University News – Fall 2017

Diversity Officer Named

EWU President Mary Cullinan has named Shari Clarke, PhD, as the founding vice president for Diversity and Inclusion at Eastern.

“Eastern Washington University is uniquely poised to lead in the areas of diversity and inclusion based on the institution’s visible commitment to inclusive excellence,” said Clarke. “I am excited to be a part of President Cullinan’s leadership team and to work in collaboration with the faculty, students, staff and community in moving a diversity agenda forward.”

Clarke comes to EWU from Ohio University, where she has served as vice president for Diversity and Inclusion and chief diversity officer since 2014. Over the past 25 years, she has held leadership positions at Marshall University, the University of Nebraska, the University of Maine-Orono and Whitman College in Walla Walla.

She received her PhD in educational leadership and higher education at the University of Nebraska; her MA from Bowling Green State University, and her BA from Lance College in Jackson, Tennessee.

Eastern Celebrates Its 135th Birthday

April 3 was a significant day in Eastern’s history. On that day in 1882, the Benjamin P. Cheney Academy opened its doors to more than 200 students. Benjamin Cheney, a railroad industrialist and visionary, donated $10,000 to build the teacher’s academy that became EWU. Annual tuition in 1882 was $30, and the first class graduated in 1888.

The academy became the State Normal School at Cheney in 1889, the same year in which Washington was given its statehood.
By the time it became Eastern Washington College of Education in 1937, Eastern was already a fully accredited four-year, degree-granting institution, offering majors in numerous subjects.

The campus grew rapidly in size and program offerings in the decades following World War II. In 1961, the name was again changed, this time to Eastern Washington State College. It was increasingly evident that the region needed professionals in many fields; in response, Eastern added a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Finally, in 1977, the state legislature changed the school’s name to Eastern Washington University, and academic departments were grouped into schools and colleges.

Survey Says

Eastern Washington University’s latest Life After Eastern Survey reveals EWU graduates continue to find success across all sectors of the job market, from high-tech to health care.

The annual survey reveals where Eastern’s alumni are and what they are doing within the first year of graduation. This year, 2,146 alumni from the class of 2016 were surveyed with a 32 percent response rate.

Among the highlights:
*93 percent of EWU alumni are employed full time or part time, in graduate school or both –  up 6 percent from last year, which was well above the national average.
*57 percent reported having at least one internship while they were in college, reflecting the importance of gaining
hands-on experience before graduating.
*EWU alumni employed full time are also making good salaries:
20 percent make $60,000 or more
16 percent make $50,000 or more
22 percent make $40,000 or more

Survey respondents reported finding jobs in the health care industry (17 percent), engineering (13 percent) and human services (8 percent). Eastern alumni are finding good jobs at well-known local and national companies, such as Microsoft, Boeing, Avista, Nike, Century Link, Itron, Providence Health & Services, Jubilant HollisterStier, STCU and Boise Cascade.

University Presidents Meet to Discuss AUAP

EWU President Mary Cullinan and Asia University’s President Michiharu Kurita met for the first time on June 2, to discuss the importance of the collaborative partnership between EWU and Asia University.

Since its inception in 1989, more than 3,800 students have participated in the program at EWU. Next year will mark the 30-year anniversary of AUAP.

For five months, students from Asia University in Tokyo have the opportunity to learn English and learn about American culture while living on the EWU campus, typically with American roommates.

International peer advisors, who are Eastern students, help AUAP students navigate the university system. The campus friends program hosts events in which EWU and AUAP students can socialize.

EWU students who have participated in the AUAP program have gone on to study, intern and work in Hong Kong, Guatemala, China and Singapore.

Center for Entrepreneurship

EWU’s Center for Entrepreneurship has had an eventful year, turning students’ ideas into businesses and handing out a few awards along the way.

Newly housed within the College of Business and Public Administration, the center now offers major and minor degree options in entrepreneurship, providing courses designed with a philosophy of learning by doing. While the major is aimed at business students, Bruce Teague, director of the center, is excited about the potential for reaching all students on campus by offering the minor.

“The minor really is our focus,” said Teague. “Part of what makes this program unique is we haven’t designed it being just a business school program. We designed it about being a set of tools that are available to support students in any college across the university.”

The newly introduced Eagles’ Nest Pitch competition, which draws its format from the hit television show Shark Tank, saw its team registration numbers jump from nine teams in the first-ever qualifier in November 2016 to 31 in the second qualifier in March. In the end, 35 new business ideas were pitched, with the winner, Victoria Simboli, taking home $2,500 for her innovative portable hard firewall device to protect users from any dangers that may arise while using public Wi-Fi. Over 60 business professionals, including entrepreneurs, bankers, intellectual property lawyers and other small-business owners, backed the new competition by serving as judges.

