Task force to explore Whitworth’s options in a changing religious landscape

Board of Trustees chair Walter Oliver announced the formation of a task force to advise the board regarding Whitworth’s response to changes in the Presbyterian Church (USA) as well as the church as a whole April 23. Jerry Sittser, professor of theology and a member of the task force, said the formation of the group was sparked in part by recent debate within the Presbyterian denomination.

“The narrow issue has to do with standards of ordination, but also how the denomination governs its affairs,” Sittser said. “There’s been a pretty dramatic shift in both over the last year.”

The PC(USA) voted in July of 2011 to change some of the wording in the Book of Order. This involved changing what was known as the “fidelity and chastity” clause, which stated that those who hold a church office must fulfill certain standards.

“Among these standards is the requirement to live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness,” the old “Book of Order” stated.

It has been changed to say that church officers should practice “joyful submission to the lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life.

Future ASWU president junior Molly Hough said she has heard many students discussing this topic.

“I think one of the biggest issues has been coming up on campus recently, and that is homosexuality and sexual orientation of pastors,” she said.

Sittser noted, however, that these questions are only part of the subject matter the board plans to address.

“I think there’s a larger issue going on, and that has to do with how you just function as a church, and how you identify yourself with American culture,” he said.

Part of that has to do with the changing church landscape. Until recently, Sittser said, the mainline churches such as the Presbyterian church were the dominant religious presence in the United States.

That has changed over the past 30 or 40 years.

“All of the mainline protestant churches have suffered precipitous declines,” he said.

The largest percentage of students that identified themselves as Christian at Whitworth 25 years ago came from the PC(USA). Now more come from independent churches, Sittser said.

“I think it’s forcing Whitworth to rethink how it relates to those various religious bodies,” he said.

“We’ve been affiliated with the PC(USA) for our entire history, and I see no reason why that should stop. But the landscape of religion in America is changing and we need to think about what that means for the way we do education here.”

Hough said the task force will work to make an informed decision.

“We are going to do the best that we can in knowing the issues at stake and making ourselves as knowledgeable as possible,” Hough said.

She, president Beck Taylor, and chief of staff Rhosetta Rhodes will soon be discussing the best ways of keeping students apprised of the situation and allowing their input.

“We are having this conversation because it’s been an issue that has come up, and so we’re listening to that,” Hough said. We are trying to form the best possible plan of action that we can use to address these issues.”

The goal is to decide on a plan by April of next year, Hough said.

 

Story by Evanne Montoya Staff Writer

Contact Evanne Montoya at emontoya13@my.whitworth.edu.

Melendez brings her passion for addressing education inequality to New Mexico schools

Naticcia Melendez is a senior sociology major with a passion for the impoverished and downtrodden. She will be continuing on to teach secondary social studies in New Mexico through Teach For America.

Caitlyn Starkey: Describe your life growing up.

Naticcia Melendez: I grew up in Lakewood, Wash., which is just an outskirt of Tacoma. I grew up with my dad and brother. It was an interesting dynamic because I was growing up with a single father, and a typical single head of household was a single mother. That has definitely shaped and formed my identity today.

Our [Naticcia and her brother] childhood consisted of going to the Boy’s and Girl’s Club after school. Sometimes we would go to my dad’s work after Boy’s and Girl’s Club was done. I thought it was the coolest thing to sit in the warehouse and drink Coke and watch TV while every little kid I knew was in bed.

I grew up in a pretty impoverished neighborhood. We lived in an apartment complex for the majority of my life, and so most people around me were working a lot in order to maintain basic needs. That has kind of dictated the way I view poverty and the way I view wealth. Also my heart for impoverished neighborhoods, for the lower class, has been shaped because of that.

CS: Then how did you end up at Whitworth?

NM: I ended up at Whitworth through Act 6, which is a leadership initiative that pulls from underrepresented areas. Tacoma is one of the areas and brings the unrepresented population into predominantly white campuses.

The goal of Act 6 is for us as leaders to demonstrate our leadership skills, whether it’s through the classroom, whether it’s through a formal leadership, just being present on campus and fighting for what we believe in — allowing ourselves to grow and allowing others to grow as well. I am only here because of Act 6, its the only way I could attend.

CS: I understand you have gotten to travel. Can you explain more about your experiences?

NM: In my four years here I have been to South Korea, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Ireland.

I have loved and appreciated those traveling experiences. They have taught me a lot about myself, and have taught me so much about westernization of cultures and the impact the United States has had on other countries, whether it be positive or negative.

Even though it was hard to hear those things, like the country that I am from has done a lot of negative things, it’s just really opened my eyes and broadened my perspective and allowed me to see the United States in a different light.

CS: How do you think Whitworth prepared you for Teach For America?

NM: I’m pretty competent in knowing how underprivileged communities function because of the sociology classes I have taken. I am very culturally aware of the differences.

That’s not to say I am an expert by any means. I feel like I have been prepared in a social sense to go out and communicate with people of a different community.

In general, knowing that I have been empowered here, I have been trying to use that and empower others, even here at Whitworth.

I want to extend that out into the school that I will be teaching at. But on the other side of that I don’t feel competent in actually teaching because obviously I am not an education major. I am a sociology major and so I know I will have a lot of work to do, and I am prepared for that. I know that the first year of teaching is going to be extremely difficult, but I am ready to persevere through that.

 

Story by Caitlyn Starkey Staff Writer

Photographer: Gabrielle Perez

 

Contact Caitlyn Starkey at cstarkey14@my.whitworth.edu.

Whitworth hires new dean to lead business department

Timothy Wilkinson was appointed as the new dean of Whitworth’s School of Global Commerce and Management on April 20. Wilkinson is the former interim dean of the College of Business at Montana State University. Wilkinson will serve as dean for undergraduate majors in accounting, economics, business, international business and marketing. He will also be in charge of activating the community advisory board for the school in the fall. Senior Associate Provost for Academic Affairs Barbara Sanders said she thinks Wilkinson is a good match for Whitworth.

“He’s well qualified for the position and a strong Christian man,” Sanders said. “He has a history of proven leadership at his current institution and strong interpersonal skills. We are very excited and feel he is a good fit for the school.”

The search for a new dean was conducted on a national level through a private search firm. Faculty members who were in charge of choosing Wilkinson included Beck Taylor, Barb Sanders, Craig Hinnenkamp, John Hengesh and Heather Rogers.

Wilkinson worked as an associate director of the Institute for Global Business at the University of Akron and is a member of the Academy of International Business. Sanders said she thinks he will be able to bring his global expertise to the campus.

“Wilkinson has traveled a lot internationally and recruited international students to his current campus,” Sanders said. “I think his understanding of global business markets and travel experience will be beneficial. I am excited about his international connections that he can bring to us.”

Wilkinson has taught undergraduate courses in consumer behavior, market research, principles of marketing and entrepreneurial marketing.

Wilkinson will also help Whitworth in its attempt to ascertain accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

The AACSB would connect Whitworth with peer educators and institutions worldwide. Accreditation would consist of a long process that includes self-evaluations, peer-reviews, committee-reviews and the development of in-depth strategic plans for curriculum.

Wilkinson has experience with the AACSB and helped Montana State with the process of accreditation. Sanders said his experience will be beneficial when and if Whitworth decides to apply.

“He has strong [experience with] AACSB accreditation,” Sanders said. “He has worked with his current institution to take them through the AACSB program.”

Benefits of the program include the assurance that programs for students include relevant material and an allowance for a school to access funding.

Wilkinson has received many grants and awards for his work both on campuses and internationally.

He received the College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs Research Award from Boise State University in 1997. Wilkinson also received a grant for Research and Creative Activities from Online Advertising in Romania in 2008.

Wilkinson’s bachelor’s degree from the University of Wyoming and Ph.D. from the University of Utah were just the beginning of his extensive career. Wilkinson is expected to be seen on campus beginning fall 2012.

 

Story by Sandra Tully Staff Writer

Contact Sandra Tully at stully15@my.whitworth.edu.

Students selected to join Teach For America

Eight Whitworth seniors have been selected to join the Teach For America corps with the intention to help change inequality in the current education system. Seniors Monica Calderon, Alison Gonzalez, Naticcia Melendez, Delsey Olds, Benjameen Quarless, Joshua Vance, Travis Walker and Patrick Yoho are now a part of the Teach For America corps.

Teach For America is a two-year post-graduate service opportunity in which corps members are placed in schools across the country to teach, specifically schools that are low-performing and low-income.

