Fall 2016

Message from the Dean

Summer flew by, and we begin this academic year with two significant changes that build on our curriculum, both in response to requests by our students. First, we have added an Innovations Track to the existing Intellectual Track in the University Honors Program. Specifically designed for students in credit-intensive majors like chemical engineering, students in the Innovations Track complete the honors program in three years. Both the new Innovations Track and the Intellectual Traditions track offer rigorous, integrated programs of study for students of high ability and motivation.

We also begin this fall with a series of Arabic language and culture classes. In addition to learning the core structural elements of the language, students will broaden their awareness of the history, geography, fine arts, literature, and daily lives of Arabic-speaking peoples. With more than 295 million speakers, Arabic is the fifth most widely spoken language in the world.

I continue to promote faculty-student research and real-world applications of classroom teaching, and in this issue, you will read about a new program for art students to learn directly about the business of art from practicing artists and a faculty-student sociological research project on how Catholic women make sense of the apparent contradictions between their belief system and their practices. You will also read about the real-world activities of graduate student Mark Thorrington, Master of Sport Administration and Leadership, who is developing a sustainability plan for a new major league soccer club, and of recent alumna Paige Bowman, International Studies and Spanish major class of 2015, who works with immigrants and refugees in Seattle.

I hope you can join us for this fall’s special events including the inaugural Peter L. Lee Endowed Lecture in East Asian Culture and Civilization on November 14, a debate between candidates for the 7th Congressional District on October 24, the fall alumni seminar series on the future of American culture and politics starting October 4 (details and registration here), Shakespeare’s The Tempest November 9 - 20, and more on the campus calendar here.  Look for the complete fall Arts, Lectures, and Events calendar in your inbox in mid-October.

To stay up to date on all things Arts and Sciences, please join our college’s Facebook page. I hope to see you soon.

David Powers,

Faculty-Student Research: Contradictions Between Catholic Teachings and Catholic Practice

When Sociology Professor Jodi O’Brien starting looking at how practicing Catholics make sense of family planning practices that don’t conform to the Church’s position, she didn’t expect to find important Catholic teachings as a foundation for an alternative viewpoint. Working closely with her research assistant Cal Garrett ‘16, O’Brien uncovered important insights regarding the ways Catholic women root their practices within the tenets of their faith.

Funded by grants from the Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture and the College of Arts and Sciences Richard Beers Endowment, O’Brien enlisted the aid of senior Cal Garrett to examine how Catholic women make sense of the apparent contradictions between their belief system and their practices.

“We are all a bundle of contradictions,” O’Brien said. “We believe things, but we don’t always act on these things. As a social psychologist, if you listen to people, interview them, hear how they talk with other people, or in this case, with increasing online presence, see how they write about them, you get an understanding of how they make sense of these apparent contradictions.”

Garrett was charged with researching newspaper articles to gather opinions from the laity. Comments poured forth following the news of the US Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage. When they stumbled across “mommy blogs” written by Catholic women, they found a wealth of information.

“Most often in the Catholic mommy blogs, women blogging about their families were those whose Catholicism surrounded and centered on love, caring, and compassion and not necessarily on following strict teachings,” Garrett noted. “These mothers found alternative ways to make sense of their Catholic identity in a way that still allows them to do things like limit the number of children they have. This was astonishing to me.”

“These Catholic mothers were using the theology of motherhood as a sacred authority to make what they consider reasonable decisions about family size,” O’Brien emphasized. “They thought about the need to exercise limits on how many children they can raise in this day and age and made decisions on what they perceive as the very best interests of their children and their families.”

One issue that began to surface from the research centers on how or if family members talk about their own gay, lesbian, queer and transgender-identified family members.  With an eye toward providing insights to priests and parishioners, O’Brien plans to examine how families address this issue within a Catholic framework.

“The benefits of this research is that it gives voice to people who share challenges and who may be suffering themselves,” she said. “Research like this helps them realize they are not alone.”

Garrett, who graduated in June and began doctoral studies at the University of Illinois-Chicago, thoroughly enjoyed the research experience: “The most valuable and exciting parts of doing a research project like this were the moments of surprise. They were great. It makes life a lot more exciting to find out things that you never even thought about.”

Watch the video:

Graduate Student Profile: Mark Thorrington, MSAL

Graduate student Mark Thorrington, Master of Sport Administration and Leadership (MSAL), received a grant from the Seattle University Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability to develop a sustainability strategic framework for the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC). LAFC is a Major League Soccer expansion team with its inaugural season starting in March 2018.

“Because Los Angeles is one of the largest cities in the world with a population of more than 18 million in the greater metropolitan area, this project can pave the way for LAFC to be a leader in global efforts to bring sustainable practices to sport leagues,” Thorrington said. “The project starts with developing a baseline understanding of the attitudes and expectations prospective fans and key stakeholders have of the newly formed Los Angeles Football Club concerning environmental sustainability.”

