Monday, April 30, 2007


Tough Questions

I really haven't written anything relating to the Virginia Tech tragedy, but the incident certainly has forced colleges around the country - including this one - to re-evaluate crisis management/response plans. Like other schools, we have been peppered by media inquiries about what we're doing to provide a safe environment for students.
With this process, are many questions and issues surrounding campus safety, from text messaging to gun laws. The latter, as you might imagine, is more controversial. Here's an article out of Yakima that sort of gives a snap-shot of the types of issues we're grappling with since V-Tech.


Friday, April 27, 2007


Circle of Education

Here's an interesting story about the new business dean at a college in Colorado. He's an Eastern grad, and replaces the man who took over the College of Business - at Eastern.

The Pueblo Chieftain

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Spokane Symphony visits Eastern

Here are details of an upcoming concert on campus, just in case you need a little soothing music to take your minds off school, studies, etc. Information from the Spokemsan, courtesy our own Travis Rivers.

Concert at Showalter
» The Spokane Symphony will join musicians and actors from Eastern Washington University for a concert Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at Showalter Auditorium on the Cheney campus.
» The concert will be conducted by Patrick Winters, chair of the EWU Music Department, and Morihiko Nakahara, associate conductor of the Spokane Symphony and head of the orchestra program at EWU.
» Wind and brass players from the symphony and EWU, conducted by Winters, will perform the "Gandalf" movement from Johan de Meij's "The Lord of the Rings" Symphony.
» Strings from EWU and the symphony, led by Nakahara, will play excerpts from Gustav Holst's "St. Paul" Suite. Members of both orchestras will play Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2.
» A special feature will be a performance of Mendelssohn's incidental music from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by the symphony, with actors from EWU's Theater Department reading sections of the play.
» Tickets are $15 (free for students with ID), available at the Student Union on the EWU campus or at the Eagle Outpost in downtown Cheney. For information call (509) 359-2371.
– Travis Rivers


President Arevalo to speak on Hispanic Achievement

EWU President Dr. Rodolfo Arevalo will speak tomorrow night at Columbia Basin College in the Tri-Cities for the Hispanic Academic Achievement Program.
Here's the article from the TriCity Herald.

Eastern's Arevalo to share his story

Expect Rodolfo Arevalo to know how to inspire students at the Hispanic Academic Achievement Program ceremony Friday.
He has lived the advice he'll give them.
"My principle message is that there are a lot of barriers to them being successful," he said. "But it's important for them to look at situations that are difficult and focus on the end goal.
"In doing that, it helps you pick yourself back up, dust yourself off and continue to work as hard as you can to achieve that goal."
Arevalo knows the humble roots of the children of migrant farm families. His parents worked the fields in the valleys of both the Yakima River and the Rio Grande more than 50 years ago.
And as the president of Eastern Washington University, he also knows the heights to which education can take a person. To his knowledge, he's the only Hispanic college president in the state.
"I'm very familiar at least with some of the hardships families face and some of the difficulties that students have faced as they go through the public schools," he said.
One hardship children of migrant workers face is the inconsistency in their schooling, he said. Starting over at different schools is an obstacle to academic success that anyone -- Latino or not -- can relate to, he said.
But Hispanic students also have faced an uphill battle with educators' attitudes toward them, Arevalo said.
"I think quite frankly public institutions haven't paid much attention to the Hispanic population in terms of providing alternatives other than to see them as farm workers," he said.
Arevalo served as provost at the University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg, Texas, before coming to EWU, a four-year public university in Cheney.
The college has just more than 10,000 students, of whom 16 percent are ethnic minorities. About 8 percent are Hispanic.
But the school's population is growing, and last fall, about a quarter of the freshmen were students of color.
"So our population of minority students is growing at Eastern," he said. "My suspicion is over the next five years you'll see a dramatic shift in the makeup of the campus."
Arevalo expects to meet students with goals of higher education when he serves as keynote speaker at the Hispanic Academic Achievers Program ceremony, 6 p.m. Friday at TRAC in Pasco.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Stuckey wait is almost over

