Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Shane Martin: The New Provost, Ready to Soar

Yosef Chaim Kalinko

After hundreds of applications, two years of searching for the right candidate, and one lengthy provost search, Seattle University selected Shane Martin, Ph.D., for the position of University Provost in 2018. Martin was formerly the Dean of Graduate Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Following Interim Provost Bob Dullea, Martin began his position in July 2018 and discussed his first few months at Seattle U, what he hopes to accomplish this year, and his opinions on some Seattle staples in the interview below.


October 17th 2018 – Shane Martin, provost of Seattle University.

AK: How have your first few months at Seattle U been?

SM: They’ve been really good. It’s definitely been a transition after being at my last place for so long. I was at Loyola Marymount University about 25 years altogether — even more if I include my time as a part-time faculty member there. When you’ve been at one place for so long, to come to a different institution and a different region, it’s a transition. But it’s been a good transition, and I’ve really really enjoyed it and I’m really glad to be here.

AK: What do you hope to accomplish as Provost this year?

SM: First of all, coming in as a new Provost, especially following an Interim Provost for two years, I believe the first commitment I have is to listen and learn from folks, and to hear what people are excited about in terms of Seattle University and what works well. And then also hear what we need to work on — what isn’t working and the things that give people heartburn. So I’m learning a lot, formulating my ideas, checking out my assumptions to see if what I’m seeing is accurate in terms of people’s experiences, and then formulating ideas for the future.

AK: Is there anything specifically that you’ve identified that’s important to the community that you want to address?

SM: First and foremost, I want to say that, whether or not I’m talking to faculty or administrators, people love this place… Even in the midst of things that they may be complaining about, and some of the issues are real issues that we have to address. Every conversation I’ve had, even the most difficult ones, have always referenced how much those involved love and respect and care about Seattle University, which is why they’re so passionate about the institution.

The economics of the university—if you never know how many students you’re going to enroll and how many are coming back, it’s really hard to have stable budgets. I’ve learned coming in that there have been years where that’s been challenging, and there’s been budget reallocations and deductions, and so those are areas of concern.

I find that Seattle U is highly relational, which I think is extremely positive—you get things done through relationships. But the area that, I believe, the opportunity for us to develop is in strengthening our structures and our systems. So that it’s not always dependent on relationships, that we also have clearly articulated, written, transparent structures and systems, policies, procedures, guidelines, that help guide, lead, and govern the university.

AK: What Jesuit values are especially important to you?

SM: I’ll just say in general, the Jesuit educational and Jesuit pedagogical values to be very inspiring. First and foremost, Jesuit education is inclusive by definition. Jesuits have always been welcoming of people from a range of different faith backgrounds and traditions, including those who don’t have a faith background or tradition. I think that’s very important so I see that sense of inclusiveness at Seattle U, and I affirm it and I think that’s good.

And on one level they’re for ourselves, but ultimately they’re given to us to have impact and change for the good of society, for the common good, and Jesuit Education calls us to be academically rigorous. You cannot be an agent of social change if you don’t know your stuff. You’ve got to have that commitment to academic rigor — but not in a vacuum and not in a silo. One of the hallmarks of Jesuit education is the integration of all of those into a total educational experience that I think truly is transformative.

AK: What’s your zodiac sign?

SM: [Laughs] I’m a Leo.

AK: Do you have any opinion on Macklemore?

SM: When Macklemore first got hot nationally, I was in Southern California, I listened to Macklemore, yeah! There were some big songs that hit big and some great social messages that came out of his music. I know that within the hip hop and rap world, there’s a range of opinions, but I see no reason to hate on Macklemore. All because somebody likes Macklemore doesn’t mean you can’t like somebody else that you might think is a little more authentic in the genre.

AK: Do you prefer LA or Seattle?

SM: You know, I don’t think I have to choose. LA is a great place and has a lot going for it, but I am so falling in love with Seattle. Even when it rains here it’s beautiful. People talked to me about the Seattle Freeze and they said to watch out for that, but I haven’t really experienced it. I find people to be warm and kind and engaging and relational…the vibe in Seattle is just fun.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Anna may be reached at
[email protected]

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Anna Kaplan, Author

Comments (0)

All The Spectator Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *