Awards, CAH, CAH Social Media, Central Washington University, College of Arts and Humanities, Department of Art, Department of Communication, Department of English, Department of History, Department of music, Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies, Department of Theatre Arts, Department of World Languages and Cultures, Uncategorized

We Are #CAHProud: Celebrating Our 2017 Year-End Celebration Winners

How can a future-oriented liberal arts college celebrate and recognize the talent and achievements of its undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, chairs, and staff from its eight dynamic departments and four diverse interdisciplinary programs?

One way is to take quality time near the conclusion of each academic year to honor those with extraordinary achievements, making our college better as a result of their impressive contributions.


Another way is to salute our eight departments through a cavalcade of unique posters, leading from the SURC Ballroom entrance to our college’s 2017 Year-End Celebration right up to the podium.

And let’s not forget that each one of these theatre-style posters included our hashtag: #CAHProud.

We are indeed, #CAHProud.

Who is better at telling our story of overachievement than each of our departments? Consider the contributions of our Department of Art in nurturing the skills of students dreaming of painting, sculpting, and designing the next masterpiece.


How about our Department of Communication, offering degrees in Communication Studies, Digital Journalism, and Public Relations, thus preparing the next generation of story tellers to advocate and report the news, stories, and information that society needs.


Our Department of English aims to develop scholars in the world’s Lingua Franca, and recently received the state’s only “Big Read” grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).


Our Department of History prepares our students to succeed as evidenced by alumnus Lori Bohn, a Boeing Systems Planner. The department emphasizes both historical knowledge and historical modes of understanding.


Our recent “Community Day of Music” was the centerpiece for our poster presenting our Department of Music. The department prepares students for careers in music, providing them with the skills to become knowledgeable and confident music educators, performers, and practitioners.


There are three primary reasons to major in philosophy or religious studies: Earn more, score higher, love what you do. Philosophy majors are paid well because employers want talented people who can think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems.


The Department of Theatre Arts produces fabulous shows each season (e.g., Chicago, The Musical and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream), both on the main stage and in studio (workshop) settings. These opportunities and many others allow students to put classroom theory into practice as part of the regular season of Central Theatre Ensemble, the department’s production wing.


Study abroad (e.g., Spanish Professor Dr. Eric Mayer’s student hike along Spain’s legendary Camino de Santiago de Compostela) are among the opportunities provided by our Department of World Languages and Cultures. The department offers majors in five languages, and minors in eight more.


Besides extolling our eight dynamic departments, the main purpose of the College of Arts and Humanities Year-End Celebration was to recognize the accomplishments of our award winners:

Undergraduate Awards:

Thomas Gause Award for Achievement in Music: Composition, Taylor Griffin

Betty E. Evans Award for Achievement in Creative Writing: Poetry, Jason Days

CAH Award for Achievement in Non-Fiction Writing: Creative Writing: Joshua Swainston

The George Stillman Award for Achievement in Art, Austin Harris

CAH Award for Achievement in Performance: Live Performance, Joshua Johnson

Raymond Smith Award for Achievement in Scholarship, Sophia Andarovna

Marji Morgan Outstanding Student Award, Omar Manza

Marji Morgan Outstanding Student Award, McKenzie Lakey

Graduate Awards:

Outstanding Graduate Student Scholarship Award, Lexi Renfro

Outstanding Graduate Student Artistic Achievement Award, Brock Jensen

Faculty Awards:

Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award, Gary Bartlett (Philosophy and Religious Studies)

Outstanding Faculty Research Award, Cesar Garcia (Communication)

Outstanding Faculty Artistic Achievement Award, Vijay Singh (Music)

Outstanding Faculty Service Award, Michael Johnson (World Languages)

Outstanding Non-Tenure Track Faculty Teaching Award, Kirsten Boldt-Neurohr (Music)

Achievement Award for Inclusivity and Diversity, Cynthia Coe (Philosophy and Religious Studies)

Outstanding Employee Award, Sara Carroll (Music)

Outstanding Department Chair Award, Marji Morgan (Communication)


Most of all, our Year-End Celebration provided all of us an opportunity to thank Dr. Marji Morgan for her leadership, her track record as college dean for nearly a decade, and for her willingness to serve as the interim chair of our Department of Communication for the past two years.

Starting this coming fall, Marji will return to teaching History. She will always be a great mentor, advisor, confident and most of all a wonderful friend.

Now, that calls for a Year-End Celebration!