The 20th annual Celebration of Entrepreneurship Breakfast, which is hosted by EWU to recognize entrepreneurial accomplishments by members of the Spokane community, was particularly special this year with EWU alumnus Corey Ross ’01, BA finance, winning the Entrepreneur of the Year award.

To help continue the growth of the program, the Herbert B. Jones Foundation grant is helping send faculty to the University of Florida every year to get world-class training in designing entrepreneurship courses.

Looking forward, the center plans to launch a new “Meet the Entrepreneur” speaker series to give students the opportunity to speak with entrepreneurs. Additionally, it is looking to find a place on campus for an innovation and entrepreneurship center to help facilitate bringing entrepreneurial-minded students from different backgrounds together.

EWU Celebrates Its 125th Commencement Ceremony

This year, 2,620 undergraduates and 493 master’s and doctoral students were eligible to attend commencement.

For the second year, morning and afternoon ceremonies for all programs were held at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena on June 17.  On May 5, commencement for semester programs was held at the Spokane Convention Center.

This year’s commencement speakers were Maj. Gen. Kenneth Privratsky and former board of trustees member Jo Ann Kauffman.

Privratsky spoke at the morning ceremony to students from the College of Social Sciences and the College of Business and Public Administration. He graduated from Eastern Washington State College in 1969 as an ROTC Distinguished Graduate. He served as an infantry platoon leader in combat in Vietnam and commanded units at all levels. He spent 33 years in the U.S. Army before retiring in 2002 as a major general.

Kauffman, who served on the EWU board of trustees from 2003 to 2015, spoke at the afternoon ceremony to students from the College of Health Science and Public Health, the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and the College of Arts, Letters and Education. A Nez Perce tribal member, she has been instrumental in helping the university create the Lucy Covington Center in support of Native American students at EWU. She formed Kauffman & Associates in 1990 and is a nationally recognized advocate for Indian health and justice.

Kauffman, Privratsky and his wife, Kathy ’73, ’69, (who spent more than 20 years providing speech-language services to those in need) were conferred honorary Doctor of Arts degrees during their respective ceremonies.

2017 Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

Tiera Como-Irby, the first soccer player in school history, will be joined by football players Tony Brooks and Jackie Kellogg and basketball players Ronn McMahon and Fay Zwarych-Shaw, as they are inducted into the 17th class of the EWU Athletics Hall of Fame. They and the 1992 football team will be inducted in ceremonies in conjunction with EWU’s home football game Sept. 30.

*Lt. William “Bink” Wall, an Evergreen All-conference football linebacker in 1967, will be recognized posthumously as this year’s recipient of the Hall of Fame Service and Contribution Award. Wall was killed in Vietnam in 1970. The Eastern strength and conditioning center is named in Wall’s honor.

Tiera Como-Irby was Big Sky Defensive MVP in 2005 and 2006 for the Eagles, who won the soccer program’s first-ever Big Sky Conference title in 2004 with her as the goalkeeper. She played in 65 games and made two appearances in the Big Sky Conference Tournament. She was also honored academically and named to the Big Sky All-Academic team for four seasons. In 2007, she earned a BA in mathematics and now resides in Spokane.

Jackie Kellogg and Tony Brooks

*Jackie Kellogg, a first-team All-Big Sky football selection as a junior and senior, played on the ’92 team that shared the Big Sky Conference title with Idaho. He finished his career (’90-’93) with a school-record of 41 passes broken up that still stands. He graduated in 1994 with a BS in communication studies and was selected to the Big Sky All-Academic team in each of his four seasons. As a professional, he played in four different leagues during his 10-year career, including eight seasons (1995-2002) in the CFL. He lives in Calgary, Alberta, with his wife, Jodi, and their two children. He continues to stay involved with football, coaching at Foothills Composite High.

*Tony Brooks, an All-American, finished his EWU football career (’90-’93) with all four school receiving records also played on the ’92 team.  He earned first team All-Big Sky honors as a junior and senior. Brooks was selected to the Big Sky All-Academic team in each of his four seasons.  Brooks, an insurance agent, and his wife, Leonor, graduated from Eastern in 1994. They live in Tacoma with their children, Allie and Lisi, who attend Lincoln High School where Brooks is an assistant football coach.

During the ’89-’90 season, basketball player Ronn McMahon led NCAA Division I in steals. After graduating with a BA in business in 1989, he played for the Yakima Sun Kings (’91-’92), and on the Canadian National Team (’92-’94). He was Canada’s starting point guard and played on the ’92 squad that played against the U.S. “Dream Team” (John Stockton, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Charles Barkley). McMahon and his wife, Lisa (Dabalos ’91), met at EWU. He is the president and CEO of the Greater Wichita YMCA.

