What's New at CWU

What's New at CWU

NSF Taps Expertise of Two Central Profs

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has retained two CWU professors to lead research in geology and chemistry. Audrey Huerta, geology, became a program director of the Tectonics Program on August 3, while Anne Johansen, chemistry, began her second year overseeing the Atmospheric Chemistry Program on September 3.

In her role, Huerta oversees the funding of research aimed at understanding plate tectonics and the deformation of the Earth’s outer layer. With an annual budget of more than $9 million, “the program funds projects related to the Cascades, Rocky Mountains, and other mountain ranges, and many of the projects emphasize engaging undergraduate students in the research,” Huerta explained.

Johansen initially began her work as the program officer of the Atmospheric Chemistry Program in September 2019. Its mission is to support basic atmospheric chemistry research, with an eye on societal needs in areas such as agriculture, human health, and polar and ocean sciences.

PANGA Project Gets Funding for Another Year

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently awarded $225,908 to CWU’s Pacific Northwest Geodetic Array (PANGA) laboratory for earthquake detection and characterization. The grant, which will fund the lab’s work for at least another year, is the second of three annual installments.

The funding will help PANGA, which is overseen by geology professor Tim Melbourne, further develop a Global Real-Time Global Navigation Satellite System Analysis Center. The facility will enable earth scientists and U.S. earthquake and tsunami early-warning systems to track and analyze seismic activity from around the world—and the tsunamis that often follow—using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology.

NEH Funds New Positions and CWU EthicsLab

Central Washington University’s College of Arts and Humanities added six new faculty positions and CWU Libraries gained a historian-archivist for the upcoming academic year after receiving a $257,000 grant from the National Endowment of Humanities (NEH).

The grant, which also will fund the development of a new CWU EthicsLab, became available this spring through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. A total of $40.3 million dollars was distributed to roughly 300 institutions across the country, and only 14 percent of the proposals submitted were successful. Higher education institutions received just 18.6 percent of the NEH funds.

“It’s such an honor to be selected, and to be selected out of the universities that applied,” said Jill Hernandez, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, who co-wrote the proposal along with Rebecca Lubas, dean of CWU Libraries. “We didn’t know how long it would be before we could hire the people we needed, so this grant is a huge bright spot this quarter. It’s very exciting.”

The joint project will advance CWU’s digital humanities scholarship, archival work, and pedagogy by funding the historian-archivist position at CWU Libraries, plus six new humanities faculty positions for the 2020-21 academic year. The EthicsLab is an interdisciplinary, public humanities space that will be the first of its kind in the Northwest. The Brooks Library space will feature a digital scholarship lab that will look for innovative approaches to real-world ethical dilemmas.

Math Professor is Tops in the Nation

CWU mathematics professor Brandy Wiegers recently received the 2020 Henry L. Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching from the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). The honor is presented to a college or university instructor with at least two years of experience as a full-time teacher (but not more than seven years), who excels in the classroom and beyond.

FCS Professor Earns State Educator of the Year Honor

Jodi Musser, a Career and Technical Education professor at CWU, is the 2020 Washington State Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher Educator of the Year. Musser, a CWU alumna and has taught at Central for more than six years, was recognized for her passion for teaching and commitment to preparing future CTE teachers. Prior to joining Central, Musser taught CTE in high school for 15 years.

Wine Studies Adds Two New Certifications

The CWU Wine Studies program has added two new certificate programs to meet the changing needs of the state’s wine industry. Undergraduate students are now able to pursue 16-credit certificates in Tasting Room Management and Winery Event Design. Just last year, the program introduced its second bachelor’s degree specialization in Wine Industry Management (WIM) to accompany the original four-year degree in Wine Studies.

CWU-Sammamish Offering First Undergraduate Degree Program

CWU is offering its first Bachelor of Science degree based at CWU-Sammamish during the fall quarter, allowing students to take classes that will lead to a BS in Information Technology and Management. “Outside of our Ellensburg campus, we only offer our successful—and popular—Master of Science in ITAM graduate program at CWU-Sammamish,” said Robert Lupton, professor and chair of CWU’s ITAM department. “We think it now makes sense for us to offer a Bachelor of Science undergraduate degree there as well.”

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