Author Archives: Troy Thomas

Renovations continue as part of Strategic Plan

Construction cones will be on campus while most students and faculty are away this upcoming summer.

A 15-week project in Melrose Hall and Walker Hall to strategically locate departments, partial renovations  will begin this summer, according to the  Director of Facilities and Auxiliary Services, Allison Horn.

“In alignment with the 2012-2018 Strategic Plan and the Strategic Facilities Guide, the partial renovation projects in Melrose Hall and Walker Hall are intended to revitalize the student experience and maximize efficient coordination between service processes to support students,” Horn wrote in an email.

The renovations will require some departments to temporarily relocate in order to accommodate the lower level in Melrose Hall based on student services and the International Center in Walker Hall, according to Horn.

The first floor of Walker Hall will be partially renovated to create a large suite to serve as an International Center accommodating both the Political Science department, as well as International Programs Office.  The Sociology, Anthropology and Modern Languages departments will be moved to the second floor of the building, according to Horn.

The Anthropology Museum will become a distributed museum with display cases throughout the ground floor atrium areas instead of in a small room adjacent to the elevator, according to Horn.

In addition to mechanical system upgrades, exterior work at the east entrance, accessibility upgrades to restrooms and some seismic improvements. The lower level of Melrose Hall will be designed to create purposeful adjacencies that improve staff effectiveness and provide for easier access by students, faculty and the community, according to Horn.

“Ultimately the 2012-2018 Strategic Plan and Strategic Facilities Guide focuses on how to make our college better for our students.  The partial renovation projects in Melrose Hall and Walker Hall demonstrate that the college is invested in student success and focused on the student experience,” Horn wrote in an email. “Linfield’s effectiveness relies on our structures, our processes and our programs of study.  Academic excellence requires the highest feasible level of support to our students, a strategic focus on the allocation of resources, and the continuation of a sustainable financial model that most effectively deploys the College’s resources.”

Rosa Johnson

Copy editor

Rosa      Johnson       can                 be                        reached        at

Interviews factor heavily into abroad selection process

With the selection process over for the 2014-2015 school year January Term abroad courses, students may be left wondering exactly how these admission decisions are made.

While the paper application, essay, and 2.75 GPA minimum are important aspects, it is the interview that is a major deciding factor.

“All study abroad applicants, whether they are applying for a semester or January Term abroad course, are interviewed by faculty,” said Dr. Shaik Ismail, director of international programs. “It is the faculty that gives us the recommendation, and that’s when we move forward with accepting a student or putting them on the waitlist, and so on.”

“When the faculty recommends a student, that’s the final decision. [IPO] does not override the faculty,” Ismail said.

Professors look for indications of a student’s maturity and compatibility with the individual course, says English professor Lex Runciman.

Runciman will teach a creative writing course in the United Kingdom next January Term.

“The people who are willing to commit to the entirety of the experience will do well. It’s an immersive experience, in terms of the courses I’ve been on, and that’s its attraction and value,” Runciman said.

The English professor also recommended that students apply for a January Term course if they are truly interested in the subject matter and not in simply traveling.

“If a student isn’t really interested in the course, they just want to go someplace and the UK looks interesting, that’s probably not enough for me to want to take them on the course,” Runciman said.

Although faculty can take many different approaches to their interviews, Ismail suggested a general outline.

“I think generally the focus is on if the student has adequate knowledge of the subject matter, of the theme that’s being discussed. You know, ‘does this student know about environmental economics in Australia?’” Ismail said.

The IPO director advised students to research the countries of the class for which they are interviewing, such as finding out the major cities and relations between the selected country and the United States.

“One other thing I know faculty look for is evidence of team building. You have a group of 10, 12, or 14 students who will be eating together, traveling together, living together for four weeks in close quarters,” Ismail said.

Ismail stressed the importance of a student’s ability to collaborate, and urged students to be prepared for this criterion.

“For a service course in, say, Guatemala, in a Habitat for Humanity project, you will be working together. You’re handing bricks to another person, and that person is coming with a hammer. You have to be able to give and take, look out for each other, and be respectful of each other,” Ismail said.

More commonly discussed topics, such as commitment to the course’s objectives, are not the only characteristics professors consider, according to Runciman.

“I’ll ask people about their drinking habits because the drinking laws in the UK are different from the drinking laws in the U.S. That’s a question that needs to be asked and addressed so that we all go to the UK with the same set of understandings on how that’s going to work,” Runciman said.

