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, Central Washington University Orchestra, Collaboration, College of Arts and Humanities, Department of music, Mentorship, Uncategorized

How to Inspire and Mentor – Without Saying A Word

By Dr. Stacey Robertson

As the dean of the Central Washington University College of Arts and Humanities, I am reminded every day about all the different ways our faculty, students, alumni, and staff interact and positively influence each other.

Let’s call it: The Art of Collaboration.

We are particularly committed to collaborative mentorship. It is lifelong learning at its best. But what happens when the mentor can’t utter one word to the mentees … in this case about 75 talented musicians?

That is the challenge our Director of Orchestras and Associate Department of Music chair, Dr. Nik Caoile, faces on a daily basis. Through his non-verbal facial expressions, the movement of his body and baton, Dr. Caoile can bring out the best in an orchestra, fully engaging each devoted student musician.


Dr. Caoile, 38, describes the process of conducting as a dynamic “conversation” in which he calls for a “dialogue,” “pauses,” and “restarts,” all without uttering a single word. He is the conductor our CWU Orchestra, but also serves as the director and conductor of the Wenatchee Valley Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Caoile has come a long way from first touching a piano key when he was six years old, growing up in Tualatin, Oregon.

Like other energetic children, he wanted to go out and play with his friends rather than practice the piano. As he grew up, his parents had high hopes that Nik would become a medical doctor. He initially explored Pre-Med at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, but soon realized that music was his true love.

Through his dedication and hard work, Dr. Caoile received his bachelor’s degree in Music Composition from Willamette University (2000), his master’s in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Washington (2003) and his doctorate in Musical Arts in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Michigan (2013).

Dr. Caoile has been an instrumental – pardon the pun – part of our Department of Music Faculty for a decade plus.

“A Microcosm of the Diversity of the World”

Dr. Caoile describes the interaction of string, wind, and percussion instruments as a “microcosm of the diversity of the world.” He encourages each orchestra to embrace its unique character and deliver its own interpretation of the music, including Ludwig van Beethoven’s 5th Symphony.


Dr. Caoile venerates the work of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, which he describes as “clarity of motion and melody.” He also admires the renowned composer Gustav Mahler. Professor Caoile delights in conducting the work of both of these distinguished composers and many others, to the gratification and enjoyment of thousands in his audiences.

There is at least one time that Dr. Caoile directed an “orchestra” without any instruments. He served as the inspirational speaker to the CWU Freshmen Convocation at the beginning of the 2015-2016 academic year. He brilliantly displayed his skills by conducting incoming freshmen in performing the “wave” with the same precision and attention to detail as he does with strings, winds, and percussion. Energized and motivated, these new students were more than ready to start their exciting and challenging college careers.


What gives Dr. Caoile particular joy in his job? It comes when former students return to Ellensburg, often exhausted from the “grind” of performing for a major orchestra with 100 concerts or more per year, and they reminisce about the superb education and good times they experienced at Central Washington University.

What is next for Dr. Caoile?

The answer is a well-earned sabbatical in the spring term followed by the establishment of the Northwest Orchestra Institute with our own musicologist, Dr. Mark Samples, this coming summer. The institute is designed to provide intensive training to young outstanding orchestra musicians, taking their skills to the next level. The institute will also teach students how to manage orchestras, with special focus on entrepreneurial and marketing skills.

Dr. Caoile has come a long way since finding middle C for the first time at the age of six. From his frenetic pace and energy, one can safely surmise that he will continue to lead and inspire — many times without saying a single word — for those students fortunate enough to play in the Central Washington University Orchestra and others throughout the Pacific Northwest.