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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

http://prssa.prsa.org/scholarships_competitions/bateman/

http://www.changedirection.org/

https://www.giveanhour.org/

http://clymermuseum.org/

Alumni Relations, Citizenship, Marketing, Mentoring, Scholarship, Teaching, Technology, Uncategorized

Throwing the Spotlight on CWU’s College of Arts and Humanities

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

Alumni Engagement, College of Arts and Humanities, Liberal Arts, Marketing, Mentorship, Strategic Priorities, Uncategorized, Vision Statement

Looking Back, Looking Forward

By Stacey Robertson

Reflecting on my nearly 18 months as the Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, I am proud of our progress. We have raised our profile, reconnected with our alumni, and initiated new events – such as our Celebrating the Arts and Humanities Series – and new programs – such as our nationally ranked Online Professional and Creative Writing degree.

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Even as we ponder the past, we continue to look forward. We are never complacent. We do not rest on our laurels. There is still so much that needs to be done. We unabashedly contend that a liberal arts education prepares our students for success in a fast-changing, always-on, lifelong-learning digital society. Just as important a liberal arts education guides students toward wholehearted living.

We embrace the upward-to-the-right design of our futuristic Department of Music building to market our college as the “LaunchPad to Your Future.” Our vision is to prepare our students for future challenges, nurturing their creativity and stimulating their talent.

Our Vision:

Internationally recognized for its dynamic and innovative departments and programs, the Central Washington University College of Arts and Humanities offers meaningful, personalized mentorship, an inclusive curriculum, and a strong blend of hands-on classroom, and professional opportunities, intended to prepare our students for success in the global marketplace and life.”

Just as market equities are forward-looking indicators of anticipated performance, we believe that our 1,400 undergraduate and 80 graduate students — guided by our 150 outstanding faculty and assisted by our well-networked alumni – will be key barometers of our success.

Last April, we invited a small group of CAH alums – several were either first-generation graduates or non-traditional students — to come back and spend a day with us on campus. They all expressed a profound appreciation for their CWU education, reminiscing about lifelong friendships, mesmerizing mentors, and transformative challenges.

I was immediately struck by the grit and resilience each alum exhibited. It occurred to me these two characteristics continue to exemplify our students. Familiar with hard work and high achievement, our students understand the value of education. They do not take it for granted.

Each of our visiting alums volunteered to participate in our pilot Mentorship program, providing guidance, advice and support to a current student. We aim to expand this program to include many more alums, partnering them with our eager students. Mentorship is one of our highest priorities as a college.

Our Strategic Priorities

  1. Mentorship is prioritized across our college, assisting students in making the transition from student life to the professional world. Our well-placed alums play a decisive role in helping students attain entry-level positions and build a prosperous careers.
  2. We are strategically promoting and enhancing our curriculum, including interdisciplinary collaboration.
  3. Looking westward across the Pacific and around the world, we recognize that our curriculum must be inclusive and diverse.
  4. A never-ending task is to improve our visibility: locally, regionally, nationally and even internationally.
  5. Our alumni are not just our past – familiar faces that proudly marched up to the podium in their caps and gowns, eventually moving their tassels from right-to-left. They are our present, and most important, our future.
  6. Our scholarship and creative expression are central to who we are as a community. They foster our intellectual and aesthetic understanding of the world and enhance our teaching.

My Predecessor, My Mentor, My Friend

I would like to conclude this final blog of the 2015-16 academic year with a “shout-out” to my predecessor Marji Morgan, who served as our dean for nine years.

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Just as my door is always open for those interested in the future of our college, Marji has always been there to assist me, our faculty, and our 20 dedicated staff members. Besides both of us serving as dean, we hail from the same discipline, History. There is literally no subject that we can’t talk about with full candor and refreshing humor.

Marji once again exhibited her team-player attitude by serving as the interim chair of our Communication Department. She will continue in this role next year.

We are absolutely delighted about the coming year. It will feature a new Celebrating the Arts and Humanities Series, a dynamic fresh logo, a strategic marketing approach, innovative programs, and of course, a new contingent of outstanding Arts and Humanities students.

Upwards and onwards to the future!