Spring 2019

Spring Quarter always makes me think of transitions and new beginnings; the class of 2019 starts the newest phase of their lives with Commencement, we welcomed newly admitted students to Open Houses, and prospective students and their families have been touring the campus, thinking of the future.

When I think of the future, I am heartened by the recent surge of support for liberal arts education that I have seen locally, nationally and even internationally, and by the support we now have in Arts and Sciences for students on their professional formation journeys.

Seattle University instills the desire for purpose in our students and Inside Higher Education highlights the importance of the intersection of purpose and the value of the liberal arts. “The survey also examined employers’ attitudes about the liberal arts. Other studies have confirmed that employers do tend to value these “soft skills,” and in this survey, hiring managers said they felt that colleges should be teaching students critical thinking skills and to communicate effectively.”

In Why ‘worthless’ humanities degrees may set you up for life,’ the BBC further supported how the humanities ready students for success in the workplace. “But few courses of study are quite as heavy on reading, writing, speaking and critical thinking as the liberal arts, in particular the humanities – whether that’s by debating other students in a seminar, writing a thesis paper or analyzing poetry. When asked to drill the most job market-ready skills of a humanities graduate down to three, (author George Anders) doesn’t hesitate. ‘Creativity, curiosity and empathy,” he says. “Empathy is usually the biggest one. That doesn’t just mean feeling sorry for people with problems. It means an ability to understand the needs and wants of a diverse group of people.’ ”

Also from that article: "Or take it directly from two top executives at tech giant Microsoft who wrote recently: ‘As computers behave more like humans, the social sciences and humanities will become even more important. Languages, art, history, economics, ethics, philosophy, psychology and human development courses can teach critical, philosophical and ethics-based skills that will be instrumental in the development and management of AI solutions.’ “

However, the exciting opportunities and host of career paths open to College of Arts and Sciences students are not always obvious. That is why we launched our new program, Pathways to Professional Formation. We are committed to help each student explore their lifetime journey toward a life of meaning and purpose that starts here, on the SU campus. Through these initiatives, we provide opportunities to develop skills and networks that help students start building career paths, opening doors, and expanding possibilities for the future. You can learn more here, including how alumni can be involved.

Thank you for playing your part in the success of Seattle U’s College of Arts and Sciences and for demonstrating the value of the liberal arts as an alumnus.


David V. Powers, PhD

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Seattle University Social Work Department Receives NASW-WA Awards

The Washington Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers recognized members of Seattle University’s Master of Social Work program at their annual Social Work Month Celebration on March 29. Katherine (Kat) Cole, currently in her second year in the SU MSW program, received the Outstanding Student Award. Faculty members Mary Kay Brennan, DSW, LICSW; Hye-Kyung Kang, MSW, PhD; and Riva Zeff, MSW were named Social Work Educators of the Year.

Award winners Kat Cole, Dr. Mary Kay Brennan, Dr. Hye-Kyung Kang and Riva Zeff

The nomination for Kat Cole stated, “(she) is the perfect exemplar of an outstanding social work student; she consistently demonstrates the core values of social work profession (service, social justice, dignity and worth of the individual, importance and centrality of human relationships, integrity, and competence) through her leadership and service.”

The nomination for the Social Work Educators of the Year award notes, “The most significant achievement of the trio is the success of Seattle University’s Social Work Programs. Dr. Mary Kay Brennan has, since 2006, continued to develop the BSW program, which now enables students to pursue an MSW program through the Advance Standing Program. The MSW program, under the leadership of Dr. Hye-Kyung Kang and Riza Zeff, is in its third year of the accreditation process with the council on Social Work Education. This program is and will continue to be an important resource for our region by providing competent social works to the field.” 

Photo: left to right, Katherine Cole, MSW Candidate; Mary Kay Brennan, DSW, LICSW; Hye-Kyung Kang, MSW, PhD; and Riva Zeff, MSW.

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New Research Project Partnership between Seattle University Arts Leadership and Lemieux Library and local cultural community

In 2018, Seattle University’s MFA in Arts Leadership and Lemieux Library launched the Arts Ecosystem Research Project (AERP), dedicated to researching, documenting, and sharing information about the region’s dynamic arts and culture sector since 1962.