Well, at least for those waiting to find out what star basketball player Rodney Stuckey has mind, the wait is over. Ever since the final buzzer sounded to the Big Sky hoop season, there has been wild speculation as to what the Sophomore will do - stay at Eastern one more year or go pro.
The deadline for him to declare for the June NBA draft is Sunday, and a decision could come any day.
As you might imagine, having a possible first-round draft pick play at EWU is a big deal, so a lot of people want just one more year of Stuckey here on campus. But, he's got a future to think about, and a nice NBA contract is hard for any young man to pass we will see.
Dave Trimmer, who does a fine job covering Eastern sports, has this take from this mornings paper:

Eagles await decision
Stuckey's draft plans expected today

Dave Trimmer Staff writerApril 25, 2007

Eastern Washington University basketball star Rodney Stuckey is expected to announce today whether he will declare for the NBA draft or return for his junior season.
Although he repeatedly said he would return to EWU, he seemed to waver by the end of a disappointing season that saw the Eagles miss the Big Sky Conference playoffs for the first time in a decade.
"I'm going to sit down with my family and see the situation," he said at the conclusion of the 15-14 season.
Stuckey denied an on-line report in late February that said he would declare for the draft but not hire an agent.
The deadline for underclassmen to declare is Sunday night. If Stuckey did not hire an agent, he could withdraw his name through June 18 and be eligible for next season. The draft is June 28.
Despite the presence of the best player in school history the Eagles are 30-29 in Stuckey's two seasons.
The 6-foot-5 guard from Kent, Wash., has set numerous EWU records and is a two-time unanimous All-Big Sky Conference player, including MVP as a freshman.
He scored 45 points in one game and 726 in 30 games for a 24.2 average as a freshman, all school records. He bumped his average to 24.6 as a sophomore. Both seasons he was in the top 10 nationally and earned honorable mention All-American honors.
He is fourth on the school career scoring list with 1,438 points and set a record with 15 games of scoring 30 or more points. He scored in double figures in every game but one, when he played just four minutes because of back spasms.
Stuckey owns the school record for free throws made (386) and is second in attempts (479). He is also fourth in steals (137) and fourth in average assists (4.8).
Various Internet sites have listed Stuckey as a late first-round pick, although some have not included him among their first-round projections. Only first-round selections receive guaranteed contracts.
In a February article in The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, an NBA scout gave Stuckey a good review.
"He is one of the best combo guards in the country, great size, strong, excellent feel, feel for finding people and making plays," the scout told Gary Washburn. "He's definitely a scorer who can score out to the NBA 3-point line. His weakness is he doesn't take enough shots."
There is also concern about the level of play in the Big Sky.
"There are going to be some people not convinced of his talent based on his level of competition," the scout said. "That could work against him."
An academic non-qualifier coming out of high school, Stuckey has earned academic all-conference and all-district honors twice and was a third-team Academic All-American this past season.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Get Lit! Wrap

Eastern Washington University's annual literary festival is now in the books (nice pun, eh?), and this morning, we have a nice guest column in the Spokesman Review about one of the events. The Youth Poetry Slam is turning out to be a huge success, and here's the organizers perspective on why this type of program is so vital to our community.
The author by the way is coordinator of Get Lit!'s Young Writers Program, an EWU community outreach initiative.

(Guest opinion)

