Arts and Humanities, CAH, CAH Alumni, CAH Faculty, CAH Staff, CAH Students, Central Washington University, College of Arts and Humanities, CWU, CWU Alumni, Liberal Arts, Marketing, Owened Media, Uncategorized

Liberal Arts are Relevant: Now and Forever

Looking back upon the last two-plus years at CWU’s College of Arts and Humanities, I am more convinced than ever that our college cannot be beat when it comes to mentoring and preparing our immensely confident and talented students for the careers of tomorrow.

pic1_6.6.17

Our disciplines have long histories, but their relevancy has only increased, especially when it comes to our digital world of discovery.

In many cases across our college and the entire university, we prepare students to employ specific applied skills, honed through classroom study and practiced through internships, research, and other forms of outside applied learning. But in the College of Arts and Humanities, we also see it as our enduring job to teach our students to take joy in the lifelong process of learning, regardless of the subject or discipline.

pic2_6.6.17

When I was recently asked, “What was the biggest surprise of my tenure as dean of the College of Arts and Humanities,” I replied that it was the combined grit and modesty of our successful alums and future-oriented students.

Our alums and our students instinctively know that grit and determination are essential for sustained success. And our faculty regularly exemplify these values as they interact with students inside and outside the classroom – as educators, mentors, and friends.

pic3_6.6.17

College of Arts and Humanities alums and students do not expect to be given anything. They understand the value of deep work, focus, and determination. When they earn hard-fought rewards, they realize that the journey has not ended. They recognize their college education as a great privilege.

Telling The Story of the CWU College of Arts and Humanities

During the past two-plus years, we embraced the process of marketing our college through the effective use of owned media. This communication platform is primarily digital in nature. We have used digital technology to tell the story of our exciting college and dynamic departments/interdisciplinary programs through our revamped website, this LaunchPad blog, social media (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram …), a viral college video, and updated college icons to present a new and fresh image to the university, community, region, and the world.

pic4_6.6.17

Events planning is an integral component of the Owned Media Platform, and we never rested in supporting our departments and programs as they organized a multitude of events on campus, in downtown Ellensburg, and in Seattle – including alumni days, year-end celebrations, the Seattle Showcase, lectures and readings, college days, musical concerts, and art fairs. Amidst this whirlwind of activity, we occasionally needed to take a breath, and appreciate our accomplishments.

We are especially grateful for Ellensburg, our bucolic college town located in a picturesque valley at the base of the Cascades. This lovely small town offers everyone, including students, staff, and faculty, a sense of belonging, warmth, friendship, and community. Moreover, Ellensburg exemplifies the promise of the Pacific Northwest, slow enough to enjoy and appreciate life, but fast enough to compete with the growing economies of the Pacific Rim.

pic5_6.6.17

Our graduation ceremonies this coming weekend will be my last official events as the dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. These coming days will be difficult as I say goodbye to so many lifelong friends and colleagues that I have come to know during the past 30 months.

I will always remember Central Washington University as a place in which the unlikely becomes possible. Consider that 40 percent of our students are first-generation college graduates, half are transfers, and many are non-traditional. The success of our students represents so much more than a degree. It means transforming families. It means hope for new generations of immigrants. It means achievements beyond one’s dreams.

pic6_6.6.17

Central Washington University’s College of Arts and Humanities is better than ever, and most of all, more relevant than ever. We stand ready to meet every new challenge posed by our increasingly complex data-driven, digital society.

Bring it on!

By Stacey Roberson

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.

Pic1

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.

Pic2

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.

Pic3

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).

Pic4

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.

Pic5

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.

Pic6

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.

Pic7

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.

Pic8

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.

Pic9

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)

Pic10

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

Alumni, Alumni Engagement, Central Washington University, College of Arts and Humanities, CWU, CWU Alumni, Liberal Arts, Lifelong Learning, Personal Branding, Uncategorized

The Proven Flexibility of Liberal Arts Degrees

What can you do with a Liberal Arts degree?

How about transforming a bachelor’s degree in History into becoming a successful systems planner for Boeing?

