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Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences Faculty

New books get to roots of contemporary issues

Book covers for Ruptured Lives, Power Politics, and Chronic Disparities.Tackling some of the world’s most pressing issues —from energy supply to mass migration and public health—is at the heart of an acclaimed new book series based on WSU’s innovative Roots of Contemporary Issues program (RCI).

Written and edited by WSU history faculty, the series reflects the RCI thematic structure and introduces the University’s pioneering teaching approach to educators and students at other institutions.

“We designed the books after years of learning how to engage with WSU students who are eager to learn about how the world » More …

WSU research behind potential Alzheimer’s drug

It was 1991 and medicinal chemist Joe Harding was in his lab researching potential new options for relieving high blood pressure. Anomalies kept showing up in his lab tests, and if they meant what he thought they might, he and his research partner, WSU psychology professor John (Jay) Wright, were on the brink of a different breakthrough.

“I kept getting phone calls from Joe, and on each one he was more excited,” recalls Wright, who at the time was » More …

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 …

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 …

International scholars join Electronic Literature Lab

Electronic Literature Lab.Two internationally renowned scholars will spend the 2020-21 academic year at WSU Vancouver as research affiliates in the Electronic Literature Lab (ELL).

One of only a handful of media archaeology labs in the United States, the ELL is used for advanced inquiry into the curation, documentation, preservation and production of born-digital literary works and other media.

The two will collaborate with ELL director and WSU professor Dene Grigar on projects such as » More …

‘Fear of Missing Out’ impacts people of all ages

A young man holding a cell phone and looking out a window.Social media addicted teenagers are not the only people who experience the Fear of Missing Out also known as FoMO.

“FoMO is really about individual differences, irrespective of age,” said Chris Barry, a WSU psychology professor and the lead author on a recent study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. “We expected FoMO to be higher in younger age groups, particularly because of the tremendous amount of social development happening at those times, but that’s not what we found.” » More …

Foley Institute to host election lecture series online

Washington State University entrance.The Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service is bringing its Fall 2020 lecture series online with political science professors and experts from across the country. Political Science 400, an undergradute class that tracks with the lecture series, is also being offered this semester.

Although there are challenges, the move to online lectures means more people have an opportunity to watch live and be engaged in discussions, and it is possible to connect speakers from across the country to the » 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 …

Examining risks, benefits of breastfeeding during COVID-19

Woman with infant. COVID-19 has brought with it new questions related to the benefits and/or potential risks of breastfeeding during this pandemic. Is the SARS-COV2 virus present in breast milk and could it be transmitted from mom to baby? Could antibodies found in breast milk actually help protect babies from the SARS-COV2 virus?

Researchers at WSU are leading a new nationwide study on COVID-19 and infant feeding to help answer these questions. Their work could ultimately help scientists better understand how COVID-19 affects the health and immune responses of mothers and » More …