Thursday, October 20, 2016

Academic Highlight 002: Peace & Social Justice

Academic Highlight 002
Peace & Social Justice

How does Pacific University use our academics to change the world?
By having an entire set of classes dedicated to empowering students to create social justice and a more peaceful world.

Raise your hand if you've ever watched the news and wanted to do something about it all.
Yeah, our hand is up too.

So, we created an entire field of study dedicated just to "doing something about it all."
The Peace & Social Justice minor at Pacific University engages students in investigating issues of social justice, inequality and violence among individuals, groups, and the nations of the world.

With an interdisciplinary approach to creating peace and social justice in our world, students will be prepared with the diverse perspectives necessary to solve the diverse problems our world faces today. It's rare that a social issue has a clear cut solution; things tend to be nuanced. So we made our education in peace and social justice nuanced to match that.

We're creating well-prepared, informed and active citizens who have a broad understanding in varying social issues. Contact Admissions to learn how you can apply for free or schedule a visit with Pacific; a University that's empowering passionate students to make a difference in our world.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

"Growing Green"

Our world is changing, and so is our campus.
We are constantly building and developing in order to ensure that our campus excels for the modern college student.
But doesn't that mean that as our campus grows, so too does our carbon footprint?
Not at Pacific.
Why is building sustainably important? Buildings consume over half of all U.S. energy, and account for 35% of CO2 emissions. We heard these stats at Pacific, and immediately decided to make a commitment to "grow green".
With all of our expansion and updating, we are continually making sure that our buildings meet the sustainability standards put forth by the U.S. Green Building Council. With seven LEED-certified buildings, 41% of Pacific's floor area is certified as sustainable, and that number continues to grow. 
As if "growing green" wasn't enough, we are also working backwards, updating our older, non-LEED buildings to reduce energy consumption and bring those buildings to LEED energy standards and beyond.
From recycled concrete, steel, insulation, and drywall in Gilbert Hall, to installing bio-filters on the roof of Burlingham Hall in order to reduce the contamination of rainwater runoff, we care about how we impact the environment here at Pacific. And the best part is, we've been doing it since 2005, when we built our library to match LEED's standards. It's safe to say that we know what we're doing when it comes to sustainability.
Contact Admissions to learn how you can apply for free or schedule a visit with Pacific; a University that cares about sustainability, and is continually growing green.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Professor Highlight 003: Don Schweitzer

Professor Highlight 003
Don Schweitzer, PhD, LMSW, BSW 
How is Dr. Schweitzer changing the world?
Social Work.

He is a professor of Social Work on our Undergraduate campus who has been dedicated to providing students with opportunities to apply their coursework to real world challenges. He's passionate about analyzing social structures and helping students figure out how to use them for good.

How do you integrate making the world a better place into your coursework?
In the classroom, I provide assignments and readings that connect students to real world challenges where they have to develop real world solutions. Examples include:

  • A policy class designed around working with a local Anti-Poverty Workgroup to develop policy recommendations to improve issues such as affordable housing, access to affordable childcare, and food stamps. Students worked collaboratively with the Workgroup throughout the semester to develop legislative priorities for the Workgroup.
  • One of my favorite class discussions is on the power analysis. Although power is often used to harm vulnerable people, when power is understood it can be harnessed to improve the lives of the vulnerable. The power analysis helps us understand how to assess it and develop a plan of action to change it.
  • I incorporate texts such as Jonathan Kozol’s Amazing Grace. These type of texts provide us a window into a world, often in our own backyard, where people are hurting, struggling, and, often times, voiceless and disempowered.

How do you integrate making the world a better place into your other duties as a faculty member?
By working collaboratively with my colleagues. I think it is critical for us to work across professional lines. Listening to others’ ideas, learning from other disciplines, and finding common ground is something that not only makes the world a better a place, it makes me better at what I do.

How do you integrate making the world a better place into your personal life?
Getting involved in my community. Whether that’s volunteering as a board member for a local non-profit or volunteering my expertise to community members, helping them conduct community needs assessments. I have a set of skills to offer and I enjoy using them to make my community a better place.

Contact Admissions to learn how you can apply for free or schedule a visit with Pacific; a University that has professors who are passionate about change.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

B Street Farm

How can we encourage more sustainable eating?
Start at the roots of it all.
That’s why Pacific University has a farm that only surrounds it roots in organic soil. Pardon the pun; we couldn’t resist.

The B Street Farm is a grassroots organization, dedicated to sustainable living practices for Pacific University students, local schools, and other Forest Grove community members. What do they mean by that? Basically, they’re a certified organic farm that teaches others to do the same. By hosting site projects that engage participants in community building, research, and demonstration, they are able to teach others around them how to live more sustainably as well.

Our farm is affiliated with many other organizations, dedicated to more sustainable living:
·         Pacific University's Center for Civic Engagement
·         Orion Grassroots Network 
·         Adelante Mujeres 
·         Oregon Tilth
·         …and more!

B Street, as it’s referred to by students, is committed to sustainable living and to providing hands on experiences for learning how to live more sustainably.

Do you want to be a part of a University that doesn’t just talk about sustainability, but actually is already taking action?

Contact Admissions to learn how you can apply for free or schedule a visit with Pacific; a University that takes conversations of sustainability, and turns those conversations into actions.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Inclusive Restrooms

Bathrooms; maybe not the first thing that comes to everyone’s mind when they think of changing the world, but here at Pacific, we take them pretty seriously.

