Answer Me This

Answer Me This is a forum for addressing questions about working at Seattle University and campus life. The Commons invites faculty and staff to suggest possible topics for questions or specific questions for consideration by e-mailing theem@seattleu.edu.

International students

Q:   How many international students are enrolled at SU this fall?

International-Students-Chart_AMTA:  Nearly 700 students at SU hail from countries outside the United States. A total of 674 students representing 49 countries are enrolled at SU this quarter on F and J visas. That's up from last fall's total of 640 students.

"The same top ten countries (shown in the table to the left)  were listed last year although with the big growth in the numbers of students from China, Saudi Arabia, and India there has been some shifts within the Top 10 countries," said Ryan Greene, director of the International Student Center.

The other 39 countries represented at SU this year are: 

Thailand (10 students); United Kingdom (6 students); Croatia, Mexico, Uganda (4 students each); Austria, Brazil, Ecuador, New Zealand and Sweden (3 students each); France, Germany, Macau, Nepal, Philippines, Rwanda, and Serbia (2 students each); and Armenia, Australia, Chile, Colombia, Germany , Egypt, Eritrea, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Poland, Russia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Venezuela and Zaire (1 student each).

In addition, the International Student Center is managing 141 students in optional practical training, which is up from 120 students who were in the program last year. Practical training is a temporary work authorization for F-1 visa students, granted by the United States government, designed to give students an opportunity to gain working experience in their field of study prior to or after graduation.

University policies

Q:  Is there a centralized place for university policies?

A:  If you're looking for a university policy, there's a good chance you'll find it at http://www.seattleu.edu/policies/. Maintained by the Office of University Counsel, the site includes policies and guides on topics as varied as business expenses, photography, political activities and employee recognition--to name just a few. In some cases the site links you to other pages. The site does not include policies that apply only to specific academic or administrative units or only to students, though it may link visitors to those policies.

Sky bridge

Skybridge_AMTQ:  Kari Langsea of Campus Ministry writes, "I'm curious about the plans for the sky bridge over James Street--is the fencing there to stay or are there plans to remodel the structure?" 

A:  Yes, Kari, the temporary fencing on the sky bridge between the Student Center and Murphy Garage will be replaced with permanent features over the next several months. Currently in the design phase, construction is planned for December-January, pending permit approvals. For more information, contact Steve De Bruhl in Facilities Services at 296-2508.

CEJS goings on  

Q:   What's new at the Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability (CEJS) these days?BullittCenterWaterTesting_275

A:   In a word, lots. Here's a quick rundown.

  • As of July 1, Campus Sustainability Manager Karen Price is reporting to Professor Phil Thompson, director of CEJS . (The position previously reported to the associate vice president for facilities.) The move allows for greater integration and alignment of the academic, co-curricular and operational components of SU's sustainability efforts and it makes CEJS the center of all things related to sustainability on campus. 
  • More than 200 people from 25 states and 12 countries attended CEJS's inaugural conference, Just Sustainability: Hope for the Commons, which took place in August. Attendees included academics, grassroots activists and representatives from agencies such as the EPA. Thirteen Jesuit universities participated, including North Bengal St. Xavier's College, India, and Central American University, Nicaragua. CEJS plans to host the conference every other year, building the network of Jesuit institutions connecting environmental justice and sustainability, and supporting those working in these fields locally and around the country. For reflections on the conference, you can read Jesuit James Hug's reports HERE
  • Enjoy food and drink while hearing stories that connect environmental justice and sustainability at the CEJS Happy Hour. Come listen to CEJS Faculty Fellows tell stories about their research in such topics as snow leopard identification, climate debt, poverty alleviation in Costa Rica and tracking the impacts of the Elwha River dam removal. Mark your calendar for these upcoming CEJS Happy Hours: Nov. 20, Feb. 11, April 1 and May 26 in Student Center 160 from 5-6:30 p.m. 
  • Stay informed about SU's sustainable operations and environmental justice research and teaching initiatives. Sign up for the fall and spring quarter e-newsletter by emailing cejs@seattleu.edu and/or like the CEJS Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/envjustice
  • Want to tour the greenest commercial office building on the planet? SU community members are invited to tour the Bullitt Center in which CEJS is located. It's only a seven-minute walk from the center of campus to E. Madison and 15th. Learn more at Tour the Bullitt Center with CEJS.

Stairwell nooks

Q:  This edition's question comes to us from Joyce Allen, registrar, who writes on behalf of Janet Shandley, director of graduate admissions, and Lorena Toledo-Eastey, associate director of enrollment services: 

BananStairwellNook_350"We are a curious bunch and in our walk today down the Bannan stairs from the 5th floor we noticed a 'nook' between floors 5 and 4 and again between floors 4 and 3. There might be one between floors 6 and 5 as well, we didn't explore that far. We got to thinking that perhaps there used to be a statue of a saint, Mary or Jesus, settled in each to help the poor students in their studies on their way in and out of the building, but perhaps we have it wrong. Can you enlighten in your role as investigator for The Commons as to what those nooks were once home to?"  

A:  Well, Joyce, Janet and Lorena…we're sorry to say that the answer is a lot more humdrum than the scenario you suggested. According to a learned source in Facilities, the nooks you observed used to be operable windows. When opened, the windows would balance the air flow in the stairwells.

Satellite campus in Alaska

Q:  What's the latest on the School of Law's plan to open a satellite campus in Alaska?

A:  In a recent article, Katherine Hedland Hansen of the law school shared the following:

In another major step toward bringing legal education to Alaska, Seattle University School of Law has reached an agreement to house its satellite campus at Alaska Pacific University.

