Seattle Pacific University

From the President

Kim Sawers
President and Provost Strategic Plan Coordination

A lot is happening around here and I know that some of you have been asking for help in understanding how all of our activities are fitting together. Hopefully this will help. Please don’t hesitate to contact me or Provost Jeff Van Duzer and we will try to answer whatever additional questions you might have. Here are some frequently asked questions we’ve been receiving:

I keep hearing about four initiatives that are being managed out of the Provost’s Office. At the same time, it seems like there is a lot of work going on related to the Strategic Plan which is being managed out of the President’s Office. Do these somehow fit together? Are Jeff and Dan even talking to each other?

Absolutely. We talk every day. Moreover, there is no conflict between the initiatives that the Provost’s Office is managing (global, reconciliation, vocational and academic innovation) and the Strategic Plan. In fact, the Plan specifically identifies these initiatives as key early action steps and integrates them accordingly. These initiatives (and the plans that will emerge from them) directly feed into our ability to achieve a number of the strategies that we have laid out in the Plan. (e.g. “Foster global and intercultural competencies and knowledge necessary to further function, engage, and lead effectively in today’s complex society;” “Utilize leading and innovative pedagogical practices, technological tools, delivery methods, and program structure and design to provide an effective and efficient student learning experience;” “Seamlessly integrate academics, student life, and university ministries;” and “Utilize a combination of curricular and co-curricular programs to help students develop their sense of vocation to prepare for an effective transition to life after college.”) In essence, the Provost’s initiatives are a subset, albeit an important one, of the actions called for with the Plan.

This past fall it seemed like I kept bumping into faculty and staff who had been designated as champions of various strategies under the Strategic Plan. They seemed to be everywhere. How could we possibly do all of these things at once?

This fall we asked certain interested faculty and staff members to spend about 5-10 hours trying to develop estimates as to the likely investment in terms of both time and money that these various strategies will require. This information was then brought back to the Senior Leadership Team, which is now in the process of using this information to prioritize and sequence these action steps over the next several years. We fully recognize that we have some limits in terms of time, money, and bandwidth that will preclude us from doing everything all at once.

How will all of this fit with faculty governance?

We are attempting to involve faculty at every step along the way. Sometimes we have utilized informal mechanisms, e.g. open forums, and other times we have clearly indicated that proposals will need to be vetted through the traditional faculty governance structures. To the extent that curricular proposals emerge from any of the Provost’s initiatives or any other Strategic Plan action steps, they will be reviewed (and hopefully approved) by the appropriate faculty committees and, where appropriate, Faculty Senate.

But faculty governance is working on its own proposals. For example, the Curriculum Enhancement task force (which is a faculty initiative) is making a number of proposals for changes to the first year curriculum. Will we have to consider a number of further changes when various task forces formed under the Strategic Plan come back with more proposed changes to the curriculum?

To some extent, it makes sense for us to recognize that our curriculum should be dynamic. As the world changes at an ever more rapid pace, it is reasonable to expect that even the best curriculum will require frequent tweaks and adjustments. Although many of the task forces are still in the assessment (pre-planning) phase, we are trying to anticipate possible recommendations that may overlap with other initiatives to see if we might, in advance, begin to accommodate requests that are likely to come in the future. This includes both the writing and the cultural engagement initiatives, and other initiatives from different task forces. Still, it is most likely that we will be back with a number of iterative changes to the curriculum as these task forces identify proposed changes, and as we seek to harmonize our efforts. 

Sure seems like a lot going on all at once.  I worry that projects will fall through the cracks.  How are you staying on top of all of this?

We are in the process of constructing charts and documents that will enable us to stay on track. I have asked Don Mortenson to give leadership to this effort. We will chart our progress against goals (and in some cases against interim milestones). As soon as the prioritization and sequencing is completed, we will make these documents available to the community so that you can see our progress as we move forward. 

But are we trying to do too much all at once?  Wouldn’t it be better to have just a few things that we can focus on so that we can really do them well?

This is always a tricky leadership challenge. Our Strategic Plan is quite broad in its focus. There is work to be done everywhere and it simply doesn’t boil down to a set of 3-4 key initiatives. If we are too narrow in our focus we will end up neglecting much needed work. If we are too broad, we may end up overwhelming our capacity to do our work well.  

I’m very much aware of this tension. As you will see when we finish our sequencing work, we are identifying a limited number of first-order action steps. These will be our immediate focus and we will hold other action steps that we will want to pursue in the subsequent rounds of our work. I hope to be able to share our list of first-order action steps soon.  

