life under apartheid in South Africa. At least, life in the slums of Alexandra where Mark Johannes Mathabane was raised, the author of the autobiographical book, Kaffir Boy.

The book tells a gripping story of young black man raised under apartheid rule in South Africa. Part I of the book, "The Road to Alexandra", explores Johannes’ early childhood living in the slums of Alexandra. Alexandra was a black community created by the policies of apartheid. Under apartheid, blacks had to have a “pass” if they were to travel outside of the slums. What I found interesting, though, was the reverse ― that whites were not allowed in sections like Alexandra. Sounds like a curious law, doesn’t it? It is more maddening than curious when you discover the law was designed to keep whites ignorant about the level of poverty the apartheid regime forced upon blacks. If the whites didn’t see the poverty, they were left to believe the government’s propaganda that blacks enjoyed a similar standard of living as whites.

The apartheid system was designed to prevent people from “seeing” the truth for fear they would “get” it. That is, understand and react to the injustice occurring behind the story and façade. However, does “seeing” ensure that you will “get” it? Although the odds certainly increase, one often must see what led to the creation of what is visible to truly “get” it.

I had the opportunity to visit South Africa a few years ago to study the impact of apartheid on the country’s higher education system. We were seeking translatable solutions for our own country’s system of higher education and history as it relates to race relations. I understood apartheid from an intellectual perspective, but it wasn’t until I arrived in South Africa, got my feet on the ground, interacted with those who were directly affected by apartheid, had conversations, learned their history, heard their stories, called them by name, felt their heart, toured remains, and viewed the artifacts of an unjust system that I began to “get” it. This is what has motivated me to be an image bearer (as Andy Crouch spoke about), an ambassador of reconciliation, and an agent of change when I see and experience things that are not the way God intended them to be.

Slideshow Link Click to enlarge

Here are some of the impactful images and experiences I encountered during my South Africa trip that challenged me and shaped my thoughts and response.


Engaging, learning, understanding the issue from the inside out, and understanding it from those who experienced it first-hand allowed me to grow, to be shaped, to be more sensitive to, and aware of, my own life and actions. My experience in learning and understanding the root issues and causes of what was visible challenged me to consider how I might actively engage and promote justice, reconciliation, and restoration when I encounter inequity, prejudice, and racism.

But, this is Seattle, right? Not South Africa under apartheid rule. Is there a message here for this time and this place?

To me, it is not enough to simply be in an environment where one can “see” diversity. You can walk down the street and “see” diversity, but to grow, to understand, to appreciate, to value, and to benefit from the richness and depth that diversity offers, one has to engage with it and experience it.

SPU’s commitment to diversity shouldn’t simply be identified numerically. Diversity’s great value comes through interactions across campus and in classrooms, moving below the surface of what is visible. SPU is to be a learning community where diverse perspectives and experiences can be drawn out and coalesced together to form the whole. Simply populating a class with a diverse student body and then remaining in ethnic silos should never be the standard for the SPU community.

Higher education is especially influential and impactful when its social milieu is different than the environment from which the students come; when it is diverse and complex enough to encourage intellectual exploration and reflection. We are to be a place where students benefit from learning in a racially and ethnically diverse environment, both with respect to exposure to new perspectives and in terms of willingness to examine their own personal perspectives. We are to be a healthy and vibrant learning community that encourages, provides, and resources interactions important for developing our student’s intellectual and social capacity needed for life and living in a global society. Our diverse environment provides a great framework for the issues our students consider, altering the way in which they read class material; influencing the subjects they choose for research and class projects, and affecting how they collaborate in class.

If we are to provide the best education we can, we must establish and implement practices that will attract and retain diverse students who will contribute to the shared values of our academic community and who will collectively create an environment conducive to accomplishing the institution’s mission. Our ability to be successful in this endeavor will allow us to fulfill the final component of our Strategic Vision: We desire to be 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.

I’m committed to being and becoming an educational community of the type Ernest L. Boyer wrote about in the foreword of his 1990 report to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, “Campus Life: In Search of Community.” These are communities that are “purposeful, open, disciplined, just, caring and celebrative,” Boyer wrote, “And, I’m convinced that the challenge of building community reaches far beyond the campus as well. Higher education has an important obligation not only to celebrate diversity but also to define larger, more inspired goals and in so doing serve as a model for the nation and the world.”

It is my desire to see our community become interwoven and connected with each other ― not simply a collection of diverse people present in one place, but one that is intentionally working to understand each other’s unique contribution to the whole. That we not just “see” it, but “get” it. As a Christian community, it is my desire for us to be one in Christ, not the same in Christ ― a place that reflects difference, absent dissonance.

