Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bill Robinson to present keynote speech at Governor's Prayer Breakfast Feb. 26

Whitworth University president to address "Leadership that Unites" during 69th annual gathering for Washington State political representatives, business leaders, students

Calling on 17 years of leadership experience as president of Whitworth University, Bill Robinson will be the keynote speaker for the 2010 Governor's Prayer Breakfast, to be held Friday, Feb. 26, at 7 a.m. at the Red Lion Hotel, in Olympia. Robinson will discuss "Leadership that Unites," based in part on themes from his most recent book, Incarnate Leadership: 5 Leadership Lessons from the Life of Jesus. He also will speak to college students participating in the Washington Student Leadership Forum on Friday and Saturday in Olympia.

Robinson was invited to be the breakfast's keynote speaker by event co-chairs Governor Christine Gregoire, State Rep. Al O'Brien and State Sen. Janéa Holmquist. State Rep. Kevin Parker, a Whitworth alum who also teaches in the university's MBA program, will introduce Robinson.

"It's an honor for me to be asked to speak to the governor and elected officials in our state," Robinson says. "I'd love to be able to bring a message that encourages unity. It's a very partisan political climate. Now is a good time for us to be thinking about ways we can work together. That requires civility and respect."

Robinson has announced that this academic year will be his last as president of Whitworth University, making him the second-longest-serving and one of the most influential presidents in the school's 120-year history.

More than $83 million in campus improvements have been made during his tenure, including a new center for the visual arts, a landmark general academic building, three new residence halls and several outdoor athletics facilities. Financial support from alumni and friends has increased steadily, contributing to an increase of nearly $75 million to the university's endowment before the recent market downturn.

Known for his relational and approachable style, Robinson has devoted much of his energy to connecting in person and in writing with students, employees and friends of the university. His award-winning monthly newsletter, Of Mind & Heart, is read by more than 20,000 people inside and outside the Whitworth community and is one of Robinson's favorite vehicles for promoting Whitworth's distinctive mission.

Robinson is lauded by alumni, donors and friends for understanding and articulating Whitworth's unique educational mission to uphold Christian conviction and intellectual curiosity as complementary rather than competing values. His unwavering focus on Whitworth's mission to its students has contributed to record levels of student applications, enrollment, retention and post-graduate success.

A communications scholar who has distinguished himself as a teacher, speaker and community leader, Robinson received his bachelor's degree from the University of Northern Iowa, his master's degree from Wheaton College, and his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. He also studied at Princeton Theological Seminary and the Moody Bible Institute. Most of his scholarly work has focused on organizational, cross-cultural and interpersonal communication. He also has done informal research in undergraduate majors of religion and philosophy. In 2002, Robinson published Leading People from the Middle: The Universal Mission of Mind and Heart (Executive Excellence Publishing); a second edition will be released this spring. Incarnate Leadership was released by Zondervan in February 2009.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,700 students, offers 55 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Contacts:

Greg Orwig, director of university communications, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4580 or gorwig@whitworth.edu.

Whitworth ranks No. 39 on Kiplinger's list of 50 best values in private universities

Whitworth now the highest-ranked school in the Pacific Northwest

Whitworth University has once again captured a top 40 spot on Kiplinger's annual rankings of the 100 best values among private liberal arts colleges and universities in the United States. The university joins some of the most elite schools in the country on the magazine's 2009-10 rankings. It is one of the smallest to appear on the list, yet it is the highest-ranked school in the Pacific Northwest and ranks ahead of all other private universities on the West Coast, with the exceptions of the California Institute of Technology, Stanford University and the University of Southern California.

The list is posted to the Kiplinger website and appears in Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine. The magazine ranks the 50 best values among private liberal arts colleges and the 50 best values among private universities separately but based on the same criteria of academic quality and affordability, with academic quality accounting for two-thirds of the formula.

