Dean's Monthly Memo, October 2017


Thank you to everyone who attended our Arts and Sciences Convocation on Sept. 13. I appreciate your time and attention to important issues that we will address this year.  I talked how we can bring our mission to the moment, specifically focusing on four primary ideas:

  • Growing student connections beyond the classroom
  • Advancing programs and resources with effectiveness and creativity
  • Teaching and living the social justice mission
  • Doing these things together as a professional academic community

A number of the accomplishments shared here illustrate how we are currently bringing our mission to the moment in many of these ways.

You can find my remarks here. I look forward to continuing our work.

You may recall that the new Deans’ Assessment Process was designed to include a faculty and staff forum to provide feedback to the community. Julie Staggs from the Korn Ferry Hay Group, which conducted the assessment will be on campus on October 10. We have scheduled the A&S Faculty and Staff Forum on “360 Review” for 12:30 to 1:30 that day, in Pigott 101. In addition to Julie’s presentation, I will share more of what I learned during the process. I hope you will be able to join us.

David V. Powers, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

Sonora Jha, Ph.D., invites abstracts for the College of Arts & Sciences "Work-in-Progress Series." The series is a platform for scholarly exchange and support between our faculty.  This year, we would like particularly to encourage presentations from faculty whose work engages issues of social justice - racial justice, class, gender, sexuality, immigration, environment, work on intersectionality and others. All faculty work is welcome, of course, but it would be useful to leverage this event as one way to build education and conversation around these issues, for which we have clearly demonstrated a sense of urgency. We will run one event per quarter. The dates for the events for this year are Tuesday, Nov. 7, Tuesday, March 6, and Tuesday, May 15. The events will be held from 12:30-1:30 p.m. We invite faculty to present scholarly work that is in various stages of development. Please send your paper abstract to Sonora at your convenience (no later than Oct. 10 for the Fall event). After the submissions are selected, we will announce the presenters and topics and invite colleagues for the event.

Collaboration and Partnership

SU’s Project on Family Homelessness, in the Institute of Public Service, recently partnered with Solid Ground and other housing organizations on a non-partisan voter education project and hosted the first-ever Seattle mayoral candidate debate about housing and homelessness, two of the top three issues for voters. On Sept. 12, candidates Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon sparred in front of a full house in Piggott Auditorium, answering questions posed by moderator Enrique Cerna of KCTS9 and reporters Vernal Coleman of The Seattle Times, Heidi Groover of The Stranger and David Kroman of Crosscut. Media sponsors Crosscut and The Seattle Times broadcast the debate jointly as a livestream that was viewed more 40,000 times within the first week. Arts & Sciences students on the project team helped create an online Housing Voters’ Guide, a widely shared illustration of the candidates that appeared in the Times, and more. A full recap, with links to the video, media coverage and community questions for the candidates, is here. You can also view the Get Out the Vote video for the primary, created by Madison Vucci and Journalism/Teaching for the Humanities double major Tess Riski.

In spring, 2017, Dr. Mark Cohan's university core class, "Sociology of Food," partnered with Seattle-based Northwest Harvest, a non-profit food bank distributor, to help them promote a conference they planned to host.  Cohan's students studied the structural forces, from international economic dynamics to institutional racism, that cause hunger and limit access to whole, healthy food, particularly in poorer communities of color.  They also learned about the food justice movement, which seeks to address these problems in ways that depend on the leadership, insights, and voices of those in these marginalized communities.  The students then conducted video interviews with food bank managers and other professionals in the emergency food system with a focus on what food justice means and how they can foster it.  The students completed interviews of 20 to 40 minutes in length, then edited them down to 10-15 min highlights as their final projects.  Over the summer, a staff member at Northwest Harvest edited the videos into a professional, promotional video, which they used to promote the national conference, Closing the Hunger Gap: From Charity to Solidarity, which occurred in early September.  Watch the final video based on the students' interviews.

Kathleen E. Cook, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Chair, Department of Psychology is one of the primary investigators in a National Science Foundation research grant to transform engineering education. The Department of Mechanical Engineering at Seattle University was awarded $1,860,000 from the NSF, and SU one of only two private schools, and one of only two mechanical engineering programs, in the nation to receive this prestigious award. The five-year grant will provide the resources to revolutionize Seattle University’s mechanical engineering curriculum for undergraduates. Seattle U mechanical engineering students and faculty will be immersed in a cutting-edge program focused on doing engineering with engineers. These program changes are motivated by national concerns about student persistence and workplace readiness.


Elizabeth J. Dale, PhD Assistant Professor, Nonprofit Leadership, is the lead author for paper selected for the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) Best 2016 Conference Paper Award. She is joined by Jacqueline Ackerman, Debra Mesch, Una Osili, and Silvia Garcia as co-authors on the paper. They will receive the award on Friday, November 17 at the ARNOVA Awards luncheon in Grand Rapids, MI during the 2017 annual conference.