By Stacey Robertson

Central Washington University, College of Arts and Humanities, College of the Sciences, Department of Art, Department of Communication, Department of Psychology, Mental Health, Uncategorized

Promoting Mental Health Awareness Through Art, Psychology, and Public Relations

For many people, mental illness is an uncomfortable topic …

But four public relations seniors from our Department of Communications (from left to right with me in the photo below) – Hunter Ventoza, Nikki Christopherson, Taylor Castillo, and Meghan Lynch – eagerly met the challenge, when last September they found out that promoting mental health awareness was their assignment for the next eight months.


The student PR team was charged with initiating a campus-wide and community conversation about mental illnesses including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

These four students comprise the 2016-2017 Central Washington University “Bateman” public relations collegiate competition team. The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) annually sponsors this contest in honor of the late PRSA president Carroll Bateman. There are more than 50 schools nationally competing each academic year to most effectively focus attention on an assigned subject.

In this case, student teams were also charged with promoting two non-profits: The Campaign to Change Direction (mental health issues) and Give An Hour (assisting veterans returning from war with PTSD and other maladies).

The Campaign to Change Direction has drawn upon the dynamism of former First Lady Michelle Obama and others, identifying the five signs of mental distress: Personality Change, Agitation, Withdrawal, Poor Self Care, and Hopelessness.


Our four students were wise enough to know that virtually every effective Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) campaign – earned, owned, and paid media – requires collaboration with allies, in this case other CWU departments, student organizations, and a downtown Ellensburg art gallery.

In particular, our Bateman team coordinated interdepartmentally within the CWU College of Arts and Humanities, reaching out to our Art Department. They also teamed with the Department of Psychology from CWU’s College of the Sciences and its student Psychology Club and Neuroscience Club.

Our Bateman team staged an entire week of awareness events and activities, each day focused on one of the five signs of distress mentioned above. The week began with a panel on mental health moderated by Psychology Assistant Professor Meaghan Nolte.

Flanking Nolte were (from left-to-right below): Ruben Cardenas from our Veterans Center; education student David Sturgell, reflecting on post-war anxiety and PTSD; Rhonda McKinney from our campus Counseling Center; and public relations student Andrew Kollar, discussing depression.


It required great courage for these two students to openly discuss their illnesses, and to serve as thought leaders for others suffering from mental illness.

The week’s activities also included a campus march, two-days for students to sign a petition board and finally a combined Department of Art/Department of Communication mental health art exhibit at the John Ford Clymer Museum and Gallery.


The art exhibit, which coincided with Ellensburg’s First Friday celebration, showcased the collaboration between Art and Communication. Two student “artists in residence” – Krista Zimmerman and Lee Sullivan – painted and sketched representations of mental strain in a series of evocative and compelling images.

The four Bateman students were in charge of promoting the entire week to traditional media (e.g., Daily Record, Observer) and digital media (e.g., Facebook and Twitter #EBURGSPEAKS). They also lit a fuse for a student and community discussion about a very difficult subject.

Will we all have the courage to join the conversation?

Arts and Humanities, Central Washington University, College of Arts and Humanities, CWU Department of Communications, Department of Art, Graphic Design, Infographics, LaunchPad, Magazine Journalism, Pulse, Uncategorized

Art + Communication = Collaborative Success in Action

By Stacey Robertson

As Dean of the CWU College of Arts and Humanities for almost two years, I have come to appreciate the distinctiveness of each of our eight dynamic departments and four innovative interdisciplinary programs in serving the needs of our nearly 1,500 undergraduate and graduate students.

As an historian, I also am very familiar with the value of case studies and how they can tell stories of best practices through the use of concrete examples. When it comes to collaboration, there are many examples in the College of Arts and Humanities, highlighting how teamwork can be transformative.

All it takes is a little thinking outside the proverbial box, and exploring how one department’s skill sets can enhance the talents of another. A perfect case study of beneficial collaboration is the work of our Department of Art graphic designers teaming with the journalists from our Department of Communication.

We are all proud of Pulse, our nine-time, award-winning lifestyle online-and-conventional-print magazine, which captured the 2015 Best Student Magazine Mark of Excellence Award from the regional chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).
The Pulse success story begins and ends with collaboration. Professor and mentor extraordinaire Jennifer Green partners with Editor-in-Chief Bailey Williams. They are joined by a dedicated group of 20 editors, photographers, reporter-writers and, notably a team of four graphic designers from the Department of Art including Creative Director Vanessa Cruz.

“What I love the most about the cross-department collaboration at Pulse is seeing how students from different backgrounds are inspired to put their own individual talents and interests to work on behalf of both their team and the publication,” Professor Green said. “This teamwork includes everything from photographs to page layouts, radio podcasts, video segments, web designs and much more.”

Upon taking over as the faculty advisor for Pulse five years ago, Professor Green reached out to the Art Department for design students who could contribute to a complete redesign of the magazine. That decision drew on the contributions of several Art faculty, including most recently Art Professor David Bieloh, and led to Art students becoming a permanent addition to the Pulse team.