The California Institute of Technology tops Kiplinger’s list of best university values, followed by Princeton, Yale, Rice and Harvard. West Coast schools joining Whitworth (No. 39) in the top 50 are Stanford University (No. 11), the University of Southern California (No. 33), Santa Clara University (No. 43), and Gonzaga University (No. 50). Whitman College is ranked 20th on the list of best liberal arts college values. The complete rankings can be accessed online at http://www.kiplinger.com/tools/privatecolleges/.

"Being recognized by Kiplinger's in its 2010 rankings of the best values among private universities is yet another indication of Whitworth's academic quality," says Fred Pfursich, vice president of admissions and financial aid at Whitworth. "Whitworth's top 50 national ranking in this impressive list of private universities clearly acknowledges our commitment to offering a top-tier academic environment along with an excellent financial aid program."

The academic quality measures in Kiplinger's rankings include the percentage of applicants granted admission; the percentage of 2008-09 freshmen who scored 600 or higher on the verbal and math sections of the SAT or 24 or higher on the ACT; student-faculty ratio; and four- and five-year graduation rates.

Whitworth's admissions rate has remained highly selective as the number of applications to the university has grown from 1,115 in 2000 to nearly 6,000 for the fall 2009 freshman class. The average SAT score for incoming freshmen also has climbed steadily, reaching 1790 for the fall 2009 class, compared to the national average of 1510. Whitworth has maintained a 13-to-1 student-faculty ratio even as undergraduate enrollment has grown from 1,878 in 2000 to 2,331 in 2007 (the latest year for which enrollment data was available for the rankings).

The financial aid measures factored into Kiplinger's rankings include total costs for the 2009-10 academic year, cost minus the average need-based aid amount (excluding loans), the average percentage of a student's financial need met by the school's aid package, the percentage of the average aid package that comes from grants or scholarships, the cost for a student with no demonstrated need after subtracting the average non-need aid amount (excluding loans), the percentage of all undergraduates without need who received non-need-based aid, and the average amount of debt owed by a graduate who took out an educational loan.

Whitworth provided more than $31.3 million in grants and scholarships to undergraduate students in 2009-10. Nearly 98 percent of incoming freshmen receive academic scholarships, which average $9,308 per student.

"Whitworth is not only a great value but a great investment," Pfursich says. "When students invest in themselves at Whitworth, they can expect personalized attention from faculty, small classes, and abundant opportunities to be involved in athletics, performing arts, clubs and other extracurricular activities. And they can expect to be prepared for successful careers and lives of purpose."

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,700 students, offers 55 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Contacts:

Fred Pfursich, vice president of admissions and financial aid, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4348 or fpfursich@whitworth.edu.

Greg Orwig, director of communications, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4580 or gorwig@whitworth.edu.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Whitworth Wind Symphony to present spring concert tour, March 20-27

The acclaimed Whitworth Wind Symphony will perform in venues throughout Oregon and Washington March 20-27 during its spring 2010 concert tour. The group tours the Western United States every other year.

During the 2010 tour, the Wind Symphony, conducted by director Richard Strauch, will perform selections including Kenneth Hesketh's "Masque"; "Lux Aurumque" by Eric Whitacre; Gustav Holst's "First Suite in E-Flat"; Dana Wilson's "Dance of the New World"; "Serenade" by Richard Strauss; "Gloriosa" by Yasuhide Ito; and "Funicili-Funicula Rhapsody" by Luigi Denza and Yo Goto.


Information follows for each concert location; for additional information, please call (509) 777-3280. The performances are free and open to the public; a free-will offering will be taken at each concert.


Whitworth Wind Symphony Spring Concert Tour
March 20-27, 2010


  • Saturday, March 20, 7 p.m.
    Richland Lutheran Church
    901 Van Giesen
    Richland, WA 99354


  • Monday, March 22, 7 p.m.
    Battle Ground High School (with Prairie High School)
    300 W. Main St.
    Battle Ground, WA 98604


  • Tuesday, March 23, 7 p.m.
    Clatsop Community College Performing Arts Center
    16th and Franklin
    Astoria, Ore. 97103
    Hosted by First Presbyterian Church of Astoria


