ENGAGING THE CULTURE, CHANGING THE WORLD
Located just minutes from downtown Seattle, the leading urban center in the Pacific Northwest, SPU is committed to engaging and serving in the modern city, cultivating a global consciousness, supporting the church, and addressing the crisis of meaning in our culture. These, we believe, will be some of the Christian university's most important contributions in this century.
Guiding the work of Seattle Pacific University are these three preeminent goals:
We seek to graduate people of competence and character. At SPU, each student is profoundly important. We focus our curriculum and resources on shaping graduates who will be effective and positive change agents in the world. This means that we work to prepare individuals who understand their own giftedness, who are both liberally educated and skilled in their chosen field, who exhibit honesty and integrity, and who value serving others.
We seek to become people of wisdom. As a university, SPU believes that one vital means of transforming lives is through ideas: ideas that matter; ideas that can bring light and understanding where there is darkness and confusion; and ideas that lead to wisdom. We support our faculty in the pursuit of this kind of scholarship, and we educate our students to become thinking Christians who are able to speak clearly and intelligently about their convictions.
We seek to model a grace-filled community. As we serve our students and commit ourselves to the life of the mind, we believe our best work is done in community. In our life together at Seattle Pacific, we strive to treat each other and all people with respect, kindness and care. Recognizing and respecting differences among individuals, our goal is to become examples of grace, forgiveness, and civility in a culture that is too often polarized and contentious. [Back to top]
STATEMENT OF FAITH FOR SEATTLE PACIFIC UNIVERSITY
Our mission at Seattle Pacific University is to engage the culture and change the world, through competence, character, wisdom, and community. We believe our faith in Jesus Christ is the informing and sustaining power through which we fulfill this distinctive calling.
Our position of faith within the Christian Church is shaped in four ways:
1. We Are Historically Orthodox. We affirm the historic Christian faith, as attested in the divinely inspired and authoritative Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, and as summarized, for example, in the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds. We affirm that God is triune, and that the three divine Persons the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are coequal, coessential, and coeternal. We affirm that by the grace and power of God, the universe was brought into being, is continually sustained and governed, and will ultimately be brought to its promised consummation. We affirm, further, that we human beings are created by God in God's own image to be stewards of creation, and that we are called to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love others as ourselves. In these divinely appointed tasks we have failed, so that we are now subject to judgment and death. Yet we rejoice that God's grace is available to us through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; and that through faith in Christ we are delivered from sin and death and empowered by the Holy Spirit for lives of joyful obedience to the Father. Finally, we respond to the Spirit's call to participate in Christ's body, the Church; to embrace Christ's mission to the world; and to live in the hope and assurance that Christ's return will bring to completion God's saving work.
2. We Are Clearly Evangelical. We stand within the broad evangelical tradition of Christianity and, as such, we joyfully accept the task of proclaiming the evangel God's good news to the world. We understand this to mean that Jesus Christ is the Lord and Savior of the world and that he alone can liberate broken and fallen human beings from sin and death. We lift high the authority of holy Scripture as divinely inspired, embraced by the Church as central to our understanding and witness. We affirm that the Holy Spirit works in human hearts to kindle faith in Jesus Christ, to restore people to a right relationship with God and each other, and to begin transforming people into the likeness of Christ. And we believe the gospel promise that light, health, wholeness, and peace are abundantly available to everyone who asks. Yet we also believe that we are called to practice what we preach: first, by cultivating vital Christian piety; and second, by engaging the surrounding culture through public testimony and loving service.
3. We Are Distinctively Wesleyan. Standing within the Wesleyan holiness branch of historic and evangelical Christianity, and recognizing the Free Methodist Church as our founding denomination, Seattle Pacific University is informed by the theological legacy of John and Charles Wesley. We share their conviction that God's saving purpose is the renewal of human hearts and lives in true holiness through the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. We are shaped by their emphasis on the importance of the human response to the Spirit's renewing work, including the vital role of the spiritual disciplines and practices such as prayer, meditation, worship, Scripture study, charitable giving, public witness to Christ's saving love, and service to those in need all of which serve as means of God's grace. Above all, we embrace the Wesleys' hope that God's transforming love is offered to all persons, addresses all areas of life, and will not rest content until it has redeemed the whole creation.