Focusing on the organizations, businesses, and major events that have shaped the unique character and innovative approach of the Seattle and King County arts ecosystem, the first phase looks at the fifty years from the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair to 2012. Lemieux Library will be the public point of access to the research, hosting a website with a digital timeline and repository, which is currently under development.

“Applied research in the field – research that extends traditional scholarship into the realm of practical application – is a critical component of the SU MFA Arts Leadership program,” says project founder and adjunct faculty member Claudia Bach. “Students taking our new elective, Applied Research Seminar: Arts Innovation is Seattle, master concepts, develop their research skills, and expand their knowledge as future arts leaders by conducting and adding research to AERP each year.”

MFA students and faculty and AERP advisors

A unique feature of the project is a deep community connection developed from the very beginning. Three highly respected members of the cultural community provide guidance, context, and varied perspectives for the project: arts marketer and advocate Vivian Phillips, KUOW arts reporter Marcie Sillman, and arts project manager and writer/editor Mayumi Tsutakawa.  Seattle University Research Services Librarian Felipe Anaya and Bach, along with Arts Leadership program director Kevin Maifeld and faculty members Roxanne Hornbeck and Jasmine Mahmoud round out the AERP advisory group.

 “The combination of students’ academic research and community benefit is particularly powerful,” says Bach. “The students are learning from the experiences of those who came before them, so it is very intergenerational. At the same time, they are creating a resource that will inform the next wave of arts leaders.”

During the inaugural Applied Research Seminar in Winter quarter 2018, 15 graduate students gathered data via interviews and open-­ended surveys from 74 arts leaders representing a cross section of the cultural spectrum.

“We are fortunate that many of the individuals involved are able contribute to the understanding of the legacy and lineage of this still young and vibrant arts ecosystem. From the beginning, it has been our goal to capture significant information directly from the people who lived these experiences before their insights are lost forever,” adds Philips. “We are creating a holistic source for examining and informing future artistic ventures, policies, and funding, while grounding students committed to entering the field with a context of historical data.”

With data on noteworthy moments and seminal arts events, organizations, and businesses in the region, students identified more than 200 potential entries for the AERP timeline, as well as a great deal of additional information on the context and evolution of the sector, resulting in an initial 100 pilot entries created during spring and summer 2018, shaping the development of the website. Respondents also provided more than 300 suggestions of additional potential research contacts, and numerous offers to participate in further research such as case study development.

This year, students focused on developing exploratory case studies to provide depth to timeline entries. The process of creating these case studies will guide the development of future case studies over the coming years.

With support from Dean Sarah Watstein and Research Services Librarian, Felipe Anaya, the Lemieux Library has taken a key role in developing the website and institutional repository. “We are committed to AERP becoming a sustainable academic and community resource,” says Dean Watstein. “We hope to launch the website and institutional repository this summer with the initial timeline and case studies creating the platforms for future research by our students and to provide broad access to the community as the project develops.”

The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and 4Culture have provided support to help get AERP underway. Other supportive entities include MOHAI and Seattle Public Library.

“Students continue to be enthusiastic about the project, with some interested in extending their participation even after they have completed the class,” Bach says. “It is also garnering national interest from the academic field of arts administration.”

The advisory group is exploring additional ways to structure and support the long-term project to fulfill its potential, including a newly formed “Friends of the Arts Ecosystem Research Project” in association with Shunpike. To learn more about the Arts Ecosystem Research Project, contact Claudia Bach, or Kevin Maifeld, Director of the Arts Leadership Program.

Photo: MFA students and faculty and AERP community advisors.

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Dr. Serena Cosgrove, SU Central America Initiative, visits Universidad Centroamericana in Nicaragua

Father Chepe, Dr. Serena Cosgrove, Father Arturo SosaIn June, UCA President P. José Alberto Idiaquez, S.J. will receive an honorary doctorate from Seattle University at the undergraduate commencement. An accomplished scholar and academic leader, Father “Chepe,” as he is known, has done fieldwork with indigenous and marginalized communities in Honduras, Panama and Nicaragua.