One of the strategies that made apartheid successful was legislating ignorance; the laws of separation were designed to keep the worlds of whites and blacks separate. When Johannes began to interact with whites (through his involvement with tennis), he had the opportunity to share what was really happening in locations such as Alexandra, and the whites were shocked. Never had they heard of the atrocities that were part of the everyday life of a black under apartheid rule.

For me, the single most important theme from Kaffir Boy is the value of education. Education has the ability to defeat ignorance ― ignorance that can breed injustice and give birth to unspeakable acts against fellow human beings. For Johannes, education provided the door and pathway to explore the depths of knowledge ― a liberating fact, in and of itself. However, knowledge for its own sake is like dynamite without a fuse. The value of education is fully realized when knowledge is combined with action ― the fuse that will ignite new and progressive thoughts ― thoughts that can change the world.

We have an important and timely educational opportunity tomorrow evening that will further the development of our community in these critical areas and I would encourage your attendance. Thank you to those who have contributed to making possible the symposium "Race in America after Ferguson: Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With Your God." It will be a great moment for us as we continue to learn together what it means to be a community in its fullest sense. The details for the event are as follows:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Race in America After Ferguson: Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly with Your God

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Upper Gwinn Commons (SPU Campus)

7–9 p.m.

7–8:15 p.m.

Main Session

Upper Gwinn Commons

8:20 p.m.–9 p.m.

Q&A Sessions

See below


  • Brian Bantum, Associate Professor of Theology
  • David Nienhuis, Associate Professor of New Testament Studies
  • Jorge Preciado, Assistant Professor of Education
  • Kimberly Segall, Associate Professor of English
  • Facilitated by W. Tali Hairston, Director of the John Perkins Center

Breakout Sessions

Following the plenary session, you are invited to participate in a breakout session for an opportunity to dialogue as a community and engage in a Q & A with the panelists.

Panelist Room

Brian Bantum

Demaray Hall 354

Bo Lim

Library Seminar Room

David Nienhuis

Weter Memorial Hall 201

Jorge Preciado

Demaray Hall 356

Kimberly Segall

Demaray Hall 355

Campus News & Events

Race Relations in America Today

Recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, have exposed divisions and injustices across the United States. How do we more fully participate in God's work of reconciliation? SPU is hosting a community conversation titled “Race in America After Ferguson: Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With Your God” on Tuesday, October 28, 7-9 p.m. in Upper Gwinn Commons. The event includes presentations by SPU faculty members on the historical and theological context of the events in Ferguson, followed by a public discussion and breakout sessions for further dialogue. The event is sponsored by the Provost Committee on Race and Ferguson.


Non Profit Fair
Tell Your Students About the Nonprofit/Public Service Fair

Save the date and encourage students to attend the annual Nonprofit/Public Service Fair on Tuesday, November 4, 3-6 p.m. in Upper Gwinn Commons. Representatives will recruit students from all majors, graduate students, and alumni for jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities. Organizations at the fair include World Vision, American Red Cross, Emergency Feeding Program, Fred Hutch, Landesa, Make-A-Wish, U.S. Department of State, and Pioneer Human Services. See the complete list of employers online.


Palestine, Poetry, and the Promised Land: Journeys in the Holy Land

Professor of English Doug Thorpe spent a month of his sabbatical last November in Jerusalem and the West Bank exploring, discovering, meeting people – and, of course, reading. He’ll share some Israeli and Palestinian poetry as he talks about his brief time in the Holy Land during the next Library “Creative Conversations” event on Thursday, October 30, 3-3:50 p.m. in the Library Reading Room.


Provost Initiative and Task Force Update

A message from Provost Jeff Van Duzer. “Now that the academic year is well underway, I want to highlight the work of five task forces. Furthest along is the Curriculum Enrichment Task Force. The charters, updates, and reports from these task forces are available, for your review on the Provost Gateway website accessible through the “Faculty Task Force and Committees” and “General Education” buttons. I’m confident that members of the task forces would welcome your comments, suggestions, and questions.”

Curriculum Enrichment Task Force
Chair: Gaile Moe
Task Force Members: Brian Bantum, Kathryn Bartholomew, Chris Chaney, Brian Chin, Liz Gruchala-Gilbert, Don Holsinger, Kelly Marley, Karisa Pierce, Melani Plett, Todd Rendleman, Rebekah Rice, Andrew Ryder, Jacqui Smith-Bates, Rod Stiling

We have also launched four of the five Provost Initiative task forces. (We have decided to defer the launch of the character formation task force until next year.) They are as follows: 

Global Initiative Task Force
Chair: Ross Stewart
Task Force Members: Lynette Bikos, Gail DeBell, Sharleen Kato, Paul Kim, Bethany Rolfe-Witham, Owen Sallee

Reconciliation Initiative Task Force
Co-chairs: Nyaradzo Mvududu and Susan Okamoto Lane
Task Force Members: Baine Craft, Bo Lim, April Middeljans, Joel Perez

Vocational Initiative Task Force
Co-chairs: Paul Yost and Jacqui Smith-Bates
Task Force Members: Lynette Bikos, Bob Drovdahl, Margaret Diddams, Patrick McDonald, Carla Orlando, Daniel Hallak 
Advisory Group Members: Baine Craft, Rob McKenna, Susan VanZanten, Doug Koskela, Tali Hairston, Denise Daniels, Jeff Jordan, Gabe Jacobson, Cindy Strong

Academic Innovation Initiative Task Force
Co-chairs: Chris Chaney and Stamatis Vokos
Task Force Members: David Wicks, Margaret Diddams, Tim Nelson, Brian Bantum, Karen Gutowksy-Zimmerman

University Communications Interim Leadership

A message from Nate Mouttet, vice president for enrollment management and marketing. “I would like to provide an update to the University regarding the leadership of University Communications (UC) over the coming months. I have asked UC Associate Director Dale Kegley and UC Assistant Director Alison Estep to serve as co-directors for an interim period until January 31, 2015. Additionally I've asked all managers in University Communications: Bob Elmer, Wendy Jones, and Tracy Norlen, to help take on additional leadership and projects as needed. I'm thankful for the dedication that University Communications has shown to the campus in the midst of the difficult transition over the past weeks. If you have questions about projects during this interim period you may contact your department's communications specialist or contact Dale at or Alison at”

Art Department Hosts Creator of “Painted Desert Project”

Join the SPU Art Department for an examination of art, culture, and community building on the Navajo Nation at a special lecture on Monday, November 3, 7 p.m. in Demaray Hall 150. Guest lecturer Chip Thomas is a medical doctor serving a diverse set of communities in the American Southwest, but he is also an accomplished photographer and street artist who has wheat-pasted his large-scale photographs throughout the world. Chip is currently the organizer of the “Painted Desert Project,” which invites well-known urban street artists to create pieces on the rural Navajo Nation. His visit is funded through a generous grant from an anonymous foundation. Learn more at the event website.


Order a Pie and Support SPRINT

November is almost here and that means it's time for Thanksgiving and all things apple and pumpkin. You can enjoy these seasonal flavors and support the Summer 2015 SPRINT teams by purchasing pre-baked 12" pumpkin pies or 10" apple pies for $10 each. This summer, SPRINT will send eight student-led teams to learn and serve alongside local Christian leaders around the globe. Profits from the pie fundraiser will go toward scholarships for these students. The deadline for ordering pies is Friday, November 14, and they will be delivered on Tuesday, November 25. To order, contact student Maddy Petrowski at with the number of pies desired and where you would like your pie delivered. Payment (cash and check only) will be collected when pies are delivered. For more information on SPRINT, visit the website.


Student Financial Services Closed November 7

Student Financial Services will be closed Friday, November 7, in order for the SFS staff to hold their annual all-day office planning retreat. Regular office hours will resume Monday, November 10.

Stationery Orders Information

You have until 10 a.m. on Tuesday, November 4, to have stationery order(s) delivered on Friday, November 14. Stationery orders are now delivered once a month, and orders made after 10 a.m. on November 4 will be delivered December 12.

Celebrate the Opening of Alexander Hall

The SPU community is invited to the opening celebration of Alexander Hall on Wednesday, October 29, 3-4 p.m. Following the ceremony at the main entrance to Alexander Hall off Tiffany Loop, light refreshments will be provided and Theology Student Union members will be available on each floor to answer questions. October 29 is the 123rd anniversary of the 1891 groundbreaking for Alexander Hall. Learn more about the campaign to restore SPU’s iconic building.


Camp Casey Winter/Spring Reservation Requests

Winter/spring reservation requests are now being taken for the Faculty/Staff House at the Camp Casey Conference Center on Whidbey Island. The dates of stay are January 5 through June 16, 2015, and reservation requests are due by November 5, 2014. The winter/spring requests are selected by lottery and are not affected by summer stays at Casey.


Find Yourself [In Context] Begins October 29

Find yourself and learn about others [In] the greater [Context] of history, the Bible, and societal systems. [In Context] is not just for students ― faculty and staff are welcome to participate. Join us through discovery, community, and conversation as we unpack and unveil the realities of race relations, its intersections, and impact on our stories. The weekly commitment to join the group is Wednesdays, October 29–December 3, 3:30–5 p.m. For more information, contact Caenisha Warren in the John Perkins Center at or 206-378-5411.