Poetry slam exhibits budding arts talent

Marny Lombard Special to The Spokesman-ReviewApril 24, 2007

The arts and culture of Spokane took a leap the other night. In a downtown coffee house, teens of diverse backgrounds chanted, crooned, sang, provoked, demanded and inspired the standing-room-only audience of the fifth annual Spokane Teen Poetry Slam.
Performers demonstrated impressive mastery of language. They used humor, pathos and irony. Rhythm, cadence and rhyme. They shone their intelligence on topics large and small: Misogyny and meth. Stereotypes and sex. Dreams and demons. They unpacked family tragedies, reclaimed tribal identities and reached across the globe to the children of Sudan.
A poem titled "Old Man, Young Girl" explored the difficult territory of being a daughter on the brink of womanhood. Another work, performed by a team of three students from the Medicine Wheel Academy, counterpoised images of mainstream culture against those of tribal tradition.
More than one spectator wiped away tears.
The occasion was the fifth annual Spokane Teen Poetry Slam, which spilled out of the Empyrean Coffee House onto the sidewalk just down from an even larger crowd that waited on the sidewalk for urban ministry CityGate to open for the evening. This was an urban event in an urban location, attracting students rural and suburban, gay and straight, white and Indian, middle-class and not. They came from Deer Park, Crosswalk, Central Valley, Sandpoint, North Central, Medicine Wheel Academy, St. George's School, Eastern Washington University and Spokane Valley High School.
Emcee Daniel Harrington, who for the duration of the evening bore the irreverent nickname of "Big Jesus," navigated the crowd through the rules and passions of poetry slam. "It's the poetry, not the points," he told poets whose scores failed to soar. Some performers confessed at the outset this was their first slam, the fluttering edge of their paper a visible sign of their nerves. Others held the stage and crowd as confidently as any seasoned storyteller or songwriter.
In the language of Washington state's writing standards, the work of these young poets was both expository and persuasive. But this was a long way from the WASL, baby. These poems don't evolve from canned prompts. They arise from individual passion, frustration and insight into our society – age-old sources for the literary arts.
This event, which took place as part of the ninth annual Get Lit! Festival, was produced by Writers in the Community, an internship program of Eastern Washington University's Inland Northwest Center for Writers. Harrington, who has developed Spokane Poetry Slam, a series of youth slams, has invited the top three performers from the other night to participate in his semifinal slam on Wednesday. A local final competition will follow in May, and the top four poets will become Spokane's team in the National Poetry Slam in Austin, Texas. If you think that's a first for Spokane, you're dead on.
Poetry slams are a funky kind of animal. They're loud and often profane. They're anything but mom and apple pie. Not every poet clamors for their chance at a slam. And not every language arts teacher has the background or inclination to properly support these young bards.
But this Get Lit! event – graced by Native American students who introduced themselves by name and tribe, by a Sandpoint poetess whose wisdom and wit brought to mind a young Maria Muldaur, by any number of articulate young people who trekked through a landscape of contemporary culture – was as a sweet a celebration of the diversity, strength and courage of our youth as one could find.
Sometimes I wonder why it is that, of the Three R's, reading has a strong lobby, and math has an articulate cadre of proponents. Writing sometimes seems to be the freckled stepchild, with no guardians at all beyond the most core concerns about spelling, grammar and soundly written business letters.
We can do so much better. If we are serious about making Spokane and the Inland Northwest a place where all children flourish, where youth learn that their voices matter – if we have the vision to reach beyond the basics – our community should make youth arts and culture a hallmark of the Inland Northwest.

Monday, April 23, 2007


Numbers tell a story

Last week, EWU's Institute for Public Policy held the first-ever Conference on Community Indicators. In short, this is a look at how leaders in our region use various indicators - like transportation trends, education statistics & crime numbers - to make key policy decisions. It's really quite fascinating.
Below is an article from a reporter at the Spokesman who attended the conference. She shares here thoughts on why this project can be such an important tool.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Wealth of data about our community is at our fingertips

Fast fact
For more information about the Community Indicators Initiative of Spokane County go to