From this understanding, he will help the team formulate their strategic sustainability campaign, determine if they are meeting the expectations of fans and other key stakeholders, and evaluate their initiatives.

Thorrington developed his proposal in consultation with Professor Brian McCullough, director of the graduate Certificate in Sport Sustainability Leadership offered through the MSAL program. The first of its kind in the world, the graduate Certificate in Sport Sustainability Leadership addresses the global concern for increased environmental and ecological sustainability in the sport industry. The online program draws students from around the world.

“Mark’s line of inquiry seeks to understand how sport teams can position themselves favorably among community members, especially important as LAFC's brand has no existing impressions being an expansion team opening in 2018,” said McCullough. “This is the type of groundbreaking project that will lead the next wave of sport management professionals ready to integrate environmental sustainability into the sport industry.”

McCullough, an internationally recognized leader in bringing sustainable practices to the sport industry, is on the Executive Council of North American Society for Sport Management and a member of the Green Sports Alliance. The 15-credit online Certificate in Sport Sustainability Leadership can be completed in 9 months. Students may apply their certificate credits toward the MSAL degree.

Recent Alumni Profile: Paige Bowman '15

”I knew right away in high school that I wanted to study International Studies and Spanish,” said Paige Bowman, class of 2015. The Sacramento native wasted no time in taking advantage of education abroad programs. She attended the Latin American Studies Program in Puebla in the spring of her freshman year and returned the next year to continue her studies via direct enrollment at the University of the Americas. She took classes in foreign policy where “it was interesting to learn about the U.S. from a foreign perspective.”

She later received an Internship with U.S. State Department at the U.S. embassy in Panama City. The embassy staff of 400 is comprised of both Panamanian and American staff, and Bowman worked in the American Citizens Services unit of the Consular Section.

With tens of thousands U.S. citizens living in Panama, Bowman processed requests for birth and death certificates and passports. She went with Foreign Service Officers to assist Americans in hospitals, immigration detention centers, and prisons.

“This was very different from a study abroad program,” she emphasized. “It wasn’t pretty, especially the visits with prisoners.”

At the end of her internship Bowman returned to Seattle for her final year. She chose a review of U.S. drug policy in Colombia for her senior project. Working under the guidance of faculty members Serena Cosgrove, Rob Andolina, Jonathan Pierce, and Jaime Perozo, Bowman secured a College of Arts and Sciences grant to conduct research for the Fundación Mexicana para el Desarrollo Rural (FMDR), or Mexican Foundation for Rural Development. Based in Mexico City with projects operating in Veracruz, Campeche, Chiapas, Yucatan, and Oaxaca, FMDR focuses on increasing the health and well-being of rural farming communities through long-term educational and productive programs that stimulate sustainable rural development.

Bowman credits Professors Tanya Hayes and Jonathan Pierce with giving her the tools and knowledge to design a research study. Her work, supported by the Office of Fellowships, involved analyzing data from Educampo, a project through which rural farmers receive assistance in agricultural methods as well as marketing and commercialization. While in Mexico, Bowman conducted field visits to 15 rural communities, employing a survey focused on migration.

”After surveying a small sample of producers, I found that enrollment in rural development programs is a factor that positively affects rural producers’ perception of opportunity present in their own communities,” she said. “I also found that many rural producers feel that to pool resources and invest in tools, land, or labor that could improve their harvest at home is a better financial investment for them than is migration.”

Today, Bowman is a legal assistant at the Seattle immigration law firm of Rios and Cruz where she uses her Spanish and interviewing skills to prepare declarations for clients seeking asylum, resident status, or citizenship. She has gained insight not only into the hardships experienced by the families in leaving their home countries and trying to remain in Seattle, but also the realities of navigating the American legal system.

”We work very hard to prevent deportation or detention,” she said. “It’s exciting when we can keep families together and prevent having children grow up with an absentee parent.”

McMillen Assistantships Support Student Artists

Designed for student artists majoring in digital design, photography, and studio art, the Robert B. McMillen Foundation grant supports paid assistantships for students to work with professional artists.

“The McMillen program wants to eradicate the idea of the starving artist,” said Professor Naomi Hume, chair of the Department of Art and Art History. “The grant supports college students who have ambitions to be professional artists but might not know how to start and not have enough contacts. We want to show them what happens behind the scenes at an artist’s studio.”

For visual artist Victoria Haven, the program couldn’t have come at a better time. Immersed in three projects, she was paired with Elliot Bosveld, a visual art and math major. Bosveld was invaluable in helping implement multimedia projects for the Portland Art Museum and Seattle’s Frye Art Museum as well as a large wall mural for Seattle Art Museum.

For the Frye exhibit, Bosveld and Haven worked for months on a video that required editing 500,000 still photographs down to 300,000 and creating a timelapse video.

“I couldn’t be there to witness the dry run of the project,” Haven said. “Elliot went to the Frye, and there was a glitch. The video wasn’t projecting properly. He worked with the tech guy to make sure it was all put back together before the opening, all within 6 hours. He was my proxy, and I really appreciated that.”