  • Thursday, March 25, 7 p.m.
    Community Presbyterian Church
    132 E. Washington
    Cannon Beach, Ore. 97110


  • Friday, March 26, 7 p.m.
    Lake Grove Presbyterian Church
    4040 Sunset Dr.
    Lake Oswego, Ore. 97035


  • Saturday, March 27, 7 p.m.
    First Presbyterian Church of Salem
    770 Chemeketa St.
    Salem, Ore. 97301

The Whitworth Wind Symphony is a select, auditioned 50-member ensemble comprising outstanding wind, brass and percussion student-musicians. The wind symphony tours every other year; recent tours have taken the ensemble to Seattle, San Francisco and Hawaii. In 2008, the ensemble recorded its fourth CD, Sea to Shining Sea. Past albums include Ride (2004), New Century Dawn (2000), and In the Spring (1998). The CDs are available for purchase in the music office and at the Whitworth University Bookstore.


The Whitworth Wind Symphony specializes in the performance of traditional and contemporary literature for concert band and wind ensemble, and presents several concerts on and off campus throughout the year. The group has been recognized as one of the outstanding college bands in the region, and it has performed at conferences of the Washington Music Educators Association, the Music Educators National Conference, and the College Band Directors National Association.


Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college enrolls 2,700 students in more than 55 undergraduate and graduate programs.


Contacts:


Joan Lack or Loree Swegle, music department program assistants, Whitworth University, (509) 777-3280 or jlack@whitworth.eduor lswegle@whitworth.edu.


Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or eproffitt@whitworth.edu.

Expert on religion and politics in Russia to present lecture at Whitworth March 11


>> Listen to Podcast

Although the Cold War ended two decades ago, the United States' relationship with Russia remains complex, and Americans still have much to learn about life in a land long cloaked by the Iron Curtain. Christopher Marsh, Ph.D., an expert on religion and politics in the world's largest country, will present the second lecture in the 53rd annual Great Decisions Lecture Series at Whitworth University. The series features five speakers who focus on current political, cultural and economic subjects of interest to the international community. The public is invited to attend the lectures free of charge. Marsh will present "Russia and the 'Near Abroad'" on Thursday, March 11, at 7:30 p.m. in the Robinson Teaching Theatre in Weyerhaeuser Hall at Whitworth University. For more information, please call (509) 777-3270.

Marsh is director of the J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies and a professor of political science and church-state studies at Baylor University. His expertise centers on religion and politics in Eurasia, with a particular focus on Russia and China. His interests include religion and ethnic conflict, religious liberty in transition societies, and the dialogue between the sociology of religion and the field of church-state studies. He has written or edited eight books, including Orthodoxy, Islam, and Church-State Relations in Russia, and he has written a variety of articles in publications such as Religion, State & Society; Nationalism and Ethnic Politics; Society; and Journal of Church and State. His lecture at Whitworth will draw from the content of his forthcoming book about Russia and the "near abroad," which is a term that refers to the non-Russian countries that once were part of the USSR.

"Dr. Marsh is a world-class scholar who understands that the countries of the Eurasia region are interdependent and that important forces such as culture and religion play a profound role in their politics," says Andrew Hogue, an assistant professor of political science at Whitworth who studied under Marsh at Baylor. "I can attest firsthand to his engaging style and piercing insight, and we're looking forward to learning more about his research on this extremely significant region."

In addition to the March 11 lecture, Great Decisions lectures will take place on March 18, April 8, and April 22. The lectures will begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be held in Weyerhaeuser Hall's Robinson Teaching Theatre. For information on upcoming lectures, please call (509) 777-3270. Great Decisions 2010 is sponsored by the Whitworth Political Science Department.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,700 students, offers 55 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Contacts:

Barbara Brodrick, academic program assistant, political science department, Whitworth University, (509) 777-3270 or bbrodrick@whitworth.edu.

