Monday, December 17, 2012

Seattle party a family celebration

FallReception_Seattle_2012-0038WSU Online graduates mingled and had dinner in Seattle on Saturday, and WSU staff were on hand to take commemorative photos. If you stopped by the photo booth, check out the pictures on our Facebook page. Here’s a link.

Our next West Side event is the March 23 Tacoma Rendezvous, which features one-credit academic seminars. Please go to the  ASWSU-Online events page for more information.

Contest will let your lights shine

synder holiday lights

You’ve considered entering the WSU Global Campus seasonal decorating competition, but hesitated: Will the judges embrace your oeuvre—whether it involve house, tree or bird cage? Will they grasp the chiaroscuro interplay of brightness and shadow? Will they appreciate the subtextual nuance of the neon elves?

Not to worry. One of contest organizers is Charlie Snyder, Pullman’s own master of holiday décor. Snyder’s latest creation was featured in a Moscow-Pullman Daily News video, above.

So hesitate no more. Enter the contest, win cash, and be assured that your masterpiece, no matter how non-metaphoric, will be warmly welcomed.

To enter, select “Attending” on the event RSVP form. Then, send a photo or short video of your creation to before Jan. 7

Be sure to include your name and WSU email address with your entry.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Grads gather for Pullman party

IMG_0440 crop

Photos from WSU Online’s Pullman pregraduation reception are now on our Facebook page. Here’s a link.

Other upcoming face-to-face events include the Tacoma Rendezvous in March, and spring commencement. Check the ASWSU-Online events page for more information.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Free webinars on career strategies

Chris Miller (3)To get the perfect job, you need two things: The right goal. And the right strategy.

WSU career advisor Chris Miller will help Global Campus students figure out the first and develop the second during a series of free interactive Global Connections webinars that starts Monday. Each will run twice, and you can sign up for any or all of them:

Career Path. You’ll do a self-assessment of strengths, interests, and work values, then match those to a career. “Students will complete a free career assessment before we get together for the webinar,” Miller said.  “During the webinar, we will discuss the assessment, the results, and how it ties into career possibilities.” More...
Here’s a link to the assessment; please complete it before the event. 4-5 p.m. Dec. 10. Repeats 12-1 p.m. Dec. 11.

Resume/Cover Letter helps students learn how to create stand-out documents. “The group will review different resumes for the same position, and decide which candidate they would hire,” Miller said. “And WSU Online students can always send me their resumes at for critique at any time.” 4-5 p.m. Dec. 17. Repeats 12-1 p.m. Dec. 18.

Leverage is about strategic job searching and networking. “We will discuss different methods we have used in the past to find work, and I will provide today’s most successful job search strategies,” Miller said.  Building an effective job-hunting network will also be discussed, he said. 4-5 p.m. Jan. 7. Repeats 12-1 p.m. Jan. 8.

Interviewing will cover common interview questions, preparing for interviews, behavioral interview questions, and how to follow up after the interview. 4-5 p.m. Jan. 14. Repeats 12-1 p.m. Jan. 15.

All the webinars are part of the new Global Connections program, which brings campus-style events and resources to online students. To join the career planning events, please go to this link and select the register link.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Take your brain out for a stroll

global connections icon Odds are, you're pretty smart. After all, you're not only a WSU student but also managing to complete your degree online while leading a full life.

But we think there’s still room left in your brain for new skills, new ideas, and even new diversions. That’s why we've launched Global Connections—an online source of information that can improve your life and expand your world.

We’ve got presentations planned on everything from music to beekeeping to beer-making. Check out the latest additions on the Global Connections website.

Here’s what coming up.

Today, Dec. 3, 5-6 p.m.
Race, Racism and Science. Professor of Comparative More...Ethnic Studies C. Richard King will explore the history of race and science from 1900-1950 in this kick-off event to the year-long common reading program. This will be a relaxed conversation on one of the many themes explored in the common reading text, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” but you don’t need to have read the book in order to enjoy this talk. (Repeated Dec. 4 and 5.)

Program Planning Series.
Learn to plan and execute successful programs and events. Students who complete all three webinars and a final project will be eligible for a paid position as a student event planner and will help plan a live program for students across the world. The next events in this series are:
  • 11:30 a.m. Dec. 12 or 7 p.m. Dec. 13: “Developing a Timeline, Budget, and Venue Selection”
  • 11:30 a.m. Dec. 19 or 7 p.m. Dec 20: “Marketing, Delivery, and Support”

Determining Your Career Path. WSU career advisor Chris Miller will lead a four-part webinar series on finding and getting the job that best suits your interests. You can attend any or all of the series:
  • Career Path. A self-assessment of strengths, interests, and work values, then matching those to the world of work (career exploration and research).
  • Resume/Cover Letter helps attendees prepare for their job search.
  • Leverage is about strategic job searching and networking.
  • Interviewing helps you bring it all together and present yourself in the best way possible.
The webinar is offered between Dec. 10 - Jan. 15. For specific times and dates, please check the registration link. For more information, select this link
Seasonal Decorating Contest. Whether your holiday décor is refined or glitzy or full-on Vegas, you’re invited to enter our Seasonal Decorating Contest. You can enter in up to three divisions:
  • House Lighting (curb appeal)
  • Gingerbread House (anything edible)
  • Snoopy (everything else... dog house, bird cage, garden shed)
The deadline to enter is Dec. 15. Visit the Global Connections website for more information.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

New webinars both fun, fascinating

connex eventsGlobal Connections lets WSU Online students go beyond classroom learning to develop new skills, gain new perspectives, make valuable connections--and have some fun! To register for and access Global Connections events and activities, you’ll need to join CougSync. Find out more at the Global Connections website!

Here’s what’s coming up:

Program Planning Series. Learn to plan and execute successful programs and events. Students who successfully complete all four webinars will be eligible to apply for a paid position as a student event planner and will work with our Global Connections Project Specialist to plan a live program or event for students across the world.

November 28, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm or November 29, 7 – 8 pm

Webinar One: Identifying Content and Building Partnerships

We’ll kick off the series with an overview of the program planning process before exploring two foundational components of a successful program. Check the Global Connections website for date/times of the additional three webinars. More...
November 28, 3 pm or November 29, 3 pm
Stress Management & Test Anxiety.
With exams coming up, now’s a great time to learn stress management techniques as well as tips for overcoming test anxiety.  Led by WSU’s Wellbeing Online gurus Erin Carroll and Brad Stewart, this is a valuable workshop for anyone balancing the complex work load of a college student.

December 3, 5 – 6 pm
Race, Racism and Science. Professor of Comparative Ethnic Studies C. Richard King will explore the history of race and science from 1900-1950 in this kick-off event to the year-long common reading program.  This will be an evocative and relaxed conversation on one of the many themes explored in our common reading text, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.”  No prior knowledge or reading is required to attend and enjoy this conversation.

Now –December 15
Seasonal Decorating Contest. Go ahead, show off a little – or a lot! Enter in one, two or all three divisions. You could win a fabulous prize!
· House Lighting (curb appeal)
· Gingerbread House (anything edible)
· Snoopy (everything else... dog house, bird cage, garden shed, even an outhouse).
Visit the Global Connections website for more information! Have questions? Contact us

Friday, November 16, 2012

New online master’s: Criminal justice

David Brody     Washington State University will launch an online master’s of arts in criminal justice in Fall 2013, said David Brody, above, chair of WSU’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology.
     Brody said the program emphasizes theoretically based applied research, which will benefit both working professionals and recent graduates looking to enter the field or pursue a Ph.D.
     “The degree provides skills that help students advance their careers, be intelligent decision-makers, evaluate information, and conduct important research,” he said. “We don’t just teach them how to do something. We teach them theory and its application so they’ll understand why to do something.”
More...      The WSU’s online criminal justice master’s degree was designed with input from the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology Advisory Committee, which is made up of 12 leaders of state and local criminal justice agencies and departments.
     The online format allows students—particularly those working in the criminal justice system—to study issues that apply to their own locations. Students employed by a law-enforcement agency, for example, will have the chance to do evaluations and research work that could assist agency operations and provide data for grant applications and policy decisions, Brody said.
     Sample research topics, Brody said, include methods of evaluating the performance of police officers in urban and rural settings and whether it’s better for officers to work four 10-hour shifts versus five eight-hour shifts from public safety, departmental efficiency, and officer well-being perspectives.
     The program requires 31 credits, including a writing portfolio consisting of multiple research papers. All courses are 3 credits, unless otherwise noted.
     For more information or to enroll, please go to the website or contact Jacqueline van Wormer at, 509-335-4042.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A cool way to show your Coug spirit

Go Cougs photo with play buttonFor some, sign language is a primary method of communication. But here’s a phrase handy for anyone in a raucous stadium or a hushed room.

It’s simple: Double paw pump. Double whisker wipe. Watch and learn.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Veteran helps ‘America’s children’

Matthew Heatherly

     Matthew Heatherly doesn’t smile for photographers. Twenty years in the Army trains a person to be granite-faced and solemn when facing a camera. So does dealing with death and carnage as a medic in Iraq and so does helping wounded soldiers at a combat hospital.
     Heatherly retired from the Army as a first sergeant in 2010. He’s now an operations manager at the Western Regional Medical Command on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, where he helps plan medical care for his “brothers and sisters in arms” in the western U.S., Iraq and Afghanistan.
     “My passion in life is soldiers,” Heatherly says. “They are America’s children who give of themselves to protect the ones we love.”
More...     Heatherly has himself given much to his country, not only as a much-honored soldier but through such efforts as donating platelets, volunteering at the Old Soldier’s Home in Orting, Wash., and organizing runs for charity. He has received the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.
     Heatherly also sacrificed in another way. When he graduated from Stadium High School in Tacoma in 1990, he put off his college education in order to serve his country. After enlisting, he racked up a few college credits here and there but didn’t make much progress.
     As retirement neared, the pressure grew. He needed a degree to advance as an Army civilian employee. He was urging his soldiers to get a degree, yet lacked one himself. He wanted to finish what he started. And he wanted to look his two sons straight in the eyes and say, “If I can get my degree in Iraq, you can get yours.”
     When researching online education options, Heatherly found a lot of options. But he had one crucial criterion. “I wanted a degree that state employers would recognize as solid,” he said.
     In 2004, he enrolled in the online degree program at Washington State University, “a school that I’ve always admired.”
     When Heatherly was twice deployed to Iraq, he brought his courses with him. He has studied in combat zones, and been interrupted by artillery fire. “Studying kept my mind off being across the world from my family,” he says.
     In December, Heatherly will graduate from the Global Campus with his social sciences degree. A diploma from WSU is about having opportunities, he says. “A degree means that you get to choose your life,” he says, “instead of having your life dictated to you.”
     And then he smiles.

