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Answer Me This

Q: How does the university assist students affected by natural disasters?

October 12, 2018

As the university community continues to keep in its thoughts and prayers all those impacted by the earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia, Hurricane Michael and other natural disasters around the world, some faculty and staff may be wondering if SU has protocol in place for reaching out to students who may be affected by such events. 

The answer is yes. These sorts of situations are addressed by the Coordinated Assistance and Resource Education Team (CARE Team) under the auspices of the Office of the Dean of Students. 

The CARE Team, Dean of Students James Willette explains, responds to a broad range of concerns. Some of these relate to behavioral issues of varying levels of urgency. For the past two years, the CARE Team also responds to non-behavioral referrals, including the loss of a loved one, unusual financial difficulties, food or housing insecurity, feeling overwhelmed with the transition to college life, relationship and family concerns, short- or long-term illness or injury, and challenges getting involved and connected. In recent years, the team has also taken the lead in assisting students impacted by natural disasters. 

“When large disasters occur,” Willette says, “the Office of the Dean of Students coordinates with the Office of the Registrar to identify students who may be from the impacted area and sends a message of support and information about resources that might be helpful. Some of the resources are intended to assist students in managing trauma and distress, such as Counseling and Psychological Services and Campus Ministry. Other resources offer practical assistance, such as information about emergency financial assistance, emergency housing and food insecurity.” 

Over the past year, the Office of the Dean of Students has reached out to students impacted by the California wildfires; Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Florence, and Michael; the Kilauea eruption; last year’s major earthquake in Mexico; and; the recent Indonesian earthquake and tsunami. 

“We do our best to monitor global events and reach out to students who may be impacted by natural disasters,” says Willette, “but we always encourage faculty and staff to connect with our office if they learn of an event impacting a student about which we may be unaware.” 

To refer a student for CARE Team outreach, please use this online referral form. CARE Team referrals can also be made by contacting the Office of the Dean of Students directly at or 206-296-6060. If you have information that indicates an immediate safety risk, please call the Department of Public Safety at 206-296-5911. All CARE Team outreach is conducted with privacy and sensitivity. At times, information may need to be shared with campus partners outside the Office of the Dean of Students; however, such information sharing will be done with extreme discretion.

Q: What are the results of the facilities survey that was conducted last spring?

October 11, 2018

Facilities Services thanks everyone who participated in the Facilities Campus Condition survey that was distributed last spring. Your feedback and comments will be helpful as the university continues to create a campus that inspires. A summary of responses on Campus Condition and Building Comfort is available at SU Facilities Survey Results. If you would like to see the full report, please contact Donna Horn Congratulations to survey respondent John McLean from Albers who was the winner of the drawing for the Kindle Fire!

Finally, Facilities is offering a new Quick Reference Guide for faculty and staff on the services it offers, whether there is a charge and how to access the services in an easy-to-download PDF.

Q: What is Impactathon?

October 10, 2018

Here's the event description:

The Impactathon, which takes place Oct. 13 and 14, is an event modeled after a hackathon, an intensive problem-solving session that often focuses on computer programming. However, the Impactathon expands the hackathon idea to encompass problems in all fields that could benefit from the perspectives, time, and energy of Seattle University students--specifically, problems facing members of our local community.

Our community partners will present the projects that students can take on during the Impactathon; our primary goal for the weekend is to bring as much benefit to these partners and projects as we can. Accordingly, our community partners, along with SU faculty and industry partners, will mentor students throughout the event. If students wish to continue working on their projects beyond the Impactathon, they will have the opportunity to apply for grants through the Center for Student Research or to become involved through clubs or scholarship cohorts on campus.

Students will also benefit from participating in the Impactathon. Students from any discipline at SU will have the opportunity to gain experience applying their learning to a problem facing members of our community. They will also deepen their knowledge of our community and develop problem definition, analysis, and presentation skills. The results of the weekend’s worth of work could serve as a valuable addition to a student’s portfolio and an inspiring topic to discuss with recruiters at a career fair. Students will also be fed throughout the Impactathon, and members of the teams that devise the best ideas will receive gift cards.

Q: What all is involved with SU's upcoming earthquake drill?