I am confident we have sufficient breadth and depth of faculty, staff, and resources to move on several fronts rather than place key strategies on hold. It is like an upside down funnel: the five goals in the Plan are fed into the narrow access point and then the Plan filters the strategies and action steps across may people, departments, and units. We will constantly be monitoring work load, capacity, and ability to carry-out each Plan component.

Campus News & Events

Festival of Lessons and Carols
Festival of Lessons and Carols

The annual Festival of Lessons and Carols is Tuesday, December 2, at 11:10 a.m. in First Free Methodist Church. This service, hosted by the Department of Music, is a traditional Advent celebration that tells the story of the coming of Christ through Scripture and song.

Roger Feldman
Next "Creative Conversations" With Professor Roger Feldman

Professor of Art Roger Feldman is the next speaker in the Ames Library “Creative Conversations” series on Thursday, December 4, 3-3:50 p.m. in the Library Reading Room.


Campus Dining Services Holiday Schedule

The Gwinn Commons building will be closed December 11-January 3 to install a new kitchen floor. View the complete Campus Dining Services Holiday schedule online.


“Tradition” on Friday, December 5

Created and designed by students, this yearly event called "Tradition" includes Christmas carols, crafts, hot cider, and much more. Tradition is Friday, December 5, 7-10 p.m. in Tiffany Loop. This is a free event for all ages, and families with young children are especially welcome.

Record Video on Your Mobile Device

A message from Robbin Riedy, assistant director of educational technology and media. “TechSmith Fuse is a free app that you can use to record video on your mobile device. You can upload your video to your own personal media library in TechSmith Relay. From there you can share your video with colleagues or students.

Faculty and staff have used Fuse to record student presentations and to demonstrate how to complete complex hands-on projects. You could record tutorials or go on virtual tours and nature walks using Fuse. Students have used Fuse to demonstrate foreign language proficiency, and to show the trajectory of objects in motion. The possibilities are almost endless! Have you used Fuse in a creative way? Email to let me know, and you could win a $25 gift card. You can download the Fuse app on iOS, Android and Windows devices. Email if you would like help downloading or using the app.”

Screening of Documentary Without a Home With Director

A special screening of Without a Home, a powerful award-winning documentary film about homelessness, will be held Tuesday, December 2, at 7 p.m. in Emerson Hall. Director Rachel Fleisher will be on hand to answer questions. The documentary follows the lives of six homeless individuals and families. Through rich personal stories, this film succeeds in challenging preconceived notions about people who are homeless. Rachel’s own journey illustrates the power of caring and getting involved with people who do not have a home. This event is supported by SPU’s SERVE Program (Spiritual and Educational Resources for Vocational Exploration) and the Tent City 3 Host Committee.

Emeriti Retirement Health Solutions: Summary Annual Report

Every year, SPU is required to provide a summary annual report of the Emeriti Retirement Health Solutions plan. The report includes basic financial information for the Emeriti plan. You are invited to view the report online for the year January 1, 2013, through December 31, 2013 by selecting “Important Plan Documents” on this website.


Special Event to Kick Off Next Lectio Series

Faculty and staff are invited to a special evening seminar on the Gospel of Mathew by Associate Professor of New Testament Studies David Nienhuis on Tuesday, January 6, 6-9 p.m. in Upper Gwinn Commons. The evening includes dinner. Matthew’s gospel is the next series in SPU’s Lectio, beginning January 5, 2015. This event is free to SPU faculty and staff by registering with Kelsey Rorem in the Center for Biblical and Theological Education at or 206-378-5415. External guests are invited to register through the website ($20).


Stationery Orders Due December 2

You have until 9:59 a.m. on Tuesday, December 2, to have stationery order(s) delivered on December 12. Stationery orders are now delivered once a month. Stationery orders made after 10 a.m. on December 2 will be delivered January 15. To see deadlines and delivery dates for the remainder of the fiscal year, visit the “Create an Order” stationery page in Banner. For more information, contact Hope McPherson in University Communications at

Update to SPU Master Calendar for April 6, 2015

For planning purposes, please note that the morning of Monday, April 6, 2015, is not a University-wide holiday, as previously noted in the Master Calendar. Classes will be cancelled during this time to allow for students traveling back to campus from Spring Break, but offices will be open during regular hours.