The brief, 20-minute interview may feel like too short of a time for faculty to truly asses a student’s potential, and the other parts of the application can help compensate for this.

“I read all the essays,” Ismail said. “From the essay you can tell about motivation, you can tell about knowledge of the country, you can tell about lots of things. It gives an indication of who that person is before they come for the interview,” Ismail said.

The interview is a critical piece of the study abroad application, but it is not the only important part, and students who were waitlisted can take this into consideration for the next time they apply.

Helen Lee

Photo Editor

Helen   Lee                 can                 be                   reached        at

New Linfield PLACE themes announced

Although war has and always will be a part of mankind, this year’s Program for the Liberal Arts and Civic Engagement theme “Legacies of War” is coming to a close and Linfield is welcoming a new theme.

PLACE tries to promote civic engagement and social enterprise, and also create a social experience where people share their knowledge with each other.

The philosophy focused PLACE theme for the 2014-15 academic school year is “How Do We Know? Paths to Wisdom” according to Professor of Sociology and chair of the department Amy Orr.

“How Do We Know? Paths to Wisdom” aims to achieve half of the Linfield curriculum’s mode of inquiry requirements.

This includes the Natural World, Quantitative Reasoning and Ultimate Questions  LC requirements.

The theme’s goal is to combine the humanities with the sciences and to provoke asking questions from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.

“We passed the PLACE theme for 2014-2015 last year and the [new] coordinator for it is Jesus Ilduin, of the department of philosophy,” Orr said.

A liberal arts education embraces the connections among disciplines, which in turn fuels a process of collaborative understanding of the search for truth and knowledge.

Wisdom arises from each discipline, both  the sciences and the humanities have their own  strengths and the connections among them.

“How Do We Know?” explores these relations, ultimately asking: how might epistemological inquiry through the liberal arts enhance citizenship and strengthen community, according to Orr.

Voting at the April 7 Faculty Assembly meeting included adding information about the PLACE program in the college catalog.

The PLACE theme for 2015-2016 “Air, water, earth, and fire: the ancient elements on a changing planet” passed approval at the most recent Faculty Assembly meeting.

Rosa Johnson

Copy editor

Rosa          Johnson       can                 be                   reached        at             

Linfield strives to make gender-neutral options

Housing registration can cause many conflicts in preparing for the next year of your college career. However, being denied group living options can mess up your plans in a second. For one transgender student at George Fox University living with friends was not an option. With the topic hot on hand in college across the United States, Linfield is also reevaluating its policies on gender-neutral options on campus.

According to Jeff Mackay, associate dean of student and director of resident life, Linfield has been working to increase gender-neutral options around campus.

On a brochure created by Residence Life, Linfield identifies 13 gender-neutral restrooms on campus, including academic buildings, other facilities and dormitories.

With this in mind, Linfield has also worked to configure Memorial hall, a previously female-only dorm, to be co-ed for the next school year.

“Instead of having one, big communal restroom, Memorial has four individual restrooms, which we have already designated as gender-neutral,” Mackay said. “So if say we have a first year transgender student next year, it would be an option for them, because [it’s] co-ed and has gender-neutral restrooms.”

Along with Memorial other halls that offer gender-neutral restrooms on campus are: Elkinton, Jane Failing, Mahaffey, Miller Fine Art Complex, Murdock, Terrell, T.J. Day, Withnell Commons, Cozine and Pioneer.

Spear-heading the initiative for gender-neutral restrooms is junior Ariana Lipkind, co-president of FUSION. Due to her passion for the topic, Lipkind began by submitting a proposal for gender-neutral restrooms after doing some research and information gathering from other schools in Oregon.

“I’ve always been really involved in making campus a better, safer place for students,” Lipkind said. “I started working with Jason Rodriguez last spring as a volunteer in the multicultural programs office working on setting up safe-space trainings and gender-neutral restrooms as an option for gender non-conforming students, or students questioning their gender, or students who just aren’t comfortable using gendered restrooms.”

Lipkind also stated that she is working to have something written in to the housing policy for transgender students.

“I would eventually like to see Memorial become a gender-neutral dorm, where anyone can live with anyone,” Lipkind said.

Sophomores Shawna Jacobson-Sims and Shane Whitson are also drafting a proposal for more gender-neutral housing options for the future, according to Lipkind.