Cheryl-Anne Millsap Staff writerApril 23, 2007

In January of 1999 I started looking into Spokane.
Not just at the material included in the relocation packet that arrived in the mail. Not just into the stories I found in the newspaper or on the television.
I went deeper.
While we considered moving our family into a place that was in some ways as distant and foreign to us as the moon, I sat down in front of my computer and went to work.
The amount of information you could access online eight years ago was very small compared to the amount of online content available today. And what I wanted then was information buried below the superficial.
What I wanted was to find the pulse of the place I would be calling home. I wanted clues to the personality and livability of the area.
So, while the older children were in school and the baby napped, I dug into information about the school districts. About the economy. About real estate and employment. I looked for crime statistics and for the minutiae that would bring the region into clearer focus.
It took hours and hours of my time and the process was clunky and unorganized. But I gradually put together a notebook of pages printed off the Internet.
I built a book about Spokane.
Now, just a few years later, the kind of information I looked for so diligently – and so much more than I could have hoped to find – is one-stop shopping.
The Community Indicators Initiative of Spokane County is the result of a massive project spearheaded by Eastern Washington University's Patrick Jones. He heads the Institute for Public Policy and Economic Analysis at EWU.
The site provides data on a wide array of subjects and areas of interest. People indicators cover everything from population rates to recreational bike paths to arts-related businesses to how many people use library services. And more.
Economic Vitality indicators include per capita income information, building permits, numbers of people who visited museums in the area and the number of patents awarded. And more.
There is detailed information about the basics: education, health, housing and transportation and public safety. And still more.
Last Wednesday, I spent the day at the first daylong Regional Conference on Community Indicators. The conference brought together people from the business, governmental, educational and nonprofit sectors to talk about the ways community indicators – data that measure and mark the general state of the community – are important to, and can be used and shared by all of us.
I listened to speakers and watched presentations and slide shows that demonstrated the importance of finding and measuring and making available to others the state of our community.
The purpose of the event was to highlight the ways that the data gathered and assimilated from a number of sources could be brought together and made accessible for anyone. It was a long day, but it was time well spent.
Thursday morning I e-mailed Jones and told him how much I'd enjoyed the conference and how fascinating I'd found it all.
I'm not a prospective resident any longer. I'm not even a real newcomer anymore, but I still find facts and figures about the area to be fascinating. But it's much more than that. Now that I live here, I have an even greater responsibility to educate myself about my home.
Jones put it best when he replied to my e-mail.
"If we, as a community, don't do much with all this knowledge," Jones wrote, "It will be a major opportunity lost."
When I went looking for facts and figures and information about this community just a few years ago, it took hours. It was frustrating and I still never got as deeply into things as I would have liked.
Now, thanks to the hard work of people with a vision, the vitals, the facts and figures that drive the pulse of the community aren't hard to find.
They are right at my fingertip.


State Budget pays off for Eastern

Lawmakers for the State of Washington have put together a two-year construction budget and it includes some key requests from Eastern Washington University. Two halls that are in dire need of renovation - Hargreaves and Patterson (which is one of EWU's biggest academic facilities)
In fact, the whole Spokane area fared very well this go around - with everything from key road projects to a white water park and community centers getting much-needed cash.

Here's a brief excerpt from the Spokesman Reviews take on the matter :

OLYMPIA - State lawmakers have agreed on a two-year construction budget that includes hundreds of millions of dollars for Inland Northwest universities, nonprofit organizations, parks and civic groups.

"It's scary-good for Spokane," said Rep. Timm Ormsby, who's on one of the budget-writing committees.

•Eastern Washington University: $38 million, including $10.8 million to renovate Hargreaves Hall and $2 million toward a remodel of Patterson Hall.

To see the 286-page budget bill or a 50-page summary, go to and click on "conference committee reports."

Thanks. Dave M.

Friday, April 13, 2007


Get Lit! off and running

Get Lit!, EWU's annual literary festival, is off to a solid start. Thursday, things got rolling with the Milk Crate readings in downtown Spokane. That's right, students and writers stood on top of milk crates and read poetry to draw attention to the event. Here's a write-up in this mornings local paper.

Friday, April 13, 2007

EWU poetry readers take it to the streets
Readings warm-up to Get Lit!

For more information

Today's 7 section includes a list of Get Lit! events for the coming week. For a complete schedule, look inside Sunday's Today section in The Spokesman-Review.

By Mike Prager Staff writerApril 13, 2007
Jessica Moll, a graduate student at Eastern Washington University, may have felt a bit awkward standing on a milk crate in front of a downtown Spokane shopping mall reading poetry.
But she was doing it for a cause: Get Lit!
She and other "street readers" took up positions at noon Thursday to call attention to the Spokane area's annual celebration of literature that starts Saturday with a children's concert at 1 p.m. at the Bing Crosby Theater, 901 W. Sprague Ave.
Events continue on Monday through April 22 with a series of renowned authors making appearances at the Ninth Annual Northwest Literary Festival. Some events are free, and some have ticket charges.
"We're getting up on a milk crate trying to expose people to literature," said Moll, who studies poetry and works for EWU Press, which is one of the event organizers.
"Nobody's stopping because they are all talking on their cell phones," she said half-jokingly.
Then, she launched into a recital of Alberto Rios' poem, "Lunar Eclipse, Arizona 2004."
"We watched the moon's eclipse tonight and wondered that in this new century it did not entertain us," she read.
Actually, nearly 100 people slowed down enough to grab programs for Get Lit!
"We had more people interested than I thought," said graduate student Erin Dodge, who was handing out the materials.
Saturday's free concert for kids, which is sponsored by KPBX radio, features Carmela D'Amico, who will read from her stories, while her illustrator husband Steven D'Amico gives a drawing demonstration.
On Monday, EWU master's candidates will give free readings at Empyrean, 154 S. Madison St., at 7:30 p.m.
On Tuesday, the university's creative writing faculty will hold a free reading in the Cutter Room of the Spokane Club, 1002 W. Riverside, at 7:30 p.m. It will feature distinguished alumni award winner Tod Marshall, who teaches at Gonzaga University.
On Wednesday, another free event at 7:30 p.m. will be held at the Lair Auditorium at Spokane Community College, featuring Donald Worster, author of the highly acclaimed book, "A River Running West: The Life of John Wesley Powell." Worster's talk is titled, "On John Muir's Trail: Nature in an Age of Liberal Principles."