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or eproffitt@whitworth.edu.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Whitworth Theatre to stage "Is He Dead? A NEW Comedy by Mark Twain"



One hundred years after the death of beloved American author and humorist Mark Twain, his recently unearthed work, "Is He Dead? A NEW Comedy by Mark Twain," adapted by David Ives, will be presented by the Whitworth Theatre Department for its spring production. The play will take place March 5, 6, 12, and 13 at 8 p.m., and March 7 at 2 p.m., in Cowles Memorial Auditorium on the Whitworth campus. General admission is $8; students and seniors pay $6. Tickets may be purchased online at www.whitworth.edu/theatretickets. For more information, please call (509) 777-3707.

Twain wrote "Is He Dead?" in 1898, but he could never get it produced. As a result, the play was almost lost to the pages of history, never to see the stage. Until one day in 2002, more than a century later, a Stanford University scholar discovered the manuscript tucked in the Mark Twain Papers at U.C. Berkeley's Bancroft Library. She laughed out loud in the archives as she read it, and immediately decided that "this delightfully ebullient play…deserved to be rescued from the obscurity in which it had languished for over a century." Comedic playwright David Ives "put Twain's play on a much-needed diet" by whittling down the cast, compressing three acts into two, and eliminating several plot elements while developing others. It received critical acclaim when it debuted on Broadway in December 2007.

"Twain's well-crafted dialogue, subtle satire, appealing characters and tightly structured plot pull it all together," says Shelly Fisher Fishkin, the Stanford University scholar. "The result is a champagne cocktail of a play – not too dry, not too sweet, with just the right amount of bubbles and buzz."

Rick Hornor, the play's director and a professor of theatre at Whitworth, says, "I loved the delightful story of comic intrigue and disguise and I knew our actors and crew would enjoy the challenges and pleasures of producing it. I also know the audience will be intrigued that this is a completely new play by one of the most famous American authors of all time."

Thus, long after his death, Twain's play will come to life on Whitworth's stage, leading the world to conclude that reports of its death had been, indeed, greatly exaggerated.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,700 students, offers 55 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Contacts:

Jennifer Toulouse-Lee, theatre department program assistant, Whitworth University, (509) 777-3707 or jtoulouse-lee@whitworth.edu.

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703, or eproffitt@whitworth.edu.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Whitworth Jazz Ensemble conducts first ever tour of New York City, New Orleans

The award-winning Whitworth Jazz Ensemble recently returned to Spokane after a successful tour of New York City and New Orleans Jan. 9-20. Highlights of the tour included performing with jazz legend Lee Konitz and well-regarded jazz musicians Donny McCaslin, Ryan Keberle and Larry Panella.

While in New York City, the ensemble performed at Hunter College with McCaslin and Keberle. They also played at Nyack College Manhattan with Konitz and at La Guardia High School. While in New Orleans they performed at Fountainbleau High School and the University of Southern Mississippi with jazz professor Larry Panella.

In addition to performing, the ensemble also enjoyed going to jazz concerts at clubs in both cities, including the Maria Schneider Big Band at Birdland; Chris Potter and the Village Vanguard Big Band at the Village Vanguard; the Pedro Giraudo Band at Jazz Gallery; and Ellis Marsalis at New Orleans' Snug Harbor. They also sat in on a four-hour rehearsal of the Lincoln Jazz Center Orchestra.

"In all our jazz tours during my 20 years at Whitworth, no destinations have offered anything close to the quality and number of jazz clubs as this tour did," says Dan Keberle, director of the jazz ensemble. "The students had an incredible listening experience during their week in Manhattan, hearing many of the current top jazz artists in the world. Then we heard original Dixieland jazz music in the streets and clubs of New Orleans."

Keberle continues, "In addition to a great performance experience, this trip more than any other was one of the most educational jazz trips I have ever taken with Whitworth's jazz students."

The ensemble conducts a national or international tour bi-annually. In January 2008 and 2004 they traveled to Rome for several performances with leading Italian jazz artists, followed by a performance trip to Hawaii in March. In 2006 they traveled to Sao Paolo and Salvador, Brazil, for concerts at music festivals. Other performance residencies have included a trip to Havana, two trips to Munich, and four trips to Rome, as well as nine performances at the Melbourne (Australia) International Jazz Festival and in the surrounding area.