Pic1

How about a successful career as a principal software engineering manager for Microsoft after earning a degree in Music?

Turning an English degree into a lucrative career as a marketing manager of music textbooks?

Or a Philosophy major vaults into the role of a licensed mental health counselor?

Closer to our campus, an Art degree is utilized for a fulfilling career as a professional rodeo photographer?

Pic2

Maybe a World Languages degree results in exciting assignments overseas, serving as an interpreter/translator in Japan?

And can a Theatre Arts degree allow a promising and talented student to overcome her fear of public speaking and finally realize her dream of performing as an actress in Seattle?

Liberal arts degrees are clearly in demand. Just ask our eight successful College of Arts and Humanities honorees, who gathered earlier this month to share their experiences and wisdom with our students, faculty, and staff.

These outstanding graduates and career overachievers took quality time out of their busy lives to return to Ellensburg and spend a day with us. They also agreed to mentor fortunate students from each of our eight departments, establishing what will hopefully be a meaningful lifelong friendship.

Pic3

Top (left to right): Gretchen Beyer, Molly Morrow, Micaiah Davis, Alex Worland, Alan Page, Dane Madsen, Nuno Fernandes, Trevor Penland, Caroleigh Lawrence
Bottom (left to right): Amy Danneker, Karli Reinbold, Tristan Gorringe, Derek Forsell, Lori Bohn, Garrett Swatzina, Donny Anderson, Stephan Simes

The lineup for our April 11 Wellington Events Center panel:

  • Molly Morrow, Department of Art, Class of 1974, Professional Cowboys Association PhotographerPic4
  • Tristan Gorringe, Department of Communication, Class of 2009, Microsoft Audience Marketing Manager and Events Lead
  • Trevor Penland, Department of English, Class of 2011, W.W. Norton Marketing Manager for Music Textbooks
  • Lori Bohn, Department of History, Class of 1988, Boeing Systems Planner
  • Alan Page, Department of Music, Class of 1988, Microsoft Principal Software Manager
  • Nuno Fernandes, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Class of 2007, Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic, Licensed Mental Health Counselor
  • Amy Danneker, Department of Theatre Arts, Class of 2005, Seattle Market Professional Actress
  • Donald Anderson, Jr., Department of World Languages and Cultures, Class of 2008, Japanese Language Translator and Interpreter and Instructor for English Language Acquisition (ELA)Pic5

If you carefully review the occupations of this list of alums, each hailing respectively from our eight dynamic departments, only two are directly engaged in their field of study.

The gratifying message is that a liberal arts degree from our college leads to fulfilling careers and flexible, marketable skills.

As several panel members emphatically stated: Our College of Arts and Humanities is “not a vocational school.” Instead, our college embraces, celebrates, and champions lifelong learning and produces creative, smart, and skilled problem-solvers.

Trevor Penland asserted that questions such as, “What are you going to do with an English degree?” need to be promptly vanquished. The reality is that Liberal Arts majors have the talent and the ability to quickly glean vital information and to effectively speak, write, and problem solve.

Tristan Gorringe encouraged students to nurture an authentic personal story, be proactive and intentional in their networking efforts, and most of all, project and promote a unique personal brand.

CWU History alum and now Boeing Systems Planner Lori Bohn advised students to keep changing, learning, and moving – characteristics that are nurtured by their liberal arts backgrounds.

As we head toward our June 10th commencement, seniors are wondering about their next step and how to secure a meaningful job.

Nuno Fernandes counseled students to first and foremost avoid panic, and to stay grounded. Amy Danneker championed “Networking 101” and staying in touch with college colleagues as sometimes it takes only that one special lead to reach full employment.

Pic6

Perhaps most important, all of our panelists used their personal success stories to highlight the real power of a liberal arts degree in securing a meaningful career and life. Each projected energy and optimism based upon their proven success and their lifelong commitment to learning how to learn.

Inspiring, generous, and thoughtful, these honorees gave our students superb advice as they embark on their own personal career journeys.