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Class offered on Hair

This might sound odd at first, but an Eastern instructor will teach a very interesting course on the culture of African American women and their hair. Something we might not think much about, but indeed, hair is a very significant part of African culture and history. This article posted today in the SR.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

More than braids, twists, locks
EWU instructor offers class that discusses African American women, their hair

» "Culture Study: African American Women and Hair," a two-credit college course taught by Nancy Nelson, director of Africana education studies at Eastern Washington University, runs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 14 and 21, on the EWU campus in Cheney.
» The course covers the significance of hair in African culture, how hair was used to help enslave Africans, how hair is significant for color issues within African American history and culture and the significance of hair today.
» For more information, contact Nelson at 359-6150 or at

Stefanie Pettit CorrespondentApril 12, 2007

"The hair is the richest ornament of women."
– Martin Luther

Hair also is controversial. And for African American women, it is a story unto itself about heritage, culture, slavery and place in American society.
Nancy Nelson, director of Africana education studies at Eastern Washington University, teaches a two-credit college course she developed, called "Culture Study: African American Women and Hair," which is being offered Saturday and next Saturday on the EWU campus in Cheney.
If this year is anything like the previous several years, conversation will be, at the very least, animated.
"The first thing to know is that hair is very, very significant in African culture," Nelson said. "In Africa, many believe that since our hair is closer to heaven than the rest of our bodies, spiritual messages come to the body through the hair, which must be clean and well-groomed."
In the Wolof culture in Senegal, young girls' heads are shaved to signify that they are not yet mature. When they come of age, only then do they grow their hair out, Nelson said.
When Africans were captured and enslaved, all heads were shaved, not for disease control, as was the official reason stated, Nelson said, but to mentally prepare them for slavery.
"It was to make everyone the same," she said. "Royalty, warriors, married women and others all wore their hair differently, but with their heads shaved, that all disappeared."
Other kinds of differentiation and symbols of acceptance came to the fore during slavery in America, Nelson continued. House slaves were given more time to work with their hair so they could be more "presentable" and imitate hairstyles of their slave owners. But field slaves had no time to devote to their hair nor did they have appropriate combs for it, so all they could do was wrap it in rags.
Many descendants of slavery were of mixed race, Nelson noted, and a South African-style social class system developed – white, colored/mulatto and black.
It was a delineation that African Americans bought into as well, Nelson said, and they even utilized the "comb test" themselves in which a fine-tooth comb had to be able to pass easily through people's hair in order for them to be admitted to the "colored" church or social club.
Significant differences exist between African hair and Caucasian hair that many white Americans are not aware of, beyond the coarser texture and the nature of the curl.
First, because of racial mixing, not all African American hair is the same. "I don't have traditional black hair myself," Nelson said, who wears her hair fairly closely cropped.
Second, African American hair does not produce oil, which "is why we have to put oil on our hair," Nelson said. "And that means we do not wash our hair every day. If I did that, my hair would break off."
Third, African American hair requires a lot of attention to maintain properly and in good health.
Nelson said that when her hair was longer, she needed 90 minutes to take care of it before going out – including putting on oil, drying the hair, using a straightener and then curling it. If she didn't do that, her hair would be excessively dry and kinky. Years ago when she wore an Afro style, she put it up in 19 braids at night, picked it out in the morning, steamed it in the shower, picked it out again and then shaped it.
"It was a lot of work," she remembers.
Fourth, it is culturally important to African Americans that their hair be styled – whether in locks (dreadlocks), twists, weaves, braids (plaiting) or any other style.
"And not only does it need to be styled," Nelson added, but "it also needs to be styled correctly. If we see a little girl whose hair is consistently not carefully attended to, we see it as a sign that something's wrong at home."
Nelson, who gives talks frequently to social workers, agencies and others in the community concerning a variety of African American cultural and social matters, recalled a recent issue at the Spokane Juvenile Detention Center in which a charge of preferential treatment of African American girls was made because they were allowed to put oil in their hair. Another case involved African American girls acting out in a group home because of the house rule under which all residents' hair had to be washed daily.
"Many decisions are made based on viewing matters through the eyes of one culture, but we need to be inclusive and look at the needs of the population who we serve – including providing hair picks, not fine-tooth combs, for African American girls in group homes," said Nelson, who serves on the Spokane Juvenile Detention Center's Racial Disproportionality Board.
At EWU, Nelson has developed a resource guide to help African American students locate hair salons, hair-care products and other services in Cheney and Spokane that are geared to their specific needs.
In her upcoming class at EWU, Nelson will discuss the weaves, wigs and relaxers that media stars such as Oprah Winfrey, Beyonce and Halle Berry appear to use.
"That subject always brings out a lot of discussion, including whether these stars or any African American women in any kind of business setting would do as well if they wore their hair in more traditional or natural styles," she said.
Hair is beautiful, but it's not as simple as it looks, Nelson concludes, "neither in style nor in significance. For African Americans, it is a large part of our story, our heritage, our culture."