NPR broadcast a story about Father Chepe recently, including an interview with his niece, who currently lives in Seattle, and Dr. Serena Cosgrove, Director of Seattle U's Central America Initiative. You can listen to the interview here.

On January 9, 2019, the UCA announced that the government had cut their annual government funding by 30 percent, resulting in a reduction of their annual $16 million budget by $2.5 million. While the UCA has reopened and classes resumed in January, enrollment has decreased by 50 percent given the high levels of insecurity and fear. The university is projecting a 50 percent budget deficit for 2019 but has decided to seek interim bridge loans in the short-term and create a fundraising office in the mid-term rather than implement massive layoffs. Funds that were raised in the US and Europe will be used for student scholarships but there is still far to go to make up for the cuts.

Following this announcement, Dr. Cosgrove traveled to Managua, participating in several meetings with Fr. Chepe, members of the UCA cabinet, and the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Father Arturo Sosa. She also had the opportunity to meet the U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua Kevin K. Sullivan to communicate the concern of the 28 Jesuit universities in the U.S. regarding the situation in Nicaragua and the UCA, in particular.

“The Father General has been very concerned about the situation in Nicaragua, in general, and the challenges the UCA has been facing, in particular, since last year,” says Dr. Cosgrove. “But given that Fr. Chepe, the rector of the UCA, has received multiple death threats from sources close to the government, Fr. Sosa decided to include Nicaragua in his plans to visit Central America.”

Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Father Arturo SosaShe also attended a mass conducted by the Superior General at Colegio Centroamericano (one of whose students has been killed by police.) 

Dr. Cosgrove found an odd tension in Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, during her stay. During the day, she saw cars, trucks, and buses moving around the city like ‘normal,’ even people out on foot. However, police, riot police, and the paramilitary are stationed around the city. The national economy has been seriously affected, and tourism, once a thriving industry, has contracted significantly; there are no tourists in Managua.

Universities in the city are open. In the public universities, controlled by the government, all students are searched entering and leaving. At the UCA, police and paramilitaries maintain an around-the-clock presence near the campus and surrounding neighborhood. They stop students and search them.

“Carrying a Nicaragua flag or having a Facebook page that is critical of the government is sufficient cause for arrest. People are afraid to carry their cell phones in public,” said Dr. Cosgrove. “Multiple times I heard people say that they fear there will not be a negotiated settlement to this situation due to the fact that Daniel Ortega, the president of the country, is a fighting man, not a negotiator. “Es un hombre de balas” (He is a man of bullets).”

The people of Nicaragua have faced an ongoing crisis since April 2018 as repressive government tactics have subdued peaceful civilian demonstrations, leading to more than 500 deaths, 1,000 people who have disappeared, and an additional 4,000 people injured. Over 700 political prisoners, many of whom are young college students, are being held by the government, accused of terrorism.

Dr. Cosgrove and others in the Jesuit community are particularly protective of Fr. Chepe, who has been outspoken in his support for students. “By raising his international profile, we believe that we can provide additional protection,” she said. “We nominated him for a significant humanitarian award from the Latin American Studies Association. He will travel to Boston in May to accept the LASA/Oxfam America Martin Diskin Memorial Lectureship. Dr. Cosgrove and Fr. Chepe are also co-authoring a book, “Surviving the Americas: Garifuna Persistence from Nicaragua to New York City, due out from University of Cincinnati Press in 2020.

Dr. Serena Cosgrove, UCA President Father Chepe, members of UCA cabinet, and Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Father Arturo SosaSeattle University has promoted solidarity with the people of Nicaragua and colleagues and students at UCA along with other Jesuit universities, beginning with a public statement on April 26, 2018. On May 4, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, to which Seattle University is a member, issued a statement condemning the violence and in support of the UCA. In June 629 members of the Seattle U community signed a letter of support and solidarity. As UCA has experienced cuts and delays in the financial support provided by the Nicaraguan government, last December Father Stephen Sundborg, SJ, made an emergency appeal for scholarship support for UCA students which raised $50,000.