The Whitworth Jazz Ensemble is one component of the jazz studies program at Whitworth University. The Whitworth ensemble was the winning band in the college/university division at the 2008, 2004, 2002, 1999, 1998, 1997, and 1994 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festivals (finishing second in 2007, 2006, 2005, 2003, 2001 and 2000), and has been selected from colleges and universities in the six Northwest states to perform at seven All-Northwest and All-State Music Educators Conferences, including those in 2007and 2008. Whitworth’s program has been listed in Jazz Times magazine as one of the top jazz-education programs in the country.

The 18-piece Whitworth Jazz Ensemble performs several concerts each year on campus, as well as at jazz festivals, in public schools, at civic events, and on annual tours throughout the United States. Over the past decade the ensemble has performed in standing-room-only concerts with guest artists Lee Konitz, Terence Blanchard, Robin Eubanks, Kenny Garrett, Eric Reed, Nicholas Payton, Jimmy Heath, Byron Stripling, Bob Mintzer, Joe Lovano, Randy Brecker, Phil Woods, Steve Turre, Slide Hampton, Carl Fontana, Marshal Royal, Bill Berry, Roberto Gatto, and Enrico Pieranunzi.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,700 students, offers 55 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Contacts:

Dan Keberle, professor of music and director of the jazz ensemble, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4582 or dkeberle@whitworth.edu.

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or eproffitt@whitworth.edu.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Fourteen Spokane students among 33 leaders chosen for full Act Six scholarships to four Washington universities

Amid a continuing national economic struggle and the specter of deep cuts proposed in state higher education funding, families of 33 diverse urban student leaders across Washington have new reason for hope and celebration this week.

The Act Six Leadership and Scholarship Initiative announced today that 14 Spokane students will join 19 students from the Puget Sound region to receive full-tuition, full-need scholarships to four Washington universities.
Gonzaga University, which joined the program two years ago, will welcome its second cadre of eight students. Whitworth University, the first university to join the program in 2002, will welcome its eighth cadre of 10 students. Other participating Washington universities include Pacific Lutheran University and Northwest University. Collectively, the scholarships will provide nearly $5 million in financial aid over four years.

The newest Act Six scholars will be recognized in community celebrations in Spokane on Tuesday, Feb. 9, at 7 p.m. at Lewis and Clark High School, and in Seattle on Thursday, Feb. 11, at 7 p.m. at Mount Tahoma High School. The media and public are invited with RSVP.

Launched in 2002 by the Northwest Leadership Foundation (NLF) in Tacoma, Act Six seeks to develop urban leaders to be agents of transformation on campus and in their home communities. Since the program's inception, 12 cadres of ethnically diverse and mostly first-generation, low-income Act Six scholars from urban Tacoma, Seattle and Spokane have enrolled at five Washington universities.

Act Six develops leaders through a simple, but powerful, four-step strategy:

  • Recruit and select diverse, multicultural cadres of Washington's most promising emerging urban leaders.

  • Train and prepare these groups of students in the year prior to college, equipping them to support each other, succeed academically, and grow as service-minded leaders and agents of transformation.

  • Send and fund the teams together to select faith-based colleges in Washington on four year, full-tuition, full-need scholarships.

  • Support and inspire by providing strong campus support and ongoing leadership development to nurture these young people as they find their vocation and grow into the next generation of community leaders.

To date, 94 percent of the scholars in the first three cadres have graduated. Overall, 92 percent of the 107 scholars originally selected for the program have graduated or are still enrolled – reflecting graduation and retention rates that far exceed national averages. Act Six scholars have been elected student-body presidents two of the past four years at Whitworth and have been involved in numerous other leadership roles on and off campus.

"Our scholars are having a profound impact through their leadership on campus, and, as they begin to graduate, we look forward to their impact in the community," says Tim Herron, founder and national director of Act Six. "This is what we envisioned when we launched Act Six and what we are now seeing replicated around the state and nation."

