Answer Me This

Answer Me This is a forum for addressing questions about working at Seattle University and campus life. The Commons invites faculty and staff to suggest possible topics for questions or specific questions for consideration by e-mailing

LiVE well (and prosper)

Q:  How did one of our colleagues win a $1,000 gift card?

A: A recent work week began quite well for Dhorea Brown when she was informed the morning of Monday Jan. 25 that she had won a $1,000 REI gift card. Brown, associate director of undergraduate programs in Albers School of Business and Economics, was one of 61 SU faculty and staff who earned more than 3,000 LiVE points in 2015. This put her into a raffle from which her name was randomly drawn. 

Matt Philip, director of compensation and benefits, had the happy task of delivering the prize. "Like past recipients, she felt very lucky," said Philip. "That may be true, but she did rack up more than 3,000 LiVE points in 2015!" 

Here are the full stats for points earned by SU faculty and staff in 2015. 

  • Core Level - 1,000+ wellness points earned during the year. 640 faculty/staff attained that level (or higher) and were rewarded by preferred medical plan premium placing for the entire 2016 year. 
  • Upper Level - 2,000+ points. 146 people met or exceeded this level. The reward was the preferred premiums above and a $25 Amazon gift card. 
  • Distinguished Level - 3,000+ points. 61 people met the highest level. Their names will be posted to the "Wellness Achievement Circle" and Brown, of course, took home the $1,000 REI card. 

Click here to start earning your points for 2016 and to learn about the Go Move challenge involving employees at Jesuit colleges and universities.

International students


Q: How many international students are enrolled at SU?

A: We currently have 865 international students from 55 countries on campus and the top ten countries are listed below. 

China - 240
Indonesia - 159
Vietnam - 81
Saudi Arabia - 71
Taiwan - 55
India - 38
Hong Kong - 25
Japan - 24
Canada - 16
South Korea - 16

Open Enrollment

Q: What percentage of faculty and staff made elections during Open Enrollment? 

A: This year's Open Enrollment was different from that of years past in that faculty and staff had to choose their healthcare coverage or be defaulted to the Premera Health Savings Account option. 

So how did we do? Here's what the benefits team has to report about Open Enrollment, which concluded on Nov. 20: 

"Thank you!!! During the four weeks of Open Enrollment there were 1,324 faculty and staff who processed their elections-a participation rate of 99%. Now that is impressive! 

"With sincere gratitude (we extend) a big thank you for your participation in Open Enrollment this year. We are very grateful to all faculty and staff who interacted with the enrollment system, engaged with Human Resources-including reading email and other communications, and connected with our benefit plan representatives to finalize benefits decisions for 2016.

The importance this year was to be thoughtful of benefit selections and to have a better understanding of the comprehensive benefits offered by the university. The goal for this year's Open Enrollment was for 100% participation-we'll just round up and say mission accomplished thanks to you." 

Click here to learn more about SU's benefits programs.

Smoking cessation

TobaccoFree_248Q: What resources are available for members of the SU community who are interested in discontinuing their use of tobacco products?

A: For faculty and staff interested in cessation, there are options through the university's sponsored health plans with Premera and Group Health. Further details for faculty and staff as well as cessation resources-including "quit kits"-for all members of the SU community can be found here

The Student Health Center (SHC) is now offering tobacco cessation counseling for students for a $5 copay. Students interested in quitting are encouraged to make an appointment with the SHC at which a number of cessation aids will be discussed. If students opt for nicotine replacement, the patches will be provided at no cost above the copay. Interested students are encouraged to visit the SHC on the first floor of Bellarmine Hall or call 296-6300 to set up an appointment.

Costco Scholarship Breakfast

Q: How much was raised at this year's Costco Scholarship Fund Breakfast?

A: The 16th Annual Costco Scholarship Fund Breakfast, held Sept. 30, 2015 at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue, attracted a record number of attendees-more than 1,200-and raised the largest amount to date, $3.83 million. Funds raised at the breakfast benefit scholarships for underrepresented students at the University of Washington and Seattle University.

SU sophomore Ryan Lim, served as co-emcee, and shared how the Costco Scholarship allowed him to pursue his dream of attending the university. The breakfast also featured a video of SU alumnus Abraham Romo and his work with Waves for Water a non-profit geared at providing clean drinking water around the world. Freshman Nayeli Cervantes and her path to college was also featured in a video. Alumna Ashley Burns closed out the event by reflecting on the impact of the Costco Scholarship.


Pictured left to right: Abraham Romo (SU alumnus); Jim Sinegal (Costco co-founder and retired CEO), Ryan Lim (SU student), Nayeli Cervantes (SU student), Genezaret Quintana (UW student), Else Washines (UW alumna), Ashley Burns (SU alumna) and Craig Jelinek (Costco CEO).

Open Enrollment


Q:  What's new with SU's benefits plans this year? 

