Dear Eagle Family and Friends,
What an amazing time of transition on the Eastern campus! The leaves are gradually turning, fall-like weather is slowly taking hold, and we are successfully transitioning back into the world of in-person classes and events.
Like the seasons, the transition hasn’t always been smooth. But I’m so proud of how our students, faculty and staff have rallied to comply with our requirements to vaccinate and wear masks.
A month into fall quarter, more than 80 percent of those who have submitted records are fully vaccinated, and our friends at the Spokane Regional Health District are pleased with EWU’s low case numbers. Our academic buildings and classrooms are once again bustling with activity, our dorms are animated with a renewed energy, and even a quick walk across campus conveys the invigorating buzz of our full return to college life. Still, we know there is more work to do, and we will continue to follow all pandemic-related safety guidelines as we navigate the 2021-22 year. Of course, another great thing about the slow return to normal is our ability to reengage with the wider university community.
Just last Friday, for example, Eastern hosted its first in-person Eastern Edge community forum since the pandemic started. A nice crowd of business and education leaders gathered in the Tri-Cities to address a topic of emerging importance: “Powering the Hispanic Workforce.”
During the gathering, EWU was proud to announce the start of a new diversity and inclusion initiative. Thanks to gifts from Providence and Cambia Health Foundation, the three-year program will potentially impact more than 3,800 EWU students from historically underrepresented groups. Among the initiative’s goals will be the establishment of an evidence-based, holistic admission process, one that will look beyond traditional metrics like standardized test scores to include non-cognitive attributes and life skills that correlate well with college success.
EWU is also thrilled to be able to host an in-person homecoming this fall! The annual Eagle Family Homecoming festivities kick off later this week (full details in the link below) and will culminate with the undefeated, No. 2 ranked Eagle football team hosting Weber State. If it’s like recent home victories against Idaho and Montana, it will be another electric atmosphere at Roos Field!
With more people on campus this week, we are using the opportunity to host a long-awaited ribbon cutting ceremony for our new Interdisciplinary Science Center (ISC). Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, this state-of-the-art facility sat vacant for more than a year after its completion. But now, students are at last getting an opportunity to learn in this dynamic, hands-on environment of discovery. If you are able to visit campus this year, please take a moment to walk through the ISC and see why we are so excited. In addition, we will soon begin work on renovating the old Science Building – stay tuned for details on this exciting ISC companion project, one that will be truly transformative for Eastern’s Cheney campus.
Our busy homecoming week will also include the first in-person Board of Trustees meeting in nearly 20 months. The board will receive updates on our legislative priorities, campus wide diversity training efforts, our academic and enrollment plans as well as a briefing on the path forward for Eastern Athletics.
It’s so great to be doing so much of this important business together again, and to be here for our students. I hope you’ll join me in celebrating all that fall has to offer – here on our beautiful campus and around the community – before we settle in for the winter.
David May, PhD
Eastern Washington University