“All kids — no matter where they live, how much money their parents make or what their skin color is — deserve access to a great education,” according to the Teach For America website. “Teach For America’s mission is to build the movement to eliminate educational inequity by developing such leaders.”

Macy Olivas is the Teach For America campus campaign coordinator and president of the Students for Education Reform club.

“It’s kind of like AmeriCorp, kind of like some other post-graduate opportunities, except that high-performing, high-achieving undergraduate leaders get the chance to close our education achievement gap,” Olivas said. “Teach for America specifically focuses on getting these young rock stars to become teachers in the classroom.”

Vance was compelled to apply by urgency of education reform.

“There was a sign in Weyerhauser that said ‘grad school can wait, a child’s education can’t,’” Vance said. “Every time I saw that, it just compelled me and kind of hit a nerve. I realized that was the direction I was called to go in.”

Walker, a theology major, was applying to seminaries while pursuing Teach For America, but as the process continued, he discovered his passion for education reform.

“I was actually looking at graduate schools in theology, various seminaries,” Walker said. “The farther I got along in the process the more I realized my passion for educational opportunity and how in my mind that is the biggest root of poverty in America. I think we as the church have to address this situation in other ways than we have been doing.”

The Whitworth students have been placed all over the United States, including Texas, New Mexico and the Mississippi Delta.

Walker was placed in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas, and he said he is looking forward to the difference in comparison to Spokane.

“I am really excited; it’s going to be very different culturally from Spokane,” Walker said. “I was born in Spokane and lived here my entire life, never lived anywhere else. It’s going to be a different experience, now I am ready for it because I am kind of tired of this environment. I think the culture will be great. Obviously there are a lot of Spanish-speaking immigrants in the Rio Grande Valley, so it will be different as far as the culture and what people like to do and how they live. I am looking forward to that.”

Melendez said she is looking forward to using her Spanish language skills in New Mexico. She has studied abroad in South Korea, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Ireland.

“New Mexico was in my top five preferences,” Melendez said. “I was pleased to know that I got one of my top five. I wanted to be in a Latino community to utilize my Spanish a little more and learn more Spanish. I wanted to go somewhere different. I was really excited to see that I was placed in New Mexico. It’s really close to the border of Mexico so that has, of course, a lot of Hispanics living down there.”

Patrick Yoho said he recognizes the different dynamic between schools. In his assigned region, the Mississippi Delta, school sizes are smaller, meaning he will need to teach a wider range of subjects.

“I was placed to do secondary physics, so I could be anywhere between seventh and 12th. I assume high school because of the specific physics designation. I will probably be teaching something else too; schools down there are 450 to 500 kids so there is no way you can get a full teaching schedule with just physics,” Yoho said.

Olivas said she encouraged students interested in Teach For America to research the organization through its website and evaluate its motive.

“I say first step is to look on the Teach For America website, there are tons of videos. Really think about, ‘Can I see myself as a teacher? Is education reform something I am passionate about?’” Olivas said. Melendez said she agreed with Olivas. She started the application process by researching more about Teach For America.

“I did a lot of research on the Teach for America website,” Melendez said. “I really enjoyed seeing their vision and passion for equality in the education system. Also I kind of wanted to work with at-risk youth in the first place, and so I figured this would be a good opportunity to do so. Also because I am senior and it doesn’t do any harm to apply to as many things as possible.”

 

Story by Caitlyn Starkey Staff Writer

 

Contact Caitlyn Starkey at cstarkey14@my.whitworth.edu.

Sexual identity: A continuing conversation

Campus community voices its diverse opinions on the issue of homosexuality

 

By the time the last of the latecomers straggled into the chapel, a chair had become a hot commodity. As dozens of extras were put out and quickly filled, it became clear that the crowd had only one option: If they wanted to stay, they were going to have to stand.

Stand they did. Not for just a few minutes, but for more than an hour and a half, listening as four members of a panel, commissioned by president Beck Taylor, pondered and discussed one of the university’s most provocative topics, the issue of homosexuality.

As a courageous conversation about sexual orientation, the panel, held the night of April 18, brought together two Whitworth professors and two members of the Board of Trustees to dialogue about homosexuality from their various areas of expertise. Professor of theology James Edwards and professor of political science Julia Stronks spoke from their respective disciplines, and trustees Scott Dudley and David Myers addressed the issue from pastoral and psychological perspectives.

For moderator Terry McGonigal, the panel is yet another barometer of the persistent disagreement that has surrounded the issue of homosexuality ever since he signed on as Whitworth’s dean of spiritual life in 1994. Eighteen years later, homosexuality remains one of the university’s most controversial subjects.

However, professor of English Leonard Oakland said that has not always been the case.

Oakland, who has been teaching at Whitworth for 46 years, said when he arrived in 1966, homosexuality was not discussed often.

“As a community issue, it certainly did not emerge,” Oakland said. “It might form parts of individual conversations, or it might come in a course now and then, but it was not a live issue in the sense that it is now.”

It was with the arrival of Bill Robinson in 1993, Oakland said, that the issue was brought to light.

“Bill Robinson brought it to campus attention early in his presidency,” Oakland said. “Bill came to the conclusion that while his reading of Scripture led him to conclude that Scripture sees homosexuality as sinful, he went on to say — and this was something very new in the conversation — that homophobia was more sinful.”

Oakland said Robinson’s major contribution was articulating a “middle path” whereby Whitworth could uphold biblical teaching while embracing people of various backgrounds. In practice, Robinson’s administration walked this middle path by refusing to embrace an official university position on homosexuality.

Now, however, changes in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Whitworth’s affiliate denomination, provide a new backdrop to the homosexuality debate. In 2010, the PC (USA) modified its constitution to allow the ordination of practicing homosexuals, a stance that along with other changes in the PC (USA) have since prompted many churches to re-examine their denominational affiliation.

Less than a week after the panel, Walt Oliver, chairman of the Board of Trustees, announced the establishment of a task force that over the next year will explore Whitworth’s connection with the PC (USA).

But according to Trustee Clark Donnell, co-chair of the task force along with Taylor, homosexuality is not the task force’s main concern. Rather, he points to a decline in the PC (USA)’s demographics as well as what some view as the denomination’s gradual move away from the authority of Scripture.

For many, the authority of Scripture is central to the debate.

“You simply will not be able to find a place in Scripture that condones it,” Edwards said. “You could not go to Scripture and say that Scripture’s teaching on homosexuality is ambiguous. It is not. It is consistent. It is univocal.”

Some, however, are not so sure. Julia Stronks, another panelist, said she agrees that Scripture can be understood differently.

“Not all Christian theologians interpret biblical passages about sexual behavior in the same way,” Stronks said.

In the midst of so many perspectives, whether a new stance is needed to replace Robinson’s policy of neutrality remains a live question.

McGonigal said he believes neutrality should remain.

“It’s both our educational mission but also our Christian mission to provide you the opportunity to take a look at a variety of different ways of coming at a particular issue,” McGonigal said.

The administration taking a stand for or against homosexuality, McGonigal said, would necessarily undermine the courageous debate Whitworth intends to foster.

But Edwards said he finds it difficult to reconcile neutrality on homosexuality with the loyalty to Scripture Whitworth claims to embrace.

“I believe that the administration sees this issue as a potentially very divisive issue,” Edwards said, who sees Whitworth’s neutral stance as a pragmatic way to avoid conflict. “From a utilitarian and practical viewpoint, that is an appealing option.”

As campus dialogue indicates, the Whitworth community has yet to come to a consensus on this controversial topic, nor is it certain a consensus will emerge.

“I don’t think we’re going to see a winner-take-all solution to these problems,” Edwards said.

Instead, he said, Whitworth has two options.

“One of them is that we fight to the death like two stags who lock horns until either one of them kills the other or sometimes they both die together,” Edwards said. “The other option, which is the one I want to argue for, is that I grant you your right to your view, and you grant me my right to my view, and we continue talking.”

 

Story and graphic by Michael Bouterse Guest Writer

 

Contact Michael Bouterse at mbouterse14@my.whitworth.edu.

In the Chambers May 2

ASWU had their last official meeting this last week in the Chambers and it was packed. First of all, I want to say good job to the new ASWU executives because they ran their very first meeting as a team and did a fantastic job. Secondly, I just want to note and give props to the ASWU Assembly who did a fabulous job working hard and doing their jobs all the way until the end. We had four speakers this week present or discuss some aspect of campus with us. The first speaker was Noelle Wiersma, the new dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. She spoke on what the changes in structure at Whitworth will mean and look like in the next year for the campus. Secondly, we had Dr. Kathy Storm come and ask for feedback on student representatives who sit on committees around the campus. The students gave great feedback on how the committees could be improved so that ASWU can better report the information to the rest of the student body.