A:  The biggest change this year is that your medical plan election will not simply rollover to the next plan year. If you decide not to make an election, then you will automatically be enrolled in the HSA Plan.

Open enrollment runs now through Friday, Nov. 20. Visit Human Resources to find the 2016 Benefits Guide and link to Your Benefits Center in order to make your elections for the upcoming calendar year. 

Open enrollment benefits workshops, at which you can learn more, will be held as follows: 

Oct. 27, 12:30-1:30 p.m., BANNAN 501
Oct. 28, 12:30-1:30 p.m., ADMN 221
Nov. 3, 12:30-1:30 p.m., BANNAN 501
Nov. 4, 12:30-1:30 p.m., ADMN 22 

The annual benefits fair takes place Oct. 29, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., in STCN 160.

Miles and miles

Q:  How many miles did the SU community log through Move Around the Sound? 

MoveAroundtheSound_RecapA:  "Thanks to you and your competitive spirit, we walked, ran, jogged and moved 43,468 miles!" says Matt Philip, director of compensation and benefits. That's 6,605 miles more than the SU community logged in the 2014 competition. "All of us should feel great about the additional miles logged this year. Puget Sound is 100 miles from bottom to top, so together we easily canvassed our local treasure including detours to each of its special nooks and crannies," says Philip. 

The Executive Vice President's division (including Athletics and Public Safety), which racked up the most miles on average in 2014, the inaugural year of Move Around the Sound, repeated as champions in 2015. 

Move Around the Sound took place June 29 and Sept. 27. All participants receive 150 LiVE points and members of the winning division earn an additional 150 points.

Get your Fair Trade coffee!

Q:  Where can I purchase some Fair Trade coffee beans on campus?

SueJackelsQuanLewithCoffee_250Sue Jackels and Quan Le sit atop bags of the Fair Trade coffee they had a hand in developing with colleagues and students.

A:  You may remember that Seattle University became the first Fair Trade university in the Northwest last November. As part of the effort, faculty and students worked with students and colleagues at the Universidad Centroamericana Managua (UCA Managua), SU's Jesuit sister school and farmers in the Nicaraguan coffee farmer cooperative, CECOSEMAC ("Aroma of Coffee" Union of Multiple-service Cooperatives), to develop a new Fair Trade coffee. That coffee is now available on campus. Check out this update from Sue Jackels, professor emerita of chemistry, who has been active on the initiative: 

"I am so happy and proud that the SU students of the Global Business Club, with the leadership of (student) Braden Wild and Associate Professor of Economics Quan Le, have succeeded in importing, roasting and packaging the Fair Trade and Organic coffee of the farmers of CECOSEMAC, Matagalpa, Nicaragua! 

"This coffee is now offered to the campus community for sale in the Campus Store. It is called Café Ambiental and you will find it with the coffee mugs (of course) near the book stacks. The price is $12.95 for 12 oz. (Bonus: faculty and staff get a 20 percent discount at the Campus Store.) 

"Right now there is only whole bean coffee on the shelf, but the students are working on having some ground for sale. This is the first of several rounds of roasting and selling. The proceeds are to go into a fund that will eventually provide children of the coffee farmers with scholarships to continue their education past the sixth grade. 

"Since we are just now figuring out the details of how to offer the coffee, I would appreciate it very much if you could send me any comments about it that you think will help. I will relay the comments to the group. Thanks again to Braden and Quan and all the students from both SU and UCA who were involved in arranging for this great coffee to be made available to us! So get it quick, before it runs out, and we will let you know when future offerings are available. Looking forward to hearing from you."

New academic programs

Q:  What new academic programs is Seattle University launching this year?

A:  Courtesy of the Office of the Provost, following is a full list of programs that will begin in the 2015-2016 academic year. Click here for descriptions of each new program. 

Master of Science in Structural Engineering  - College of Science and Engineering

Specialization and Minor in Arts Leadership for the BA in Interdisciplinary Arts  - College of Arts and Sciences

Master's Degree in Educating Non-Native English Speakers - College of Education

Certificate/Specialization in Sport Sustainability Leadership -  College of Science and Engineering

Bachelor of Arts, major in Digital Cultures - School for New and Continuing Studies

Bachelor of Arts, major in Organizational Leadership - School for New and Continuing Studies

Master of Social Work - College of Arts and Sciences

Fundraising Leadership - College of Arts and Sciences  

Leadership Formation (certificate) - Albers School of Business and Economics  

Healthcare Management (certificate) - Albers School of Business and Economics    

Business Administration (certificate) -  Albers School of Business and Economics  

Software Architecture and Design (certificate)-  College of Science and Engineering    

Software Project Management (certificate) - College of Science and Engineering  

Humanities Minor - Matteo Ricci College  

International Studies Departmental Honors Track - College of Arts and Sciences


Master of Science in Business Analytics - Albers School of Business and Economics and College of Science and Engineering

Adult-Geriatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Post-Masters - College of Nursing