October 9, 2018

On Thursday, October 18, at 10:18 a.m., Seattle University will conduct a campus wide “Drop, Cover and Hold” drill to practice earthquake safety. All members of the campus community are strongly encouraged to participate in this drill. The “Drop, Cover and Hold” drill is an opportunity for us to practice how to protect ourselves during an earthquake. We will not evacuate for the drill. 

The drill will happen specifically at 10:18 a.m. in order to participate in The Great Washington Shake Out drill. With over 19 million participants worldwide and 840,000 just in Washington, the Great Shakeout is a great opportunity for Seattle University to be part of something impactful.

Please participate for 90 seconds by dropping under a desk or moving to a safe part of your area; covering your head and neck and finding shelter under furniture; and holding on to something. If there is no furniture to shelter under or you are unable to shelter, quickly go to a part of the room with the least potential for falling objects. Make sure to keep your head and neck covered. Once you have protected yourself for the 90 seconds, the drill is over. 

Public Safety will test the emergency notification systems at the beginning and end of the drill. To sign up to receive emergency text messages, all you need to do is text “SeattleUalert” to 79516. 

To participate: 

DROP to the floor. Do not try to exit during shaking.
COVER your head and neck with one hand and seek shelter under your desk or table as best as possible. If in an auditorium with no tables, take cover between the rows of chairs.
HOLD on to the leg of the desk/table with your other hand

In the classroom:

POINT out Emergency Exits
REVIEW emergency procedure information posted in the classroom (Emergency Procedures Poster)
LEARN your building’s evacuation area

In a laboratory:

REVIEW emergency procedure information posted in the classroom
STEP BACK from the lab table.
DROP to the floor on your knees next to a wall, away from glass and other hazards if possible.
COVER your head and neck with your hands and arms.
HOLD on to something sturdy during the shaking

Q: What language should I use to acknowledge the history of SU's land and to respect indigenous peoples?

October 9, 2018

Last year, Associate Professor Christina Roberts and Diane Tomhave of the Indigenous Peoples Institute and Fr. Patrick Twohy, S.J., collaborated with Campus Ministry to create language that can be used at the beginning of campus events to recognize the history and people, lands and waters of this Duwamish dxʷdəwʔabš aboriginal territory. 

The following statement is offered as a way for our community to recognize this land and our history; to honor the people past and present who belong to this place; to create common and consistent language for our events and ceremonies; and to have language that was crafted with care and wisdom. 

As we begin our gathering, I (we) respectfully acknowledge that our event today is taking place on Duwamish aboriginal territory. 

I (We) pay respect to Duwamish Elders past and present and extend that respect to their descendants and to all Indigenous people. 

To acknowledge this land is to recognize its longer history and our place in that history; it is to recognize these lands and waters and their significance for the peoples who lived and continue to live in this region, whose practices and spiritualties were and are tied to the land and the water, and whose lives continue to enrich and develop in relationship to the land, waters and other inhabitants today.

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

September 27, 2018

The Costco Scholarship Fund, which provides financial assistance to highly qualified underrepresented minority students at Seattle U and the University of Washington, raised $4.4 million in its 19th year. More information about the scholarship fund can be found here. For a recap of this year's event, visit Costco Breakfast.

(Photo source: Costco)

Q: How is SU's onboarding program for new staff changing?

September 18, 2018

Earlier this month Human Resources announced the launch of a new staff cohort-based onboarding program, Rising Redhawks, which will take effect Sept. 24. Following is the announcement.

Based on feedback from recent campus culture discussions, diversity & inclusion seminars, focus groups, and new hire survey data, the HR team has redesigned the experience into three distinct phases. 

Below are some of the highlights and changes:

Phase One – First Day

  • Newly hired staff will start with Human Resources on Mondays only to assure the immediate establishment of cohorts.
  • These sessions will focus on staff benefits, IT resources, UREC services, library, transportation, etc.
  • New features include sponsored first-day parking/transportation, a campus tour, and lunch with new hires and their supervisors.   

Phase Two – New Hire Orientation

  • New Hire Orientation will now occur once a month.
  • The focus of New Hire Orientation will place focus on Seattle University’s mission, culture, structure, and an added emphasis on diversity & inclusive excellence.
  • New faculty members are also welcome to attend these sessions throughout the year, which will create more opportunities for connections between faculty and staff.

Cabinet members will continue to kick-off these sessions providing an overview of SUs academic experience, commitment to student success. This will be followed by leaders on campus who will cover key topics to provide a comprehensive overview of SU. 