By Stacey Robertson

Associate Dean, CAH, Central Washington University, College of Arts and Humanities, CWU, Department of English, Uncategorized, Writing, Editing, and Poetry

Kathy Whitcomb: Our Innovative and Collaborative Associate Dean

The study and writing of poetry requires imagination and careful attention to details.

And this rigorous devotion and creativity are among the many qualities that made Kathy Whitcomb a superb choice to serve as the permanent Associate Dean of Central Washington’s College of Arts and Humanities.

pic.1

As readers of LaunchPad know, our college encompasses many different groups and stakeholders. We knew that we needed a leader, who would build a strong, united, integrated community.

As CWU’s former Faculty Senate Chair, it was clear that Kathy Whitcomb had the skills, knowledge, experience, and wisdom to help us achieve this goal.

It is with great pleasure that I removed the “interim” tag from Kathy’s title this past February.  She has been a wonderful and critical addition to the CAH leadership team.

During the past 13 years at Central Washington University, Kathy has taught poetry, creative writing, multi-genre writing, poetics, genre studies, and professional writing. Her skills in the classroom merited her selection as the 2016 Distinguished University Professor of Teaching.

Kathy received her terminal degree, an MFA in writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, in 1995. Even more impressive, she was one of five poets selected to receive a two-year post-degree Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Poetry at Stanford University from 1996-1998.

pic.2

The Appleton, Wisconsin native didn’t immediately start her professional endeavors in academia. She began her career in publishing for Penguin Books and Simon & Schuster, keeping her ties to the written word, especially fine writing and editing.

Not surprisingly, Kathy is an accomplished author. Her books include: The Daughter’s Almanac: Poems in 2015, The Art Courage Program in 2014, and Saints of South Dakota and Other Poems in 2001. She has also dozens of other publications and presentations during her impressive scholarly career.

Kathy knows that liberal arts skills are in constant demand by corporate leaders, who are on the lookout for lifelong-learners adept at creativity and problem-solving. These required skills are exactly our focus in the College of Arts and Humanities.

For example, Kathy pioneered our nationally ranked online undergraduate degree in Professional and Creative Writing. And now for the first time this coming fall, the College of Arts and Humanities and the Department of English will debut an online Master’s degree in Professional and Creative Writing.

Kathy’s innovative skills will be very important as she continues to foster teamwork, collaboration, and mentorship within, between, and among our departments and programs. Her respect for teamwork, deep knowledge of the university, and commitment to excellence will help raise the College of Arts and Humanities to an even higher level of achievement.

We are delighted to make Kathy a permanent member of our leadership team. Her accomplishments, creativity, wisdom, and experience make her the perfect addition.

Please join me in welcoming Kathy Whitcomb as our associate dean.

Central Washington University, College of Arts and Humanities, Department of English, Faculty, Faculty Mentoring, Higher Education, Multimodal Learning, Online Education, Out of the Box Thinking, Uncategorized

Great Online Teachers Are Made

By Stacey Robertson

Now that spring term is over and diplomas have been earned and distributed, one could easily conclude that all must be quiet at the College of Arts and Humanities at Central Washington University.

That assumption is far from the truth. The arrival of the solstice also harkens the beginning of our outstanding and cost-effective summer-school sessions. These intensive six-and-nine week sessions offer students the opportunity to continue to make progress toward their degrees throughout the summer.

1

At our Ellensburg campus, summer school also provides new challenges for our talented faculty. Because the vast majority of our students depart the Kittitas Valley during the summer, we offer most of our courses online. In response, more of our faculty are converting their ten-week, in-person courses into online offerings for the summer.

For those instructors who already incorporate online technologies and digital materials into their face-to-face courses, this transition is straightforward and comfortable. For others, the move to online can be intimidating. Thankfully, all CWU faculty can rely on the wisdom and expertise of Dr. Chris Schedler and his team at the CWU Office of Multimodal Learning.

2

An award-winning teacher-scholar, Dr. Schedler earned his Ph.D in English from University of California Santa Barbara in 1999 and has been teaching American and multicultural literature at CWU for 13 years. His passion for different methods of teaching made him the perfect candidate for Executive Director of Multimodal Learning.

