Fall 2011

Alumni Newsletter - Fall 2011 

Message from the Dean

Dear Alumni and Friends,

The time between graduation and the start of the new academic year is always filled with the satisfaction of completing tasks and the excitement of looking ahead.

A year ago, we embarked on a strategic planning process to chart the course of the College of Arts and Sciences in concert with the broader Seattle University plan. We are now revising our mission and values statement and have developed the goals that will guide us for the next 5 years. Our focus, as always, is on academic excellence in the Jesuit tradition, and we plan to strengthen the experiences of our students in several ways: developing more opportunities for students to work directly with faculty, supporting faculty scholarship and achievement, creating centers of excellence with multidisciplinary programs and a global component, and engaging more with alumni.

Our time this summer was well spent, and we welcome the Class of 2015 refreshed and invigorated. I encourage you to join us as we embrace the new academic year. Stay connected through our Facebook page for all that is happening in your College of Arts and Sciences.

I look forward to seeing you soon.
David V. Powers

Communication Department Addresses 21st Century Needs

If you thought journalism was dead, just check out the Department of Communication, one of the fastest growing departments in the College of Arts and Sciences. Home to more than 10% of the College’s undergraduate majors, the department has embraced the fast-changing world of journalism as it prepares students to inform and transform society. Communication for social change, journalism, and strategic communication are taught by engaging and engaged faculty. Their reach extends from one end of campus to another and to the community beyond. Professor Sonora Jha, pictured here, chairs the department. 

The Center for Strategic Communications, housed in the department, administers the Project on Family Homelessness. Under the direction of Professor Barry Mitzman and with generous support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the center has significantly raised the awareness of family homelessness in our community. Last year, the center assembled teams of veteran journalists to investigate the severity of family homelessness in Washington state. Paired with student research assistants, the journalists produced award-winning print and multimedia pieces whose reach extended into the national spotlight.

This year, the center hosted ABC news correspondent Bob Woodruff to raise awareness of the issue of veterans who, after serving in combat zones, now find themselves homeless. “Are we serving our veterans?” brought together faculty, journalists, veterans, and the local community to address one of America’s most troubling phenomena—the rapidly increasing numbers of veterans, particularly women, who are homeless.

Beyond the coursework and internships, students engage informally with faculty at quarterly “Chew and Chats.” Professor Rick Malleus, who brings a home-cooked meal, is joined by faculty for an evening of casual discussion. Professor Chris Paul on “Four Awesome Women” in the history of rhetoric and Department Chair Sonora Jha on the role of the media in the wake of the shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords were two recent programs.

Professor Malleus has also encouraged global engagement. He has hosted events involving international students and asked department colleague Professor Tomas Guillen to share his experience as a Fulbright scholar. For his efforts, he became the first professor in the history of the college to win both the dean’s highly coveted Award for Teaching Excellence and the Student Executive Council’s Teacher of the Year Award.

Whether sponsoring a standing-room only debate between Professor Chris Paul and Professor Mara Adelman on “Technology and How You Should (Not) Be Living,” bringing insight into the arts of persuasion and journalistic reporting, or conducting a discussion of new faculty research, the Communication Department promotes critical thinking and contributes to self-realization. In these efforts, the faculty have earned the trust and support of their students as they work together to examine critical issues of our times. 

Successful Global Awareness Program Expands

After its successful first year, the Global Awareness Program has grown. Originally open only to students in the College of Arts and Sciences, the two-year specialization is now open to all juniors of any major.

“The program allows students to enhance their majors with classes and experiences to prepare them for international careers and life experiences,” said Professor Tom Taylor, program director and chair of the History Department . “Every student can benefit from understanding other economies, political systems and cultures.”

Because many companies, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations work across borders, they seek employees who are multi-lingual and internationally experienced.

“More than preparing our students for the workplace, our Jesuit tradition reinforces global awareness and concern for the common good,” Taylor said. “Our students need to be aware of the effects of natural disasters, crimes against humanity, and implications of poverty, whether these things occur three blocks away or 3,000 miles away.”