Seattle University has welcomed five UCA students to campus this year, allowing them to continue their education. (The students’ names are not being released to ensure their safety.)

Those interested in supporting UCA students and/or the Central America Initiative may make donations here:

Photos, top to bottom: UCA President P. José Alberto Idiaquez, SJ (Father Chepe), Dr. Serena Cosgrove, and Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Father Arturo Sosa. Father Sosa celebrating Mass. Dr. Cosgrove, Father Chepe, Father Sosa, and members of the UCA Cabinet.

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Dr. Paulette Kidder Receives 2019-20 James B. McGoldrick, S.J., Fellowship

Seattle University President, Stephen V. Sundborg, SJ, recently announced that Dr. Paulette Kidder is the 2019-2020 recipient of the James B. McGoldrick, S.J., Fellowship. Named for a beloved Jesuit who devoted a half century of his life to Seattle University, the fellowship recognizes an extraordinary faculty member who embodies the mission and values of Seattle University. The McGoldrick Fellowship, the most prestigious award Seattle University confers upon faculty, includes a quarter or semester sabbatical.

Head shot of Paulette KidderIn his announcement, Fr. Sundborg said, “Dr. Kidder’s considerable contributions as a teacher-scholar are rivaled by her incredible service to the university. Much as Father McGoldrick guided our institution through times of transition and challenge, Dr. Kidder has, time and again, answered the call when our university has needed her most. After having served as associate dean and interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, she was appointed interim dean of Matteo Ricci in 2016 and, with a steadying hand, she led the college through its transition to the institute that she now directs.”

He continued, “Colleagues and students alike value Dr. Kidder for her warmth and compassion and her principled and visionary leadership. She not only espouses but truly lives out the highest ideals of our Jesuit educational mission.”

“I can imagine no better exemplar of someone who “embodies the mission and values of our institution” in the spirit of Fr. McGoldrick than Dr. Paulette Kidder,” said Dr. David V. Powers, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “She is a teacher-scholar who has stepped up into a host of leadership roles across the college and the university, often in challenging times. Paulette’s thoughtfulness, graciousness and strength create an environment where people feel heard, supported and able to move forward together even through difficulties. She is an outstanding faculty member and genuinely warm-hearted person; I offer my sincerest congratulations.”

Currently the director of the and associate professor of philosophy, Dr. Kidder has been on SU’s faculty since 1989. She teaches courses on health care ethics, ethics of food, 19th century thought, feminist moral theory and the philosophy of Martha Nussbaum. Her research and numerous publications have focused on bioethics, philosophy and literature/film, contemporary continental philosophy and the dialogue between Catholic thought and contemporary philosophical movements.

Upon learning of her selection, Dr. Kidder said, “I am very grateful for this recognition, especially when I read the list of past recipients, many of whom have been my friends and my most admired colleagues at SU. I was fortunate to meet Fr. McGoldrick once when I visited SU as a college student. He made a strong impression as someone who carried the identity of the institution but who took the time to interact with students in a warm and humorous way.  It’s a great thing that we continue to celebrate his legacy.”

Kidder will be recognized as the recipient of the 2019-2020 McGoldrick Fellowship at the annual Faculty and Staff Appreciation Event in May.

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Alumni Snapshots

Faculty News

Image of choir with text overlayUniversity Singers is an unauditioned SATB choir, open to students, alumni, staff, faculty and community members. Rehearsals are Wednesdays, 6-7:30 p.m. in Fine Arts 114. To learn more and/or sign up, contact Dr. Leann Conley-Holcom by email or phone, 206.296.5371.

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Annual Giving Campaign Spring 2019

We are grateful for your generosity

Thank you to the many alumni, parents and friends who have responded to the recent appeals for donations. Your donations empower our current students with scholarships, propel faculty research and trainings, and enable special opportunities within the College of Arts and Sciences. All gifts are meaningful and demonstrate to our faculty, staff, and students that our alumni and friends are an important partner in our students’ success. Thank you for all you do on behalf of Seattle University. Give online here.

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