Heading Towards Thanksgiving Break

November 19th, 2015 § 0

Week Eight of autumn quarter is wrapping up, and in the English Department students and instructors alike are heading into the final push of the term. Fall quarter is a curious creature because the winter holidays begin before the term actually ends. We may be ready for a holiday break all right, exhausted as we all are by the pace of the quarter system. But the holidays come too early nevertheless, because work—and sometimes the most important work of the quarter—still needs to be done.

We’re talking here about the intrusion, into the tail-end of autumn quarter, of Thanksgiving, which happens just before the big, final push of the quarter: the concluding week of classes right after the holiday, then final exams the following Monday through Wednesday.

This seasonal mini-break can provide time for everyone to catch a breath and some extra time for completing assignments and papers (writing them or grading them) and to celebrate briefly with family and friends before the onslaught of final exams. But Thanksgiving break can also put us in the holiday mood long before we should be—that is, if we want to finish the quarter without the distraction of a holiday warmth and excitement that somehow feels un-earned by the satisfying completion of yet another quarter.

And here is what is truly curious about this odd rhythm of fall quarter. A holiday so central to our acknowledgment of Providence’s work in our lives tugs us toward gratitude at the same time as, in the back of our minds and hearts, we feel reluctant to give ourselves fully over to it, for all the above reasons. It’s as if, being good sons and daughters of the Pilgrims whose tentative beginnings on this continent we celebrate on Thanksgiving, we must hold back on our acceptance of grace because we may not feel totally entitled to it. Not yet. There’s more work to be done to make us worthy, to allow us rest.

How can we acknowledge fully the gifts of grace while also persevering in our academic expression of what powers these gifts have stirred within us? Maybe Thanksgiving’s quirky intrusion into our academic lives can teach us to acknowledge a well-provided grace that comes un-earned, that cannot be earned, and simply to keep going. We’re allowed to catch a breath when we can, then rest when we can rest.

Internships Available at Seattle Met Magazine

November 14th, 2015 § 0

From Darren Davis, Associate Editor of Seattle Met magazine:

“I’m looking for budding journalists for Seattle Met’s internship program!

“We are currently hiring for our winter/spring and summer terms (internships start in Feb and June, respectively). School credit is available for students who need an immersive internship in a professional setting to fulfill an academic requirement. Recent graduates are also eligible for the internship.

“I look for the following in applicants: independent, quick learners with great writing skills, detail orientation, prior office work experience, references who can speak to writing skills and conscientiousness/level of detail, strong GPA and extracurriculars, and good organization skills.”

The internship listing is online at http://www.seattlemet.com/pages/jobs-at-seattlemet#editintern.

Dr. Peter Moe Appointed Director of Campus Writing

November 12th, 2015 § 0

Peter Moe is SPU’s new Director of Campus Writing. Dr. Moe will oversee SPU’s new first-year writing curriculum (to be implemented in the fall of 2016), run our Writing Center, and help professors improve how they teach writing in course across the university, particularly those that are writing-intensive, or “W” courses.

Born and raised in Washington State, Dr. Moe has just finished doctoral work at the University of Pittsburgh. “I wanted to return to the Northwest, to its whales, volcanoes, waters, and forests,” he says. “Seattle Pacific University fits the bill geographically,” but its attractions for Dr. Moe go well beyond it being simply a place to work back home. A person keen to read and write on many topics, Dr. Moe chose to work at SPU because, he says, “SPU gives me space to follow these varied research interests.”

“That sounds obvious; it’d be expected that an English professor write and read regularly,” adds Dr. Moe. But running a writing program is a demanding job. So, he insists, “it’s not a matter of having time, but of making time” to read and write, “and it’s also not only a matter of reading fueling writing, but of my reading and writing in tandem nourishing my work in the classroom.”

The English Department is happy to welcome Dr. Moe to SPU.

South Africa Study Abroad Info Session

November 6th, 2015 § 0

The next info session on the English Department’s South Africa Study Abroad trip, led by Dr. Kimberly Segall, takes place Tuesday, December 1st from 12:30-1:30 in Marston-Watson 253.

See the earlier post on this trip for specifics–coursework, credits, and costs.

Pilgrimage to Peace Tour on Campus

October 26th, 2015 § 0

Wednesday, November 4th, 3:00-4:30pm, Eaton 112
For more information, contact: Professor of English Doug Thorpe, dthorpe@spu.edu


Guided by Christ’s abundant love, we are committed to peace and justice for all people, including Palestinians and Israelis. We espouse Christ’s heart for the poor and marginalized and take seriously their protection in times of conflict. Our message emphasizes compassion while upholding justice in pursuit of security, freedom, and dignity for all the people of the Holy Land.


More than sixty years of conflict have had an especially destructive effect in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. In the West Bank and Gaza, infrastructure and basic services such as water, education and healthcare are often in short supply in Palestinian communities. We encourage a community-based, sustainable framework in which individuals, families, and communities move toward healthy individual development, positive relationships, and a context that provides safety, social justice and participation in civil society.


Sami Awad is the Executive Director of Holy Land Trust (HLT), a Palestinian nonprofit organization which he founded in 1998 in Bethlehem. HLT works with the Palestinian community at both the grassroots and leadership levels in developing nonviolent approaches that aim to end the Israeli occupation and build a future founded on the principles of nonviolence, equality, justice, and peaceful coexistence.

Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon is a pastor, writer, and academic who cares deeply about God’s heart for the poor and the oppressed. She is the author of Social Justice Handbook: Small Steps for a Better World (IVP, 2009), Just Spirituality: How Faith Practices Fuel Social Action (IVP, 2012) and co-author of Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith (Zondervan, 2014). Mae earned her doctorate in American History with the minor in Middle Eastern studies from the University of California – Davis, focusing her dissertation on the history of the American Protestant church in Israel and Palestine. She has worked as both a consultant to the Middle East for Compassion International and as the Senior Director of Advocacy and Outreach for World Vision.

Sahar Vardi is an Israeli peace activist who works for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) in Jerusalem. As a secular Jew, she works alongside Israelis, Palestinians, and Internationals to focus on equal rights and demilitarization. Sahar served three prison sentences for her refusal to be conscripted into Israel’s military service. She serves as Coordinator of AFSC’s Israel program in east Jerusalem. Since age 14, she has worked for a number of Israeli peace organizations that try to break down barriers between Israelis and Palestinians.

“In any armed conflict, it is always the most vulnerable, particularly children, who suffer most. Both Palestinian and Israeli children have the right to live in safety; free from violence, fear and want.” – Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon

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