Nationally, Act Six initiatives are also active at George Fox University in Newberg, Ore., and Warner Pacific College in Portland, Ore.

Following is a list of this year's Act Six recipients:

Whitworth University (Cadre Eight)
Gifti Abbo, Ferris High School
Zanovia Clark, Rogers High School (Spokane)
Michaela Cowger, Central Valley High School
Ryan Mendoza, Northwest Christian High School
Hanh Nguyen, Rogers High School (Spokane)
Helya Peyman, Ferris High School
Ingrid Sub Cuc, Ferris High School
Konstantin Tachan, North Central High School
Amber Tooley, Rogers High School (Spokane)
Mailia Yang, Lewis and Clark High School

Gonzaga University (Cadre Two)
Rene Alvarez Jr., Washington High School
Devanta Black, Highline High School
Michaela Brown, Gonzaga Preparatory School
Justin Garcia, Gonzaga Preparatory School
Myra Questel, Lakes High School
Mohamed Sambou, Evergreen High School
Leah Simeon, North Central High School
Cathy Truong, Central Valley High School

Pacific Lutheran University (Cadre Three)
Kareem Dixon, Wilson High School
Ailua Evans, Washington High School
Hodo Hussein, Highline High School
Wendy Martinez, Mount Tahoma High School
Jose Medrano, Clover Park High School
Dominic Napat, Chief Sealth High School
Laurie Reddy, Ingraham High School

Northwest University (Cadre Two)
Christian Dawson, Christian Faith High School
Martese Hightower, Bellarmine Preparatory High School
Clayton Hines, Washington High School
Justin Mburugu, Curtis High School
McKinzie Quiocho, Life Christian Academy
Illona Trofimovich, Henry Foss High School
Samantha Wallace, Washington High School
Imar White, Bellarmine Preparatory School

Following next week's celebrations, scholars begin an intensive seven-month training program that involves weekly meetings with Act Six staff, retreats and campus visits.

Learn more about Act Six online at http://www.actsix.org/.

Those wishing to attend next week's community celebrations should RSVP with Crystal Ben, Act Six assistant director, at (253) 272-0771 ext. 111 or cben@northwestleaderhip.org.

The Northwest Leadership Foundation is a faith-based non-profit headquartered in Tacoma, Wash. Since 1989, the foundation has worked to move individuals and organizations from good intentions to effective outcomes in its effort to encourage, strengthen and develop leadership for the spiritual and social renewal of the city.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,700 students, offers 55 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Contacts:

Tim Herron, Act Six national director, Northwest Leadership Foundation,
(253) 272-0771 ext.109 or therron@northwestleadership.org.

Rodney McAuley, Spokane director, Northwest Leadership Foundation,
(509) 953-8003 or rmcauley@northwestleadership.org.

Esther Louie, assistant dean for intercultural student affairs, Whitworth University,
(509) 777-4572 or elouie@whitworth.edu.

Raymond Reyes, associate mission vice president for intercultural relations at Gonzaga University, (509) 313-3667 or reyes@gu.gonzaga.edu.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Whitworth launches new course on Latinos in the U.S. in response to rising number of Latino students, growing interest in Latin American culture

Other initiatives related to Latin American studies include new satellite center in Costa Rica

As of May 2008, Latinos made up 15 percent of the U.S. population, according to the most recent available statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau. Reflecting these changing national demographics, the number of Latino students at Whitworth has more than doubled since 2001, according to the university's tenth-day report. Meanwhile, the number of Spanish majors at Whitworth also has risen in recent years.

The university is responding to the growing number of Latino students, and to increasing interest in Latin American culture, by launching a class that examines Latin American culture in the U.S. The university also is opening an international study center in Costa Rica.

"Latinos in the U.S." class

In the past few years, students and modern language professors at Whitworth have expressed keen interest in a class that would concentrate on Latino culture in the U.S.; but until recently, a number of factors prevented such a class from taking shape. Those roadblocks have been removed, thanks in part to available funding, an increasing number of Spanish majors, and a professor who is willing to teach the class. As a result, this spring the university is introducing a new course, Latinos in the U.S.