The law school intends to launch its program, which would allow Alaskan students to spend summers and their entire third year in their home state, in fall 2015, pending approval by the American Bar Association. The ABA conducted a site visit at Seattle University in early May.

"We are so proud to partner with APU, and we look forward to continuing to meet the needs of Alaskan students and the legal community in the state," Dean Annette E. Clark said. "Seattle University has been committed to Alaska for over 12 years, and housing a satellite law school campus at APU is a natural extension of this commitment."

APU President Don Bantz echoed her thoughts.

"This partnership fits perfectly with APU's founding commitment to help Alaskans achieve higher education that contributes to Alaska's well-being," Bantz said. "We look forward to a long relationship with Seattle University School of Law and helping more Alaskans achieve their goal of earning a significant part of their law degree in Alaska."

Jonathan Rubini, founder and CEO of JL Properties Inc., has made a generous gift to APU earmarked for Seattle University to house the law school's satellite campus at APU. Mark Kroloff, a principal with First Alaskan Capital Partners, has also provided significant strategic and logistical support to the law school's endeavor.

Seattle University School of Law marked its longstanding commitment to Alaska and honored its many partners within the state at a reception in Anchorage on June 18 at the Dena'ina Center.

The law school has already formed strong ties with the Alaska Court System, the Alaska Bar Association, and individual lawyers in Alaska, the only state without its own law school. The Alaska Court System has entered into an agreement to allow the law school to use its law library as well as its courtroom for some evening and weekend classes, and for Moot Court and other competitions.

Chief Justice Dana Fabe wrote a letter to the ABA expressing enthusiastic support for the program, which she says will provide training and experience to benefit lawyers who practice in Alaska and help diversify the Alaska bar. Of the approximately 4,000 lawyers in the state, Alaska Native attorneys make up only a tiny percentage.

"We anticipate that the satellite campus will open the door to legal and judicial careers to many more Alaskans and will have a direct impact on increasing diversity in our profession," Fabe said.

Stephanie Nichols, a 2006 graduate of Seattle University School of Law who grew up in Fairbanks, directs the law school's Alaska Programs, teaches several Alaska-related law courses, and is overseeing the development of this Alaska J.D. Program. "As an Alaskan, I could not be more proud of this development and relationship with APU," she said. "I'm thrilled with the outpouring of support from so many people in the legal and greater Alaska community. Our satellite campus, the only law program on-the-ground in Alaska, will be a great benefit to Alaskan students."

Emergency preparedness

SafeHawkscreen200Q:   What are the top five things I can do to prepare for emergency situations on campus? 

A:   Tim Marron, executive director of Public Safety and Transportation, encourages faculty, staff and students to take the following steps. 

1.   Sign up, if you haven't already, for e2Campus  to receive emergency text alerts. You will only receive a text in emergency situations. 

2.   Familiarize yourself with SU's Emergency Procedures, which include instructions on what to do in a variety of situations such as a violent intruder, earthquake, fire and hazardous material. 

3.   Learn how to respond to armed intruders or active shooters by viewing this instructional video put out by the Department of Homeland Security. 

4.   Download SafeHawk (left), a free, customized Seattle University app that places a number of informational tools such as safety news, emergency contacts, resources, notifications and anonymous crime reporting right at your fingertips. SafeHawk can be downloaded at iTunes or Google Play

5.   Become more acquainted with a variety of other information and tools for staying safe on campus by visiting SU's Public Safety website and be on the look-out for trainings that will be put on by the department during fall quarter.

Gaga for gonfalons

Gonfalon_125Q:  What is a "gonfalon" and what does it have to do with SU's commencement?

A:  This year for the first time, Seattle University's commencement ceremonies will feature gonfalons for each of the eight schools similar to this mock-up (left). Described by Wikipedia as a "heraldic flag or banner," a gonfalon is used for processions and ceremonies. 

A gonfalon typically hangs from a crossbar connected to a post that's anchored in a weighty base. Gonfalons often include a decorative feature at the top, such as a spear-like figure. This is called a...wait for it..."finial." 

So when the person sitting next to you at commencement remarks, "My, what a handsome finial that is atop the gonfalon!" you can respond with a knowing smile. And then you might counter with a clever remark about SU's ceremonial mace. But that's an entirely different story

(A big thanks to Terry Lundmark, senior graphic designer in Marketing Communications, for helping to unlock the mysterious world of gonfalons.)

Staff awards

Q:  How are the recipients of the Exemplary Staff Awards chosen?

A:  The selection process for SU's Exemplary Staff Awards (Excellence in Leadership Staff Award and Lee Thurber Outstanding Staff Award) starts in early spring with a university-wide call for nominations. Nominations are submitted to Helaina Sorey, chair of the Awards Committee. The chair selects committee members, which include at least two previous award recipients (see roster below). Over the course their meetings-typically four-committee members consider the nominated staff members. Final decisions are made through committee consensus. Once the selections have been finalized, the chair notifies President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., Executive Vice President Tim Leary and the cabinet members who oversee the areas in which the awardees work. Father Sundborg then delivers the good news to each recipient in a surprise visit to his or her office.

2014 Annual Staff Award Selection Committee Members

Helaina Sorey, Human Resources (Award Committee Chair)
Heidi Krispin, Enrollment Services
Keisa Liu, University Advancement
Natch Ohno, S.J., Student Development
Joe Orlando, Jesuit Identity (Leadership Award Recipient 2005)
Diana Singleton, School of Law (Leadership Award Recipient 2012)
Michael Smith, College of Science and Engineering (Lee Thurber Award Recipient '08)
Jacob Wild, Conference and Event Services
Rhonda Woods, College of Arts and Sciences