Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Student helps veterans. And wild cats.

allyce 1“Live Animal?” Yup, that’s how she rolls. Or used to, when she went by that name for roller derby. Better known as Allyce Rusnak, the WSU Global Campus student hung up her skates when she went back to school.

Now, instead of knocking people down, she’s raising them up: She works with veterans and psychologists to make 3D games that help service members cope with PTSD and brain injuries. She’s an ASWSU Global senator, helping support the online student body. And she also helps nonhumans. In her spare time, she traps feral cats.

“They can’t be rehomed, so we have them spayed or neutered so they don’t create a colony that gets out of hand,” she said.

Rusnak already had a bachelor’s in computer animation when she enrolled at Global Campus in fall 2015. But the south King County resident is changing paths, and is studying psychology and biology.

“My teachers do a really good job,” she said. “They are really involved. They have office hours every week, and student projects so we don’t feel isolated. It’s a lot more involved than online programs at community colleges.”

After graduating from Global Campus, Rusnak will look for a Ph.D. program in neuropsychology, behavior genetics, and neurogenetics, which is how genetics affect brain development.

“My passion is to better our understanding of mental health,” she said. “My goal is to increase early detection so we can use prevention techniques before a person’s illness becomes too much to handle.”

Getting into graduate school is a key reason why she chose WSU’s online program. “I wanted to make sure my degree was valid,” she said. “Because I want to pursue a Ph.D., it looks a lot better if I’m coming from a reputable actual physical campus.”

It also looks a lot better on doctoral applications if your name isn’t “Live Animal.” How did she get that name? “I had a sticker for a cat crate that said ‘live animal,’” she said. “So I put it on my helmet. The name just stuck.”

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Grad parties: New friends, new futures

DSC_2890They hugged friends they’d never met before. They frolicked with Butch T. Cougar. To find their Global Campus classmates, some wore red sweaters emblazoned with WSU logos and snowflakes.

This year’s ASWSU Global commencement receptions in Pullman and Seattle drew more than 100 exuberant graduates and family members.

“It’s the first time I’ve met everybody,” said strategic communications graduate Wayne White, who sported one of the festive sweaters at the Pullman event. “I’ve worked with them for two years, seen their pictures, but to actually talk and interact with them is a different thing.”

The sweater idea came from a strategic-communications Facebook group. “We peer-pressured everyone into buying one,” said White, a video editor at KOMO-TV news. “Now we can all identify each other.”

Other ASWSU Global events include free zoo trips, ski trips, museum visits, and tailgate parties. “Most online programs would never do these kinds of things,” said Jonathan Olp, the incoming ASWSU Global president. “But it brings the students closer so they can connect with one another and the faculty.”

Criminal justice major Lindsey Clark attended the Seattle graduation reception with a full family entourage: Mother, father, husband, 4-year-old son, sister, brother-in-law, mother-in-law, and niece. Her support network quickly came in handy:

“Before showing up, I was thinking, ‘it's just a lunch,’” she said. “But clearly it meant a lot more to me because immediately after walking in the door, I burst into tears.”

Monday, December 14, 2015

Teen earns master's online at WSU

A 19-year-old has become the first graduate of WSU’s online master’s in electrical engineering program.

Alexander Anderson completing his degree in three semesters, and has started a company and filed two patent applications for airborne generators. The North Bend, Wash., resident is now launching an effort to bring light, power and entrepreneurial opportunities to residents of Jiwaka Province, Papua New Guinea.

He's also designing an unmanned hybrid-electric aircraft.

Anderson did his WSU lab work in his family’s home workshop, where he built and tested his airborne generators and energy augmenter. “From power systems analysis to smart grid cybersecurity to high voltage electromagnetics, every course was something that I really wanted to know and understand,’’ he said.

Full story here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

New course: Human-Animal Interaction

hai courseWSU Global Campus is delivering a new online course, Human-Animal Interaction: What We Know and What the Future Holds.

The noncredit course offers a basic understanding of the value of human-animal interaction, and the benefits of animal intervention in health-care and other settings.

More info here.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Musical mash-up at grad receptions

IMG_0237At Washington State University commence- ments, the musicians play Pomp and Circumstance. But at WSU Global Campus pre-commencement receptions, there’s not much pomp, and the circumstances are more eclectic than classical.

That’s because the Global Campus student government, which organizes the Pullman and Seattle events, lets students choose their favorite songs, then assembles them into a wide-ranging playlist: Classic rock. Contemporary country. Pop. R&B, hip-hop, and the uniquely peculiar Dead Milkmen.

Some songs inspire: “Today is where your book begins/The rest is still unwritten.”

Some songs empower: “We ride and never worry about the fall/I guess that's just the cowboy in us all.”

And some may comfort those with average grades: “Happiness on earth/Ain't just for high achievers.”

The auditory free-for-all started last spring, when ASWSU Global decided to better tailor the receptions to the students’ tastes.

“They’re all sharing this incredible sense of pride and accomplishment,” said ASWSU Global liaison CeCe Smith. “We thought they should be able to share their music too.”

