Academic Affairs

Office of Academic Affairs
3307 Third Ave. W., Suite 102
Seattle, WA 98119
Phone: 206-281-2125
Fax: 206-281-2115

Office of the Provost


Faculty Retreat                                                 

September 8-9, 2014

Camp Casey Conference Center                      

Online Registration

Breakout Sessions



Dear Colleagues:

We are at a hinge point in the history of Seattle Pacific University entering our new academic year. As we come together in fall 2014 to consider what it means to move forward after the tragic events of last spring quarter, we also face continued questions as to the vitality of higher education in the 21st century, along with other universities across the country. One aspect of Seattle Pacific that many would say speaks to our continued viability is that we are a distinctively Christian university with a wide commitment to the global church, both historically and in its contemporary, diverse expressions.  That said, the designation “Christian university” comes with numerous interpretations. It is this question that will be our focus at the retreat: What does being a Christian university mean for us as the faculty of Seattle Pacific University at this time?

Our theme for Faculty Retreat this year will be “The SPU Faith Statement:  Foundation for Academic and Community Life.” We will take on the question of how our faith statement guides and shapes our work into the next year and beyond.  Questions we will consider during our time together in plenary and breakout discussions will include:

  • How does our heritage, cultural context, and vision for the future help us define and embody what it means to be an academic community with faith at the core of our work? 
  • How does the diversity of Christian faith expressed in the life of over 200 faculty deepen our faith statement, which frames our community, in a calling to a corporate expression of faith that is historically orthodox, clearly evangelical, distinctly Wesleyan, and genuinely ecumenical? 
  • How does our scholarship and teaching across the manifold disciplines that make up our curriculum and degree programs reflect our faith commitments in this time and place?
  • With an increasingly pluralistic student body representing numerous faith traditions both within Christianity, as well as other religious traditions and nonbelief in many expressions, how does SPU maintain both a core faith commitment and an ever-hospitable dialogue that listens and learns by engaging deeply with voices of dissent in regard to our faith statement?

In addition to being in conversation during breakout sessions and plenaries, we will also be viewing a recent documentary by Andrew Rossi that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival entitled Ivory Tower, which paints an evocative case for revising our understanding of what higher education will be in the coming decades.  I met the filmmaker at Sundance in January, and he has graciously granted us permission to be one of the universities to “premiere” the film to our faculty. One of the questions that the film does not sufficiently raise is how faith-based institutions can respond to the challenges of higher education today, and it is my hope that we can add something to this discussion.

Monday afternoon there will be two opportunities to attend break-out sessions related to the retreat theme. The electronic registration form is available on the Faculty Retreat website, and you’ll have the chance to choose two break-out sessions, occurring at two separate times. Please register at your earliest convenience. We are again offering book clubs as a part of the break-out sessions. If you choose a book club, after registration we will send you the book in campus mail (for print options), or information on accessing the book electronically (for e-book options) so you can read it in preparation for discussing it at retreat. The list of break-outs is posted online with this letter so you can see what a great line-up of faculty and topics you will be able to choose from.

Of course, we’ll have some time to simply enjoy each other’s company on Whidbey Island. Late Monday afternoon is set aside for free time.  Monday night after we have dinner in the remodeled mess hall, and multiple activities will be offered:  a documentary viewing, board games, star gazing (weather permitting), and camp fire snacks.

One result of the fact that we have grown over the past year is that our numbers exceed the point where the facilities at Camp Casey can accommodate most faculty families. As a result, we must continue the policy instituted two years ago and focus the retreat on faculty. If you have family or childcare circumstances such that this will create hardship for you, please let Michelle McFarland know (

Detailed information regarding breakout sessions, along with the registration page, is available by clicking on the links at the top of this page.  Please register by Friday, August 22. If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact me.

I hope your summer is restful and am looking forward to being with you all in September for retreat!

Jeff Keuss

Faculty Chair, 2014-15


Faculty Retreat Schedule

(Please note that the schedule is subject to change.)


Monday, September 8

9:00 am Early check-in - Camp Casey
10:00 am Worship - Coupeville United Methodist Church (see directions below)
11:30 am Welcome & Introductions - Jeff Keuss, Faculty Chair
12:00 pm BBQ Lunch
1:30 pm Plenary Session I - Dan Martin, President
Breakout Sessions (choose two sessions and rotate at 3:00 pm)
2:00-2:45 pm Breakout Session #1 
2:45-3:00 pm Break
3:00-3:45 pm Breakout Session #2
3:45-6:00 pm Coffee Break & Free Time
6:00 pm Dinner
After Dinner Film: "Ivory Tower" | Campfire | Board Games | Stargazing

Tuesday, September 9

7:00 am Coffee Available (Mess Hall B)
8:00 am Breakfast (Mess Hall A)
9:00 am Junior Faculty Servant Award - Jeff Keuss, Faculty Chair
9:30 am Plenary Session II - Jeff Van Duzer, Provost
10:30 am Closing Remarks - Jeff Keuss, Faculty Chair
11:00 am Sack Lunch - Grab and Go!

Directions to Coupeville United Methodist Church

NE 7th & N. Main St.
Coupeville, WA 98239
  1. Take the Mukilteo-Clinton ferry to Clinton.
  2. Continue straight onto WA-525 (22 mi) to WA-20.
  3. Slight right at WA-20 (5.5 mi).
  4. Turn right at N. Main (.4 mi).

What to Bring

  • Sleeping bags, bedding, pillows, blankets
  • Reading light
  • Alarm or clock radio
  • Bath towels, wash cloths, bath soap
  • Water bottle

Yellowjacket & Bee Warning

It’s possible that yellowjackets and bees will be out in force, so be aware and be prepared.