Lindy Scott, professor of modern languages, is teaching the new class. Scott taught a similar course at Wheaton College, where he worked before coming to Whitworth. He says the class helps develop greater cultural pride in Hispanic-American students and prompts students of various ethnic origins to study their own cultural backgrounds.

"The students who have taken the course have been almost universally amazed by the history of Hispanics in the U.S.," Scott said in a Nov. 23, 2009, issue of The Whitworthian. "They become aware of the important, positive contributions of Latinos and more appreciative of them."

The course will cover the history of Latinos in the U.S. as well as themes of acculturation, education, employment, family, immigration and religion. It has been approved to satisfy the American diversity general education requirement, which increases the likelihood that it will be offered on a recurring basis, Scott says.

"We hope that this class will help diminish stereotypes and prejudices that demean a beautiful culture," says Luis Flores, vice president of the newly formed Latino Student Union at Whitworth. "Learning the history of Latinos and the important roles they have played in this country will help shed light on their contributions to American culture and the sacrifices they have endured, which ultimately have benefited the American economy."

In the first week of the spring semester, Scott says he already has had to increase the capacity of the class to 30 students from 20 because of strong demand. If demand continues to be high, the class will likely be offered on a rotating basis every two or three years, Scott says.

Costa Rica Study Center

Seven years after the idea was first developed, an international study center – the first of its kind for Whitworth – will allow students to live and study in Costa Rica this coming fall.

The center, which will include classrooms, food services and a residence hall, is located less than an hour from the country's capital city, San José. In the program's first year, up to 30 students will be able to study at the center every semester and Jan Term. Once the program is up to full speed, more than 100 students each year will be able to take advantage of the opportunity to learn in another country, Scott says.

"This will provide an excellent opportunity for personal growth," he says. "Students will become more fluent in Spanish, see family life up close with their host families, become more informed global citizens, and learn how Costa Ricans walk their faith."

Scott also says the center will help Whitworth become more globally minded, and he hopes that eventually Whitworth will become known for operating a premiere program in Latin American studies.

Scott will be able to oversee the growth and success of the new satellite center personally. On Jan. 20, in an e-mail to the Whitworth community, Michael LeRoy, Whitworth's vice president of academic affairs, announced that Scott will be the director of the Costa Rica Center.

"Lindy takes on this role with considerable interdisciplinary experience in Latin America and strong leadership experience with student programs in México and the southern cone of Latin America," LeRoy wrote in the e-mail.

Dinorah Scott, assistant professor of modern languages and Lindy's wife, will teach Spanish, supervise Spanish courses taught by Costa Rican professors, and provide leadership for the home-stay placement program. Jan Term classes will be taught by Rick Hornor, professor of theatre; Karla Morgan, assistant professor of economics and business; and Joshue Orozco, assistant professor of philosophy.

Students may enroll in several courses, including Spanish language; Latin American history, politics and theology; ecology or environmental science; and Core 350.

"One of the biggest problems on Earth today is the growing divide between the global north and south," Scott says. "Whitworth's Costa Rica Center can play a small, but significant, role in contributing to greater communication, cooperation and healing within our world community."

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,700 students, offers 55 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Contacts:

Lindy Scott, professor of modern languages, Director of the Costa Rica Center, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4837 or lscott@whitworth.edu

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or eproffitt@whitworth.edu.

Whitworth to expand study abroad opportunities with new Costa Rica Center

Classes for up to 30 students will begin this fall in an ideal location offering access to cloud forests, service learning, home stays

Less than an hour's bus ride from Costa Rica's bustling capital of San José, up a scenic mountain road to the edge of a large rain forest lies Whitworth University's newest classroom building and residence hall.

Whitworth's first international study center will begin offering classes in September for up to 30 students, advancing a long-term university goal to increase cross-cultural learning opportunities for students while also adding affordable capacity for anticipated enrollment growth.