Thirdly, Dr. Beck Taylor came in and spoke candidly about the direction of the institution and what great things are coming up. We always appreciate it when Taylor can come and make an appearance. He does love the students and this institution a great deal! Lastly, RD Matthew Baker came and spoke about some proposed changes to the CBS meetings that happen every year in the dorms. The changes sound sweet and hopefully the whole process will give students even more of a choice in their dorm communities. Look out for the changes!

After our speakers, ASWU passed a requisition to approve giving money to some of our exceptional athletic trainers to compete in National Quiz Bowl. Go Bucs!

As always, if you have any questions about the specifics of the minutes of our meetings, scan the QR code below and you’ll get to read them yourself. It’s a great way to be informed of what goes on in ASWU every week. Have a great week and keep at it. School is almost done and that sunshine will be here to stay!

 

Story by Melinda Leavitt ASWU President

 

Contact Melinda Leavitt at mleavitt12@my.whitworth.edu.

Student business plans win awards in regional contest

Five business plans presented by Whitworth students won cash awards at the 2012 Inland Northwest Business Plan Competition finals on April 19. The competition gave nine awards for plans in three categories, totaling $22,500 awarded to students. According to the competition’s web site, it is the “largest of its kind in the Inland Northwest.” The competition accepted more than 40 applications this year from undergraduate and graduate students from Whitworth, Eastern Washington University and Spokane Community Colleges.

Students submitted multiple plans, either individually or in teams, for three categories: student-generated, community-based and social enterprise. Student-generated plans are for original business ideas developed by the students. Community-based plans serve the businesses of community entrepreneurs. Social enterprise plans may apply to current local non-profits or a new non-profit organization the students create.

Senior Kyle Jordan placed first in the student-generated category for his plan, “Whitworth Lawn Boys,” to expand his current lawn-care business. He also won second place with his “Hoop Dreams” plan in the social enterprise category to create a non-profit organization that would give Spokane’s underprivileged youth the chance to play in competitive youth sports leagues.

An accounting major, Jordan has been mowing lawns throughout his Whitworth career and presented “Whitworth Lawn Boys” as a way to continue managing his business after he graduates.

“It’s a business that incorporates Whitworth students to do lawn work,” Jordan said. “I have some other students working with me, so I’m in the entry level steps of doing that.

A team of Whitworth graduate students took first place in the community-based category. Tara Lambert, Kimberlee Betts and Mandell Campbell presented a plan for management and growth in Spokane-based business, MaidNaturally.

Other Whitworth winners were seniors Jeffrey Aly and Jacob Klein. Aly’s “Up & Down Golf Apparel” plan won second place in the student-generated category, while Klein’s plan for Inland Mobility Services won third in the social enterprise category.

Four Whitworth teams placed in last year’s competition, with two teams taking first.

Mike Allen, the business plan competition program coordinator, organized and facilitated the competition the past two years, as well as mentored Whitworth participants. He resigned from the position for next year after being elected to the Spokane city council.

“In some ways, it makes me sad because I really enjoyed working with the Whitworth students and we had some great success the past couple years,” Allen said. “I’m really hoping they continue the success.”

Allen taught a class that specifically prepared students for the business plan competition. He welcomed students from any major into his class.

“Businesses can come from the sciences. They can come from education,” Allen said. “They don’t all have to come out of the business department, so I would encourage all students on campus to get engaged with that program.”

Tate White, associate director of graduate studies in business, will be the program coordinator the competition next year.

Students who competed had to submit an online application in February and an executive summary of each plan in March. Nine teams in each category were selected to send a completed business plan in early April. Five finalists from each category came to Whitworth April 19 to give oral presentations of their plans and attend the awards ceremony and reception.

This was the first year Jordan participated in the competition. He regrets he did not try it earlier and said more students should enter, if not for the cash award, for the opportunity to network with local business owners.

“I think kids are kind of lazy, because there’s so much school stuff going on that they just think, ‘Oh, that’s just something else to do on top of school,’ so they don’t really pursue it,” Jordan said.

Jordan took the class last fall and worked with Allen outside of class to further prepare for the competition. He suggested students who are considering competing should first take the class.

“For the Whitworth Lawn Boys, I was able to do everything in the class and when it came time to turn everything in, I already had everything done,” Jordan said. “You get credit for school, and at the same time, you get your competition stuff done.”

Students interested in next year’s competition can review the rules and guidelines on the competition website.

“Students that worked really hard are the ones that are successful in the business plan competition,” Allen said. “If somebody is interested, no matter what their discipline is, across the university, if they have an idea and want to explore it, more than likely whoever teaches the class next year will let them in.”

 

Story by Emily Roth Staff Writer

 

Contact Emily Roth at eroth14@my.whitworth.edu.

Whitworth students show Math is Cool

The Whitworth campus hosted crowds of fourth graders during the Math is Cool event on Friday April 20. The tournament lasted more than four hours, challenging students with a range of math questions at the fourth grade level. Whitworth helped with smaller schools like Arcadia Elementary and Lake Spokane. Whitworth math professor Martha Gady, who helped run the event, has been involved since her children were competitors. Whitworth became a backdrop for fourth graders when there proved to be too many entrants for other schools to handle. “This year there were too many fourth graders for Mt. Spokane so they took the bigger schools and we took the smaller schools like Kettle Falls,” Gady said.

The competition consisted of individual tests that had both multiple choice and open-ended problems.Group tests consisted of open-ended questions, relays, pressure rounds and college bowl rounds. Training for the event ranged from last minute to year round.

“Different schools do different things,” Gady said. “Some take it very seriously. One of the schools has a Math is Cool coach who is paid like an athletic coach and teaches year round.”

Whitworth students volunteered to help run the event for the young mathematicians. Students made up 28 proctors, nine runners, six greeters and six sellers. Junior Tanner Tyson worked as a proctor during the competition.

“I’m majoring in elementary education and I thought it would be a good thing to help out in a competition that involved math and young students,” Tyson said.

Each grade school was allowed to bring up to six teams. There were four students per team.  Calculators and other electronic devices were not allowed during the contest. Parents were allowed in the room after the first break unless the proctor did not want them in the room.

Proctors received special training for the competition. Students were advised on how to administer the test, what to do if problems arrived among parents and coaches, and how to work electronic devices for timed events. Proctors were also in charge of disqualifying any student if he or she displayed unsportsmanlike behavior. Tyson was pleased with how the children and parents handled themselves.

“Everyone was great,” Tyson said. “Coaches that sat in were very cooperative. Students were very well behaved. It was really fun.”

The event ended with a closing ceremony for test results and awards. Winners of the event will go on to compete at a state final held in Moses Lake. This was the first year that Whitworth has hosted any of the schools involved on its campus, but with the positive feedback from students and participants, it may not be the last.

 

Story by Sandra Tully Staff Writer

Contact Sandra Tully at stully15@my.whitworth.edu.

Pre-med student follows in sibling’s footsteps for college

 

Junior pre-med student Kyle Darbonne juggles class, work, being a student visit assistant in the Admissions Office and being vice president of the Pre-Med and Science Club.

Caitlyn Starkey: How did you decide to come to Whitworth?

Kyle Darbonne: My brother and sister actually both attended Whitworth. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do the whole smaller private school thing or if I wanted to stay in Colorado, because I love Colorado, and do the state school thing. After I came up and visited my brother, I got to stay here at Whitworth for four days I just fell in love with the campus, and the classes and the whole community.

CS: What would you ideally like to do in your free time?

KD: I’d be camping or fishing as much as I possibly could. But its hard to get away on weekends to go camping for a night or to when you and all your friend have so much going on. That or I am on a frisbee team, I go to as many games as possible, which hasn’t be a lot this semester. It’s still a lot of fun.

CS: What do you plan to do after graduation?

KD: Well, I came in thinking I wanted to do med school, and it’s still a possibility that I’ll go the whole med school route. But lately I have been thinking about the two front runners, teaching high school science, biology, because that was a big part of why I wanted to go the science route was because of my high school science teachers, one guy science teacher that I had in particular. Also physical therapy, which I haven’t looked into much. From what I have heard about it, it would be an awesome field to go into.

CS: How did you get involved with working for the Admissions Office?