Stephen Rice, PhD, Department of Criminal Justice, published "Darkness to Light: Procedural Injustice as Crisis for Capital Punishment Legitimacy" in the Seattle Journal for Social Justice.

Jason Miller, PhD, has had his work with the Delridge Grocery Co-op featured in two stories in the West Seattle Blog.  The first provided background on a planned town hall meeting and the second was a recap of the meeting. Delridge Grocery Co-op’s mission is to grow community by providing local, sustainably grown whole foods, at affordable prices, to the residents of the Delridge area in Seattle.

Rob Efird, PhD, Professor of Anthropology and Asian Studies, presented his paper, "The Development of Chinese Nature Schools", at the 9th World Environmental Education Congress in Vancouver, BC on September 10.

Brian McCollough, PhD, Assistant Professor, Sport Administration & Leadership and Coordinator, Certificate in Sport Sustainability Leadership had a publication recently accepted and now in press with Sport Management Review.  The article is titled, “Equity-based sustainability and ecocentric management: Creating more ecologically just sport organization practices.”  Our article was also picked up and highlighted by Science Trends in an online new article.

Larry Hubbell, PhD, Institute of Public Service, has received a Fulbright Scholar's Award and will be teaching Southeast European University in Tetovo, Macedonia in November and December for 3-1/2 weeks.  This is Larry's third Fulbright Scholar's Award, having previously served in Sierra Leone and Lithuania.

Kirsten Moana Thompson presented at three conferences this summer. "Light, Color and Motion: Animated Materiality in Moana," Society for Animation Studies Annual Conference, And Yet It Moves! Università degli Studi di Padova, Italy, July 3-7, 2017. “Moana: From Flaherty to Disney" (Keynote), New Zealand Studies Association (NZSA), Contested Territories in the Pacific, University of Strasbourg, France, July 7-10, 2017. "Lanu Moana (Blue) and Brown Skin: Disney Color Design and the Pacific," Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS), Chicago, USA, March 22-27, 2017.

Yitan Li, PhD, Associate Professor of Political Science, has recently been promoted from assistant editor to editor at the Journal of Chinese Political Science (JCPS).  JCPS is a refereed flagship journal of the Association of Chinese Political Studies, which is the largest U.S.-based organization dedicated to academic and professional activities relating to Chinese politics.

Claire LeBeau, PhD, Assistant Professor, Psychology Department published “Ontological and Ethical Guilt: Phenomenological Perspectives on Becoming a Mother” in The Humanistic Psychologist.

Amelia Seraphia Derr, PhD, Assistant Professor of Social Work, attended the University of Oxford Refugee Studies Centre Summer Institute on Forced Migration. This is a highly selective two-week program that brings together 70 people from all over the world to learn best practices for meeting the needs of immigrants and refugees, and to make lasting relationships with others in the field of migration-response. She will bring this experience back to Seattle University through a series of events with the goals of: 1) Connecting broader global migration issues to what is happening here in Seattle, 2) Increasing student engagement with issues of migration, and 3) Improving the climate on campus for immigrant and refugee students.

She has also been working over the past five months on a year-long Leadership for Racial Equity program for City of Seattle employees through the Seattle Office for Civil Rights. This is part of their Race and Social Justice Initiative which is the City’s commitment to eliminate racial disparities and achieve racial equity in Seattle. The year-long leadership program is for City employees who are taking leadership roles for racial equity in their departments. Twenty-seven participants represent most of the City departments. Amelia is co-facilitating the monthly day-long sessions and co-developing the curriculum for this program with SOCR RSJI employees LaMont Green and Teddy McGlynn-Wright.

She will present the paper, "Whole Person Resilience: A Conceptual Model to Support the Health and Well Being of Service Providers,” at the International Conference on Health, Wellness & Society in Denver, CO, October 5 through 8.

She also co-facilitated a day long retreat for The Evergreen State College faculty to process the events they experienced this past spring and move towards healing their campus community, creating belonging on their campus, and actively working for racial equity and social justice.

Maylon Hanold, EdD, Director and Senior Instructor in Sport Administration and Leadership published an article in Advances in Developing Human Resources titled "Toward a New Approach to Authentic Leadership: The Practice of Embodied Dialogical “Thinking” and the Promise of Shared Power." She also co-authored a chapter with MSAL Alumnus, Riley McCormack ('16), titled "Becoming My Authentic Self: Training, Transitioning and Surgery in Transgender Athletes in Competitive Sport, a Routledge edited book. The chapter was based on a collaborative autoethnography conducted by Hanold and McCormack. Finally, Dr. Hanold presented a paper at the 3rd biennial Women’s Leadership Affinity Group Conference titled "Developing Leadership for Women in Sport Organizations" in Rhinebeck, NY in June.

