Spring 2021

Message from the Dean

Dean David Powers works from his basement during the 2020 pandemicDear Arts and Sciences Alumni and Friends,

We are coming to the end of the 2020-21 academic year. We hope and expect this will be the only full year within the pandemic and are planning a broad return to campus in the Fall Quarter. You will see below that we have continued to pursue our academic mission in the face of the unparalleled challenges.

We have highlighted one of several initiatives connecting science and the humanities, in the work of Dr. Benjamin Schultz-Figueroa.

As we anticipate a return to Study Abroad later in the coming academic year, we have a retrospective of the amazing photos our students took in their travels around the world prior to the pandemic.

We are also welcoming the Master of Arts in Couples and Family Therapy to the College of Arts and Sciences this fall, when it and the Master of Social Work program will participate in a major, statewide multi-university behavioral health training grant from the Ballmer Group.

You will also see Dr. Quinton Morris’s exciting new program Unmute the Voices that will feature music and performances of BIPOC composers and performances, premiering on Juneteenth on KING-FM.

And, there’s more in our student, alumni and faculty sections. Our faculty, staff and students have continued to follow their passions and our mission through a remarkably difficult time and I am so proud to share how we are moving forward.

In This Issue

Intersection: Humanities and Science

Dr. Benjamin Schultz-Figueroa, Assistant Professor, Film Studies, recently talked to the College of Arts and Sciences Leadership Council, a group of alumni and community leaders who act as an advisory board to the Dean, about the intersection of humanities and technology. Recognizing the potential for students to explore entirely new ways of working in his Film Studies classes, he creates opportunities to develop interdisciplinary work between the arts and science. This article is based on his conversation with the Council, faculty, and staff.

Benjamin Schultz-FigueroaIn 2018, the Institute for the Future—a nonprofit educational and research organization—predicted that by the year 2030 85% of today’s college students will be employed in jobs that do not currently exist. To reiterate: in less than a decade, 85% of our students will be doing work that has not yet been invented. [That’s a lot!] Much of the most exciting work I do as a teacher is aimed at equipping students for this uncertain future when traditional disciplinary structures may no longer hold. So, even though I am an Assistant Professor of Film Studies, I have sought to teach across scholarly boundaries, including classes listed in Environmental Science and Environmental Studies, and I have worked closely with biology and nursing majors as well as those in the arts and humanities. In this work, it is my overarching belief that teaching must prepare students for a future moment defined by the scientific discourses of computation, environmental health, and ecology—a moment when media literacy and film studies must extend beyond narrative and theatrical entertainment.

In our article, “Things to Come: Teaching Film Studies for our Scientific Future,” my coauthor—and former student—Danny Tayara and I ask, “What might it take to imagine scientific laboratories as potential worksites for film studies students?” Tayara’s story attests to the potential of this type of interdisciplinary teaching.

Danny Tayara AlumniFor an assignment in a class that I taught on the overlap between Science and Film, Tayara began researching informational aesthetics at the University of Washington’s Department of Astronomy, where Dr. Rory Barnes has developed a program called VR Ulysses that uses virtual reality to visualize large data sets. Based off of the political, historical, and visual lessons from film studies that Tayara was getting in my class, they began making suggestions to Barnes about the selection of data, the control of the VR headset, and the marketing of the device to underserved audiences, which eventually led VR Ulysses to create a formal, shareholding position for Tayara. In this example, which is one among several I could point to, Tayara essentially created a job for themself where none had existed previously, precisely the kind of opportunity that interdisciplinary work between the arts and sciences can foster.

Ulysses Virtual Reality Data Explorer, VR Headset, Virtual Reality Application, Danny Tayara 

In the past three years, since I have joined the SU community, I have worked to develop a program that can create such opportunities for students. This has involved projects that are both granularly small and college-wide. In conjunction with my Science and Film class, I worked with librarians at Lemieux to create a database of online scientific media, which includes a guided walkthrough for humanities students who are researching scientific topics and who are often looking at understudied media. This website became a resource for colleagues at other institutions teaching similar science and film classes.

Among the projects students produced for this class were two video essays dealing with the history and politics of psychological testing, an in-depth investigation of the cinematic representation of malaria during World War II, an analysis of government public health films created to popularize the Clean Air Act, and a study of the representation of gender in early sex education films. Nearly all of these projects worked with films that had never been written about previously, allowing undergraduate students to break new intellectual and historical ground in their research.

Given the pressing need for greater scientific communication, especially around the issue of climate change, I believe that work like this—which explores both past methods of visualizing and popularizing science and suggests new possibilities for doing so in the present—is vitally important. There is a real need for students like Tayara who can speak knowledgably about the history, aesthetics, and ethics of scientific media and data visualization. My hope is that the film studies program here at SU will be at the forefront of training such students.