For “Subtitles," an exhibit at the Portland Art Museum, Haven relied on Bosveld to use his math skills to create an algorithm that required manipulating random words from text messages. Bosveld also worked with the museum's tech staff to implement her vision.

“It was a new experience for Vic, working with projections so much and new monitors,” Bosveld said, “I did a lot of research into what kinds of monitors to ask for based on what the funding would allow and how to tailor our program to the monitors we would get. I got to work with their tech guides, how they were going to mount the monitors, their specs for the monitors, how they were going to construct walls. The opening was fun, getting to see everyone standing around the piece and see how well received it was.”

“Blue Sun,” a 60 x 14 foot wall mural in the pavilion at Seattle’s Olympic Sculpture Park, commissioned by Seattle Art Museum, opened in the spring of 2016.

“This project was inspired by noticing certain transformations occurring in my neighborhood where my studio is,” Haven said, “as well as the phenomenological experience of living in Seattle being surrounded by mountain ranges.”

“I signed my life away to work on the project in the sculpture park,” Bosveld said. “It was so monumental, and tens of thousands of people see it. It was cool to work on such a large scale project.”

“We are grateful not only to the McMillen Foundation but also to the Seattle visual arts community who support the studio assistantship program with their time and commitment to mentoring the next generation of professional artists,” Hume said.

Watch the video:

Fall Alumni Seminar Series:
The Future of American Culture and Politics

As the country moves into the elections on November 8 and a new administration begins in January, the parties and people find themselves divided on finding ways to reconcile divergent views. How might we find reconciliation in the midst of division over race, religion, economics, foreign affairs, security, and democracy? Join us as we read and discuss ideas and proposals from all sides on the issues in the political campaign and its results. Faculty presenters are Edward Reed, Sociology; Patrick Howell, Theology; Jeannette Rodriguez, Religious Studies; Russ Powell, Law and Middle East; Brian Kelley, Economics; and Robert Andolina, International Studies. Six Tuesday evenings, October - December. Details and registration information here.


September-October 2016


Sept. 23 – Dec. 10: Robots Building Robots, an international group of artists addresses the intersection, or divergence, of creation and consciousness in the digital age, considering ways in which images are harvested without human direction. Hedreen Gallery.

Oct 14 – Nov. 23: Torito y Castillos, an exhibition of Professor Francisco Guerrero’s recent work, investigating the machismo of the Industrial Military Complex through drone weapons technology and traditional Mexican pyrotechnic techniques. Vachon Gallery.

Oct. 21: Family Weekend Choir Concerts: Chapel of St. Ignatius, 7 and 8:30 p.m.

Nov. 9 – 20: Theatre production of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, directed by Professor Ki Gottberg. Lee Center for the Arts.


October 12, 2016: 7th Annual Catholic Heritage Lectures: Rooted in Tradition, Growing Towards the Future: SU at 125, featuring Stephanie Russell, Vice President for Mission Integration of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and University who will provide a foundational understanding of a Jesuit Catholic university in the 21st century. 5:00 pm, Campion Ballroom.

November 8: Jesuits in the History of Science, featuring Professor David Boness, Physics Department Chair, 12:00 – 1:20 P.M. Student Center 130.

Nov. 14: Professor Tobie Meyer-Fong presents “World of Pan and Wonder: Horizons of a 19th Century Chinese Traveler,” as the inaugural Peter L. Lee Endowed Lecture in East Asian Culture and Civilization. Her presentation will focus on Li Gui who, from 1876 to 1877, became one of the first Chinese travelers to circumnavigate the globe. 4:30 p.m. Student Center 160. Free.

Nov. 17: Screening and lecture on Flannery O’Connor, with Professor Mark Bosco, SJ, Ph.D., 5 p.m., Wyckoff Auditorium


October 24: Debate between the two candidates for the 7th U.S. Congressional District, Brady Pinero Walkinshaw and Pramila Jayapal.  MPA Director, Larry Hubbell and multi-media journalist and lecturer Joni Balter will interview the candidates.  6:30 - 8:00 p.m., Pigott Auditorium.  Free.

Graduate Program Information Sessions

Details and more information here.

Sept. 22: MA Psychology 6 p.m., Casey 516

Sept. 28: Master in Nonprofit Leadership, 5:30 - 6:30 p.m., Casey 517

Oct. 4: MSW, 6:00 - 7:30 p.m., Casey 516

Oct. 6: MFA, 4 p.m. online

Oct. 6: MA Criminal Justice, 6 p.m. Casey 516

Oct. 11: MA Psychology , 6 p.m. Casey 516

Oct 10: Seattle Idealist Graduate Fair, 5 to 8 p.m., Campion Ballroom.

Oct. 14: All SU Grad Programs Open House, 4:30-6:30 p.m., Student Center

Oct. 20: MSW, 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. Casey 516

Oct. 26: MA Psychology, 6 p.m., Casey 516