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President's Forum

Written by Mike Thee

November 8, 2017

President Sundborg speaking

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Joined by six trustees, Father Steve provides updates on developments at Seattle U.

For 20 years and counting, Father Stephen Sundborg, S.J., has held quarterly open forum sessions for faculty and staff at which he provides updates on university developments and answers questions from the audience. Held Oct. 26, the first President’s Forum of 2017-2018 was a little different from previous gatherings. For the first time ever, members of the university’s Board of Trustees joined Father Steve on stage: Bob Ratliffe (board chair), Brenda Christensen, Bob Grimm, S.J., Ruth Tressel, Donald Horowitz and Patrick Callans. 

Each trustee spoke in personal terms about why they decided to serve on the board, shared what they see as the most significant opportunities and challenges for Seattle U and fielded questions from faculty and staff. 

Before introducing the trustees, Father Steve said he was looking forward to gathering with family and friends at the university’s Gala to celebrate his 20-year anniversary as president (update: the Gala was a great success setting a new fundraising record). He also touched on some national and local events that present challenges for the students, faculty and staff of Seattle University, including recent natural disasters, violence and issues of equity and racial justice. Among other updates, the president shared that: 

  • He has asked the University Leadership Council (ULC) to focus on Seattle University’s culture and consider what is “influencing, impeding and enhancing” it.

  • Under the leadership of Vice President for Human Resources Michelle Clements the university is working toward a family leave policy for staff that is equitable to what is offered to faculty, as well as continued discussion on the creation of a staff council to play a role similar to the Academic Assembly. 
  • Recognizing Paulette Kidder, interim dean of Matteo Ricci College, as well as the task force that considered the role and future of the college, recommendations are moving forward to incorporate Matteo Ricci into the College of Arts and Sciences as an institute with an orientation toward peace and justice studies and tenure-track opportunities for its faculty. The recommendations, which were voted on adopted by the Academic Assembly, will now go to the Board of Trustees for final approval.

  • In reviewing overall enrollment for 2017-2018, retention, particularly of first-year undergraduate students entering their second year of studies, was singled out as a challenge requiring additional attention by the campus community. 
  • As announced to campus, four finalists for the Provost position will be on campus in the coming weeks. The president said he is “delighted with the work of the search committee.”

  • Faculty and staff are encouraged to participate in the upcoming Seattle University United Way Campaign, which kicks off Nov. 6 and is being co-chaired by Scott McClellan, vice president for communications, and Lê Xuân Hy, associate professor of psychology.

 Click here to watch the forum in its entirety.

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