“The collaboration with Pulse has been extremely valuable for our graphic design students,” said Professor Bieloh. “This is a team effort where our students get to work together with a professional group of student writers, editors, photographers, and journalists to produce a highly polished lifestyle magazine. They have really all done some beautiful work, and continue to amaze me.”

If you are looking for results of this collaboration, check out the awards garnered by Pulse in the past four-plus years:

2016 – Finalist, Best Student Magazine – Associated College Press (national – one of 22 selected nationwide)
2016 – Fourth place, Feature Magazine – Associated College Press, Best of Show Award
2016 – Honorable Mention, Juried Student Art Show, Central Washington University Art Department
2015 – Winner, Best Student Magazine – Society of Professional Journalists, Mark of Excellence Award (regional)
2015 – Winner, Non-Fiction Magazine Article – Society of Professional Journalists, Mark of Excellence Award (regional)
2015 – Fourth place, Best Student Magazine – Associated College Press, Best of Show Award
2015 – Finalist, Best Use of Multimedia – Society of Professional Journalists, Mark of Excellence Award (regional)
2013 – Finalist, Online Feature Reporting – Society of Professional Journalists, Mark of Excellence Award (regional)
2012 – Third place, Best Student Magazine – Society of Professional Journalists, Mark of Excellence Award (regional)

Pulse Creative Director Vanessa Cruz, a graphic arts junior, confers with Editor-in-Chief Bailey Williams, a broadcast journalism senior on the next issue of CWU’s lifestyle magazine. Photo by Pulse photographer Jack Lambert

Just taking a few minutes with Pulse editor-in-chief, Bailey Williams, a broadcasting journalism senior from Des Moines, and Vanessa Cruz, a graphic design junior from Tacoma, you can quickly discern that departmental boundaries have no bearing on their successful collaboration. They and their colleagues are all integral parts of the award-winning team.

Vanessa is unabashed in stating that she loves working for the magazine, particularly making each story visually more interesting and compelling. As editor-in-chief, Bailey is always asking how Pulse can more effectively employ photographs and graphics to make a good article into a great story.

Pulse has also been able to send Art students to college journalism conferences nationwide. And the successful collaboration between Communication and Art is extending to another award-winning publication, CWU’s student newspaper, The Observer, under the stewardship of Professor Cynthia Mitchell.

We know from our high-achieving alumni that the collaboration between the Departments of Communication and Art reflect best-practice trends in many industries. No one works in a silo any longer. Many corporations are designing work spaces to encourage teamwork. In providing for and encouraging cross-disciplinary collaboration, we are preparing our students for success as they launch their careers.

There are more case studies of teamwork between and among our departments and programs. We can hardly wait to tell our LaunchPad readers all about them.

21st Century Life, Arts and Humanities, CAH, Central Washington University, College of Arts and Humanities, CWU, CWU Department of Communications, CWU Film Program, Department of Art, Department of English, Department of History, Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies, Department of Theatre Arts, Faculty, Higher Education, LaunchPad, Liberal Arts, Stacey Robertson, Uncategorized

Showcasing Our Talented Students and Faculty to the World

By Stacey Robertson

Film has the power to inspire, enlighten, and excite – and our new college video certainly does all of this and so much more.


Please take a moment to enjoy the virtuosity and creativity that our new video showcases. Our very own Film Program co-leader Jon Ward carefully directed and expertly produced this video in collaboration with two recent CWU grads Dara Hall and Jobe Layton.


The scene begins with a bird’s eye view of our campus from historic Barge Hall to modernistic McIntyre Music Building Concert Hall on a gorgeous Ellensburg day, beautifully filmed by a drone-mounted camera.


From Music Professor Nikolas Caoile conducting our orchestra to musical-theatre-produced Mary Poppins flying through the air, the video is a cornucopia of images documenting our incredibly innovative and skillful students and their ardent and dedicated faculty.


There are dancers floating across the stage, pottery taking shape, piano keys expertly played, theatre productions magnificently choreographed, broadcast productions carefully digitized, newspapers meticulously printed, and graphic designs precisely created.


Our video highlights the talent and commitment of our students and faculty in dozens of different ways. You can experience the energy in our English, History, Philosophy and Religious Studies classrooms as students reach into the past to try to fully comprehend the challenges of the future.


This video is refreshing and illuminating because it offers a compelling glimpse into what we do best: Create a culture of excellence that enhances and builds on every bit of talent and potential from our students and faculty for the benefit of our region and the world.


The new college video also highlights an exciting truth: We are educating and mentoring the creative leaders of the future.

If you have not yet had the opportunity to experience our new college video, the link can be found immediately below: