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College of Arts and Sciences Academic Subjects

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 …

Songwriters share work at virtual roundtable

Zoom meeting screenshot of Joel Roeber with his guitar with faces of other Songwriters Roundtable participants in small frames.As many artists have done in the face of crisis, Joel Roeber, a songwriter and music student at WSU, turned to his art as a way to process his thoughts and feelings about the coronavirus pandemic and to help others cope.

Roeber’s new composition, “Crown of Fear,” is a gently unfolding instrumental jazz tune written in response to the anxiety and hardship brought by the virus. He also named the song in reference to the virus – “corona” means “crown” in Spanish and Latin.

“I’ve been working on it throughout this whole social distancing thing,” he said. “It’s meant to be a reflection of » More …

Dynamic art project gives students fitting, real-world experience

Wall art made with wooden cogs. Title reads, "Discovery".Like the gears in a finely tuned machine, donor contributions keep many non-profits – including the Palouse Discovery Science Center – running smoothly. So when digital media students at WSU were asked to visually represent donor support for the PDSC, the idea of interconnected gears quickly emerged and became, quite literally, the perfect fit.

Seventeen undergraduates in Reza Safavi’s introductory Digital Design and Fabrication course last spring worked individually and as a team to create a 7-by-7-foot interactive art installation composed of 22 precision-cut » More …

Four music ensembles to present showcase in Spokane

4 images: A trumpet player, a full orchestra, a group of vocalists, and cast of performers on stage.Jazz, opera, orchestra and choir—like a four-course feast for the ears, the musical showcase by WSU students and faculty on March 3 at the Fox Theatre in Spokane will serve up an array of aural treats.

Four ensembles from WSU’s School of Music in Pullman will travel to the Lilac City to perform selections from several well-known composers and some original music by » More …

English students aid game translation

English class.Go Fish. Life. Apples to Apples. Checkers. These are games that bring people to together for the purpose of family and friend bonding. But for some new to the English language, translating how to play the games into a structure that is easy to understand can be difficult, considering the complexity of some instructions.

That is why Tri-City Area Gaming partnered with Vanessa Cozza’s technical and professional writing course at » More …

Restructured course improves student success

two students with textbook and laptopThanks to the hard work of several faculty members, Math 100, Basic Mathematics, has seen a dramatic increase in student achievement. Instructors Emily Sablan and Justin Eld, together with Associate Professor Sandy Cooper, have spent the last several years changing and refining the course to identify and address the fundamental mathematical knowledge and concepts that students lack. As a result, the course has evolved each semester to better meet student needs and prepare them for success in future math courses. » More …

Dr. Universe: How do places get their names?

Dr. Universe: a cat in a lab coatOne way a place might get a name is from the person who explored it. The Americas are named after an Italian explorer, Amerigo Vespucci. But Amerigo wasn’t the first person to explore these continents, and people living there when he arrived.

For the most part, people name things because they are claiming possession of a place. Because of that, sometimes the original names of places are lost or erased.

That’s what I found out from my friend Theresa Jordan, a history professor who teaches a geography course at » More …

Boeing grant supports peer mentoring program

Helping students succeed in mathematics is a passion of Associate Professor Sandy Cooper, which is why she has developed a peer mentoring program in several foundational WSU courses. With financial support from a Boeing grant, she began with the pre-algebra course and has since expanded the program to include courses such as college algebra and business calculus.

Mentors help in various ways with a course they recently » More …