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 at 206-281-2809.

Tuesday, November 4, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, November 5, 1 p.m.
Thursday, November 6, 1 p.m.

Falcon Home Games This Week

For all the latest in Falcon sports, visit the Falcons online.

Thursday, October 30
Senior Night/Breast Cancer Awareness. Women’s soccer vs Western Oregon, Interbay Stadium, 7 p.m. This is the last home game for the Falcons, and graduating seniors will be honored.

Saturday, November 1
Men's soccer vs University of Mary, Interbay Stadium, 7 p.m.


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, November 3. The next deadline is Thursday, October 30.

Faculty & Staff News

Rich Soil
Martin’s New Book Now Available

President Dan Martin’s new book, Rich Soil: Transforming Your Organization's Landscape for Maximum Effectiveness (Beacon Hill Press), is now available. The book illustrates concepts and plans that will enable leaders and managers with the necessary tools to build (or recreate) a healthy, growing, and effective organization. Read more online.


Hallak’s Article Published

An article about networking by Daniel Hallak, professional development specialist in the School of Business, Government, and Economics, was recently published in Talent Development magazine. The article is titled “Five Networks to Accelerate Your Career.”

Fuller Seminary Features Overstreet’s Reflections on Protest Politics

SPU Communications Specialist Jeffrey Overstreet was invited by the Institute for Theology and Northwest Culture at Fuller Theological Seminary to write about the film Battle in Seattle, the Seattle WTO protests of 1999, and the nature of Pacific Northwest political activism. His review and reflections were published at Christ and Cascadia, a “collaborative online journal which explores the cultural challenges, opportunities, and responsibilities for Christianity in Cascadia.” Read the article online.


kindlings muse
Keuss, Overstreet, and Others Discuss U2’s New Album, Apple, and the Future of Music

At a live recording of The Kindlings Muse podcast on October 13, Professor of Theology Jeff Keuss hosted a discussion with University Communications Specialist Jeffrey Overstreet, author Jennie Spohr, and musician Galen Disston (of the Seattle band “Pickwick”). They discussed the new U2 album “Songs of Innocence,” the album’s controversial iTunes distribution, the band’s innovative partnership with Apple, and the future of music. The podcast is streaming at The Kindlings website.


Music, Theatre Departments Welcome Internationally Recognized Expert on Contemporary Commercial Music
Robert Edwin, an internationally recognized expert on contemporary commercial music, gave a lecture and masterclass on “Healthy Belting Vocal Techniques” on October 20. His students have performed on Broadway in such shows as Sweeney Todd, Annie, Rent, as well as on the television show American Idol. Edwin is a member and a past secretary/treasurer of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS). His column, "The Bach to Rock Connection" (1985-2002), was the first and only one in the NATS journal dedicated to non-classical voice pedagogy. He continues to serve as an associate editor of the  Journal of Singing for the "Popular Song and Music Theater" column. In addition, he has been an ASCAP lyricist and composer since 1967, and has written a wide variety of published and performed music ranging from national radio commercials to music theater scores. He was a leader in the 1960s "church music reformation" when his albums, “Keep the Rumor Going, With Joy,” and his Synergy Series of worship experiences became a reviving factor in the life of the modern church. This event was sponsored by the Music and Theatre departments.

Margaret Brown
Brown Co-Authors Book

The Department of Psychology is pleased to announce that Associate Professor of Psychology Margaret Brown is the co-author of a book in press by the American Psychological Association (APA) titled Psychological Literacy, Service Learning, and the Public Good: Theory, Research, and Practice. The book draws from the service learning literature, and develops themes that merge with the APA’s recommended psychology curriculum for undergraduates. It demonstrates how more can be accomplished in the curriculum to produce students who are civically and academically prepared to use their education for the benefit of others.

From the Archives

Adelaide Hall

From University Archivist Adrienne Meier. "Adelaide Hall was located just south of Alexander Hall. It was originally built in 1922 to house the Nelson Elementary School, a training school attended by 80-90 elementary-aged students taught by SPC School of Education students. In 1945, the training school was discontinued, and the building was renamed for Adelaide Beers and used as a women’s dormitory. In 1958, the building became a classroom building, housing both large lecture classes and small group seminars. When the building was demolished in 1978, it had stood for 56 years. The space is now part of the lower tier of the Dravus Parking Lot." Select the link to see the building in the 1950s.


Volume #42 , Issue #36 | Published by: University Communications

Submit News | Faculty/Staff Bulletin Deadlines | Email the Editor | View the Archives

Copyright © Seattle Pacific University 2024