KD: Freshman year my roommate was a host [admissions overnight host], so I was a host’s roommate which made me a host. Especially when they would be gone and you would have to take care of the kid for a while. I was like, “This is kind of fun getting to meet a bunch of new people for a night,” and then they would leave. Then sophomore year, I was actually a host as well as tour guide. I really love that aspect of admissions. So this year, I applied to be one of the student visit assistants, which has been awesome getting to work in the admissions office with all the people. They are all happy and love meeting people, so it’s a great work environment. I am actually signed on for the summer as well which will be a blast, as well as next year. I think I will have a little bit more responsibility than I do this year just because I will have been there for so long. Some visit assistants were kind of above me this year, so I will be stepping in to and teaching the newer visit assistants for next year. It will be fun but a lot more responsibility, which I am looking forward to.

 

Story by Caitlyn Starkey Staff Writer

Photography by Michael Locatell

 

Contact Caitlyn Starkey at cstarkey14@my.whitworth.edu.

GSA week brings conversations on sexuality

Events challenged Whitworth to consider the issues surrounding homosexuality during GSA week April 15-20. The week was kicked off with a showing of the documentary “For the Bible Tells Me So,” which junior Nicholas Dennis, a member of Whitworth’s GSA, said examines biblical passages that are often seen as condemning homosexuality.

On Thursday night, GSA put on “Coming Out Stories.”

“It was freakin’ sweet, the turnout was awesome,” Dennis said. “It was really exciting to see that many people interested in it.”

That event invited people to come to the coffee shop to hear the stories of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) members of Whitworth’s community.

“Some people told their own stories, others read stories on behalf of their friends,” Dennis said.

Senior theatre major Michael Seidel, whose senior project was incorporated into GSA week, said he was excited about the event, too.

“I think it’s important for the LGBT members to get their stories out,” Seidel said. “Because I think members of the straight community can’t understand what the LGBT community members have to go through and their struggles without talking with them and dialoguing with them.”

Senior Amanda Blunt, GSA Club president, said she used to be conservative on the issue until she experienced what Seidel described, making friends with people for whom those issues are a part of daily life.

“Regardless of what your dogmatic stance is, we need to be intentional about the way we are treating our fellow students and our fellow human beings,” Blunt said.

On Tuesday, Seidel gave his senior project in conjunction with a faculty and staff panel.

Seidel’s project was an interactive theatre starting with a scene of heterosexism. The actors repeated the scene, allowing audience members to replace characters and attempt to catalyze an intervention to resolve the oppression.

“We saw a lot of possible interventions,” Seidel said. “Some were very effective and some not, some good in the short term but would have been very difficult in the long term, some difficult short term but would have been good in the long term.”

Seidel said the project seemed to successfully touch hearts. He said that was more important than sheer number of people in the audience, which topped 100.

“From the people I’ve talked to, they all almost unanimously said it was an important project,” Seidel said. “So yes, I think it was successful. We won’t know until we see how people treat each other, though.”

He said he was most impressed and excited when he saw people who were usually silent stand up and speak their opinions on topics that are not easy to address. He said his biggest hope was that people who saw the show would be more likely to act to end hatred in the future.

Another event during GSA week was Day of Silence on Friday.

Junior Courtney Bagdon, a member of GSA and participant in Day of Silence, said the day is spent silent by participants in support of those who are silent due to their sexual orientations.

“It gives a way for straight allies to stand with LGBT without getting carried away,” Seidel said.

On Wednesday night Whitworth President Beck Taylor put on a panel called “Courageous Conversations.”

That panel included two Whitworth professors: professor of theology James Edwards and professor of political science Julia Stronks. There were also two Whitworth trustees: Scott Dudley, senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Bellevue, and David Myers, professor of psychology at Hope College.

Each would give a view from his or her own field and the goal would be to expand the conversation, Taylor said at the beginning  of the panel. Rather than trying to change people’s minds so everyone left thinking in the same way, he said he hoped everyone would leave feeling heard.

Each panelist discussed a different viewpoint on the issue of sexual orientation. Edwards discussed the biblical view, saying feelings of homosexual desire are separate from acts of homosexuality and that the Bible clearly condemns the actions.

Dudley discussed the issue from a pastoral viewpoint. He went on to say that the important issue isn’t just whether the person is homosexual, but whether they are growing in Christ.

Myers spoke on the scientific research, showing genetic and biological correlations that indicate homosexuality as an inborn trait for some humans. He said he believed all people deserved to be in committed family relationships — homosexual or heterosexual, but discouraged the school from institutionally pushing a political stance.

Stronks discussed the issue of civil rights. She asserted that all people deserve governmental blessings regardless of our religious stance and that, as a Christian, she said she feels it’s her duty to stand up for the oppressed of society. Reflecting on the week as a whole, Seidel said he was happy with the way it has affected the campus.

“I’m glad that this topic has been talked about and been talked about so much,” Seidel said. “This is no longer an issue that a small part of the student body is talking about. The whole student body is engaging in important dialogue.”

 

Story by Brianna Wheeler Staff Writer

Photography by Linnea Goold

 

Contact Brianna Wheeler at briannawheeler13@my.whitworth.edu.

Leadership changes bring struggle, growth

The School of Global Commerce and Management announced Friday it had hired a new dean to head the school after five years of leadership turnover  

The School of Global Commerce and Management has been no stranger to change over the past few years with a number of changes in faculty and administration.

Three main challenges — the need to pursue accreditation, continue to seek out and maintain relationships with the business community and overcome some personnel issues in the department — have surfaced as a result of the faculty changes.

Kyle Usrey, charter dean of the School of Global Commerce and Management, departed in 2007. The school did not hire a new dean until 2010.

John Hengesh, interim director of graduate studies in business, has been at Whitworth for seven years, since part-way through Usrey’s time as dean. He also worked with Craig Hinnenkamp, associate professor of economics and business, during Hinnenkamp’s time as interim dean.

“Craig Hinnenkamp did an outstanding job as interim dean during that time of searching for the new one,” Hengesh said.

The new dean,  Bob Beatty, remained at Whitworth only a year. Usrey said he was concerned about the effect the loss of another dean could have on the school.

“It’s unfortunate,” he said. “I know that prior to that the university had a difficult time finding someone that was willing to serve in that role.”

The lack of consistency in leadership has meant that the department faculty has had to pick up some of the slack.

“As you can imagine, change is hard,” Hengesh said. “When the dean left last summer, we got together as a group and sorted out the things that needed to be done that for one reason or another had not been.”

Hengesh said he is proud to be a part of the group of professors that has continued to work on improving the school.

“I believe that the morale, the professionalism and the dedication of the instructors here is really a good strength of the school,” he said.

Michael Le Roy, Whitworth’s provost and executive vice president, also played a role in the department.

“I don’t want to overstate it too strongly because the people that are in place have been doing a great job,” Le Roy said. “I think the primary function that I’ve tried to serve is to support them, find out what their needs are and try to get those needs met.”

 

 

Seeking specialized accreditation

Whitworth’s business program is already included in Whitworth’s overall accreditation as a University through the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities, Le Roy said. The school is now seeking what is called specialized accreditation, similar to what is possessed by the education, music and athletic training programs.

“We see the business school as a very high priority; a large number of students are interested in that and we feel pretty strongly that we want to support that,” Le Roy said. “We also know that external accreditation is something that is a mark of excellence in a school.”

Former professor in the School of Global Commerce and Management, Richard Schatz, said that Usrey had decided on a route to specialized accreditation before he left.

“Kyle Usrey and the School of Global Commerce and Management faculty had decided by 2007 to pursue accreditation for the school through the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs,” Schatz said. “A couple years later Le Roy overruled this decision and decided for  Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accreditation — a process that is likely to cost Whitworth $1 million a year and takes four to five years from the date of application.”

Accreditation through ACBSP also should be accomplished within five years of candidacy, according to the ACBSP website.

Administration and faculty governance bodies never received a proposal to get ACBSP accreditation, Le Roy said.

In spring of 2009, after a study conducted by faculty members such as Le Roy, Hinnenkamp, Schatz, Barbara Sanders and Dale Soden, AACSB accreditation was chosen. AACSB is the agency that universities such as Seattle Pacific University and Pacific Lutheran University have used to accredit their business programs. The fact that it is the agency used by universities that he considers peers, along with the prestige of this particular agency, influenced the decision, Le Roy said.

“We also looked at what the standards were — what would it require in terms of resources, what would it require in terms of faculty — and we felt like the standards set forth by AACSB were very consistent with the standards Whitworth has for academics in all other areas,” he said.