"We've found a site that is ideal for providing students the life-changing, cross-cultural experience afforded by international study," says Michael Le Roy, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Whitworth. "Through our Costa Rica program, students will witness the tensions between economic development, conservation, and the global distribution of wealth in the Central American context. These connections are much clearer when students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a culture and to cultivate a broader understanding of what it means to love one's neighbor."

Building on Whitworth's more than 30 years of experience leading study programs in Central America, the Costa Rica Center initially will offer courses that meet general education requirements for students in any major. Courses will include intensive Spanish language at various levels; history, culture and civilization of Central America; ecology of Costa Rica; and Core 350 – the capstone course in Whitworth's worldview studies program.

The center also will offer a special Jan Term Latin American studies program for freshman students admitted with honors, intensive language training for participants in Whitworth's popular Central America Study Program, and other major-specific programs still in the planning stages. In addition, students will participate in service learning, family home-stays, internships, cultural activities, and will travel to cloud forests, volcanoes and other regional sites.

Whitworth Professor of Spanish Lindy Scott will serve as director of the center, and his wife, Assistant Professor of Spanish Dinorah Scott, will teach Spanish and coordinate service-learning and family home-stays for students. The Scotts bring 20 years of experience living in and leading university study programs throughout Latin America to their roles at the center. Lindy Scott also served in the 1990s as academic dean of the Comunidad Teologica, a consortium of seminaries in Mexico City. He says he's excited about the combination of curricular and co-curricular programs to be offered at Whitworth's Costa Rica Center.

"Our courses in Latin American history and Costa Rican ecology will join together great classroom teaching by expert professors with on-site explorations of the topics, whether it be fauna or democracy," Scott says. "I am especially excited about offering our Core 350 course, which will equip students to look at Christian values and public policy issues in a Latin context. All of this will be permeated with an emphasis on service-learning projects, internships, and family home-stays where students will experience cultural differences and similarities first hand."

Scott also notes that students who participate in Whitworth's Costa Rica program will significantly affect campus life when they return. "At any given moment," he says, "we will have more than 100 students on campus who will have experienced life from a Latin American perspective. This will enrich and give flavor to every academic department and class on campus."

Whitworth's Costa Rica site includes two buildings that are undergoing remodeling and are very well suited for the university's needs. The 27-acre property also features a spring-fed stream that spills into two small ponds, a second-generation rain forest, and broad lawns where one can easily imagine Whitworth students playing Ultimate Frisbee.

The main building, formerly a French restaurant frequented by Latin American heads of state, includes space for two or three classrooms, food service, a student lounge and study areas, and an attached apartment for the on-site director. A small adjacent hotel building can accommodate up to 30 students when they're not in home stays or traveling.

Just to the north of the property lies Costa Rica's renowned Braulio Carrillo National Park, which features a dense virgin cloud forest that is home to hundreds of plant, bird and mammal species as well as the 9,534-foot inactive Barva Volcano. A short bus ride to the southwest is the city of Heredia, which has a population of about 110,000 and hosts the main campus of Costa Rica's largest university.

Le Roy says that Whitworth's longer-term plans call for the possible establishment of international centers in Africa, East Asia and Europe as growth continues in faculty expertise, on-the-ground experience and student demand for study in those regions. International centers will allow Whitworth to expand enrollment without comparable expansion of facilities and population on its home campus. Le Roy and Scott also believe Whitworth is responding to a growing student interest in cross-cultural experience.

"Studies show that after September 11, 2001, there has been a growing desire in North American youth to know more about the larger world," Scott says. "Students want to live, work and serve side by side with our international neighbors. That means speaking their language, learning about their history and customs, playing their sports and appreciating the yearnings of their hearts. An overseas study opportunity is so valuable for learning about and loving our neighbors as we gradually overcome some of our ethnocentrism."

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,700 students, offers 55 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Contacts:

Lindy Scott, director of the Costa Rica Center and professor of Spanish, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4837 or lscott@whitworth.edu.

Greg Orwig, director of university communications, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4580 or gorwig@whitworth.edu.