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.