I am proud of our Wildcat community. These past few months have tested all of us in ways we never could have foreseen. We closed our campus for weeks, converted our classes to online instruction, and learned how to carry on from home. The COVID-19 pandemic had a major impact on how we teach, learn, and work at Central.
Overcoming the challenges of the past few months has demonstrated the amazing character of our Wildcat community. It’s why we created a campaign, #CWUTogether, to recognize the strength of that community, working together, to push through this difficult time.
I want to commend our faculty and students for how they have adapted to online teaching requirements and techniques. I applaud our staff and administration for the way they embraced new ways of how we must conduct the business of the university. I am thankful for our students, who have adjusted to all of these changes, and pressed forward toward their degree completion.
As we’ve changed the way we do things, our faculty, staff, and students have adopted new tools—including new technologies. One of the lasting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will no doubt be that it accelerated the use of technology in our classrooms. I think that once faculty and students become accustomed to these tools, they will become more routinely utilized.
Indeed, technology—the theme of this issue—remains one of the defining aspects of our lifetime. As I look back on my academic career, I can see an amazing trajectory as we transitioned from pens, paper, and chalkboards to overhead projectors and handheld calculators to virtual reality headsets and 3D printers. And who knows what’s next?
One of the major changes I have helped implement during my time as Central’s president is the rapid spread of technology not only in the classrooms but in our research laboratories. Because the primary tenet of a Central education is experiential learning, the presence of such technology, whether it is a high-powered electron microscope or a spectrometer, provides our students with the tools to prepare them for the next steps in their lives and careers.
That, too, makes me proud.
James L. Gaudino
Note: President James L. Gaudino announced in February that he will step down as president on July 31, 2021, after more than 11 years of service. “Serving as president of this wonderful university has been an honor and the privilege of my professional life,” he said. “I want to express my appreciation to the faculty, staff, students, alumni, legislators, community members and trustees, past and present. They have joined in the work of building the strength and reputation of CWU as a welcoming community for everyone seeking a first-class university education.”