In the Loop

March 2021

Returning to in-person learning for Autumn Quarter 2021

President Dan Martin recently sent an email to the SPU community detailing plans to return to in-person instruction, housing, and campus activities for the upcoming academic year. “As we assess continued efforts at the federal and state levels with both mitigation and vaccination programs, we are optimistic that the current trends will provide us the opportunity to meet our goal to return to in-person instruction, housing, and campus activities for the coming Autumn Quarter 2021,” wrote the president. Read President Martin’s complete email.

Video: What was happening at SPU during Winter Quarter?

Celebrate a “Fake Holiday”? Play Frisbee in a snowstorm? A socially distanced movie night? Take short a trip around campus to see what students were doing as Winter Quarter progressed.


Commencement 2021

Due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including Washington state restrictions on large gatherings, Commencement 2021 will be held in a remote format again this year. “By providing this early notification about our Commencement plans to students, their families, and our own staff and faculty, we can move forward to make this year’s events truly memorable and honoring,” said President Martin. Read the official announcement.

SPU students competing for Fulbright Scholarships

In the fall of 2019, faculty members in the Languages, Cultures, and Linguistics department joined forces with the Office of Global Engagement to inform, recruit, and mentor motivated SPU undergraduates and recent alumni to apply for the Fulbright Scholars program — one of the most widely recognized and prestigious scholarships in the world.

Founded in 1946 by U.S Senator J. William Fulbright, the highly competitive program operates in more than 160 countries and gives recipients an opportunity either to teach English, conduct research, or study in another country for a full year.

At Seattle Pacific University, the campus “Fulbright Team,” led by Michelle Beauclair, associate professor of French and Francophone studies, sponsored information sessions and webinars via Zoom, including one session during which previous SPU Fulbrighters shared their experiences and advice.

Annie Gray, Study Abroad Program adviser, created a home for the Fulbright program on the OGE website and a timeline to assist our Fulbright candidates in completing the high-stakes components of the application. SPU candidates were assigned a mentor from the team to shepherd them through the process over the summer, as well as to prepare them for an SPU on-campus faculty interview.

At the end of January 2020, six of the seven Fulbright applicants had advanced to the semi-finalist status.

Explained Beauclair, “These talented, globally minded students are vying for different types of awards depending upon the students’ primary focus: the English Teaching Award, which is a study award, where students enroll in a graduate program abroad, and a research award in six different countries — Laos, Vietnam, Turkey, Spain, Thailand, and Ireland.”

Host countries are now in the process of interviewing their many candidates to determine their final selection. Between now and the end of May, SPU students will learn on a rolling basis if any have been named a finalist. “We are proud of all of our SPU applicants for advancing to this level, and we are hopeful that several will be selected as Fulbright recipients this year,” said Beauclair.

This year’s applicants from Seattle Pacific included three seniors, graduating in June, and three recent alums:

  • Olivia Heale ’21
  • Ann Lam ’21
  • Anna Zetzsche ’21
  • Elizabeth Davisson ’20
  • Claire Moore ’18
  • Jonathan Roberts ’17

If your student is interested in applying to be a Fulbright Scholar for 2022–23, visit the Fulbright Program at SPU website to learn more about preparing to apply this spring and summer.

SPU brings together career centers for joint career treks in the pandemic

By Lori Brown, Associate Director of the Center for Career and Calling

Nobody wants a pandemic, but when it comes, it’s time to leverage partnerships — especially when we want to make life easier for students.

That’s how our Northwest universities’ joint Career Treks program was born. At Seattle Pacific University, the Center for Career and Calling has always run a robust Career Trek program, taking hundreds of students to a dozen or so companies each year, giving them a bird’s eye view of what it’s like to work at a particular company: meet their staff, walk their halls, eat their free snacks!

“How could we achieve that now?” I asked myself when the pandemic continued into the 2020–21 academic year. I wanted to expand the career treks, not cancel them. But how do I get students in front of even more companies this year – and not just Seattle-area companies?

By October 2020, I began pitching the idea of joint Career Treks to my colleagues at universities in Washington and Oregon, including the University of Washington, Oregon State University, Whitworth University, and George Fox University. They loved the plan.

Soon I had a list of 20 universities interested and signing on. I cooked up a plan for each university to recruit one company – and invite the students from all our universities to attend that Career Trek. We created a Career Trek website, a common registration form, and a shared spreadsheet to capture notes and ideas.

On March 4, the idea paid off when 135 students from 20 universities showed up for SPU’s Career Trek to Tableau Software, co-hosted by the Center for Career and Calling and BEGIN, our business school club.