While the onset and spread of online learning has generated controversy on campuses throughout the U.S. and the world, Dr. Schedler believes online education is here to stay because it provides educational access for place-bound and non-traditional learners as well as offering course-scheduling flexibility and accelerating time-to-degree for on-campus students. By gaining fluency in instructional technologies and digital pedagogy, faculty can provide our students with a quality education and at the same time fulfill our mission and core values.

Dr. Schedler and his outstanding Multimodal Learning team – including instructional technologists, media technicians, librarians and faculty fellows – assist faculty members with all aspects of the online experience including Canvas (our online learning management system), Panopto (for voice over PowerPoint lectures), streaming media, online tests, discussion boards, group projects and virtual office hours.

Dr. Schedler notes that some aspects of online teaching can enrich the educational experience in unique ways. For example, an online discussion may empower those who are shy or reticent to find their voice. It may also lead to more nuanced discussion thanks to additional time and distance.
3

The CWU College of Arts and Humanities, already renowned for its dynamic on-campus programs and faculty expertise, has gained national recognition for its new Online Professional and Creative Writing degree. We will continue to seek new instructional methods and technologies (such as augmented and virtual reality), which can expand our ability to spread liberal arts education throughout the Pacific Northwest and around the world.

https://www.cwu.edu/english/chris-schedler

https://www.cwu.edu/online-learning/office-multimodal-learning

 

Arts and Humanities, Central Washington University, College of Arts and Humanities, Outstanding Employee Award, Staff, Uncategorized, Year-End Celebration

A College Is More Than the Sum of Its Alums, Faculty and Students

By Stacey Robertson

“Vickie (Winegar) consistently demonstrated an ability to rise to any challenge and produce favorable results despite deadline pressures. She is respectful, dependable, creative, motivated, and ambitious … It is these qualities that have made her a ‘go to’ person.” — CAH Administrative Assistant Ashlie Crawford presenting an Outstanding Employee Award to Vickie Winegar

Picture1

Looking back at the College of Arts and Humanities (CAH) Alumni Day festivities and the Year-End Celebration and forward to our CWU commencement ceremonies on June 11-12, it would be very easy to concentrate our attention on our overachieving alums, our graduating seniors and our outstanding faculty.

But if we only focused on these events and these particular stakeholders, we would be doing a great disservice to another key group of essential contributors: our staff. They are the invisible heroes, who provide critical support for the entire university.

Thinking Outside of the Box

Coming to Central Washington University from Bradley University in winter 2015, it did not take long for me to come in contact with the name, “Winegars.” In fact anyone with a craving for delicious ice cream or a morning hot-and-creamy mocha can easily visit either of the nearby Winegars.

Picture2

For the College of Arts and Humanities, Winegars means more than coffee and ice-cream, it means the tireless efforts and calm, cool, collected counsel of Vickie Winegar. She has now worked for CAH for four years, the first three with our Department of Communication and the last year with our Department of English.

Ms. Winegar is fond of the Silicon Valley phrase, “Thinking outside of the box.” To some it may be an overused metaphor, but to Vickie it is a reflection of entrepreneurial spirit.

“Sometimes you have to be creative,” said Winegar, reflecting on the procedures of academic life. “I don’t see a ceiling. If I see an issue, I am not afraid to ask questions. I am an advocate for my co-workers.”

Ms. Winegar not only knows her way around the corridors of our college and its departments, she knows Ellensburg like the proverbial back of her hand. Since she was seven, she has lived here with the exception of a short-stint in Olympia.

She married into the Winegar family, and she credits her ability to think quickly and creatively to her part-time work for the homemade ice-cream and coffee provider. Before coming to Central Washington University, she was a legal assistant for a criminal law firm, which ultimately she found unfulfilling.

“Because we work behind the scenes, it would be easy for any college to overlook us,” said Ms. Winegar. “It is gratifying to have our accomplishments recognized and saluted.”

Reflecting on her Outstanding Employee Award, Vickie is humbled and appreciative. This award recognizes the tremendous contribution of Vickie Winegar to the overall success of our college. We value and appreciate the daily input of our vital staff to our college, its eight departments and four programs.

Congratulations Vickie!