Going Green in China: Efird Awarded Fulbright Research Grant

Anthropology Professor Rob Efird received a Fulbright Scholar Research Award to spend the 2011-12 academic year in China. Efird, who is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, will collaborate with local scholars, schools, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to assess and better implement the practice of environmental education in China’s public schools. His research will build on his previous work in Yunnan Province assessing how schoolchildren learn to live sustainably and become good stewards of their ecosystems. As part of that work, he interviewed members of the elementary school administration in Lashihai, Yunnan Province regarding environmental education and traditional culture .

Efird received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington and joined the Arts and Sciences faculty in 2004. His ethnographic research has focused on Japan and the People’s Republic of China, with an emphasis on Sino-Japanese relations and environmental issues in contemporary China. His article “’Japan’s ‘War Orphans’: Identification and State Responsibility” appeared in the Journal of Japanese Studies, and his book chapter, “Learning By Heart: An Anthropological Perspective on Environmental Learning in Lijiang,” was published this year in the edited volume Environmental Anthropology Today. In addition to his research, Efird regularly leads an environmental studies summer program, the China Green program, which is offered by The Beijing Center, a Jesuit university-supported overseas study program.

Alumni Profile: Ian Lindsay, Class of 2004

From playing Bottom in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream to producing and starring as Lee in Sam Shepard’s True West, Ian Lindsay had a successful run as a theater major. Today, he is busy acting in two movies, preparing for a new play at the Seattle Children’s Theatre (SCT), and teaching in the SCT drama school.

While acting in campus productions, Ian, a Sullivan Scholar, found time to double-major in philosophy, chair the College Society, serve as the student campus minister at the Chapel of St. Ignatius, and become friends with his future wife, Emily Carlson ’03, MPA ’10,. He and Emily, Calcutta Club volunteers, met during the three months spent with the Missions of Charity.

“It was a transformative experience,” Ian said recently. “Calcutta is a dynamic city, and for too many, all aspects of living take place outside—eating, sleeping, bathing. You can’t compare it to anything in the U.S.”

Ian and Emily traveled back to India in 2006-07. They were dating at the time and became engaged while in India. Emily helped set up group homes for street kids; Ian taught at the American Embassy School.

Between his junior and senior year, Ian interned in SCT’s summer drama school for children ages 5 – 18. He was asked to continue after graduation, and, except for his sojourn in India, he’s been there ever since. He leads the youngest children in dramatic imagination activities, guiding them to build a story with twists and turns until a mystery is solved. With the teens, activities are text-based, everything from Shakespeare to scripts specifically written for children.

“When you teach something, you know it a lot better,” he said. “It’s great preparation and practice for me as well as for the students.”

His practice is paying off. He has appeared in productions by Seattle Opera, Village Theatre, Taproot Theatre, and ACT Theatre in addition to SCT productions. He also went to Australia for three months, starring in an original adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s Snow Queen with Seattle’s theatre simple. The production played at the Adelaide Fringe Festival and toured throughout the country. Now he is acting in two movie projects filming in Seattle as well as preparing to be an understudy in the fall production of SCT’s A Year with Frog and Toad.

“I have to learn all three male parts,” he said. “When you’re in the show, you only have to learn one role. It’s a tough job, but it’s a great job.”

When not auditioning, teaching, studying, or acting, Ian also owns and runs a benefit auction business and serves on the board of Shunpike, a foundation dedicated to supporting small and mid-sized arts organizations in the Puget Sound area. 

Recent Alumni Profile: Collin McFadden, Class of 2010

Collin McFadden left a good job to follow his passion.

“I had risen in the ranks in retail, but it wasn’t enough,” he said. “After working for several years, I finally realized what I wanted to do.

Collin received his high school diploma and, as a participant in the state’s Running Start program, earned an associate degree from Wenatchee Community College at the same time. He moved to Hawaii, opened a small business, and returned to the Northwest to be near family. In 2007, he left his well-paying job to enroll in Seattle U as a psychology major.

