By Stacey Robertson
Two years ago, I was privileged to become the Dean of the Central Washington University College of Arts and Humanities. I began with exuberance, diving into the process of learning about our strengths and honing our priorities. It is with joy and pride that I share my thoughts on our progress.
Reflecting on the record of success by my predecessor, Dr. Marji Morgan, we have confidently built on these achievements – looking toward a bright future for our eight dynamic departments and our four interdisciplinary programs.
My confidence is grounded in a clear recognition that domestic and international competition is permanent. We must always bring the highest level of commitment to excellence to all aspects of our mission on behalf of our students, faculty, alumni, staff, and other stakeholders.
We must continue to improve on what we are already doing – empowering our students with an education that fosters valuable skills – ethical learning, engaged citizenship, active tolerance, cultural awareness, sharp analytical abilities, and outstanding oral and written communication. These skills ensure our students of meaningful lives and satisfying careers with opportunities for advancement.
Our faculty members are committed to nurturing this learning process inside and outside the classroom. Indeed, a passion for mentorship is part of our college’s DNA. We understand that mentorship is most successful when it is lifelong – and we hope to create such meaningful relationships across boundaries in the College of Arts and Humanities. Our alumni are eager to share their wisdom and experience with our current students and with each other. Our staff members provide students and faculty with helpful skills, and our faculty offer much appreciated career-and-life advice to students.
Our outstanding faculty members are also renowned for their scholarly and artistic achievements. Such expertise enriches the intellectual life of the university and the community, and offers our students superb exemplars of meaningful academic engagement. We are a college that embraces the teacher-scholar model – consistently bringing our intellectual and creative accomplishments into the classroom, and encouraging our students to produce and share their own original scholarship and creative expression.
Our students come to our college with obvious potential, and it is our job to nurture and encourage their capabilities. We embrace applied learning, collaboration and teamwork. There is no substitute for doing through hours of practical hands-on experience.
We empower our students to compete for career-building jobs and internships, and to thrive for years to come through their commitment to hard work and lifelong learning. Our flourishing alumni are the best proof of our success.
With special expertise in creativity and innovation, we take in pride in our celebration of imagination. We know this is a critical skill for jobs of the future. We are preparing our students for 21st-century careers with the understanding that human creativity cannot be mechanized, outsourced or digitized.
Our home campus of Ellensburg in the Kittitas Valley sits immediately east of the dynamic Seattle metropolitan area, a gateway to the Pacific Rim. We must share our story more widely. We have ramped up our marketing efforts to ensure that our success is no longer a well-kept secret.
For example, this coming April 11th we will invite some of our marvelous alumni to campus to interact with our students, faculty, and staff – building on our culture of mentorship and initiating many new enduring friendships. Equally exciting, we will showcase our talented Art and Performing Arts students at the Seattle Art Museum on May 9th and YOU are invited to attend. More on this event soon!
Throughout 2017, we will continue to tell our story. We have upgraded our college website, designed a new logo, initiated this LaunchPad blog, enhanced our Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter social media presence, and produced a dynamic, award-winning, fast-moving college video.
As an historian, I am trained to look back and to analyze how the past applies to the present and the future. As the Dean of the CWU College of Arts and Humanities, I am invigorated by the everyday challenges of the present, but even more excited about the opportunities for a brighter future.
Our tomorrow begins today.