Emphasizing a faith-based education

Mondain Sesay

What drew professor Joanna Poznanska to Seattle Pacific University, was the chance to teach at a school that incorporated her discipline and faith.

A faith-based education has only positively impacted Poznanska during her time at SPU.

“We integrate faith into the subject we teach. It is crucial because religion is a significant source of norms and values in society and we want our students not only to learn their profession but also the primary principle of the religion–to treat other people well,” Poznanska said.

Poznanska has been a professor at SPU for over 30 years. She is a part of SPU’s school of business, government and economics (SBGE) as a professor of international business.

When asked about what working at SPU has meant to her, Poznanska said “I liked working for SPU because I could be who I am and talk to my students about my spiritual life.” SPU was a place where she and her students could be their honest selves.

That also means SPU has been a place where Poznanska could have deeper interactions with students.

One of her favorite things about the students on SPU’s campus, she said was when they would “come to my office and talk about their plans for the future and their lives. I enjoyed learning about the whole person and not only how well they have prepared for the tests.”

Interacting with students on a more personal level and learning about who they were was the best part of her students at SPU. Poznanska also had the chance to develop deeper bonds with students on the study abroad trips to China she led.

Of her colleagues, Poznanska said, “At the SBGE, the faculty gets along very well. We treat each other with respect and offer a lot of support. It does not mean that we do not have our differences.” Mckenna Hall, where she and her colleagues spend most of their time “is [her] second home on the campus.”

After 30 years at SPU, Poznanska said, “I will miss my students and colleagues, and overall a good spirit of the place.” But she is also “looking forward to traveling the world not during summer months when every site is full of tourists.”

Poznanska is originally from Poland and emigrated to the U.S. during its Communist era in 1980. The Polish American Chamber of Commerce highlights Poznanska’s background.

She earned her Ph.D. in Economics in Poland from the Technical University of Warsaw and an M.A. in Economics from the University of Warsaw. She continued her graduate work in the U.S. where she attended Cornell University and was a visiting scholar at John Hopkins University, Princeton University and Stanford University.

Before she came to SPU in 1987, she taught at Skidmore College and SUNY-Albany. “She published extensively on globalization in China, foreign capital holdings in Eastern Europe, structural changes in Korean financial markets and the impact of the economic surge in BRIC economies on world markets.”

In a farewell article on the SBGE website, Poznanska said, “It’s a great privilege to be at a learning institution that’s not only about academic excellence, but also about educating students to love service. When they told me, ‘We integrate faith and your discipline,’ I was excited. It was meant to be.”

Poznanska’s final piece of advice to students it to “use your time at SPU wisely not only earning your diploma but also becoming a person you would like to be.”