The diverse music reflects the diverse student body, Smith said. “Our students have a wide range of cultural and professional backgrounds,” she said. “It's one of the benefits of Global Campus courses: Students learn from their classmates as well as their professors.”

Does that make up for hearing Glenn Miller segue into Van Halen into Tim McGraw into Bon Jovi?

“These folks are WSU graduates,” she said. “They know how to embrace differences—and find beauty in unexpected places.”

--Richard H. Miller/WSU Global Campus

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Free tickets spread the power of crimson

Angi and Jim DavisJim and Angi Davis at the WSU Pullman tailgate party.

WSU Global Campus students were recently immersed in Cougar spirit—complete with knuckle-biting plays, screaming fans, and glorious victories—thanks to free football game tickets from the student government.

ASWSU Global usually hosts skiing events, zoo visits, tailgate parties, the Tacoma Rendezvous, and graduation receptions, all funded by student activity fees. This fall, the student government voted to give away about 200 tickets to four away games, Homecoming and the Apple Cup.

Shandie Morrison got tickets to see the Cougs battle the Ducks in Eugene, Ore. She had never been to a WSU game before. “It was a night I will never forget,” said the social sciences major from Vancouver, Wash. “My husband and I got decked out in Coug gear, and screamed and cheered while standing in the middle of a sea of Ducks.”

The game went into overtime, then double-overtime before WSU made an interception to win, 45-38. “After the game I have never been high-fived and hugged by so many strangers in my life,” Morrison said.

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Angi Davis, an MBA student from Snoqualmie, Wash., was already a dyed-in-the-wool Coug when she got tickets to the Homecoming game, where the Cougs beat Oregon State, 52-31. Davis’ husband, Jim, is a former Cougar defensive back, and her daughter is a WSU cheerleader. “I love WSU,” Davis said. “Free tickets or not.”

Love, however, has a flip side: In the Davis household, there’s an edict against a color associated with a rival school. “We seriously own no purple,” Angi Davis said. “When they were younger, the girls weren’t allowed to buy clothes in any shade of purple. I am not allowed to plant purple flowers in the summer.”

Mollie Erickson, an accounting major from Spokane, still allows purple in her house—but maybe not for long. Her conversion to Coug-mania started with last year’s ASWSU Global Homecoming party and barbecue. Then there was January’s free skiing night, followed by free tickets to this fall’s Homecoming game.

“These events have made my whole family into Cougars,” Erickson said. “My husband just bought a Cougar cap. And my daughters now say they want to go to WSU too.”

For Sarah Gardner, a psychology major who came to Homecoming from Sammamish, Wash., the ticket giveaway was less about gridiron clashes and more about the softer side of Cougar spirit:

“I think these events just add to the whole feeling of what WSU is about,” she said, “warm and welcoming and inviting.”

Thursday, September 17, 2015

WSU Global Campus is on your team

Sina staff support WSU Global Campus is dedicated to helping students achieve their goals. In addition to the many resources offered by the entire WSU system, Global Campus provides its own resources. Here are a few: 

Personal advisors. Your advisor is your personal navigator on your academic journey.

eTutoring. Get free unlimited online tutoring on everything from accounting to writing. eTutoring website

Virtual mentors. The VMs are in many courses to help with non-academic issues. Most are WSU Global Campus seniors or graduates.

Tech support. 24/7 help from our tech support office.

Career help. Map out your future with a  free advice from WSU career counselor Chris Miller.

Proctored exams. Global Campus staff offer an online proctored exam service.

Other support. Here's a link to our support services staff.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Grad now helps run Seattle’s largest hotel

Burl Battersby-wsmBurl Battersby had been in Japan a day and a half. He was 18, an exchange student from Arizona. Someone handed him a book and asked him to read it to a classroom of 14-year-olds to improve their English pronunciation.

“I think the book was Greek fables,” he said. “I had trouble saying some of the names.”

When he finished, he heard the desks shaking. Three thoughts went through his mind: 1) Wow, this must be the Japanese version of applause. 2) This is great, I really like teaching English. 3) It’s an earthquake!

The ground stopped moving, but Burl’s desire to become a teacher had taken root. In so much of life, however, inspiration is seismic but accomplishment is incremental.

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To pay for college, Battersby got a room-service job at a Scottsdale resort. He got promoted—got promoted again and again—working at top Arizona hotels, the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco, the Sheraton Seattle.

By 2006, Battersby’s teaching goal had been derailed by success. He was director of Six Sigma at the Sheraton Seattle. He had a dream job—helping re-envision the future of 1,100 hotels worldwide—in a dream location: A marble-floored high-rise next to the convention center in a city vibrant with technology and aerospace.

In 2007, the Sheraton added a new tower and became Seattle’s largest hotel, with 1,236 rooms, 44 meeting spaces and two posh ballrooms. “This a city in itself,” Battersby said, “with upward of 4,000 people here on a given night, plus 500 or so associates, who represent almost every culture you can imagine.”

The new tower required new employees, many of whom spoke little English. Battersby saw a chance. He got an ESL certificate, and taught hundreds of classes in the basement cafeteria.

