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Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences Academic Subjects

More than just numbers

Sergey Lapin.When he’s not teaching mathematics – from introductory calculus to advanced numerical analysis of elliptic equations – WSU math professor Sergey Lapin might be working to speed detection of deadly disease or to expand understanding of European history, Russian language and culture, Chinese economics, or higher education in America.

A firm believer in pursuing one’s interests and sharing the knowledge gained along the way, Lapin applies his math expertise not only in the classroom but also in research projects aimed at » More …

Fine arts education flourishes in face of pandemic

Four people sit on a couch with their faces lit up but obstructed by the digital devices they're holding in front of them., photograph, Samantha Wiltermood.From moist, cool clay to wet, drippy paint and dry, smudgy charcoal, visual art is a distinctly hands-on, sometimes messy, field of practice and study. So, what happens when art education goes online?

“Remote teaching certainly hasn’t slowed us down. In fact, these strange times have helped us reimagine new, more expanded ways to reach out to our students while still having deep and meaningful experiences in » More …

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum multi‑year initiative

close up gloved hands and the number detail of a Holocaust prisoner uniform.A collaboration between WSU and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., will bring the Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Annual Lecture and programming to the Northwest year next year and begin a multi-year regional initiative to address anti-Semitism, racism, and histories of persecution in North America. The joint endeavor will put WSU at the center of conversations that engage communities and combat racism.

“We hope that by understanding why and how genocides have happened, » More …

Maestro of many voicings

Danh Pham.A hush falls over the crowd as symphony orchestra conductor Danh Pham takes the podium and slowly lifts his baton. With the down stroke, he leads the performers through a seemingly effortless musical journey that enchants the audience and clearly brings Pham great joy.

A native of Honolulu’s “ethnic mixing pot,” Pham delights in sharing music with all people, whether that’s conducting the score of The Force Awakens at Spokane’s Fox Theater or teaching a » More …

Transcending borders

Agana Bay, Guam.Tabitha Espina (’20 PhD English) is fascinated with language and the power of words, along with their ability to shape identity and sense of belonging. She grew up on the tiny island of Guam and moved an ocean away to earn her doctoral degree at WSU.

Now an assistant professor of rhetoric and composition at Eastern Oregon University, she reflects on her experiences and draws parallels between rural life and island life. » More …

Can’t stop the music

Joel Lininger wears a mask while playing piano.A combination of innovative technology and careful use of practice and performance spaces will enable Washington State University musicians to play together virtually this fall.

The University’s music groups, including jazz bands, choir, orchestra and of course, the Cougar Marching Band, all plan on recording and sharing virtual performances with the Cougar community in place of live concerts and halftime shows. » More …

Blackwell to lead new human biology program

Aaron Blackwell.An expert in human evolution and immune function development, Aaron Blackwell, associate professor of anthropology, will direct the new human biology degree program at WSU, consisting primarily of courses in anthropology and biological sciences.

CAS launched the four-year, interdisciplinary bachelor of arts program this fall to help meet global demand for skilled professionals in health, social and environmental sciences and public policy. It melds approaches and content from social and biological sciences to provide students a vibrant understanding of » More …

Putting Affordable Learning Grants into action

drawing, computer and booksFive CAS faculty members in four academic areas—chemistry, Spanish, humanities, and English—are creating free, open educational resources for their courses with the help of WSU Affordable Learning Grants.

By shifting from traditional textbooks to openly licensed course materials,  faculty have saved WSU students more than $1 million savings in textbook costs over the past four years. Students have also reported a very high satisfaction rate with online, affordable course materials versus » More …

Pandemic makes teaching abroad ‘surreal experience’

Preston with Romanian psych students.Thomas Preston, a political science professor and expert in international security policy, had just begun a four-month, Fulbright-sponsored teaching stint in Constanta, Romania, when the entire country was placed in lockdown and martial law was declared.

It was early March, the coronavirus was threatening to become a global pandemic and the Romanian government was having as little of that as possible, so officials quickly imposed strict » More …

Chemistry at-home lab kits keep students on track

To help chemistry students complete hands-on lab requirements while transitioned to remote instruction due to COVID-19, the Department of Chemistry will provide home lab kits to students taking selected undergraduate chemistry courses during the Summer 2020 term.

“Given the current ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ order in Washington state, we revisited the idea of lab kits as an alternative for in-person labs. Today’s kits have increased in sophistication and are able to » More …