Dear Eagle Family and Friends,
The beginning of 2021, with its political unrest and crazy windstorms, has already tested our fortitude. But it’s early, and we have much to look forward to as we begin a new year. And there will be much to accomplish before it is over. With the upcoming events in our nation’s capital this week, I hope that everyone stays safe and healthy.
Winter quarter and spring semester are underway! There are still plenty of challenges with online learning at EWU, and everyone is eager for a return to in-person teaching and learning. We have to be honest about those challenges, and continue to work to increase the robustness and value of online learning for the rest of this academic year. We need also to consider and attack the questions of digital equity, and the differential impacts of this pandemic on already marginalized communities — impacts which have been brought into sharp focus by our new online reality. Certainly, faculty and students have worked hard and have shown amazing amounts of grit and grace. I know that will continue through the end of this year. We have come a long way since last March.
Spring quarter will have to be online also: The state of the pandemic and the pace of vaccinations will not allow for a safe reopening at that point. But we have an eye toward things looking quite different for fall 2021, with plans currently being developed for a return to mostly in-person classes if the pandemic and vaccination rates allow us. Following our Max-Flex approach, we will continue to keep health and safety at the forefront, and I pledge that we will have folks back on campus only when it can be done safely. Learn more at our upcoming Covid-19 Town Hall this Thursday, Jan. 21 at noon.
You can imagine that returning Eastern to a primarily in-person posture presents some very considerable challenges. EWU is about the size and complexity of a small city, so the planning and the contingencies in front of us are at that scale. The plans are being developed by a wide range of people and will have to be fully comprehensive in nature. We have also learned in the last year that plans have to be flexible enough to accommodate things that we are not even aware of yet. As such, we are building in as much flexibility as we can to accommodate those as yet unknown realities that we will face.
The mostly virtual 2021 legislative session is underway, and Eastern has some key projects in front of lawmakers—some of which are already included in the governor’s proposed budget. While Eastern is optimistic, we still have to see what the house and senate propose, and what is approved in the final budget. Stay informed and learn more about these requests at easternadvocates.org:
- Science Building Renovation (Phase 1) totaling $45 million.
- EWU is asking for support for a joint diversity, equity and inclusion initiative with CWU, WWU and Evergreen. Our share of the $9.9 million package would be $2.7 million.
- Eastern is also asking for $20 million for infrastructure renewal.
- And, $3.5 million in design funding for an Engineering building.
There is a lot of work to be done in the coming months, not only to make the current academic year a great success, but also to, hopefully, start the next academic year with a safe return of students, faculty and staff to our campuses.
David May, PhD
Eastern Washington University
EWU in the News
Thursday, Jan. 21, noon-1 p.m.
President’s COVID-19 Town Hall
Zoom with faculty experts and Dr. May
Friday, Jan 22, 7:30-8:30 p.m.
Author Amy Tan Virtual Visit
Joy Luck Club author joins EWU Alumni for reading and conversation
Priority Admissions Deadline: Feb. 1
Virtual Admissions Events