Le Roy estimates that it will cost $250,000 over a number of years to achieve accreditation. About half of that has already been provided by the Boppell Endowment.

The process of achieving accreditation, however, will take time. Achieving accreditation is a part of the strategic 10-year plan, Le Roy said.

“To me, being accredited by a certain year is not nearly as important as what [being accredited] says to us about Whitworth and Whitworth’s business program in the end,” he said. “So hopefully by the time we get to accreditation we are a much stronger program.”

The steps the school needs to take will not be a huge change, Hengesh said. The accreditation standards will require an increased emphasis on research.

“First of all, we strongly believe that we provide a quality education today,” Hengesh said. “The accreditation will help us refine our focus in several areas.”

While Hengesh said that the school’s current lack of specialized accreditation shouldn’t affect students in their efforts to get jobs, it can have an effect on Whitworth’s desirability to graduate students.

“It is very important because our competitors are using [the fact that we do not yet have accreditation] against us,” Hengesh said. “It’s important that we can compete at that level with accreditation.”

 

 

Finding and maintaining connections with the business community

Another goal for the business school is to develop and nurture connections with the business community. One of the early ways the department did that was through the advisory board assembled by Usrey.

“The board acted as kind of a sounding board for direction for the school,” Schatz said. “They gave advice, assistance, internships and gave us a profile in the community.”

The board was comprised of business men and women in the community. Steve Helmbrecht, senior vice president and chief financial officer of Itron, said his main role with the school was to meet with students in the Masters in International Management program. He also gave lectures and presentations on international business to Usrey’s classes on several occasions.

“The feedback was quite positive,” Helmbrecht said. “I had students request the opportunity to meet with me afterwards because they wanted to learn more about my experiences and get some suggestions about how to get involved in international management.”

The connection provided opportunities for some Whitworth graduates.

“In one or two cases we hired somebody out of the program,” Helmbrecht said. “I really was impressed by the caliber of the students that I had a chance to interact with.”

After Usrey left, however, the school stopped calling the board to meet. This was a concern to Schatz. He said he frequently asked why the board was not being consulted.

“This radically lowered our profile in the community,” Schatz said. “It was embarrassing.”

The school did not have a clear picture of its direction at that time, which is why Le Roy said he decided to hold off on seeking the board’s counsel.

“We felt like we wanted to be well-organized internally, and have clarity about our goals, destinations and time line internally before we started working externally,” Le Roy said.

The fact that the board stopped meeting has not halted efforts to make connections with the community.

“We have an active dialogue going on with many of the community business leaders regarding internships and placement of our graduates with jobs,” Hengesh said.  “It is more active right now than it has ever been; my colleagues and I are really excited about getting students out there in internships and jobs.”

One of the ways they do that is through the work of Tate White, assistant director of graduate studies in business.

“Part of his responsibility is talking with the companies, and seeing where there are potential opportunities in these companies,” Hengesh said.

The department has started talking to Whitworth trustees who were on the business advisory board about forming it again, Hengesh said.

“The advisory board’s really important for the dean to connect to the business world,” Hengesh said. “We look forward to reengaging that activity in the fall with our new dean.”

 

 

Personnel problems and climate

Usrey departed the school after securing a job as a chief academic officer at another Christian university. That was not, however, his only reason for leaving.

“I think it’s fair to say that I had a serious disagreement with Dr. Le Roy,” he said. “I don’t want to get into specifics, but it involved leadership and management and integrity issues.”

By this time, Usrey said, he had become invested in the community. He was working on poverty alleviation and economic development issues in Spokane and had been appointed as the citizen-at-large representative on the Washington state ethics administrative commission by the governor.

“All of that was attractive; it was a part of our lives,” Usrey said. “My wife was heavily involved in the community and church community as well, but we felt it was time to move on after what had transpired the last year.”

In response to Usrey’s comment that Usrey left partially because of a disagreement, Le Roy said that he could not talk about personnel situations.

Rob Wilson, a former associate professor of history and political studies as well as economics and business, was not re-hired after 16 years at Whitworth when the school decided to regularize the position, he said.

“I just have a pretty strong sense that I was moved out of the picture intentionally because someone had a different agenda,” he said.

The department went through a search for the position, and Wilson applied. But the search was failed because they didn’t have enough qualified applicants, Wilson said. The department searched again, and this time Wilson was one of the two finalists. He did not receive the job.

“I wasn’t on the search committee that made the recommendation,” Usrey said. “But for what it’s worth I think Rob Wilson did not get a fair shake from the institution.”

Wilson said he had a difficult time getting interviews, because other institutions wondered why Whitworth wouldn’t re-hire him.

“From a personal standpoint, it’s kind of difficult when you’re at age 62, as I was, and after 16 years at the institution, when you thought you were doing a good job, to be told you wouldn’t be hired again,” Wilson said.  “Your chances of another job are almost nothing.”

Schatz said he suggested hiring Wilson as an adjunct professor, but Le Roy’s office rejected the request.

“I was told to never again even suggest Rob as a potential adjunct,” he said.

When Schatz retired last year, he did so with a negotiated retirement, meaning he retired but with a written legal agreement that had some conditions. One of those conditions, he said, was that he would not be blacklisted from adjunct teaching by Whitworth.

Le Roy disputed some of the claims by Wilson and Schatz.

“That’s not how we do things,” he said. “There’s no such thing as a blacklist.”

Le Roy also noted that the allegations were brought before the faculty affairs committee in the form of a grievance from Wilson.

“The faculty affairs committee reviewed those allegations, reviewed all of the evidence, and they found no basis for those claims at all,” Le Roy said.

Schatz said he didn’t agree with Le Roy’s management style. Prior to his retirement, Schatz said Le Roy made threats against Schatz due to his opposition of the Costa Rica campus.

“That’s part of the reason I left,” Schatz said. “He said, ‘I will bring a case against you.’”

Schatz also said the university had to pay settlements to former employees who left because of Le Roy.

“From the business school there were at least two people,” Schatz said. “Tens of thousands were paid to them on the condition they kept silent.”

Le Roy said those allegations are not true.

“No, nobody left because of disagreements with me,” Le Roy said. “We don’t talk about personnel, on the record or off the record,” Le Roy said.

 

 

Moving forward with a new leader

As the School of Global Commerce and Management prepares to welcome Timothy Wilkinson, who will assume the position as dean of the School of Global Commerce and Management July 1, the school’s future often is in the spotlight.

“I think, with the right person in management and leadership, that the school will once again be very successful,” Usrey said.

The school has a good foundation for success with the outstanding faculty members that remain in both the undergraduate and graduate programs, he said.

Hengesh, however, said the business school is already enjoying some great successes. Students in the business school recently participated in the business plan competition hosted at Whitworth and the Spokane Intercollegiate Research Conference. The Masters of Business Administration and Masters in Management program will be beginning classes downtown, which should appeal to working professionals. The MBA/MIM program is also seeing increased enrollment.

“We’re seeing some growing interest in our MBA/MIM program from our undergrads here,” Hengesh said.

The economics program was just awarded membership in the national economic honor society, meaning the program is now recognized nationally as an outstanding one, Hengesh said.

Schatz said he cared about Whitworth, so the events preceding his departure broke his heart.

“I know they’re trying to hire a dean now,” he said. “It’ll take good leadership, and there has to be a shift of culture where people are not so intimidated.”

The challenges that have arisen in the school’s history have had a variety of effects, say those involved.

“I think the overriding thing I can say is that the folks who have lived through those changes recognize that there were issues and challenges from the past, and it’s really important to learn from those,” Hengesh said. “But the group that is here today is really focused on moving ahead, and through the various changes I think we’ve become a tighter organization.”

 

Story by Evanne Montoya Staff Writer

Contact Evanne Montoya at emontoya13@my.whitworth.edu.

Forensics team members take awards at national level

The forensics team at Whitworth made itself known by winning the International Public Debate Association’s national tournament.

The competition was held April 13-15 at Sam Houston State University in Texas. It was the first time any student at Whitworth had ever earned a national title for debate. The team won a total of six awards with two students, senior Travis Walker and freshman Jacob Wilson, closing out the competition as co-champions. Coach Mike Ingram said he was not surprised by the results.

“We’ve had a lot of success in the Northwest, and I thought we could go and hold our own with students from across the country,” Ingram said. “Am I surprised? No, because I think we have very strong students.”