Phase Three – Quarterly Welcome Social

  • Each quarter, all staff new hires will gather to share their onboarding experiences at an event hosted by Human Resources in an effort to continuously improve the new hire experience as well as strengthen and reinforce the cohort connections and to further build relationships.
  • Following the social event, the cohort will be invited to attend an optional after-work event (such as an athletic game or evening lecture).

For more information, contact

Q: What is this year’s common text?

August 14, 2018

Each year, SU’s incoming first-year students are asked to read a book before they arrive on campus for Welcome Week. This year’s text is Tulalip from My Heart: An Autobiographical Account of a Reservation Community by Harriette Shelton Dover. Told through the narrative of the author’s voice, Tulalip invites readers to consider issues of class- and race-based assimilation, educational experiences of students of color, impacts of colonialist behaviors, and justice and injustice in our community. 

A committee of 15 faculty, staff, and students selected the text from a lengthy list of finalists. They also selected a text for next year, So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. 

Among other purposes, the common text “introduces students to an Ignatian-inspired process of inquiry that emphasizes meaning-making, risk-taking and asking deep questions,” as outlined on the program’s website. The text is part of a yearlong series of programs that integrate themes from the book. 

Students will have the opportunity to discuss this year’s text with faculty and staff at the end of the First-Year Student Convocation, which takes place on Tuesday, Sept. 25 (9 a.m.-noon, Redhawk Center North Court). 

The Common Text program is led by Susan Meyers, associate professor of English, and Michelle Etchart, senior director of Student Outreach and Success.

Q: What percentage of SU’s students are first-generation?

July 16, 2018

About 14 percent of Seattle University’s students are the first generation of their families to attend college. This includes undergraduate, graduate and law students. For the class of 2022, about 22 percent of incoming first time in college (FTIC) and transfer students identify as first-generation. 

Thanks to Gretchenrae Campera, assistant director of student success and outreach, for providing this information. To learn more about SU’s outreach to first-generation students, click here.

Q: What benefits are extended to SU faculty and staff during the summer months?

June 22, 2018

Most agree that summer in the Puget Sound region is about as good as it gets. And if you work at Seattle U, it’s that much better.

On Fridays, starting June 22 through Aug. 31, faculty and staff can leave an hour and a half early. That’s 3 p.m. for most employees. (Of course, there’s some fine print, so re-read the June 8 e-mail from Official HR Information for more details.)

And while the start of a work week can be rough, Free Coffee/Tea Monday during the summer makes the reentry a bit easier. Simply present your campus card and a reusable mug at one of the designated Bon Appétit—or, effective July 1, Chartwells locations—below on Mondays from June 18 through Aug. 27 to receive a complimentary drip coffee or tea.

  • Cherry Street: Monday, June 18 through Monday, Aug. 27
  • Bottom Line: Monday, June 25 through Monday, July 30
  • Side Bar: Monday, Aug. 20 and 27

Please contact the Office of Human Resources with any questions on Early Release Friday or Free Coffee/Tea Mondays at 296-5870 or

Q: Where can I get more information on decisions made by university leadership?

May 18, 2018

A new web page was launched this month to provide details on decisions made by the university's board of trustees. Click here to view a summary of the board's most recent meeting, which took place May 2-3.

Q: How is SU enhancing its staff family/medical leave benefits?

April 10, 2018

Following extensive community input and work by an advisory group, Seattle University is enhancing its staff family/medical leave benefits. Benefits-eligible staff may now be paid 100 percent of regular pay during a family or medical leave of absence, Vice President for Human Resources Michelle Clements, announced on April 10. 

Effective immediately, this means up to 12 weeks of pay regardless of how many days of sick leave or vacation a staff member may have accrued to cover a longer-term absence. 

The comprehensive enhancement was unanimously approved by the Cabinet and Board of Trustees. It provides broad coverage for those in need, including: 

  • Moms who need to take paid time off to care for themselves and their newborn; 
  • Non-birth moms and dads to allow them to take paid time off to bond with a new child who joins the family through natural birth, adoption or foster care,
  • Your own serious health condition or to be on hand to care for a recuperating spouse, partner, child or parent. 

In short, up to 12 weeks of paid leave will be available in a rolling 12-month period for any absence that qualifies as a family medical leave.