At George Fox, sophomore Jaycen, whose last name was not released, is filing a complaint against the college for Title IX discrimination. Jaycen started making the medical transition from female to male a year ago, and made the transition socially in high school. Jaycen applied to live with his male friends, but was denied.

In a statement released by the college, it stated, “George Fox strives to be a Christ-centered community and our residential facilities are single sex because of our theological commitments. The student’s request to switch from female-only on-campus housing to male-only on-campus housing is one that many institutions would struggle with.”

Dean of Community Life, Mark Pothoff, stated in a letter that the school will allow Jaycen to live in a single room or live off campus with male students under certain conditions. The conditions include changing his name and gender with specific documentation on his driver license and Social Security Card.

“To Jayce, telling him he can live off campus, but not on campus, really feels like a separate-but-equal kind of situation,” said Portland lawyer Paul Southwick in an article in the Portland Tribune.

Lipkind states that Linfield’s FUSION club does not plan to reach out to George Fox students directly. However, they are hoping that with the help of inter- gay straight alliance for the Willamette Valley that they help give George Fox’s underground GSA group, Common Grounds, more support.

“In the past, we have tried to get in contact with members of [Common Ground], but it’s been hard because they are so underground,” Lipkind said. “But I know a lot of people around campus have been discussing [the George Fox incident].”

Kaylyn Peterson

Managing editor

Kaylyn           Peterson      can                 be                   reached        at

Tuition increases for 2014-2015 year

Linfield’s full-time student tuition will increase by 3.06 percent—the smallest dollar increase in the last decade and the lowest percentage increase since 2003.

Tuition will go from $35,900 to $37,000 for the 2014-2015 school year, according to Vice President for Enrollment Management Dan Preston and Vice President for Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer, Mary Ann Rodriguez.

A study by the National Center for Education Statistics reported a 31 percent tuition, room, and board price increase between the 2000-2001 and 2010-2011 school years for private universities. College costs have risen drastically over the past decade, and Linfield is no exception.

“Tuition at Linfield, like most colleges, goes up annually,” said Preston and Rodriguez in an email. “This year, the majority of the additional resources available in the budget went toward a modest increase in employee salaries and corresponding benefits.”

Budget resources for next year will also go toward departmental operating budgets to repair and remodel campus facilities, increased accident and disaster insurance for the college, and student work-study funding for the increase in Oregon’s minimum wage.

Every year, Linfield’s president, his or her cabinet, an associate dean of faculty, and others devise the budget after considering departmental budget requests, incoming revenue, and student sensitivity to price changes.

After the budget is reviewed by the Board of Trustees in early January, “the budget is presented at an open campus meeting, including video feed to the other campus (if presented in McMinnville, video feed to Portland),” said Preston and Rodriguez in an email.

After passing through other groups, the President presents the full proposal in February and it is officially approved in May by the Board of Trustees.

Although Linfield has no current short or long-term policies regarding tuition pricing, tuition has and will continue to increase annually.

But Rodriguez and Preston claimed Linfield is well aware of the effects increased costs have on students.

“One of the top reasons students give for not continuing enrollment at Linfield is because of the costs of the college. ” said Rodriguez and Preston in an email.

“The smaller the cost increase to students, the greater the possibility that enrollment rates of continuing students will be positively affected,” said Rodriguez and Preston in an email.

Professor of Economics Jeffrey Summers, who has published research in the field of the economics of higher education, emphasized the importance of looking at the valid reasons behind tuition increases.

“You raise the price because you know you want to raise the quality of the education you’re providing,” Summers said.

Summers argued that while Linfield increases its tuition price for students, it does so in an attempt to provide more educational and co-curricular offerings.

“I’ve been here 20 years, and I can say with a great degree of confidence that the academic standards at Linfield are much better than they were 20 years ago. My students come better prepared, I am able to expect more from my students and they deliver more,” Summers said.

The economics professor, who served as the associate dean of faculty for seven years and sat in on budget meetings, is certain of Linfield’s ability to keep its students’ ability to pay in mind.

“I think nationally, Linfield has been recognized for its quality. The quality has gone up, but the price has gone up, too. In general, I’d say Linfield has done a pretty good job of balancing those two,” Summers said.

Students generally understand the need to increase costs, but may find themselves questioning the limits of tuition increases.

“I don’t want tuition to be higher, but the money has to come from somewhere, and raising tuition is probably the easiest thing the school can do,” freshman Patty Roberts said.

Helen Lee

Photo Editor

Helen             Lee                 can                 be                   reached        at