Whitworth students debated against more than 28 schools and 94 students from all over the country. Junior Krister Johnson progressed to the quarterfinals. Senior Rachel Busick, sophomore Sam Director and freshman Laryssa Lynch all made it to the top 32. Lynch said she was happy with the success of the team.

“It’s interesting to start from the ground up and retrain,” Lynch said. “It does differ from high school to college. We really shocked some people with how well we have done coming back for the first year.”

The competition asked questions on a range of topics starting with the resolution, ‘Why Starbucks makes life better.’ The students had 30 minutes to prepare an argument for each topic given.

In the final round of the competition, Walker and Wilson were given the choice of either competing against each other or both holding the title of first place as co-champions. The two decided to maintain the strong unity of their team by sharing the win. Wilson said he was glad to have one of his teammates with whom he could uphold the title.

“The thing that I’m most proud of is not the fact that I won, but that I had a great friend as a co-champion and was able to represent Whitworth,” Wilson said. “They took a leap restarting the program and we’re proving that it was worth it.”

The forensics team held two three-hour practices each week and participants also had individual weekly consultations with coach Mike Ingram. At group practices, teammates performed practice rounds and helped each other answer questions on a range of topics. The team aspect of the forensics program was important to both the program’s coach and participants.

“My teammates are unquestionably some of the most important people,” Wilson said. “It’s highly improbable that you will succeed without a team.”

Ingram said he believes the program is beneficial to students who participate. He said he thinks knowing how to make an intelligent argument in front a group of people is a skill that is beneficial for students both in and out of the classroom.

 

Story by Sandra Tully Staff Writer

Photography by Tanner Scholten

 

Contact Sandra Tully at stully15@my.whitworth.edu.

In the Chambers April 25

Hello all! This last week has been busy: trustees’ board meeting, sunshine and events galore. The trustees had three days full of meetings all in order to help make Whitworth even better than it already is. Students in ASWU sat in on many of the committee meetings including Finance and Administration, Institutional Advancement, Academic Affairs, Student Services, and Building and Grounds. The committee I sat in on was Academic Affairs where the trustees approved the conferment of degrees and honors at commencement for students in their undergraduate and graduate programs. All that means is the seniors and those in the graduate programs can graduate and receive diplomas. The Institutional Advancement committee talked about growing the endowment. Did you know that the Investing Club on campus will be allowed to control and invest part of the endowment for the school? Look for opportunities to get involved with that in the future. In ASWU last week, the current executive team ran their last meeting. The next and last meeting will be run by the new executive team. We invited Lulu Gonzalez and some of the CDAs on campus to come and talk with us about the CDA position and how we can all work together to collaborate on events and making the CDA position more well known by students. The CDAs are not just focused on the international students. They work with Act 6 students, National Science Foundation students, and even students like you and me to create a welcoming environment where we all see each other as Whitworth students.

On one last note, there was an informal, student-led session on the academic vitality and academic community on campus. If you didn’t get to come, get in contact with Patrick Stewart as he’ll be the one working on continuing conversations next year about this. Students like myself, Patrick Yoho and Brittany Roach wanted to get feedback from students about how we can make sure that Whitworth is remaining and striving to be an academically-minded community where students are challenged and not allowed to settle. We received a lot of great feedback that we’ll be passing along to the interim provost Barb Sanders.

In the upcoming weeks, take time to enjoy the sun and to work hard and finish out the year strong. Enjoy your time here on campus because soon everyone will be free for the summer!

 

Story by Melinda Leavitt ASWU President

Contact Melinda Leavitt at mleavitt12@my.whitworth.edu.

Leadership class fundraises for sustainable development in Nicaragua

Jack Burns’ Leadership 350 class went door-to-door collecting money last semester to fundraise a project which they hoped would transform Whitworth. The students have learned that Nicaragua is the second poorest country in Latin America  and close to half of its inhabitants live in rural areas. Most of the vulnerable people who live in these rural areas are farmers which are income-dependent on their agriculture and the animals they host on their land.

A speaker named Rick Ervin came to their class to show them 15 proposed projects they could help with to help uneducated farmers Nicaragua.

Poor people in these areas face many constraints including physical isolation, difficult access to natural resources, and many other obstacles that often send these workers to turn to alcohol and other substance abuse to cure their inoperable pains.

Rick, a veterinarian, and his wife, Mary a nurse, said that after 30 years together, they felt like God was telling them to go to Nicaragua and open up shelter there. Throughout this semester, the LS 350 class has been communicating with Rick via e-mail from Nicaragua.

Sophomore Trevor Zajicek said there is a cycle that these farmers suffer through, where goats in Nicaragua are being bred and inbred until their genetics are no longer sustainable to generate healthy animals. This issue takes a great toll on the people of Nicaragua.

This is where LS350 wants to come in.

“We are looking to really transform Whitworth,” Zajicek said. “We want to make them aware of the people in need nationally and internationally.”

Zajicek, group member sophomore Jamie Lyons and the other eight members of the leadership class, have decided to pair up with the Mahanaim Centro de Rehabilitacion and give them the help and need they have been waiting for.

The leadership class has a couple main goals it is looking to target during this project. First, they are hoping to raise as close to $5,000 as possible to send back to the rehabilitation center . The money will be fundraised in many different ways, including a camp out in the loop on April 26.

Zajicek said that all of the money donated during the fundraising will go straight to the rehabilitation center. The money does, in effect, greatly benefit the people of Nicaragua by sheltering drug and alcohol addicts at the rehabilitation center.

“The participants live at the center for a minimum of six months, but often stay a whole year,” Zajicek said. “After two years out of the program, 80 percent of the graduates remain drug free.”

All the participants receive free room and board and contribute to chores and any mandatory rehabilitation sessions. Along with these sessions, participants attend a lecture once a week and learn about sustainable small scale farming techniques. The lessons learned at the center are practiced by working hands-on at the center’s farm.

“People are in such a vulnerable state when they arrive,” Lyons said. “We just want to help teach them.”

Another goal group members said they are hoping to achieve with this program is watching all the participants Nicaragua learn to take care of themselves.

Zajicek said the farmers are really struggling because the production of these goats has been stuck in the same cycle for years, and it’s time to break loose. One of the major downfalls with rural communities in Nicaragua is the malnourishment of the goats.

“We are looking to build a self-sustaining community by spicing up the breeding cycle,” Zajicek said.

Group members said that the center will use part of the money raised to bring in new, strong goats to the rehab center. Milking, meat and productivity are some qualities that make goats extremely beneficial to these people.

“Our money will give participants beefier goats, be used to build housing for these goats, and hopefully create a sustaining market,” Zajicek said.

The way that the group members are planning to help the people of Nicaragua is by hosting a camp out in the Loop, titled “Surviving Nicaragua,” happening this Thursday, April 26.

Starting at 7 p.m., the LS 350 students have many different activities planned that they said they hope will spark a new interest in students across campus.

“We are currently working with the bands for Thursday night,” Zajicek said. “We expect to have two or three. So far we have ‘Take the Sky’ confirmed.”

Along with local Whitworth bands playing during the evening, a movie will be projected on a large screen, a bonfire will be lit for cooking s’mores, and tents will be set up for any students who wish to sleep in the loop.

The LS 350 group is not charging for the event,  but is accepting donations.

“There will just at a table in the loop, and it’s the honor system for collecting money,” Lyons said. “But the incentive is if you donate $5 you get a bracelet, and the first ten to donate $35 get a free t-shirt.”

200 handmade bracelets will also be for sale.

 

Story by Jennifer Ingram Staff Writer

Contact Jennifer Ingram at jingram13@my.whitworth.edu.

Board of Trustees gives update on campus happenings

Nearly 40 members of the Whitworth Board of Trustees gathered in Weyerhaeuser Hall on April 19 to discuss important revisions and resolutions that impact our campus in various ways. President Beck Taylor also attended this meeting.

“The roles of the Board members are to insure and help guide the mission of this university, financially support the institution, and to hire the staff,” Taylor said.

The  Board reviewed the reports on the 2021 plans and held deep discussions on the future of Whitworth.

Vice President of Enrollment Greg Orwig gave the Board an update on enrollment and financial aid. He said that this upcoming school year, Whitworth is aiming for between 620 and 640 new freshmen. While the school has currently received 659 confirmed applications, many will have a change of plans while many others will register later during the summer.

“We are optimistic that we will meet our target enrollment,” Orwig said.

He said Whitworth now looks more attractive to more students thanks to the Bill Robinson Science Building. Last year there were 201 students who declared science as a major, and that number has now increased to 273. Orwig said Whitworth is proud that nearly 85 percent of students graduate within four years at Whitworth.

