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Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences Faculty

Dr. Universe: What is a sinkhole? What causes one?

Dr. Universe: a cat in a lab coatSinkholes can be scary to think about. They don’t happen too often, but when they do, they can take people by surprise. The solid ground disappears, and a hole suddenly appears.

It might seem like sinkholes appear out of nowhere. But they actually need specific conditions to form.

To have a sinkhole, you first must have a cave. » More …

Neuilly to lead criminal justice and criminology department

Melanie NeuillyAn expert in comparative criminal justice and criminological theory, Melanie-Angela Neuilly began on August 1 a three-year term as chair of the WSU Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology.

Neuilly brings a broad range of strengths, experience, and energy to her new role, said Matthew Jockers, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Her leadership will help propel the department’s growth and interdisciplinary success.”

“My goal as chair is to coordinate, facilitate, and catalyze faculty’s work and to build bridges between » More …

Chemist named as a AAAS Fellow

Aurora Clark.Professor Aurora Clark and three other WSU colleagues were recently elected as Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), a high honor recognizing their contributions to science and technology.

Clark’s research includes modeling of complex, multicomponent solutions, providing the basic science needed to help solve many industrial problems. Her work has helped » More …

Dr. Universe: Why do we have eyebrows?

Illustration of Dr. Universe looking at a hair follicle. Humans have hair on their heads, arms, and even the face. If you feel your face, you might feel some small, fuzzy hairs on your cheeks and forehead. But the hair of your eyebrows is usually a bit thicker.

I asked my friend Mark Mansperger why we have eyebrows. He’s an anthropologist at Washington State University Tri-Cities.

Eyebrows appear to serve two main purposes, he said. One of the purposes of eyebrows is to keep » More …

Women faculty share career journeys

A panel of women at a table with microphones.Faculty in sociology, criminal justice, and anthropology shared personal stories about their career experiences during the Association for Faculty Women (AFW) Pathways to Leadership event in early November.

The event was designed to illustrate different leadership pathways and gave both attendees and panelists an opportunity to » More …

Dr. Universe: Why do people like different kinds of music?

Dr. UniverseHumans have been experimenting with all kinds of sounds, lyrics, and instruments for thousands of years. There are hundreds of genres of music, so while you might like one kind, a friend might like something completely different. Or maybe you became friends because of your similar taste in music.

My friend Horace Alexander Young is a WSU musician and professor. When I went to visit him, » More …

New Boeing Distinguished Professor named

Dylan Bugden.An expert in environmental conflict and the sociology of energy systems, Dylan Bugden has been named Boeing Distinguished Professor in Environmental Sociology.

Bugden is an enthusiastic educator and researcher who examines environmental electoral politics, social movements, and land-use conflicts with » More …

Asked and answered: 50 years of survey innovation

Don Dillman.When you open the envelope for your 2020 Decennial Census next year, you will be directed to an online questionnaire inspired by Regents Professor Don Dillman. His extensive research and experimentation with visual design and social exchange theory have led to better user experience, increased response rates and higher quality data from surveys sent out by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, National Science Foundation, Gallup, Nielson, and many more organizations and governments worldwide. » More …