Newsletter Archives

In the Loop

February 2018

Tiffany Loop

Student support outside the classroom

College is a transitional time for students; it involves more than picking classes and earning a degree. Students are entering a new community and have freedom to make decisions, figure out how to belong, and learn inside and outside the classroom.

Challenges are a part of that educational experience, and it’s common for students to face new struggles and issues. The Student Support Team (SST), comprised of University professionals, offers extra support and services to provide appropriate and timely interventions for students in need of assistance and guidance. SST identifies and supports students who are struggling in one or more of the following ways:

  • Academically: missed classes, low/failing grades, not on track to graduate
  • Health related: crisis of a mental or physical/medical nature
  • Socially: emotional or relational issues
  • Personally: family, relational, or financial crisis

Given the close relationships formed when living, working, learning, teaching, advising, and mentoring as a part of the campus community, students have discovered faculty and staff play an important role in identifying struggles and supporting students when they may be at various levels of distress.

Students may voluntarily disclose concerns to faculty or staff with whom they feel comfortable, or observant faculty or staff may be the first to notice a student struggling. Once that happens, a close partnership between faculty, staff, and campus resources is critical to ensure that struggling students are connected with services that can help them.

Referrals are made directly to the Student Support Team by using the student support intervention form or by emailing

Additional resources for students and families

  • First Year of College, part of the Orientation website, walks through the common challenges students face, especially in the first year.
  • Your Help Checklist is found on the Student Life website and outlines the most frequently accessed support services.

During your student’s time at Seattle Pacific, you can be confident that the Student Support Team is available when needed.

Campus lively during Homecoming and Family Weekend


Homecoming and Family Weekend, February 2–3, 2018, was everything we wanted it to be — a time for connections between students, their families, and alumni, and a celebration of the SPU experience.

We doubled the number of All-Access Passes this year, allowing families to get the most out of the weekend without breaking the bank. If you were here, thank you for coming! If you weren’t able to join us, consider joining us next year. Here are a few highlights from the weekend:

  • Falcon Family Brunch. This year, instead of Mom’s Day and Dad’s Day, we provided a time for parents and students to have some fun together. Combine good food, silly games, and Talon, SPU’s mascot, and you have a pretty great party.
  • Men’s Basketball Game. Besides the fact that SPU won handily, Talon, the cheer team, and the Ante Up dance group kept the energy levels sky high. And did you see that T-rex in the student section?
  • Student Talent Show. The student acts at the annual Talent Show entertain and surprise, and this year was no exception. The show highlighted the talent and diversity of the SPU student body, with Jade Hill earning the People’s Choice Award for her cover of the worship song “Lovin’ Me” and the step team B2 winning overall first place for the night.

Visit SPU Voices to see more highlights and photos, as well as videos of the 2018 Alumna of the Year Beth Thompson Kawasaki and the GOLD Alumna of the Year Megan Chao ’09.

If you attended Homecoming and Family Weekend, please fill out our brief feedback survey, if you haven’t already.

New majors beginning in 2018–19

Several new undergraduate majors launch Autumn Quarter 2018, including a bachelor of science program in Mechanical Engineering and a bachelor of arts program in Criminal Justice.

Students majoring in Mechanical Engineering within SPU’s Engineering and Computer Science Department will learn to address global problems with engineering solutions, working on either thermal or mechanical systems. Mechanical engineers apply hands-on physics to model, analyze, and design mechanical and energy systems such as automobiles, aircraft, ships, heating and cooling systems, prosthetics, robots, household appliances, and industrial equipment and machinery.


Criminal Justice majors will examine policing, courts, and corrections to see how they are shaped by society, race, class, and gender. Housed within the Sociology Department, the interdisciplinary curriculum emphasizes justice and reconciliation. Students examine criminology, crime data analysis and mapping, and the contexts in which crime is rooted, or conversely, communities flourish. This major provides the academic foundation for a career in law enforcement, social work, mental health services, or corrections, as well as graduate work in criminology, sociology, social work, or law.

Undergraduate students at SPU can now choose from 69 majors and 55 minors.

Voices: Darian Burns — gold medal gymnast

Darian Burns knows how to whip up a crowd during a floor routine. “I love to get into the music,” says the sophomore gymnast. ... She did just that at the USA Gymnastics Women’s Collegiate Championships in April 2017. After acing every pose, flip, and landing, the then-freshman secured the gold for floor exercise. Read Darian’s story.

Darian Burns

Notes from Student Financial Services

Scholarship workshop on March 1

Student Financial Services is inviting undergraduate students to a Scholarship Workshop in Demaray Hall 150 on Thursday, March 1, from 5:45–6:45 p.m. Please encourage your student to join SFS as we explore scholarship myths, tips for applying, scholarship-search tricks, and hear success stories from fellow students. All are welcome.

2018–19 ICW Scholarship applications due March 15

Applications are now open for multiple scholarships through the Independent Colleges of Washington (ICW) organization with awards ranging from $1,000 to $3,000. Each scholarship has unique requirements and the applications are only open to current undergraduate students at ICW Member Colleges such as Seattle Pacific University. Encourage your student to apply.

Scholarship details, application checklists, and contact information for ICW are available on the ICW website.

MFA in Creative Writing

MFA student

Seattle Pacific University’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is a low-residency program for apprentice writers who not only want to pursue excellence in the craft of writing but also want to place their work within the larger context of the Judeo-Christian tradition of faith.

Allowing students to maintain their current jobs and locations, this program combines correspondence quarters during which students work closely with mentors, with two intensive residency periods at Camp Casey each year. Unlike many MFA programs, SPU’s program is run with the philosophy that great writing is not only merely an act of self-expression, but also a single-minded effort to do justice to the world. 

Learn more, and apply by May 1 to begin the program at the summer residency in August.

Faculty spotlight

Dan Bishop

School of Education faculty members often work in the community to benefit educators, and Dan Bishop, assistant professor in the School of Education, recently conducted a professional development workshop for teachers and administrators at Heritage Christian School in University Place, Washington. The topic was “Classroom Management: Student Engagement in the Learning Process.”

Susan VanZanten

Professor of English Susan VanZanten had an essay on the musical Hamilton published in the quarterly column for Bearings Online. VanZanten, who’s served at SPU since 1993, was recently chosen to be the next dean of Christ College at Valparaiso University in Indiana.

Upcoming events

Presidents Day
Monday, February 19

No daytime classes; evening classes meet.

Choir, orchestra, and ensemble concerts
February 20–March 6

Six concerts are coming up, featuring SPU student musicians: Jazz Ensemble, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Gospel Choir, Symphony Orchestra, Chamber and Women's Choir, and Percussion Ensemble. Concerts will be performed at First Free Methodist Church or Nickerson Studios and will be live streamed. Visit the Music Department for complete details.

TeachBeyond Employer Meetup
Thursday, February 22
3–4 p.m. | Weter Lounge

Students can meet TeachBeyond representatives and learn about how they serve K–12 schools, language centers, and other schools and organizations.

Winter Quarter final exams
March 14–16

Spring Break
March 17–24