The Board also heard that the retention rate of Whitworth students is on the rise. From fall 2011 to spring 2012, retention has gone from 93 percent to 96 percent. According to statistics, Whitworth is well above national average for retention.

Another appealing factor Whitworth gained is the new honors program. Taylor said the new program will provide a pathway for more rigorous academic learning for prospective students.

“Many schools of which we compete have these kinds of programs,” Taylor said. “So Whitworth positions itself well by offering this kind of program.”

The trustee meeting also addressed the issue of gender balance on campus.

“There is a large percent of colleges which have disproportionately high amounts of females,” Orwig said.

Taylor said he believes that having a healthy gender balance is definitely important and they are hoping to see a better balance in the future.

“Specifically in faith-based private institutions, there are more women going to college than men,” Taylor said. “We’re not happy with the current gender balance and would love to see more males coming to Whitworth. It’s a challenge.”

Taylor said currently Whitworth is taking the initiative to position the institution in a way that will pull more men into it. He said Whitworth is working harder with the male candidates to show the value of our successful curricular and co-curricular activities at the university. He said that Whitworth isn’t looking for a 50/50 split, but hoping to mimic a broader composition of 60/40.

Another important factor of the Board of Trustee meeting was that a very important award was given. Art Symons was nominated for the award of George Frederick Whitworth Medial for his service to Whitworth for the past 44 years. Members of the Board said he has served faithfully and sacrificially and it has greatly influenced the university.

The George Frederick Whitworth Medial is the highest level of distinction, and is given with the deepest gratitude of Symon’s leadership. This award has only been given twice in the past 14 years, the last recipient of this award being Bill Robinson.

Beck said that this award is given in recognition and celebration of Symon’s contribution of the highest form of service towards the universities mission. The Board agreed unanimously.

“He has given financial means, time, talent and leadership in ways that were very appropriate,” Beck said. “He is silent in leadership but clearly effective in result. We have been able to accomplish a lot because of him.”

As Symon stood to receive the applause of the Board, he said “I enjoy working with this college and Board, it has been such a learning experience. God has blessed us generously, so we need to share it with others. Thank you very much, thank all of you very much.”

Beck said he plans to publicly announce Symon’s Medal of Honor in the near future.

 

Story by Jennifer Ingram Staff Writer

Contact Jennifer Ingram at jingram13@my.whitworth.edu.

Congo escapee joins incoming freshmen

Whitworth University sends out letters of acceptance to new students all over the world. This year, a letter of acceptance was sent to the home of Wilondja Muyoma, a 19-year-old living in Seattle. Muyoma, like many other prospective students, came to visit the Whitworth campus last November and fell in love with the university. He attended a few classes and said he was very impressed with the school.

“I visited several other colleges but my experiences at Whitworth were so different and unique,” Muyoma said.  “And as I did more research on the school, I saw what an amazing job they are doing in academics and I wanted to go there.”

He is now looking forward to studying philosophy and economics and perhaps taking a few French classes.

Muyoma is soon planning to pack up his things and make the trek from Seattle to Spokane.

The transition should be quite easy for him, for his journey to Whitworth began in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Specifically, he has traveled from the city Bukavu in Eastern Congo.

Muyoma’s native tongue is Swahili, but at the private Christian school he attended he mostly spoke French. Muyoma said that in Bukavu everyone lives in a tightly knit area. He said everyone is so close that he would consider the members of his community to be like relatives. He cared deeply for his friends and family.

Muyoma’s home was directly affected by one of the deadliest wars in Africa’s history, the Second Congo War. A peace treaty was signed in 2003 but fighting prevailed in the eastern part of Congo. When Muyoma was 12, the war that brought malnutrition and disease was forcing young men to join the army and leave their families.  All of those conditions became too much for Muyoma and he decided it was time to leave.

“Congo is pretty close to Rwanda, so we decided just to run there,” Muyoma said. “But along the way, my parents got lost and we were separated.”

There is estimated to be nearly 3 million refugees across Africa who have fled their homes due to violent conflict and persecution. There is a program established in Kenya that is designed to help reconnect families that might have been separated during the war. After nearly three years of searching for his family, Muyoma learned his parents were located back in the Congo.

Not wanting to risk going back to Bukavu, Muyoma was taken to an overcrowded, English-speaking refugee camp. Mapendo International, also known as RefugePoint, is an organization that happened to be visiting Muyoma’s camp at that time. RefugePoint goes to Kenya to assist families and individuals fleeing war who need urgent and lifesaving help. The foundation works with the United States and the U.N. to identify durable solutions for people in danger.

“The camp was such a blessing, because Mapendo International was there and offered to take me to America,” Muyoma said. “They offered me safety from the Congo and a chance to study in America and get a real education.”

The youngest of the group, Muyoma was the only one under 18 to travel to America. He and several others left Nairobi and flew to Europe, then to New York, and finally to Seattle.

“It was a very long flight, but just knowing I was going back to school made it worth it,” Muyoma said.

Muyoma settled into his new home in Seattle and quickly taught himself to speak English fluently. He said when he came to America he was excited to learn about business. So, he applied for an internship with Microsoft in the summer of 2011 and was one of 20 finalists accepted into the program.

“I had no clue what it was going to be like,” Muyoma said.

Muyoma was put into a group which would focus on the social aspect of marketing in the U.S. He worked with real Microsoft clients and learned persuasive marketing skills to get people to buy his products.

Muyoma then decided it was time to start a new chapter of his life. He was accepted into Whitworth’s Act Six program and is excited to move to Spokane and live on campus.

“When I visited I really liked East and Duvall,” Muyoma said. “But as I researched more, BJ looks fun because it’s all freshmen and it’s a close and tight community, kind of like my home was in Bukavu.”

 

Story by Jennifer Ingram Staff Writer

Photography by Corey Hage, courtesy of Waggener Edstrom Worldwide  

 

Contact Jennifer Ingram at jingram13@my.whitworth.edu.

Open dialogue benefits honors program

The announcement of Whitworth’s new honors program last month caused a variety of reactions among students. At the town hall meeting on March 8, some students felt faculty listened to student opinions while having already decided their minds in favor of the honors program, and therefore there wouldn’t be any use voicing concerns about the future of the program. According to the honors program steering committee, that is an untrue assumption. Students and faculty members concerned with the honors program met last week in two open meetings to answer student questions as well as brainstorm ideas, which would be shared with the rest of the honors program steering committee.

Committee member Adam Neder, associate professor of theology, facilitated the first meeting.

“What incentive will the committee have in not hearing what you all have to say?” Neder asked the students. “The idea is for open dialogue indefinitely,” Neder later said.

The meeting on April 10 focused on the community impact and aspects of research, while the meeting on April 12 addressed how the Honors program will make use of internships and study abroad. Senior Danny Gubitz participated in both meetings.

“I want to go to [the meetings] because I’m interested and invested in Whitworth,” Gubitz said. “I want to make sure students have a voice and the faculty knows that students care.”

The honors program proposal went through a lengthy process before getting to that point, committee member Kathryn Picanco, assistant professor of education, said in the Tuesday meeting, including being presented to the Curriculum Oversight Committee. Starting an honors program has been discussed by faculty for 10 or 15 years, Neder said. The Honors program Steering Committee began about two months ago and is continuing to settle the details of how the program will work.

The students and faculty present at the Thursday meeting considered the question of what would qualify an internship or study abroad trip at the honors level. Another question was how honors students with incoming credits will participate in the offered classes.

“There’s a tremendous amount of research that went into the initial proposal,” Picanco said. “I know some people seem to have issues with how fast it has gone through, because students have not known about it for very long.”

One original concern of the faculty was that the Honors program would create a two-tiered culture of honors and non-honors students, Neder said. Other issues included how to fund courses and fit classes with teachers. The suggestion of implementing the Honors program also presented the question of why the Program would be needed unless it reflected that current classes are not good enough.

“The honors courses are supposed to be innovative in pedagogies, and it encourages experimental thinking,” Neder said.

Picanco said the honors program courses would focus on depth, complexity and interdisciplinary studies.

The program is expected to accept 140 freshmen for next year and will offer six classes in fall 2012 for entering freshmen. The whole program is planned to grow to about 25 offered courses. Students who are ineligible for honors would be able to appeal where space was available.

“I think [the honors program is] important because anything that desires to stimulate intellectual development can be a catalyst for students who want to go deeper,” Buckham said.