Dr. Benjamín Schultz-Figueroa is an Assistant Professor in Film Studies at Seattle University. His research focuses on the history of scientific filmmaking, nontheatrical film, and animal studies. His book The Celluloid Specimen: Moving Image Research into Animal Life is due to be published by UC Press in 2022. (Images above, Dr. Benjamin Schultz-Figueroa; Danny Tayara, Film Studies '20.)

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Imagining the World: A Retrospective

by Buddy Todd

“Imagining the World highlights our college's participation in the global community. Through this contest, students, faculty, and staff capture more than a moment in their experience – they share a very personal window into the world they explore.” – 2020 Virtual Gallery

Visit the 2021 virtual exhibit here.

Collage of award winning photosWhen Kathleen La Voy, Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs, started the annual Imagining the World photo exhibit, it was with the desire to show Seattle University as an international college. Held in October of 2008, students who were enrolled in the University’s Study Abroad program submitted photos of moments that told a story about their overseas experience.

“I love students,” said La Voy, who was, at the time, Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, “What a way to get to know who they are! In the case of photos, you’re actually looking through someone else’s eyes. We talk about walking in their shoes but looking through their eyes is really something.”

Taking over the quad, the winning photo, along with “honorable mentions” were projected on large screens. October in Seattle tends to bring damp, cold weather, which would have halted the whole experience. But, for this first year, the weather was perfect. Several ethnic restaurants provided food and tables were set up with various items to really bring an international festivity to it.

“We had all these people, “ La Voy remembers, “you don’t realize how much the campus is utilized by the neighbors. It was so much fun to open up and bring the community in.”

The following year, the event was moved indoors, in consideration for our wet, Seattle Octobers, and the decision was made to include an additional contest to feature local photos taken by Seattle University international students: “We are abroad to them”, according to La Voy.

Sonora Jha, current Associate Dean for Academic Community, College of Arts and Sciences, feels the same way: “It’s not just about looking outward at the ‘exotic other’ but that (to international students) we are also the ‘exotic other’, if there even is such a thing.”

Later a Faculty category was added to increase perspectives to be displayed.

Many photographers, through this annual contest and exhibition, ended up finding permanence on campus. As La Voy says, “the photographs weren’t just beautiful, they were also a great reminder that, at Seattle U, student stories are what matter.” Visitors to campus can see work all over buildings like Vi Hilbert Hall, among others.

“The photos are about connection, rather than ‘othering’”, explains Jha, “I think that it was wonderful students could go into different parts of the world and you can almost see that they recognize their place in it.”

Indeed, when looking through the retrospective, we can see the incredibly rich diversity in architecture, landscape, and even clothing among the photos. Yet, looking at the faces, expressions, and actions of the subjects, we can also see that we have much more in common.

Sadly, due to the pandemic, travel is halted and the in-person experience will not take place at this time. Yet, as things continue to open and revive, there is hope. When asked about her thoughts on our virtual retrospective, Jha said, “I think it’s important (that this virtual exhibit takes place) as a way to acknowledge the sadness of our imposed distance and yet serve up good memories, like a window to look out of as we dream of once again roaming all over the world.”

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Master of Arts in Couples and Family Therapy Moving to Arts and Sciences

Earlier this year, Seattle University Provost Shane P. Martin announced that the Master of Arts in Couples and Family Therapy (MACFT) program will move to the College of Arts and Sciences effective July 1, 2021.

Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education logoDue to the changing landscape in theological higher education, Seattle University announced the difficult decision to close Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry. While some programs are ending, with teach out plans in place for current students, it was determined that the MACFT program should continue. Building on the strengths of STM’s pastoral counseling program, the program transitioned to training couples and family therapists (2012). The MACFT program achieved Commission on the Accreditation of Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) accreditation in May 2014. After significant review, the university concluded that the program fits best within the College of Arts and Sciences.

David V. Powers, PhD, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said, “The MACFT program aligns with the College’s mission to provide students with an excellent holistic education in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and professional disciplines to develop and nurture a vision for a more just and humane world. They are a welcome addition to our portfolio of graduate programs.”

The College of Arts and Sciences offers seven other graduate programs in arts leadership, criminal justice, kinesiology, nonprofit leadership, psychology, public administration, and social work.

Christie Eppler, PhD, LMFT, Program Director and Professor, said “The MACFT program is excited to continue our work of training compassionate and competent systemic therapists who have the skills to treat clients from across social locations. We look forward to training therapist who bolster clients’ resilience. Couples and family therapy education aligns with the College of Arts and Sciences’ vision to train knowledgeable, creative, and Jesuit-informed graduates. Continuing students will continue to learn from current faculty who interweave faith and culture into clinical care.”