Basketball player Fay Zwarych-Shaw was a first-team All-Big Sky Conference selection (known as the Mountain West Athletic Conference) in 1984. She earned second-team honors in 1983 and helped Eastern finish 12-2 in the league as a senior. She graduated in 1984 with a BA in public recreation and played two seasons in Australia. Originally from Vernon, B.C., she resides in Riverside, California.

The 1992 Football Team, under Coach Dick Zornes, won its first Big Sky Conference championship, sharing the title with Idaho. Four of Zornes’ assistants from ’92 – Jim McElwain, Mike Kramer, John Zamberlin and Jerry Graybeal – went on to become NCAA Division I collegiate head coaches. Eight players from the 1992 team went on to play in the NFL or Canadian Football League.
*Selected to EWU’s “100 for 100” All-Time Football Team in 2008. 

Martinez Honored

Nydia Martinez, PhD, is a 2017 recipient of the Rep. Timm Ormsby Award for Faculty Citizenship, an award created in 2013 in recognition of Ormsby’s efforts to promote civic leadership across the state. Sponsored by the Washington Council of Faculty Representatives, this award seeks to encourage, recognize and honor exemplary civic engagement by faculty from each of the state’s six public higher education institutions.

Martinez is an assistant professor of history and Chicana/o Studies. Since arriving at EWU in 2015, she has worked with college students from migrant backgrounds in the federally funded College Assistance Migrant Program. She has collaborated with high school teachers who work with Latina/o students and has inspired Washington high school students in the Dare to Dream Academy through Washington State OSPI. Martinez was also the primary organizer of an October 2016 first-time voter registration project and the February 2017 Immigration Conference at EWU.

She also conducts public presentations and workshops to build awareness of the needs of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students and undocumented communities. She is building a study abroad program to take undergraduates to Mexico City in 2018. Her research focuses on issues facing Washington state residents, on community-based programs that facilitate democratic or electoral processes, and on complex relations established between Mexican nationals and people of Mexican ancestry in the United States.

Master of Professional Accounting Degree Now Offered

The College of Business and Public Administration has announced its new Master of Professional Accounting (MPAcc) program, a highly specialized professional program to prepare graduates with practical skills used in the accounting workforce.

Designed for graduates of an undergraduate accounting program, the program’s 36-credit professional degree will increase the preparedness of graduates to pass the challenging Certified Public Accounting Examination required for professional licensure.

EWU Awarded NSF Grant

EWU has received a $1.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) under the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program to help recruit and retain outstanding STEM teachers across the state of Washington.

The five-year project will provide financial and professional support to scholars from Eastern and the Community Colleges of Spokane (CCS). The grant money will be targeted toward at least 33 pre-service teachers, with $10,000 scholarships available for juniors and $16,000 scholarships available for seniors.

Noyce Scholars will be recruited through various avenues, including collaboration with CCS and EWU STEM faculty. A major feature of the grant is that pre-service teachers will graduate with degrees in STEM disciplines, not just teacher education.

The goal is to increase the number, quality and diversity of secondary teachers in STEM disciplines, as well as to strengthen teacher preparation.

This is the second Noyce grant EWU has received. Through the implementation of the first Noyce project (2010-16), 48 scholars were supported and 80 percent are meeting their obligation to teach in underserved school systems and provide quality instruction to underrepresented students across eastern Washington.

Lt. Gen. Volesky Offers Words of Encouragement at ROTC Commissioning Ceremony

President Mary Cullinan, Lt. Gen. Gary Volesky and Maj. Michael Eliassen

Before taking the oath of office to become second lieutenants in the U.S. Army, the 11 cadets in EWU’s ROTC Class of 2017 heard from one of the Army’s most decorated and respected generals.

“Are you ready?” three-star Gen. Gary Volesky ’83 repeatedly asked the cadets as he returned to his alma mater and delivered the keynote speech June 16 in historic Showalter Auditorium.

The cadets were encouraged to be great team builders, and Volesky expressed no doubts they will represent their country – and Eastern – well.

“I just want to tell you I’m really proud of you,” Volesky told the cohort. “You represent the less than 1 percent of our nation that has volunteered to serve in something bigger than yourselves, with a mission to protect our freedom and our way of life.”