Beatrice J. W. Lawrence, PhD, published “Jethro and the Jews: Jewish Biblical Interpretation and the Question of Identity” (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2017). “Jethro and the Jews” examines rabbinic texts that address the biblical character of Jethro, a Midianite priest, Moses' advisor and father-in-law, and the creator of the system of Jewish jurisprudence. Lawrence explores biblical interpretations in Midrash, Targum and Talmud, revealing a spectrum of responses to the presence of a man who straddles the line between insider and outsider. Ranging from character assassination to valorization of Jethro as a convert, these interpretive strategies reveal him to be a locus of anxiety for the rabbis concerning conversion, community boundaries, intermarriage, and non-Jews.

Patrick Kelly, SJ gave a keynote lecture on “Spirituality and Intercollegiate Athletics” at the conference "Sport at the Service of Humanity" at Villanova University on June 8.  This conference was the first regional follow up to the Vatican conference held in Rome last October and was sponsored by the Big East Athletic Conference and the Pontifical Council for Culture.  You can watch Fr. Kelly’s talk and Q and A here. Later in June, Fr. Kelly gave two lectures at the University of Notre Dame about youth sport (one talk available here) and also addressed the World Union of Jesuit Alumni meeting in Cleveland about “Flow, Sport and Spiritual Traditions.”  

Philip Barclift, PhD, and Sven Arvidson, PhD, presented “How does one measure the Jesuit ethos in a student’s life?” at Through the Eye of the Needle: Commitment to Justice in Jesuit Higher Education Conference. August 11-12, 2017. Philip also presented “A Problem of Experience: Fighting Hopelessness in the Struggle for Justice” at the same conference.

Serena Cosgrove, PhD, Assistant Professor in International Studies, celebrates the recent publication of “Understanding Global Poverty: Causes, Capabilities, and Human Development” with her co-author Ben Curtis, PhD.

Ali Altaf Mian, PhD, assistant professor of Theology and Religious Studies, is invited to deliver a talk entitled, "Muslims in South Asia," at Duke University on November 13. The talk is hosted by the John Hope Franklin Center for Humanities and the Duke Islamic Studies Center. Dr. Mian also presented two papers at the following conferences: "Locales of Discipline: 'Abd al-Majid Daryabadi's Hakim-ul-ummat and the Sufi Lodge in Thana Bhawan," Locality, Genre, and Muslim Belonging, Sept. 15-26 at Wake Forest University and  "The Proselytization of Certainty in Modern Islam: Faith and Action in Tablighi Theology," September 18-22 at the 33rd meeting of Deutsche Orientalistentag, Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany.

Joseph DeFilippis, PhD, will present “The queer politics of welfare and poverty: A Talk by Dr. Joseph Nicholas DeFilippis” on October 12 at California State University, Los Angeles: Cross Cultural Centers and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, in Los Angeles, California.

Amelia Derr, MSW, PhD will present “Whole Person Resilience: A Conceptual Model to Support the Health and Well Being of Service Providers” at the Health, Wellness & Society Research Network: 7 International Conference on Health, Wellness & Society in Denver, Colorado on October 5.

Hye-Kyung Kang, MSW, PhD, with co-presenter: Peggy O'Neill, Smith College SSW, will present “Constructing Critical Conversations about Racial/Social (In)Justice for Effective Teaching and Learning” at the Council on Social Work Education: 63 Annual Program Meeting in Dallas, Texas on October 21, 2017

Kelly Thompson, MSW, with co-presenter: Dr. Ann Vander Stoep, PhD University of Washington, will present “Is an Emotional Health Check-up to Reduce Student Stress a Fit for your School?” at the Center for School Mental Health: 22 Annual Conference on Advancing School Mental Health in Washington, D.C on October 20.


Verna Mckinnon-Hipps of the Communication Department published her second novel entitled “Tree of Bones” with Sky Warrior Books. It is the second novel in the Familiar’s Tale fantasy series.



Academic Calendar

  • Oct. 20, Last Day to Remove “I” Grade: Spring & Summer 2017
  • Oct. 23-Nov. 10, Advising Period, Winter Quarter 2018
  • Nov. 1, Last Day to Apply for Graduation: Spring 2018
  • Nov. 6, Last Day to Withdraw from Classes
  • Nov. 10, Veteran’s Day, No Classes
  • Nov. 13, Registration Begins: Winter 2018
  • Nov. 15, Last Day to Remove “N” Grade: Fall 2016
  • Nov. 22-25, Thanksgiving Break, No Classes
  • Dec. 2, Last Class Day
  • Dec. 4-9, Final Exam Week
  • Dec. 10-Jan. 2, Winter Break
  • Dec. 13, noon, Grades Due
  • Dec. 13, 6 p.m., Grades Posted to SU Online
  • Dec. 18, Non-matric Registration: Winter 2018
  • Dec. 25-Jan. 2, Administrative Offices Closed

The Dean’s Monthly Memo is distributed on the first Tuesday of the month.* Please send items to Karen Bystrom no later than two weeks prior to the distribution date.

*Not distributed December, July or August.