Message from the Dean

Greetings from the College of Sciences and Technology (CST) at Western. I’m pleased to announce the reinstatement of the College e-newsletter after a two-year hiatus. We anticipate publishing it each fall, with updates to our web page throughout the year. I encourage you to visit it often at http://www.wwu.edu/cst/ for College and departmental updates and events.

This past year has been a challenging, yet exciting time for the College, with a bright future ahead. What a difference a year makes! By the end of spring term 2012, we had just experienced three years of severe budget woes, during which no new or replacement faculty were hired, staff support was being cut, and course offerings were being reduced, or at best, consolidated. Salaries across the university had been held constant during that time, and spirits were low across campus. At the same time, student enrollments in many of our programs increased dramatically, portending additional stress on our academic programs. The most optimistic outlook for the 2012-13 year was that we might avoid further budget reductions. Then things turned around dramatically. The state budget for Western that year turned out much better for us than expected. President Shepard was able to initiate salary increases across much of campus. We were able to hire ten new faculty in CST during this past year, and fill important staff vacancies. Key facilities upgrades were completed, and important new programs were initiated.

I am delighted to announce a reinvestment in higher ed this biennium by the State of Washington legislature, with a nearly 28% increase for Western Washington University overall! Working with myriad stellar alumni, donors, industry partners, and friends, advocacy efforts on behalf of our College helped make possible new, recurring resources from the state that will enable us to hire nearly twenty new faculty this coming year. The new funding is primarily to transition our Engineering Technology department to a professional Engineering program, which we have already initiated, as well as to immediately expand our existing Computer Science (CS) department, which will result in more than doubling the number of CS graduates within the next two years. We will also hire additional math and science faculty to support both of these exciting initiatives. This will mean a 30% increase in our college’s faculty over two years, not to mention important new staff hires. Most important, it places Western among the top three public universities in the State directly addressing the technical workforce and education needs in the state. We are immensely grateful to our legislators for this new funding. I would like to encourage you to take the opportunity to thank your legislators on our behalf, for reinvesting in higher education this biennium.  

Another priority for the college has been, and will continue to be, the strengthening our development initiatives and fundraising efforts, starting with hiring a development officer for the College—Ms. DeNel Stoltz—who was hired last year by the Western Foundation to focus on major gift funding exclusively for the College of Sciences and Technology. This is a position that was vacant for nearly three years during which our college resources from private sources suffered, despite the wonderful work that Manca Vallum, Director of Development for Huxley College of the Environment, achieved for us on a very limited, part-time basis. DeNel is an experienced fundraiser, with twenty years of successful fundraising, sixteen within higher education. She came to us from the previous fifteen years at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon. I hope that you have the opportunity to meet her and work with her on our behalf.

In addition to aggressive fundraising, DeNel has worked tirelessly to strengthen the structure and function of the College’s External Advancement Board (EAB) towards its championing of college initiatives and development activities. Under the able leadership of Founding EAB Chair Rick Kaiser, and current Chair Bob Brim, the Board has been instrumental in our dramatic success this past budget year.
With the new state funding and programs’ growth, we are further poised to leverage industry and private funds to enhance all programs across the college, giving our students an even stronger and more valuable learning experience.

My deep appreciation to you, and all our alumni and regional partners, for your support and generosity. Until this past year, funds raised for the College from private sources had averaged $400,000-$500,000, including fiscal year ending June, 2012. I am delighted to share that this past fiscal year ending June 2013, just under $3 million in private support, including testamentary commitments, was raised for support for faculty, students and programs within our College. I am, as are the faculty and students, bolstered by this generous support and endorsement of the quality of our faculty, students and programs, providing much needed funding and to continue the momentum of STEM education and investment in our collective future – the next generation of scholars, researchers, innovators, and science educators. Please visit our “Giving to the College” page for more details on the impact that you can make.

Please also take a moment to read the exciting other developments and achievements in the college this past year under the other headings in this newsletter:  “College Spotlights,” “Alumni,” “Students,” and “In the Departments,” and “Transitions” that highlight: the dedication and renaming of the Chemistry Building for former WWU President Karen Morse; dedication and renaming of the Irwin L. Slesnick STEM Education Resource Center in SMATE, thanks to a generous gift; our new bachelor’s degree in computer and information security systems; and, faculty, student and staff awards and news.
I invite you to campus to reconnect with our faculty, students and Western!

Jeff Wright, Dean


College of Sciences and Technology

Bond Hall, Room 437
360.650.6400 office
360.650.2335 fax

is a publication of the
Western Washington University
College of Sciences and Technology

Designer: Jennifer Mott
Contributors: CST staff