Rallying to save Reid

Reid elementary, which is part of Eastern Washington University's School of Education and located on the edge of campus, is owned by the University but mostly operated by the Cheney School District. Funding issues could mean the closure of the school, as much-needed upgrades might not be able to be completed. As you might imagine, it's an emotional issue for not just parents, but for EWU students and teachers who have a close attachment to the lab school.
Here's an article in the Spokesman on a rally on campus to try and save the school - complete with response from the President's office.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Supporters rally to save Cheney school
Sara LeamingStaff writerApril 11, 2007

It took two weeks for about 60 parents, faculty members and students from Eastern Washington University to organize a march through campus Wednesday afternoon in an effort to save Reid Elementary School from closure.
Now those school advocates may have two years to convince EWU to keep the small school open.
The Cheney School Board decided Wednesday night to keep the school open for at least a year, on the condition that it is safe enough for students to attend. The district will begin work with the university to see if the school can stay open beyond that, but it will take major funding, school officials said.
The school, attached to EWU's education school and owned by the university, has been jointly operated with Cheney Public Schools since 1986 and has about 130 students in grades kindergarten through five.
While the university pays for operation costs, such as maintenance and custodial staff, the school district provides teaching staff and equipment like textbooks and computers.
It also serves as a lab for the university, where students ¡V not just those studying to be teachers but from other parts of campus ¡V can come to observe.
But in recent weeks, the school district learned that much-needed renovations for the aging building are unlikely to be funded through the university's capital projects request to the state Legislature.
A letter from university president Rudolfo Arevalo, stated "under the current system of capital project funding ¡K it is unlikely the money (for Reid) will ever become available or that EWU can support those renovations as one of the two capital items we are allotted."
State universities are required to prioritize their capital requests in a queue system, and the three regional universities ¡V Eastern, Western and Central Washington ¡V are each awarded funding for one major and one minor project each biennium.
A request for $3.5 million to replace the heating and ventilation system at Reid was on the list, but it wasn't a top priority, university officials said.
Of greater priority is the design phase for the renovation of Patterson Hall, the university's main classroom building.
"We have no power to tell the school district to close the school or not," said David Rey, special assistant to the president. Rey said the university is willing to continue with the current arrangement with the school district, understanding that improvements to the building are not likely to be made.
The district said the school has never been modernized, the building's infrastructure, particularly the air systems, are wearing out and eventually the buildings won't be suitable for students.
"Where we are now is at a place where we know the building isn't going to be fixed," said Cheney Superintendent Michael Dunn.
Dunn said he made the recommendation to delay the school's closure so the district has "more time to make the most graceful transition for our staff and parents."
Unlike Spokane Public Schools, Cheney's population has been growing. Spokane, which has seen dwindling numbers, proposed closing Pratt Elementary School. With 230 students, it's the smallest of Spokane's 35 elementary schools.
"[Our issue] is not about declining enrollment; it's about an aging facility that frankly needs to be fixed," said Dunn.
Parents, many of whom are faculty at the college, said they were frustrated that they were not included in conversations about the school closure.
"The superintendent is telling us the school is not safe; there seems to be no data that supports that," said Julie Poolman-Jackson. Her husband, Nick Jackson, is the interim associate dean of the College of Education and Human Development and helped organized Wednesday's rally.
Dunn said the district did perform some tests on the building and determined it was safe for the time being.
Poolman-Jackson said parents also believed that the school was a priority among the university's list of capital projects. Reid renovations were initially listed on Gov. Chris Gregoire's budget but were not on the university's list of top priorities, Rey said.
"We moved into the neighborhood wanting our child to go to Reid," Poolman-Jackson said.
Built in 1959 as a lab for the College of Education, the concept is probably the only one left in the state. Attached to the education school by a breezeway, students can come and go, learning and observing from classroom teachers at work. There are observation towers over classrooms, where students can watch.
"It was one of the premier lab schools and was a leader in the field, shaping how public schools worked," Nick Jackson said.
But the school district said the lab school is not utilized as often as it used to be. High-stakes testing and grade-level expectations set forth by the state have changed the way teachers do their job.
"The compelling vision for this partnership school has waned over the past 10 years," Dunn said.
Staff writer Christopher Rodkey contributed to this report.


