To the Faculty of Seattle Pacific University,
It is with love and concern that we are writing this petition. From our perspective and experience as students of Seattle Pacific University, there is a significant component missing in our undergraduate curriculum. As we work to become graduates of competence and character, it is imperative that we receive the necessary foundation and training to attain this goal. We believe that cultural education is absolutely crucial to our development. As students, we desire to see a component integrated into the academic curriculum where we are mandated to fulfill a cultural competency requirement.
In reference to Seattle Pacific’s mission statement, the university desires to graduate students “of competence and character, becoming people of wisdom, and modeling grace-filled community.” In order to faithfully fulfill this mission, we believe cultural competency should be implemented into the construct of the university’s academic program. Otherwise, students graduate without the necessary skills for interacting with people from various cultural backgrounds. Although there are many faculty members who are well educated in cultural awareness and global affairs, they are limited to specific departments. If students choose Seattle Pacific University for the motto “Engaging the culture, changing the world”, it is not a guarantee they will take a course engaging in cultural competency.
The racial and ethnic diversity of the SPU student body has doubled in the last five years. Currently 26% of our campus is ethnically or culturally diverse. As students engage with peers and faculty, there are many questions that are raised within our increasingly multi-cultural campus. It is crucial that Seattle Pacific University graduates students of competence who have cultural understanding and knowledge that is integral to their education. Our university has the opportunity to impact the future of their students if this requirement is developed and structured within the curriculum.
It is not only our desire to see this happen, but we believe that it is our calling as Christians to become aware of the many cultures that comprise the Kingdom of God. In this process of seeking God’s holiness, we learn and grow to love our neighbors. In order to begin impacting the world as graduates, we must first acknowledge and understand our local and global neighbors. As a community that aspires to model grace, we cannot neglect any precious member, nor can we betray one another so that we are trapped by our own ignorance. Cultural learning is essential for reconciliation within our community, is part of our signature commitment, and is the heart of the gospel; for Christ himself has given us the ministry of reconciliation.
The following outlines our request for change in the educational curriculum at Seattle Pacific University:
Please know that we as students are very thankful for the work that you do and the care you extend to us. We believe this is a matter of modeling Christ’s love and striving towards reconciliation within our community.
Students of Seattle Pacific University