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.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Alumni Highlight 001: Mia Prohaska

Alumni Highlight 001: 
Mia Prohaska '16, BSW

Mia Prohaska graduated in 2016 with a Bachelors degree in Social Work, and a heart for the people around her. Read on to hear how Pacific gave her the tools she needed to change the world.

What was your favorite part of Pacific and why?
I love the community feel Pacific has, both the students and staff have are so welcoming and encouraging. I don’t think I would have become the person I am today without the encouragement Pacific gave me. I truly felt accepted and included in the Pacific community.

What was your favorite service project you participated in at Pacific? Why?
Well I worked for the Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) so this is really hard! I would have to say the Thanksgiving I hosted with the students from Saudi Arabia. It was such a special time where two cultures came together and celebrated unity. I think now more than ever it is important to celebrate diversity. That day was just filled with some much joy, love and great food; I don’t think I’ll ever forget that Thanksgiving, and all the amazing students that made it so special! Plus who doesn’t like a service event with delicious food!

What are you most passionate about, when it comes to “making the world a better place”?
This is hard because there are so many great ways to make the world a better place and I am in general just a pretty passionate person. I think my greatest passion is youth empowerment; I think it is so important that kids feels safe and welcomed in their daily environments. I think our school system really expects kids to be great at everything, and kids really feel that pressure at an early age. You can have a student who is incredible at something, maybe art or writing, but because they struggle with math they go through the school system feeling as if they are inadequate. I think it’s so important that we work to really shine a light on each and every persons individual strengths instead of their weaknesses. Using someone’s own personal strengths to build them up is what empowerment is all about to me. Whether I am working in the political sphere, international sphere, or local sphere that is what I hope to do with my life. 
How did Pacific help you in your aims to “make the world a better place”?
I got to major in social work which is all about making the world a better place. Because of my major I got to have so many hands on experiences with different populations. My biggest experience was my 440 hour practicum I was able to do with Representative Joe Gallegos. I was actually able to  help him form policy that will reintroduce social workers into the Oregon school system.

Working for the CCE for four years also helped me make the world a better place; it was basically my job to do just that. I was able to work with so many incredible students in the community. I was able to teach cooking, form an elementary explorers club, and do tons of fun arts and craft activities thanks to my time at the CCE. When I look back I have so many incredible memories because of my work there. I don’t think I would be where I am today without the CCE. 

How were you able to use your academics at Pacific to “make the world a better place”?
Well thanks to all the amazing academic experience Pacific gave me I was awarded a Fulbright to Thailand. I now get to live my dream of being a teacher in my favorite place ever for a year. I know with the skills I have learned in social work and through personal experiences I am going to make a difference in my students' lives and hopefully make the world a better place. 

Contact Admissions to learn how you can apply for free or schedule a visit with Pacific; a University that's empowering passionate students to become alumni who are prepared to make a difference in our world.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Academic Highlight 001: Health Professions

Academic Highlight 001: 
Health Professions 

Heath and happiness often go hand in hand.

Here at Pacific, we know that one huge way you can make the world a better place, is by helping people be and feel healthy. If people can spend less time worrying about their injured knee, then they can spend more time doing the things they love.

That's why we take care to study how we can all take better care of our bodies. And we do it pretty well too. We have nearly every undergraduate field of study under the sun, ranging from Biology, to Exercise Science, to Vision Science. If you want to help people live healthier lives, you can do it at Pacific.

As if that wasn't enough, those same undergraduate programs also give back to the community through their coursework. Every Pacific student completes a Civic Engagement course, which gives you a chance to use your passions to make the community a better place. Whether that's running a free yoga class at a retirement home, helping a faculty member work out a fitness plan, or creating a relaxation room for youth, you can get college credit to help people live healthier lives as an undergraduate student at Pacific. 

And with graduate programs ranging from Physical Therapy, to Optometry, to Physician Assistant Studies, and beyond, you can also become a certified health care professional through your time at Pacific. And better yet, we can give you the tools you need to be a competitive applicant into any one of those health professions graduate schools, so you can get out and use your degree to improve the lives of others.