Vonnegut's Last Appearance

Turns out, Kurt Vonnegut's visit to the Spokane for Eastern Washington University's Get Lit! festival in 2004 was his last public appearance in the northwest. What some consider to be one of the most original American novelists died Wednesday night at the age of 84 after a fall. And as a personal aside, at the time I was a reporter for a local TV station and interviewed Vonnegut while he was in town - very interesting person to say the least. Here's an excerpt of what he had to say at Get Lit! (not during my interview), as reported by the Spokesman Review:

He said it
He said it

(File Associated Press )
April 12, 2007
 In 2004, Kurt Vonnegut was in Spokane for Eastern Washington University's Get Lit! festival. Here's some of what he had to say:
 "Don't you think that it's time we used DNA analysis to find out who the freeloader is who's in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier?"
 "All great literature is about what a bummer it is to be a human being."
 "You think Arabs are dumb? Try doing long division with Roman numerals."
 "So let's give another big tax break to the rich. That'll give bin Laden a scare he'll never forget."
Spokesman-Review files

Friday, April 06, 2007


EWU in Spokane

Eastern Washington University has had a presence in downtown Spokane for quite a while now. However, new efforts to sell the downtown center are part of a bigger plan to increase our already large presence at the Riverpoint campus - which is part of the growing U-District.
Here's a front page article in the recent Journal of Business that outlines things very well.

Spokane Journal of Business

Thursday, April 05, 2007


EWU's take on eggs for Easter

Timely story with Easter a few days away. Many of us will be cracking that hard-boiled egg, wondering if we're possibly damaging those arteries. Well not so fast, here's an article that was done by Reuters news and has been picked up all around the world - it's all based on the expert opinion of one of Eastern's own faculty members.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday Eastern! April 3 marks EWU's 125 birthday - quite a landmark. We're celebrating the anniversary all month, but here's an article from today's Spokemsan that gives a good snapshot of our history.

EWU celebrates 125th birthday today

Timeline of events
Here's an abbreviated chronology of EWU history, taken from a longer timeline compiled by EWU archivist Charles Mutschler.

April 3, 1882 – Benjamin P. Cheney Academy opens, named after the donor of $10,000 to start a teachers college.
1890 – The state Normal School in Cheney opens, a year after Washington becomes a state.
1899 – First football team plays.
1915 – Administration Building, now Showalter Hall, is dedicated.
1937 – School becomes Eastern Washington College of Education, a few years after it begins granting four-year degrees.
1947 – State Legislature passes a bill allowing Eastern to grant degrees in fields other than education.
1961 – Eastern becomes Eastern Washington State College to reflect a shift toward liberal arts.
1973 – Board of Trustees changes mascot from Savage to Eagle.
1977 – Legislature changes name to Eastern Washington University.
1983 – Spokane Center opens.
1987 – EWU admitted to Big Sky Conference.
1997 – Construction of a new central mall commences.
2000 – Former Jore schoolhouse moved to campus from original site near Newport and renamed the Cheney Normal School Heritage Center.
2005 – EWU awards first doctoral degree.
2007 – Eastern now enrolls more than 10,000 students and offers 100 fields of study.