Seattle University is accepting applications to the Master of Arts in Couples and Family Therapy for Fall 2022 and beyond. There is no fee for new applications through Fall 2022. Learn more here.

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$38 Million Set of Gifts From Ballmer Group to Address Behavioral Health Crisis

Seattle University graduate programs invited to participate in broad, collaborative response to state’s behavioral health crisis that aims to bolster workforce, resources across Washington through UW-led programs.

The University of Washington announced that the School of Social Work and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and the Behavioral Health Institute at Harborview Medical Center are part of a transformational $38 million set of gifts from Ballmer Group to support a broad, collaborative response to the state’s behavioral health crisis.

Seattle University is one of a number of colleges and universities in the state participating in this effort through graduate student financial assistance provided by the Ballmer Group gifts. The grants will support students in multiple accredited graduate programs in mental health counseling and social work in our state, including Seattle U’s Master of Social Work; Master of Arts in Couples and Family Therapy; and Master of Education in Counseling, Clinical Mental Health.

“We are very proud to be among the colleges and universities who will be part of this collaborative response to Washington state’s behavioral health crisis,” said Seattle University Provost Shane P. Martin. “This effort aligns perfectly with Seattle University’s commitment to educating the whole person, to professional formation and to empowering leaders for a just and humane world."

“This is a transformational moment in developing the Behavioral Health Workforce in our state and I am grateful that our students are included,” said Dr. David V. Powers, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences. “We thank the Ballmer Group for their generosity and the University of Washington for their leadership.”

 “The SU Master of Social Work program specializes in social justice-focused and community-based advanced clinical social work education. As our mission is to advance equity in access to excellent care, our program is perfectly positioned to play a key role in transforming our statewide behavioral health system,” said Dr. Hye-Kyung Kang, Director of the MSW program and Chair of Social Work. “This is an extraordinary opportunity to support talented, passionate students in achieving their goals to make real impact in their communities while relieving them of debt as they move into their careers.”

 “We prepare our graduates to clinically heal and empower individuals and relationships from intersecting social locations – ethnicities, gender identities, faith traditions,” said Dr. Christie Eppler, Director of the Master of Arts in Couples and Family Therapy program. “As we transition to our two-year degree, this is an exciting opportunity to make a difference in behavioral health around the state.”

Unmute the Voices with Dr. Quinton Morris

Last fall, we shared the news that Dr. Morris was named the inaugural Artist-Scholar in Residence at Classical KING FM. In June, they announced the launch of Unmute The Voices, a new audio and video project celebrating the music and performances of BIPOC composers and performers with dedicated space for BIPOC artistry. The first performance will be on Juneteenth, June 19, 2021, at 3 p.m.

Unmute The Voices will be a radio program with music and interviews, paired with a video series featuring extended interviews with today’s BIPOC classical artists, and ensembles and other artists performing works by composers of color.

Photos of Dr. Quinton Morris and Maggie Molloy with red accentsJoin us on June 3 at 12:30 p.m. for Unmuting the Voices, a conversation between Dr. Morris and Maggie Molloy, Seattle University alum and the host of Second Inversion at KING FM. Free; register to receive the Zoom link.

The program is now seeking submissions from classical artists of color and classical performers who have recorded music by composers of color. Learn more here.

Dr. Quinton Morris leads the project. A multifaceted teacher and performer, Dr. Morris is Director of Chamber and Instrumental Music and Associate Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at Seattle University and is the founder of Key to Change, a non-profit violin and viola studio serving South King County that focuses on creating opportunities for young musicians of color and those from underserved socio-economic backgrounds. Dr. Morris is also Co-Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission.

Classical KING FM is the primary institution developing new audiences for classical music and the arts in Seattle, Bellevue, and the Puget Sound Region. Listener-supported KING FM is located at Seattle Center with a mission to make classical music accessible for everyone in the community and to advocate for the arts in our region.

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Upcoming Events

  • Seattle University Choirs, "America, Virtual Performance

    Enjoy the Paul Simon and Art Garfunke classic, arranged by Stephen O'Bent, in collaboration with the Digipen Institute of Technology Vocal Ensemble.

  • SUURJ Volume 5 (Seattle University Undergraduate Research Journal) Launch Event

    May 26, 6 p.m. online, celebrate student research and publication

  • Unmuting the Voices

    June 3, 12:30 p.m., online, a conversation with Dr. Quinton Morris

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    June 13, 1 p.m.

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