“I always had an interest in books by psychologists,” he said recently. “I just hadn’t thought of it as a career until I was out of school for a while.”

Collin chose the psychology program for its existential phenomenological approach. A transfer student, he quickly got involved in campus life. He served on the student council, worked with Associate Dean La Voy on a research project, tutored psych students in statistics, and volunteered at a local elementary school with the Children’s Literacy Project. He became a member of Alpha Sigma Nu, the international Jesuit honor society, as well as Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology. He was fortunate to have a work-study assignment at Harborview Medical Center, where he was hired upon graduation.

Collin has been working with Harborview doctors and researchers on issues surrounding post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD. He recruits patients for research studies, conducts interviews and assessments, and reviews patient records. He’s been involved in studies on intervention techniques for people with drug and alcohol abuse and PTSD as well as examining the impact of life-threatening illnesses on PTSD patients. Recently promoted, he is now a project coordinator on a study to evaluate the role of care managers on the well-being of Harborview patients who have no medical insurance and no primary care doctor and have had serious injuries.

“Harborview sees a lot of people who are homeless, have mental health issues, or both,” he said. “The hospital becomes a revolving door for them because they don’t have someone who is responsible for following up on their health care. They come back again and again with new problems. We’ll be looking at whether a care manager can make a difference.”

Collin knows the importance of a holistic approach to these patients, and he’s ready to listen and provide the support necessary to improve health outcomes, including finding them stable housing or arranging transportation to doctor visits.

“The psychology program reinforced the need to connect with each individual as an individual, not just as a person with symptoms,” he emphasized. “That’s what differentiates the SU grads here at Harborview.”

Collin continues to do research with Professor Kathleen La Voy, and he’s currently examining recent literature on social interest. Social interest, a theory espoused by Alfred Adler, focuses on man’s innate drive to help others. Because of advances in genetic research, psychologists and geneticist are focusing on the factors that may underlie the theory.

Collin plans to pursue a Master’s in Psychology and eventually go on for a Ph.D. 

Advancement Update

Thanks to you, our donors, supporters, and volunteers, we raised almost half a million dollars by the close of the fiscal year—an increase of 30% over last year. Your efforts enabled us to significantly strengthen our ability to meet our goals. We assisted more students and faculty with research fellowships, expanded opportunities for global engagement, and developed new opportunities that benefited our students, faculty, and the broader community.

More of you participated in our giving campaign than ever before, and you gave at higher levels. We greatly appreciate your commitment and determination to stay engaged, participate, and help us prepare our students to be leaders for a just and humane society.

We look forward to an amazing academic year ahead, and we hope you can join us for many of our special events and activities. The College of Arts and Sciences is a vibrant place of learning and service, and because of your ongoing support and engagement, the best is yet to come.

Special Events

October 4: Fall Alumni Seminar Series Begins, “Contemporary Spiritual Leaders: Their Vision and Impact Today.” Register today. Learn more.

October 6 - 29: Theatre Department presents “little world,” an original play using actors, puppets, and humor to address the complex issues associated with grief, written by Professor Ki Gottberg and designed by Professor Carol Wolfe Clay. Learn more

October 14: Graduate Programs Open House – Learn More

October 18: Idealist.org Graduate Fair – Learn more

October 19: Gaffney Chair Distinguished Lecture: “Northwest Indians and the Catholic Church” – Learn more

October 20: Psychology Chair’s Colloquium, featuring Donna Orange – Learn more.  

October 21: Service in Action Seminar, “Program Evaluation for Learning, Improvement, and Impact” – Learn more

October 27: Catholic Heritage Series - "The Claim of Memory and the Power of Place: Reconsidering Religion and Spirituality in the Pacific Northwest," with Patricia O'Connell Killen, Ph.D. Learn more.

October 29: 28th Annual Gala - Learn more.

November 18: Service in Action Seminar, “Adaptive Leadership: New Tools for New Times” – Learn more.

For more event information, please visit the College of Arts and Sciences Campus Calendar