To plan and strategize for the event, BEGIN’s student co-presidents, Suzanne Hsu and Gracie Brown, and I met with Tableau twice before the event to create the event agenda. For the actual event, Suzanne and Gracie ran the Zoom session, welcoming the attendees, managing the breakout sessions, and wrapping up the event. Now they are managing the post-event follow up with Tableau.

Our Career Treks will be going strong during Spring Quarter. Next up: Vacasa and Pacific Northwest National Labs. Then we will roll out Providence, FBI, Enterprise, Pitchbook, and the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, with more in the works. Be sure to encourage your student to follow along at the new website at Career Treks in the Pacific Northwest.

Lori Brown is the associate director of SPU’s Center for Career and Calling. She has helped hundreds of students begin their career journeys since 2014.

FAFSA reminder and more

FAFSA reminder

Has your family filled out the 2021–22 Free Application for Federal Student Aid yet?

Students are often surprised at the type and amount of aid they receive — including federal, state, or SPU grants, federal low-cost and forgivable loans, and work study. Situations change, so if difficult financial circumstances arise the FAFSA is the first step in receiving help. The FAFSA is free and takes less than 30 minutes to complete. Remember: May 1 is the priority FAFSA deadline for continuing students. Find out more.

2021–22 Tuition and Fees

This year, we announced our decision to reduce our tuition through an initiative called Tuition Reimagined. As SPU was looking for ways to make attending more affordable for our students, we reduced tuition by 25%, restructured financial aid, and ensured returning students will see a net $0 tuition increase for 2021. 

For the 2021–22 academic year, though, the remaining piece of information that students and families needed is the cost of room and board. Find the 2021–22 tuition and fees here.

Worksheet and tutorials help

Has your student’s FAFSA been filled out, but you still have questions about the bottom line for your family’s financial obligation for your student’s 2021–20 tuition? Student Financial Services has a worksheet and tutorials to help you arrive at a good estimate of costs each quarter. Check it out here.

SPU Voices podcasts

The SPU Voices Podcast is a bimonthly interview show dedicated to telling inspiring and compelling stories about the greater SPU community.

To celebrating the podcast’s second anniversary, the podcast re-released their all-time favorite episodes, including:

  • “Let’s All Go to the Movies” with Jeff Overstreet ’94, noted film reviewer and SPU assistant professor of English and writing.
  • “Hope for Life” with Megan Swanson Chao ’09, U.S. executive director and co-founder of Hope for Life in Rwanda.

Visit the SPU Voices Podcast website to listen to the episodes, view transcripts, and explore past shows. Subscribe on all streaming platforms.

Upcoming events

Doris Heritage Track Festival
Saturday, March 20
10 a.m.
SPU Sports YouTube channel

The local collegiate outdoor track and field season begins with the Doris Heritage Track Festival, hosted by Seattle Pacific University on Saturday, March 20, at West Seattle Stadium. Due to COVID-19, no fans are permitted in the stands, but you can watch the men’s and women’s compete live on the SPU Sports YouTube channel.

Men’s Soccer vs. Pacific Lutheran
Saturday, March 27
4 p.m.
SPU Sports YouTube channel

The SPU Falcon men’s soccer team takes on the Pacific Luteran Lutes at Interbay Stadium. Due to COVID-19, no fans are permitted in the stands, but you can watch the game live on the SPU Sports YouTube channel.

Residence halls open for Spring Quarter
Sunday, March 28
1 p.m. (new-student check in, 1–4 p.m.)

Spring Quarter begins
Monday, March 29

Class instruction begins.

Good Friday
Friday, April 2

No classes. Offices closed.

Easter Monday
Monday, April 5

Classes that begin before 12:30 p.m. are cancelled. Offices are open.

Women’s Volleyball vs. Northwest Nazarene
Saturday, April 10
1 p.m.
SPU Sports YouTube channel

The SPU Falcon women’s volleyball team takes on the Northwest Nazarene Nighthawks at Brougham Pavilion. Due to COVID-19, no fans are permitted in the stands, but you can watch the game live on the SPU Sports YouTube channel.

Social Venture Plan Competition Showcase 
Wednesday, April 14

Teams of students from diverse disciplines develop an entrepreneurial project for the annual Social Venture Plan Competition that addresses dual bottom lines: social and financial. Prize awards are $1,000–$5,000. Due to COVID-19, the showcase will again be online in 2021.

2021 Commencement
Sunday, June 13

Visit the Commencement website for the most up-to-date information on this year’s Commencement events.

Academic calendars

SPU academic calendars, including important deadlines, final exam schedules, holidays, and academic highlights for 2020–21.