Want to make the world a better place by helping people feel healthier?
You can do that and so much more here at Pacific.

Contact Admissions to learn how you can apply for free or schedule a visit with Pacific; a University that's empowering passionate students to help others live healthier and happier lives.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Center for a Sustainable Society

Sustainability: It’s a word that packs a punch in our world and what it needs.

Do you care about living more sustainably, and encouraging and helping others to do the same?
Here at Pacific, we do too.

That’s why we have a Center for a Sustainable Society. This campus center provides opportunities for students to engage with the community and create global awareness in order to build a healthier future.

It’s pretty cool that we have that, right?
We’re proud of it.

Using the University and the local area as a living laboratory, the center creates opportunities to raise awareness of the need for a sustainable future, and works to reduce the region's environmental footprint. How about that? A University using its resources to reduce its own environmental footprint, as well as the footprint of the surrounding communities. That’s not something you see every day; unless you’re at Pacific.

The CSS works with local government, business and nonprofit partners, student environmental organizations, faculty, and staff, all to make our society more sustainable than it was the day before.

Do you want to learn how to integrate changing the world into what you’re passionate about, while getting an exceptional education?

If you answered yes (and we’re guessing you did), contact Admissions to learn how you can apply for free or schedule a visit with Pacific; a University that cares about sustainability, and is creating change every day.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Professor Highlight 001: Jessica Ritter

Professor Highlight 001
Jessica Ritter, PhD, MSSW, BSW
How is Jessica Ritter changing the world?
Social Work.

She is a professor of Social Work on our Undergraduate campus who has been dedicated to children’s rights in the U.S., and around the world. She’s passionate about Social Work because it’s a profession committed to social justice, helping marginalized populations better function in their environment, and helping to change the environment that makes them marginalized in the first place.

When did you first realize you wanted to use your academics/career to change the world?
I was in high school when I first discovered that I wanted to help "make the world a better place." This is when I also realized that part of doing this is to become active politically, and I volunteered for my first presidential campaign. This was the beginning of my involvement in the political arena where I started making it a part of my life to follow what was happening politically, volunteering to elect people who shared my values and vision of the world, and even going down to state legislatures to testify on behalf of legislation that I support because it would be helpful to people who struggle in our country.

And then, of course, I majored in social work and became a social worker, and we are known for our drive to make the world a better place. But that is a whole other story!

How do you use your classes at Pacific to teach students to change the world in ways they’re passionate about?
When I decided to get my PhD and become a professor of social work, part of my job has been to help students become knowledgable and skilled in effecting change at both the micro and macro level, and the courses I teach focus on teaching students how to effect change at the community level and also in the political arena. This is my passion in life! I cannot tell you how gratifying it is to help students, who have no interest in this, or who find this kind of work incredibly daunting, find that they have a passion for doing social justice work at the macro level. This is what a good class can do, in my opinion. It can give students the knowledge and confidence to do something that they previously did not think they could do.

In my Social Policy & Social Justice class, students study a piece of legislation all semester and then learn to write testimony, create a one page advocacy fact sheet, and then participate in a mock committee hearing where they provide oral testimony to a panel of state legislators (this is a role play). It is great fun. Then in my Macro Social Work class, students work together on a social justice project all semester. Projects in the past have involved supporting a piece of legislation in the Oregon State Legislature by creating advocacy tools, using social media and lobbying legislators. One class worked on a bill that was successful in enabling undocumented college students in Oregon to pay in-state tuition at public universities. 

How about your personal life? What do you do outside of Pacific for social change?
In my personal life, I continue to be active politically and in my community. I am most passionate about child well-being and children's rights. I am a board member of Children First for Oregon, an advocacy organization that advocates for children at the Oregon State Legislature, particularly for children in poverty and foster youth. 

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, July 21, 2016

Center for Gender Equity

Have you ever wanted the world to be more equitable for everyone, regardless of any particular identity?
Yeah, so have we.
So we created the Center for Gender Equity.