Re-inspired, Battersby enrolled at Washington State University Distance Degree Programs, now called WSU Global Campus. By 2012, he had earned his bachelor’s in humanities—“it gave me a global perspective, and helps me work better with the different cultures here”—and went on to earn his 2013 MBA online from WSU.

Last year, Battersby became director of rooms at the Sheraton, where he oversees nearly every aspect of the guest experience. Also last year, he finally became a faculty member. He teaches hospitality business management classes for Skagit Valley College’s online program.

Did the reality match the dream? “It’s exactly what I wanted it to be,” Battersby said.

Battersby plans to start his doctorate —perhaps moving to Pullman—in the next few years, then become a full-time professor.

For now, he’s delighted to be both a teacher and a hotel executive. Each, after all, involves sharing knowledge. And, in each role, he offers people the same advice he’s followed for 25 years, advice that applies whether you envision yourself running an opulent hotel or a college classroom: “Don’t lose sight of your end goal,” he said. “I never gave up. Don’t give up.”

--Richard Miller

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Top tips from three amazing grads

tips from three gradsGlobal Campus graduates, from left, Katie Walsh, Paul Cummins and Cynetha Blacketer.

To have a successful semester, says one WSU Global Campus graduate, remember these three words: “Plan, plan, plan!”

Katie Walsh graduated this past spring with a bachelor’s in business. She was an ASWSU Global senator and won WSU’s 2015 President’s Award for Leadership.

“I once took seven classes in one semester,” she says. “I created a spreadsheet to track the assignments and when they were due. By putting all this information side by side, I was able to schedule the time I needed to complete the assignments.”

Another 2015 business graduate, Paul Cummins, used a similar strategy to earn 74 credits in a single year—while working full-time, raising two kids, coaching his eldest son’s basketball team, maintaining a 3.6 GPA, and running an occasional 200-mile relay race

He listed all his due dates in a spreadsheet, and each week reviewed the spreadsheet to make sure he was on track. “You never want to be behind,” he says. “If you get a little behind, you have to work so much harder to get caught up.” Cummins also recommends “grouping” courses: Taking classes with similar curriculums so you can apply concepts learned in one class to another.

Global Campus graduate Cynetha Blacketer also advises being organized, but added another tip, perhaps related to her 2015 psychology degree: “Pick one day a week when you will not deal with schoolwork,” says Blacketer, who also was a student senator. “This helps you decompress and avoid the dreaded burnout that we all experience at some point. We all learn in a specific way and at a specific pace, so pace yourself in the manner that best works for you.”

Friday, August 7, 2015

Global Campus goes beyond classroom

Money Talk video promoGoing to a university can mean more than going to classes. That’s why Global Campus offers you extracurricular activities and events that range from tailgate parties to guest lectures to fascinating webinars.

In general, in-person events are organized by the student government, ASWSU Global, and online events are organized by the Global Connections program.

You can find a list of ASWSU Global events here.

Global Connections has just opened registration for its first three online events this fall: how to get the most financial aid (see video, above), a webinar on the human-animal bond, and a virtual 5K run. Check out the website.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

WSU email changes; new name for zzusis

WSU Student Working on LaptopWSU has two big announcements for fall semester:

WSU email addresses changing.

  • Many email user names were “first.lastname.” That’s changed. All user names are now the network ID user name—the same name you use for zzusis and Blackboard. (If that’s already your email user name, then it hasn’t changed.)
  • The word “email” has been dropped from “@email.wsu.edu.”
  • Example? If you used to log in as first.lastname@email.wsu.edu, you’ll now log in as simply NetworkIDname@wsu.edu.
  • Starting Aug. 24, all official WSU email messages will be sent to your WSU email account. If you had a different account listed as “preferred,” that account will be automatically switched to your WSU account. Be sure to use that WSU account.
  • Emails sent to your old @email.wsu.edu address will be forwarded.

These changes include a bonus: When you log in to Office365.wsu.edu, you can get Microsoft Office for free.

Zzusis has been renamed.

Zzusis is now called myWSU. None of the content is changing, just the name. If you go to zzusis, you’ll be automatically redirected, but you might as well bookmark the correct URL: my.wsu.edu

Thursday, July 2, 2015

U.S. News: Global Campus in top 20

US-News-option3U.S. News & World Report has ranked
WSU Global Campus
20th in the nation among online undergraduate degree programs.

The 2015 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs report rated 296 schools on four categories: student engagement, faculty credentials and training, peer reputation, and student services and technology. (Complete methodology here.) WSU Global Campus was awarded 91 out of 100 points in the category of faculty credentials and training.

“WSU faculty have always been the heart of our online program,” said Dave Cillay, WSU vice president in charge of the Global Campus. “They bring not only a profound understanding of their fields, but also a genuine commitment to helping students succeed.”

The Global Campus offers eight undergraduate and 12 graduate degrees, as well as undergraduate and graduate certificates. Global Campus students also engage with the WSU community through unique extracurricular options, such as an online student government, face-to-face gatherings, and the Global Connections program, which presents online educational and cultural events.

Last year’s U.S. News report ranked the Global Campus undergraduate program 21st in the nation.