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College of Arts and Sciences Faculty

Dr. Universe: Why do people litter?

Dr. UniverseThere is a lot of litter on our planet, but it hasn’t always been that way. For most of human history, people made stuff out of things they found in nature. They might make tools out of rocks or sticks. These things break down and become part of the soil again.

It wasn’t until the invention of new materials, like plastic, that we started creating more litter. In fact, along with the rise of these new materials came the word “litterbug.”

That’s what I found out from my friend Erik Johnson. He’s a WSU sociologist who is really curious about culture, the ways people interact and live together, and » More …

Passion for service leads to faculty development role

Melanie NeuillyAssociate Professor Melanie Neuilly knows a thing or two about managing personal and professional challenges.

When she landed a WSU seed grant that would fund a summer of research in Nice, France, she dreamed of an enriching research experience by day, romantic dinners on café terraces, and strolls on Mediterranean beaches by night. But once she began her research project, reality set in. » More …

Leading WSU UCORE general education program

Clif StrattonHistory professor Clif Stratton has been named the new director of WSU’s University Common Requirements Program, known as UCORE.

“It’s a great honor to lead UCORE,” Stratton said. “It is central to the mission of the university. It touches virtually every student on every campus, regardless of their major, from their first-year through capstone courses.

“UCORE meets students’ academic needs by advancing knowledge, understanding, and skill development. It helps them make connections across disciplines. In many ways, UCORE provides a foundation » More …

New CAS dean blends humanities, arts, sciences

professor portrait, outsideAs a young scholar, Matthew Jockers loved both the wildness of literature and the controlled logic of computer programming. And much like Rudyard Kipling’s description in East and West: at first “never the twain shall meet,” but in the end, they combine to form a strong bond.

“There is a thread in my literary training that was focused on » More …

Thoma to direct new Program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

portrait of woman, outsideAssociate Professor Pamela Thoma has been named director of the new Program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and will lead affiliated faculty in building an interdisciplinary, collaborative undergraduate curriculum.

Thoma brings more than 20 years of higher education experience » More …

New device could turn heat into a viable energy source

A new device being developed by Washington State University physicist Yi Gu could one day turn the heat generated by a wide array of electronics into a usable energy source.

A multi-component, multi-layered composite material called a van der Waals Schottky diode, the WSU device converts heat into electricity up to three times more efficiently than silicon, a semiconductor material widely used in the electronics industry. While still in an early stage of development, the new diode could eventually provide an extra source of power for everything from smartphones to automobiles. » More …

WSU-led cultural preservation initiative wins exemplary service award

The Society of American Archivists conferred its Council Exemplary Service Award to the Sustainable Heritage Network, a WSU-led project for digital preservation of cultural heritage managed by the Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation.

Read more at WSU News >>

WSU developing innovative technology to improve policing, public safety

As the nation grapples with policing and security issues, criminal justice experts at WSU are developing innovative technology to improve police–community relations, officer training and public safety.

Researchers in the new Complex Social Interaction laboratory at WSU are using body-worn cameras and advanced scientific tools and techniques—such as data analytics, biometrics and machine learning—to examine the complex factors that shape interactions between police and community members. » More …

WSU professor turns world travel into art, education, research, service

Malaysia to Morocco, New Mexico to the Netherlands—WSU fine arts professor Dennis DeHart is globetrotting with a purpose, weaving his world travels into art, education, research and community service.

An interdisciplinary artist and photographer, DeHart is on one-year sabbatical from teaching at WSU to work on three distinct projects, including an innovative, arts-based examination of water rights issues in the U.S. and abroad. Discrete aspects of place and time figure prominently into each project. » More …