Volesky calls himself “just a soldier,” but his distinguished military career has taken him to every corner of the world. He’s now back close to home as the commander of I Corps at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), near Tacoma. He also commanded the 101st Airborne Division, served as the operational commander of U.S. ground forces in Liberia (2014) and in Iraq (2015), and has received the Silver Star and Purple Heart for service in the Gulf War, Iraq War and in Afghanistan.

“You will be superb officers making a difference every day for your soldiers and our nation. And I just hope I get the opportunity to serve with each of you,” he said.

Program Receives Accreditation

The Bachelor of Arts in Health Services Administration with Long-Term Care program at EWU has received its program accreditation. Eastern is the first program west of the Mississippi with the accreditation, which is valid for five years.

Senior Sendoff 2017

EWU alumni, faculty, staff and students honored the accomplishments of the graduating Class of 2017 and wished them well as they enter alumni life with the second annual Senior Sendoff.

Graduates took their final, symbolic walk down the Showalter Hall walkway June 8 through the Herculean Pillars. A celebration followed with a barbecue reception, music, games and a photo booth.


EWU’s Giving Joy Day Campaign Wins Highest Award

Spokane Regional MarCom Association’s Highest Award – the Dussault Community Impact Award – went to EWU and its marketing partner, DH (Desautel Hege), at the 2017 annual Spark Awards in April. The community award is given to a campaign entry that demonstrates clear impact within the Spokane community.

Judges’ comments about the Giving Joy Day campaign included, “Great ads and video clips, excellent results and a fantastic inaugural campaign,” and “I like the different lines of study that were depicted and the joy depicted when receiving a scholarship.”

What is Giving Joy Day? On Nov. 29, 2016, EWU’s inaugural Giving Joy Day campaign raised $274,770 for scholarships. It was University Advancement team’s take on “Giving Tuesday,” an annual, global event, created in 2012, that takes place on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. It’s dedicated to encouraging people to give back to the causes they care about. Mark your calendars for this year’s Giving Joy Day on Nov. 28!

CHSPH and St. Luke’s Collaborate on New Clinic

Antigravity treadmill at Spokane Teaching Health Clinic

EWU’s College of Health Science and Public Health (CHSPH) and St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute have created a collaborative outpatient therapy clinic program located in the recently opened Spokane Teaching Health Clinic (STHC). The emphasis on this program focuses on student learning opportunities within a clinical environment that provide excellence in patient care to meet the health care needs of the local community.

Located on the Spokane campus, STHC is housed in Washington State University’s Spokane Teaching Health Clinic, which was designed, in part, to train future health care providers to collaborate on patient care.

The clinic opened April 27 and is St. Luke’s 10th outpatient clinic within the community. Therapists hired to work at the STHC will work closely with EWU faculty to provide excellence in education to students enrolled in programs in CHSPH.

The site demonstrates inter-professional care, in which a variety of health care professionals collaborate to provide the best care outcomes in the least disruptive and most cost-efficient way for the client and organizations involved. This means health care professionals will acknowledge overlaps in practice in order to design the most cost-effective service delivery plan while ensuring the highest quality outcomes.

“Having this clinic and partnership with St. Luke’s gives us a way to give students clinical experiences earlier in their programs, to build clinic-based experiences into our program, to model for our students what inter-professional care looks like when it’s done well, and to give them access to potential participants for research studies,” said Donna Mann, OTD, associate dean of CHSPH and associate professor of OT.

Mann’s hope for the future of the clinic is to create opportunities for other CHSPH programs, such as communication sciences and disorders, dental hygiene, health science administration, and public health students while also focusing on contributing inventive ideas to health care delivery.

Student-Athletes Continue to Shine

The streak continues for EWU student-athletes for a 30th straight quarter, as the athletic department posted a spring quarter grade-point average (GPA) of 3.38. Additionally, 11 athletic programs finished the quarter with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. The 3.38 GPA marks the third-highest quarter GPA during the duration of the streak, which dates back to spring quarter 2007.

A remarkable 68 percent of EWU student-athletes (171 out of 252) finished the spring quarter with at least a 3.0 GPA, while 42 percent posted a 3.5-or-higher GPA. Additionally, 18 student-athletes boasted a perfect 4.0 GPA.

Eastern’s student-athletes now hold a cumulative department GPA of 3.46 during the 30-quarter streak.

Tootoonchi to Lead CBPA

Ahmad Tootoonchi, PhD, has been named the new dean of the College of Business and Public Administration. Tootoonchi comes to EWU after more than 25 years as a faculty member and administrator at Frostburg State University (Maryland).  During his time at Frostburg, he served as chair, associate dean, interim dean, and dean in the College of Business. Most recently, he served as the interim provost and VP for Academic Affairs at Frostburg. He began his duties at EWU July 1.

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