That’s why we offer over 30 all-gender, single-user restrooms, to serve the needs of our diverse community. Each lockable space includes a toilet and sink and is open to anyone.

Here at Pacific, we’re constantly looking for ways to provide safer spaces for all students, staff, faculty, and community members. That’s why we provide restrooms that help serve the needs of trans and gender nonconforming people, as well as families with children and alter-abled people who may require an attendant of a different gender.

The best part is, they’re offered in over 10 buildings on our Undergraduate campus.
If you’re on our campus, it’s more likely than not that you’ll be near a bathroom that meets your needs, regardless of who you are or how you identify.

We heard the call of students to update our facilities, and we answered. The creation of these restrooms began at the request of the Undergraduate Student Senate, with support from the Professional Student Senate, and the Center for Gender Equity.

Do you want to be a part of a community that is intentional about inclusivity?

Contact Admissions to learn how you can apply for free or schedule a visit with Pacific University where we celebrate diversity and insist on inclusivity.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Professor Highlight 002: Erica Kleinknecht

Professor Highlight 002
Erica Kleinknecht, PhD
How is Dr. Kleinknecht changing the world?

She is a professor of Psychology on our Undergraduate campus who has been dedicated to giving her knowledge away to those who will use it to better the lives of those around them. She’s passionate about Psychology because it's a field that has so much to offer the world and current social issues.

What does it mean to you to be a professor dedicated to community engagement?
Part of our job description as faculty members is to engage in “service” to our community. The traditional definition of community service, to university faculty, is the academic community. I want my work to have a broader impact too though, so I additionally choose to follow a different definition of community. That is, one can also define community as the local community – the folks and organizations we live with outside the university and research settings. I do this too – find ways to apply my professional and personal skills outside “the academy”. As I do this, I blend my personal interests in helping the community with my professional teaching and scholarship. 

Could you elaborate on how you apply yourself to the varying definitions of a civically engaged professor?
1. Public Intellectual - As a public intellectual, I “give psychology away.” When folks ask, I provide them with print resources and offer suggestions for how to put research and theory into practice in their lives and work, as relevant. For example, several years ago, the principal of the Forest Grove Community School asked me if some students and I could build a school-wide curricular package for her teachers to use, to help boost the social-cognitive development of the student body. We did that, and some (though not all) of the activities were adopted by a few of the teachers there and at other local elementary schools as well.
2. Civic EngagementIn the spirit of “service learning” for several years running students enrolled in my Child Development Class have been placed in a local elementary classroom where they simultaneously help out in the classroom and conduct observational work that brings course content to life for them (in fact, I have been doing this with my students for longer than the center for civic engagement has been in operation). My students have worked in this capacity in the on-campus Early Learning Community and in the Forest Grove Community School.
3. Applied Research Mentor - Using the volunteer projects mentioned below, I create applied research experiences for appropriate students, that is, students with civic minded and research interests. Over the years, several students have worked on the Pixel Arts project and the Perspective Taking project in a variety of ways.
  • Pixel Arts program mentors: Pacific students have been trained and then volunteered in Pixel Arts camps and After School Programs 
  • Pixel Arts program evaluators: Pacific students have worked alongside me in designing, analyzing, and writing up assessment reports. Our reports are often presented at peer reviewed research conferences
  • Perspective Taking programming: Pacific students take my program curricula and use them in elementary classrooms. As they do this, they provide students with meaningful opportunities 
Why do you feel it is important for you to share your knowledge?
I believe that the work we do as experimental psychologists has much to offer the world, and so I work to make that information accessible as much as I can. In terms of how I work to make the world a better place then, I blend my personal and professional interests and skills.I work to blur the lines between scholarship and life, in both directions too. Not only do I take my students out into the world, but I also bring the world into my classrooms. I blend social issues and facilitate discussions on how to handle them in all the courses I teach. I train students to be critical thinkers and I offer them opportunities to take what they are learning and apply it to real-world challenges, just as I do myself.

Contact Admissions to learn how you can apply for free or schedule a visit with Pacific; a University that has professors who are passionate about change.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Whole Student: From Sports to Theater

How is Pacific University changing the world?
By engaging the whole student.
We know that you're here to study what you're passionate about. And we also know that that is not the only thing you are passionate about.
Whether it's FootballBoard GamesMusicUltimate Frisbee, or Theater, there is a way for you to be involved and express yourself in every way you can imagine. With over 60 clubs and organizations, and one-third of our student body participating in a varsity sport, there are plenty of ways for you to have a wholistic college experience at Pacific.
Now, how does that change the world?
Well, we know that you are at your best when you are able to express every part of who you are. And when you're at your best, you're best able to connect with those around you, and help them in whatever ways they need help.
On top of that, Pacific empowers you to be successful in whatever career you might dream of, and helps you to become a well-rounded professional who can connect with others on many personal levels, like interests and hobbies, making them feel even more welcome and excited to be working with you.
That's why we support the whole student here at Pacific. We know that it makes you better now, and in your future career.
Want to have four years of excellent academics, giving back to the community, and having fun while doing it all? Contact Admissions to learn how you can apply for free or schedule a visit with Pacific; a University that likes wants you to express exactly who you are.