The Center for Gender Equity is a staple on our campus, and has been since the year 2000. Founded by Pamela Mohandass, a scholar visiting from Lady Doak College in India who came to Pacific to study the Feminist Studies Program, the CGE is a long standing organization that gives students constant opportunities to work toward Gender Equity on our campus, and in the greater community. Although many campuses have Women’s Centers, these centers are rarely as innovative, inclusive, and diversified as Pacific’s CGE.
Here’s what makes our Center for Gender Equity amazing:

1.       It’s staffed by students who couldn’t be more passionate about using their education and experiences to create a more equitable society for everyone.
2.       They work both on and off campus to provide programming for everyone they can reach.
3.       You can participate in their events at any given time.

Our CGE even provides extensive coursework in Gender and Sexuality Studies, meaning that you can spend your time in class the way you might spend your time volunteering on the weekends with your friends.

Think that’s cool? Get this: the entire campus cares about an equitable society for people of all gender and sexual identities. How do we know this? Because there are classes on gender and sexuality equity in Sociology, Public Health, Psychology, History, Biology, Anthropology and Literature. That’s a pretty long list of academic disciplines if you ask us.

Pacific is unique in its commitment to making our culture equitable for everyone involved, regardless of gender or sexual identity. Do you want to be a part of that? Because we want you to be. Contact Admissions to learn how you can apply for free or schedule a visit.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Civic Engagement

Civic engagement: step one in the process of how we support you in sharing your passions with the community in Forest Grove, and other communities internationally.

So, what is it?

Civic engagement is the methods through which citizens participate in a community to improve its conditions for everyone in that community. On our campus, civic engagement looks like working with others in Forest Grove, and other nearby cities, to do meaningful work that provides you with learning and skill development opportunities.

As one of the four cornerstones of our diverse academic experience, civic engagement is integrated into your education. Our professors integrate it into their coursework, our students embrace it in their everyday lives, and our community thrives on doing all that we can to give all that we can.

We have countless courses that integrate civic engagement into the academic experience. These courses are available in nearly every field of study: Exercise Science, Psychology, Gender and Sexuality Studies, English Writing and Literature, Public Health, Philosophy, Business, Theater, World Languages, Education, Disability Studies, Political Science, Social Work, and others.

After reading that list, you might be wondering, what don’t they offer civic engagement in? Not much. It’s important to us that we give you the tools to be an effective professional in whatever you are passionate about. Because of this, we want you to know how to change the world using what you care most about; so we teach how to change the world through the lens of nearly every academic discipline under the sun.

Still curious about what you might take for civic engagement? Here are some ideas:

  • Applied Nutrition
  • Applied Theater
  • Child Development
  • Healthy Communities
  • Integrated Media Project Design
  • ...and so much more!

Contact Admissions to learn how you can apply for free or schedule a visit with Pacific University where we care about using what we know and what we are learning to improve the lives of others.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Our Mission

Our Mission: A diverse and sustainable community dedicated to discovery and excellence in teaching, scholarship and practice, Pacific University inspires students to think, care, create, and pursue justice in our world.
Changing the world; it’s what we do.
It’s in our Mission Statement.
It’s in our classrooms.
It’s in our textbooks.
It’s in our professors.
It’s in our conversations.
And it’s in you.

There is something about the human condition that causes us to want our world to succeed. We want to help those around us, from the day-to-day interactions, to the policies we vote for. We all want a say in the world becoming the place our 10 year-old selves dreamed it to be.

Here at Pacific, we know the world can get there. We know that people are stronger together than they ever are apart. That’s why we’ve built a community of world changers. We’ve given our students, professors, staff, and everyone who sets foot on our campus, the space to make the changes that they want to see happen in our world.
We’ve started the process of changing the world, and we want you to join in it with us. We’re ready to help you jump-start your dreams for the world, fueled by your unique passions; the things that make you tick. Come join our unique, passionate, and engaged community of people who integrate making the world a better place into all they do!

Contact Admissions to learn how you can apply for free or schedule a visit with Pacific; a University that has changing the world in its roots.