 

Story by Emily Roth Staff Writer

Contact Emily Roth at eroth14@my.whitworth.edu.

Distraction fast helps break dependence on technology

Students at Whitworth are fasting technology for a week to concentrate on “real life” relationships. Distraction Fast is an event which encourages people to give up as much technology as they can.

The Distraction Fast, which kicked off April 9 at 7 p.m. in the Hixson Union Building multi-purpose room, was lead by senior Caleb McIlraith and senior Jenna Hansen.

Hansen told the audience how she was brought up without much technology, especially without social networking sites. Hansen said she felt that college life pressured students into using sites such as Facebook.

McIlraith expressed a concern for the lack of time we spend with our friends, and said he hoped that students who take part in this program will gain a sense of freedom from technology.

“I think technology and things like social media give us a false sense of accomplishment and satisfaction with a relationship by allowing us to connect with people virtually without actually having to enter into a relationship with the person,” McIlraith said.

McIlraith went on to describe how he hoped students wouldn’t always depend on technology for entertainment and social activity.

“It’s something that people do without even really thinking about it,” McIlraith said. “I remember my freshman year being really frustrated because we’d just watch movies all the time. We didn’t even question it.”

Hansen and McIlraith invited audience members to share their experiences with technology with each other before inviting professor of Theology Jerry Sittser to speak.

Junior Veronica Fetzer who attended the event said technology becomes too much of a distraction from work and sometimes damages her friendships as she is more likely to text friends rather than walk across the hall to talk to them.

“I think this is something college students especially need,” Fetzer said. “Growing up, I didn’t have cable; I got a Gamecube when I was 12 but we were only allowed on it for a certain amount of time. I think when I was 13 I got MySpace, and I was on it for hours and hours a day. It was really bad, but I was addicted.”

Fetzer said she watches TV shows, such as “How I Met Your Mother,” as she gets ready or cleans her room.

“I think I’m going to give up Facebook and TV shows,” Fetzer said. “I probably watch one or two TV shows a day.”

Sittser said people fast to break a strong-hold and to create a new kind of habit. The fast should increase one’s awareness of bad habits and show behaviors that have become addictive.

“Our culture is too self-indulgent,” Sittser said. “The goal is to use technology, not to be used by it.”

Sittser warned the audience that technology would always be a part of their lives and they have to learn how to live with it.

“The ultimate benefit from this fast is a greater presence,” Sittser said. “I call this ‘The fast of repentance.’”

Sittser went on to give audience members advice about how to break their bad patterns, such as never allowing yourself to text in front of another person, or to turn your phone off when in the company of others.

McIlraith invited participants to come together every evening this week, between 5:50-6:30 p.m. in the HUB, to get dinner and to discuss the challenges and successes of their fast.

McIlraith summed up his goal for the week as having more people living in the moment rather than being connected to people all over the place at one time.

“What I’m hoping people will realize is how great it can be just to be present where you are,” McIlraith said.

 

Story by Samantha Payne Staff Writer

Contact Samantha Payne at spayne15@my.whitworth.edu.

 

Students raise awareness of water access issues

A Whitworth club presented a new and innovative way to engage students by hosting the first ever Water Week. From April 12 to April 14, two organizations pooled their ideas and resources together to create three days of thought-provoking conversations about the limited clean water sources in third world countries.

Whitworth Kisima club, a club that raises money to build wells in Africa through Blood:Water Mission, along with Team Running Water, a Bloomsday team through Partners International, put on the event to raise awareness and funding for clean water around the world.

A Walk in Their Shoes was kicked off by mapping out a walkway from Pirates Cove to a water source in the Back 40. For three consecutive days, students were challenged to use only this water spigot as their resource for all their water needs.

Senior Julie Sullivan, Partners International intern, said she thought it would be an interactive way for students to become aware of the water supply needs in developing countries around the world.

“There are so many speakers that come to campus,” Sullivan said. “We wanted to create something  different and interactive that would pull people’s curiosity and spark a new interest.”

As president of Team Running Water, Sullivan wanted to create an opportunity for students to experience the discomfort that some people experience every single day. When students get thirsty in the middle of the day and think how far they would need to walk to get a sip of water, it gives them an idea of all the other places in the world that don’t have easy access to safe drinking water, she said.

“It’s so neat to see,” Sullivan said. “We had over 50 people sign up, but even if 10 do it then it’s totally worth it to me.”

Whitworth’s Kisima club ended Water Week with a final hike to the Back 40 to fill water jugs, which participants then carried approximately two miles to the Hixson Union Building.

Kisima club president, Alison Gonzalez, said that the club wanted to work specifically with Blood:Water Mission to raise money toward purchasing a well in Eastern Africa.

She said the idea behind Water Week was to engage the community in critical thinking and meaningful experiences that would leave them with a desire to act further.

“The purpose of the walk is to experience the discomfort that people experience every day to get access to water,” Gonzalez said. “Sometimes it’s not even clean water.”

Live music, free stickers and snacks were provided by Sodexo for participants to enjoy when they finished the Water Walk.

After the walk, Ross Carper, a junior high leader at First Presbyterian Church Spokane and a long-time supporter of Blood:Water Mission, shared about the importance of the organization. The organization, he said, believes in providing wells to help Africans help themselves.

“Blood:Water Mission believes Africans are solving African problems,” Carper said. “Americans aren’t doing that.”

Gonzalez said there are many social ties to the water issues in Eastern Africa.

“Working towards long-term goals is so beneficial,” Gonzalez said. “These projects are so crucial to the organizations and we just want to help.”

She said nearly 40 billion school hours are lost for young kids because the children are sent out with the women to find safe drinking water for their families. Searching can last all day.

“The Water Walk might only take a few hours but hopefully will leave you with an experience that will help you educate others about the issues in the world,” Gonzalez said.

The event was free, but donations were accepted to go toward the cause. Anyone who donated $15 received a Kisima water bottle, and the money was put directly into the clean water fund. All the proceeds were split between Partners International and Blood Water Mission.

“It is such an engaging activity for students,” Gonzalez said. “We wanted to do something creative that would have weight on the participants. They can have their own experiences and we hope it will be impactful on them.”

 

Story by Jennifer Ingram Staff Writer

Photography by Jo Miller Arts & Culture Editor

Contact Jennifer Ingram at jingram13@my.whitworth.edu.

Dining hall chosen to test new and healthier menu

Sodexo is testing a new dining menu that could be rolled out in the fall.

Whitworth is one of eight colleges serviced by Sodexo that is testing a new preview menu. The dining hall is testing a two week menu twice in four weeks.

After four weeks, the dining hall menu will become a hybrid of the old and new menu. That hybrid will add back in Whitworth favorites such as French Dip Fridays and breakfast sandwiches on Wednesday. General manager of Sodexo Jim O’Brien said Sodexo hopes to start the new menu nationwide this fall.

“It’s really a test situation to see if in fact these menus would be something they could roll out nationally next fall,” O’Brien said.

The number of dishes offered will decrease a little bit in order to increase quality, O’Brien said.

“The general concept is instead of offering, let’s say on the grill, a hamburger, a cheeseburger, grilled cheese, French fries every day, offer one really good thing,” O’Brien said.

The new menu also has a stronger focus on vegetarian options.

“[Sodexo] is trying to increase both variety and healthy options that they have in the menus,” O’Brien said.

To gain feedback on what students did and did not like, surveys will be offered at the end of each meal asking what food a student ate and what they thought of it. That information will give Sodexo a better sense of how to improve the menu before rolling it out nationwide.

So far it seems students appear to enjoy the change.

“In general, it’s kind of exciting,” junior Brandi McFerran said. “I haven’t really gotten used to it. It’s pleasantly surprising.”

The new menu items have appeared to be healthier, McFerran said, which she appreciates.

“It’s not all onions,” senior Jeremy White said with a laugh.

White said he would like to see some consistency within a meal, for example having scrambled eggs at breakfast.

Junior Matthew Rediger has liked the focus on one high quality menu item per dining option.

“I appreciate more grill options, instead of the same three pizza options,” he said.

The change in food options is taking some getting used to for some students.

“I am very much a creature of habit but it’s been a nice change,” senior Jordan Kingma said. “I really only notice at lunch. Lunch is better. I haven’t really noticed at dinner. It’s still a starch, grilled or steamed vegetable and a meat.”

 

Story by Caitlyn Starkey Staff Writer

Photography by Hope Barnes

 

Contact Caitlyn Starkey at cstarkey14@my.whitworth.edu.