Shawn Vestal Staff writerApril 3, 2007
When Catherine Simpson was a college student in Cheney in the 1930s, she worked at Showalter Hall for a quarter an hour.
Showalter Hall is still on the campus at Eastern Washington University, but almost nothing else about Simpson's days as an undergrad would sound familiar to today's students.
She attended Cheney Normal School, which granted three-year certificates to teachers headed to one-room schoolhouses. She knew most other students by name. Just about every campus function, from the gym to the administrative offices, was located at Showalter.
"Showalter Hall was it. That was the building," said Simpson, 95, who now lives in a Spokane retirement center. "The 25 cents an hour paid for my room on campus."
A lot more than the price of housing has changed since then. Cheney Normal went through various incarnations to become Eastern Washington University – and the campus grew from hundreds of students to thousands.
Student enrollments boomed after World War II and again in recent years, with EWU posting record enrollments of more than 10,000. It's a history to which school officials are paying extra attention these days, as EWU's 125th anniversary arrives.
"Eastern has followed a pattern that many small, regional universities have followed, evolving from normal schools to teachers colleges to regional, comprehensive universities," said Charles Mutschler, university archivist and a busy man in recent weeks.
The school plans to celebrate with a birthday party today and a month of events.
Simpson won't be able to make it to the festivities. But a permanent monument to her legacy still sits on campus. The Jore School, a one-room schoolhouse from near Newport that Simpson attended and that is kept up thanks to her donation to the school, now sits on the campus, a reminder of EWU's deep roots in the region's educational history. GI Bill
On April 3, 1882, the Benjamin P. Cheney Academy opened, named for the man whose $10,000 donation started it all.
This was seven years before statehood for Washington, at which time the academy became Cheney Normal School.
In 1937, the school began granting four-year bachelor's degrees and re-formed as the Eastern Washington College of Education.
"Most of our enrollments in 1939-1940 were young women," Mutschler said. "Probably about two-thirds of our student population was young women planning to become teachers."
That changed when all the returning servicemen from World War II began looking for career training with help from the GI Bill.
"The gender ratio at colleges like Eastern changed," he said. "We became more or less fifty-fifty."
As Eastern added fields of study and saw enrollments boom, it changed its name in 1961 to Eastern Washington State College.
In 1977, the school became a regional comprehensive university – granting bachelor's and master's degrees. In the years since, EWU has expanded its presence in Spokane and added graduate programs; it granted its first doctoral degree, in physical training, in 2005.
Mutschler sees a common thread through the school's history: an effort to help residents of this region, many of them the first generation in their family to attend college, get the education and training necessary to raise their standard of living.
"We seem to have had a lot of people all through the years who use their education as a doorway to opportunity," he said.College debt
Back in the 1920s, Simpson certainly fit that profile. Her father had homesteaded and tried various other things to make a living around the Northwest, but times were always tough for her family. She was one of seven kids that her mother, a professional dressmaker, had within 14 years.
"All without electricity, without running water, without a telephone, without roads – and without a school," Simpson said.
She and her siblings attended one-room schoolhouses all over the region, and an older sister of hers became a teacher. That helped Simpson decide what she wanted.
"I always wanted to be a teacher," Simpson said. "It was just a foregone conclusion that I would go to college."
After graduating from Deer Park High School, she attended Washington State College on a scholarship.
But her sister was loaning her the money for tuition and other expenses – $50 a month – and she feared the specter of a big debt at graduation.
"So I was just piling up college debt," she said. "Fifty dollars a month."
Then, as now, school in Cheney was known for being a relative bargain. Her sister told her, "You can go to Cheney Normal a lot cheaper," and she made the switch. It was there that she met her future husband, Claude. They both graduated in 1933.
She eventually taught all over the world, from Alaska to Australia, started a long-running kindergarten in Pullman, and raised three children with Claude. He died in 1999, and she's been trying to compile the elements of her biography – a story that includes locations around the world and a huge network of lives she influenced as an educator.
"I have a stack of diaries you can't leap over," she said.

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