4. We Are Genuinely Ecumenical. As heirs of John Wesley's catholic-spirited Christianity, we seek to gather persons from many theological and ecclesial traditions who have experienced the transforming power of Jesus Christ. We believe that theological diversity, when grounded in historic orthodoxy and a common and vital faith in Christ, enriches learning and bears witness to our Lord's call for unity within the church. We are also well aware of other dividing walls that separate people from one another, walls that Christ desires to break down walls of gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, language, and class. We believe that Christ calls us to value diversity and to seek ways for all persons in our University community to grow in their individual giftedness and to contribute in meaningful ways to our common life and work. Thus, in all of our diversity, we are centered in Christ, and called by him to shape, model, and participate together in grace-filled community.
Therefore, we commit ourselves to this faith, and to these shaping influences that define our community of faith, and we pledge ourselves, with humility and conviction, to live as best we know how in loving relationship with Jesus Christ and in faithful service to others. This we believe to be the defining center of our lives and the guiding aspiration of our life in community at Seattle Pacific University.
OUR EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY
We are committed to learning for cultural engagement. We seek to rigorously investigate the critical issues of our time and to offer thoughtful and Christian insight to these issues. We believe these issues can be investigated through a variety of academic disciplines; however, they cannot be fully understood through only one discipline. Therefore we are committed to interdisciplinary learning learning that explores these critical issues through several disciplinary lenses in order to come to a clear view of the issue.
We are a learning community and all that we do is intended to support learning. Therefore our work with student life, residence life, student leadership, campus ministries, athletics, lectures, and symposia are all intended to contribute to learning along with the curriculum.
An Integrated Curriculum
Research indicates that students do not see the connections between general education, majors, and their future. Through a three-part curriculum, we seek to integrate general education with the major in ways that help students make the connections.
We begin with a commitment to a very distinctive Christian Common Curriculum. In the first quarter of their freshman year, SPU students are enrolled in University Seminar, an intensive exploration of a special interdisciplinary topic. Twenty to 25 students enroll in each course to form a cohort and attend other freshman classes in the Common Curriculum together. Their University Seminar professor serves as their first-year academic advisor. The relationship between students in the cohort and their professor are intentional and support our belief that the best learning occurs within a relational context.
In their freshman, sophomore, and junior years at Seattle Pacific, students participate in two parallel sequences of required courses. Cumulative and developmental in nature, these classes are designed to support and enhance students' learning in the majors.
The University Core sequence explores key human questions in three classes titled Character and Community; The West and the World; and Belief, Morality, and the Modern Mind. The University Foundations sequence looks at the basics of faith in Christian Formation; Christian Scriptures; and Christian Theology. A capstone senior course in the student's major adds application and personal calling to the picture.
Model Grace-Filled Community
OUR CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY
Students, faculty and staff can participate in different weekly worship services, including:
In addition, semi-silent, guided Reflection Retreats are occasionally offered to students and staff. These retreats provide the opportunity for personal reflection and worship, or workshops on issues of faith, personhood, and community.
Small-Group Fellowship and Discussion Groups
Local Community Service
Global Community Service
SPRINT Beyond offers individual service-learning opportunities for students who desire an experience focused around their discipline. Usually a SPRINT Beyond experience is set up with the SPRINT advisor and a faculty advisor. The student is responsible to propose the location, the host, and the type of work. For more information, contact the SPRINT advisor at (206) 281-2258.
SPRINT for Credit is a program that moves students out of the classroom and into the real world. By joining a SPRINT for Credit team, students can earn academic credit in a cross-cultural context. SPRINT for Credit is usually organized collaboratively by a faculty member who is passionate about teaching in a service-learning setting in conjunction with SPRINT. The faculty member works with the SPRINT coordinator and the SPRINT advisor to arrange a trip with specific educational and ministry goals. Students who are accepted on a SPRINT for Credit team participate in SPRINT training and debriefing meetings, and they register for credit through SPU's registration office. In the past, SPRINT has sent trips with many different foci, including an engineering trip to Dominican Republic, a global and urban ministry trip to Nicaragua, a sociology trip to Brazil, and nursing trips to Honduras and Costa Rica.
These programs provide all students with abundant opportunities to grow in their understanding of the Christian faith and its implications for our life and world.
Christian Faith Exploration Requirement
Each quarter, students will design their own CFE plan outlining their intended involvement. A student's signature on the application for admission signifies the acceptance of these educational expectations and the agreement to fulfill this requirement. Specifically:
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