Dear Eagle Family and Friends,
As I sit down to write this message, I can see bright February sunshine glimmering through my window. It makes me think of spring, but the frigid temperature outside quickly reminds me we are only halfway through winter. I am also struck by the realization that we are already more than halfway through winter quarter and spring semester.
Eastern students, faculty and staff—those on campus and off—continue to show amazing grit during this challenging time. We know Eagles everywhere are ready to be done with remote learning, and we hope to respond to them as we continue the planning process of resuming in-person instruction this fall. The first critical step will include bringing professional staff back to campus around July 1.
Remember, we have always put health and safety at the center of our decision making. I want to be clear that we will continue to work with our faculty and staff experts, as well as our regional and state public-health partners, as we finalize plans. I look forward to sharing progress reports as this challenging effort unfolds.
February is, of course, Black History Month, an important opportunity to celebrate the excellence and achievements of Black and African-American scientists, poets, authors, athletes and thinkers. Fewer campus events are planned this year because of the pandemic, however, EWU’s Office for Diversity & Inclusion and our Faculty Commons are providing online educational opportunities and physical space for reflection on the past and direction for the future. As our Vice President for Diversity and Senior Diversity Officer Shari Clarke, PhD, reminds us, black history is American History.
Despite the challenges we all face during this time, we never stop looking for creative ways to recruit future Eagles. The EWU Hoodie Project is one great example. Now in its sixth year, the project, led by our admissions staff, distributes EWU sweatshirts to local fifth-grade students. It is a great opportunity for students to start to see themselves in college — and at Eastern. This year it was virtual, of course, but students did get to have an outdoor sweatshirt pickup with the chance to have their picture taken on red turf. As always, the event brought lots of smiles.
February is also a big meeting month for our Board of Trustees (BOT). The board will meet Feb. 25-26. The agenda includes a couple of presentations which will be very important to the university. The first one involves a report from the consulting firm reviewing our athletics program. This report will provide EWU with options to consider as we plan for the future. No decisions will be made on athletics until spring. The second report will focus on the university’s effort to become a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). These meetings will be virtual, but we encourage you to attend online.
Finally, we have also just learned our East Region is moving into Phase 2 of Gov. Inslee’s reopening plan. This, along with the vaccination rollout, is very encouraging. It also reflects the hard work everyone has done to battle this pandemic, and I encourage you to do your part to help keep the momentum going in a positive direction.
Mask up, and stay safe!
David May, PhD
Eastern Washington University
EWU in the News
EWU Music Students Share Talents in KPBX Studio
Spokane Public Radio