Fall Census Information Available

The fall census information is now available on the Office of Information and Data Management (IDM) website. Several pages on the IDM site are open to the public; others are available only to SPU staff and faculty. If you have comments or questions about the information appearing on the website, contact Tim Gatlin, senior systems and data manager, at or 206-281-2545.


Staff Payroll and Benefit Changes?

The 10th of each month is the last day to make changes to your upcoming payroll check. Do you need to remove your spouse and/or children from your health care plans? If so, contact Human Resources (HR) to complete the appropriate form. It must be submitted to HR by the 10th of the month, prior to your dependent's access to new coverage. Otherwise, the change can only occur the subsequent month, and any premiums paid will not be refunded. Changes might also include events that are expected to impact your benefits and deductions, such as your spouse or children gaining or losing coverage due to employment, birth, marriage, etc. Additionally, any changes you wish to make to your 403(b) account contributions must be made by the 10th of the month. For changes to your 403(b) account, contact Transamerica Retirement Solutions 1-888-676-5512 (5 a.m.-6 p.m. PST), or 1-800-755-5801. If you have any other benefits-related changes, call Mardeth Hughes in Human Resources at 206-281-2816.

Story Ideas Needed for Next Response Magazine

The next issue of SPU’s Response magazine will address “the promise and perils of power,” following this year’s Day of Common Learning. Do you have story ideas about faculty, staff, students, or alumni that relate to this theme? Please send them to

Staff Member of the Month Nominations

Do you have a colleague who has gone above and beyond this month? Nominate her or him for the Staff Member of the Month Award, sponsored by SPU’s Staff Council. Learn more about the award at the Staff Council website.


Resident Advisor Nominations Needed by January 9, 2015

The Resident Advisor (RA) selection process for 2015-16 is coming up fast and we need your help in obtaining nominations for qualified candidates. Our campus is blessed with many students who have exceptional academic, spiritual, and leadership gifts. If you know students who rise above — leaders among leaders — we would greatly appreciate your participation in nominating them for the selection process. If you would like to nominate a student, email Lynn Ernsting in the Office of Residence Life at no later than January 9, 2015. Thank you in advance for your support!

Falcon Home Games This Week

Thursday, December 4
Women's basketball vs Alaska Fairbanks, Brougham Pavilion, 7 p.m. (Note: This game will be televised regionally on ROOT Sports.)

Saturday, December 6
Women's basketball vs Alaska Anchorage, Brougham Pavilion, 7 p.m.

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


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, December 8. The next deadline is Thursday, December 4.

Faculty & Staff News

Baah in Ghana

Professor of Spanish and Latin American Literature Robert Baah was invited to speak at Victory Assembly in Accra, Ghana, on the topic “Pentecostal Fire, Worship, and the Favor of God.” The speech examined worship as a means of grace and “fanning the Pentecostal fire through worship ensures that believers stay within the boundaries of divine favor.”

Dearborn in South Korea

Professor of Theology Kerry Dearborn recently spoke to the annual Church Leaders Conference in South Korea on "Living Wholeheartedly for God" and to the Korean World Vision staff on "A Biblical View of Women in Leadership."

Ellis in China

Professor of Education Arthur Ellis was the keynote speaker at the international conference on Curriculum Consciousness, Construction, and Capacity Building, held at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China, in November. The title of his address was “Theory and Research in Metacognition and Reflective Self-Assessment of Learning.”

myna capp
Capp Presents Paper

Myrna Capp, assistant professor of music, recently presented a paper as part of a panel titled "Nelson Mandela and the Music of Liberation" at the Society for Ethnomusicology national conference in Pittsburgh. Myrna's paper topic, "Jackson Kaujeua, the Musical Voice of the 'Struggle' in Namibia," was based on the interview she did with Jackson in 2009. The interview was featured in her book Nambian Soundscapes: Music of the People and the Land (2013).

langford michael
Langford Participates in Convention

Assistant Professor of Theology, Discipleship, and Ministry Michael Langford recently served on a panel at the National Youth Workers Convention in Atlanta discussing “Making Disciples of Whom? Christology and Youth Ministry.”

School of Education
SOE Faculty, Staff Present at Convention

School of Education faculty and staff members Cynthia Strong, Richard Scheuerman, and Kristine Gritter and Palouse tribal elder Carrie Jim Schuster recently presented a session titled "Using the Stories of Tribal Elders for the Study of Sustainability Inquiries" at the 104th annual convention of the National Council of Teachers of English in Washington, D.C. The theme of the conference was "Story as the Landscape of Knowing.”

Volume #42 , Issue #41 | Published by: University Communications

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