Monday, October 22, 2012

CrimJ program ranked third in nation

WSU Online criminal justice professor discusses program     Washington State University’s online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice has been ranked third in the nation.
     The ranking from cites WSU’s long history in criminal justice education as well as the professional experience of the faculty.
     The ranking follows several other top national rankings for WSU Online in the last year:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

New ag master’s: Science plus business

Jeff Culbertson

     Washington State University is offering the nation’s first online master’s degree that combines food science expertise with management education.
     “The new food science and management option in WSU’s Master of Agriculture program opens the playing field for people with a background in food science wanting to move into management,” said food science Professor Jeff Culbertson, above.
     Food scientists are in high demand nationally and internationally, he said. “We only graduate approximately 60 percent of the food scientists needed for the jobs available,” he said.
     The management section of WSU’s new offering includes courses on project management, bioethics, and personnel and human resource issues. The science portion includes course work that focuses on one of the most important issues in food science today – sustainability. More...      “Issues like converting traditional waste streams into profitable products in food production are huge for the industry right now,” Culbertson said. “Having employees with the knowledge and expertise to make those kinds of transitions makes sense for food production companies both economically and environmentally.”
     Other science courses in the degree address food safety, principles of environmental toxicology, biochemistry and molecular biology. Several courses are being offered in partnership with the University of Idaho.
     Altogether, those earning the degree must complete 12 credits in food science, 10 credits in statistics and research methods, and 8 credits of electives in management. Details are at
     WSU also offers a “Certificate of Proficiency” in food science online. Information about that five-course program is available at

Monday, October 8, 2012

Wrangling critters, helping students

Terri TimpeHer life is a zoo. Let’s do a quick snout count: Three dogs, five cats, six fish, 10 ducks, 10 hens, and, out in the pond, innumerable baby red-eared slider turtles—the unplanned offspring of a school science project.
     When Terri Timpe isn’t corralling critters, she’s wrangling kids. She has five, ranging from 33 to 10, plus seven grandchildren. She also volunteers at her kids’ school, co-owns Leavenworth (Wash.) Auto Care with her husband, Tim, and does drafting and business management for Munson Engineers in Wenatchee, Wash.
     Does she ever sleep? “I’m too interested in my day to lie in bed, and too busy at night to hit the pillow,” she said. “I usually go to bed after midnight, and rise by 6:30 to get the kids off to school.”
     But when her youngest son started elementary school, she paused a moment. She thought about how she’d always wanted to get her college degree. She looked back, with long regret, at turning down a full-ride scholarship to Stanford because she was too busy “finding herself.” More...      Then she learned she could earn her associate’s degree mostly online through Wenatchee Valley College. And decided that maybe she had too much downtime.
     “Basically, I took my books everywhere that I went,” she said. “Any spare moment—in the car, waiting at the doctor, waiting in the school parking lot for the kids—I would read.”
     She earned her two-year degree. She wanted a bachelor’s.
     “I chose WSU because it seemed to be the best online program and, believe me, I shopped around,” she said. “WSU Online is an excellent choice not only because of the flexibility, but because of the quality of the education.  I learned a vast amount from my online classes.”
     When Timpe graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in social sciences last December, she thought she was done with WSU. But WSU has a sharp eye for talent.
     In 2011, Alina Zollfrank was a virtual mentor in Timpe’s Asian philosophy course. Virtual mentors are WSU Online graduates who watch over course spaces to help students with non-academic problems.
     WSU started the virtual mentor program in 2003 with nine mentors, who are paid by the online student government. In 2010, the program won a first-place innovation award from the Center for Transforming Student Services. There are now about 30 mentors in nearly 100 classes.
     “Terri had a natural tendency to help fellow students with Angel, a willingness to ask questions that benefited the entire class, and a desire to make classmates feel welcome and appreciated,” said Zollfrank, who is still a virtual mentor, and works as a Hispanic outreach coordinator for Parent to Parent of Whatcom County. She recommended that Timpe join the virtual mentor program.
     Despite her burgeoning turtle population, Timpe decided she still wasn’t busy enough. She became a virtual mentor this fall.
     “It’s been an excellent way of sharing my experience and knowledge with those who might need it,” Timpe said. “I feel that WSU gave me so much, so it is my turn to pay it forward. WSU rocks and I tell everyone every chance that I get!”

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Share party photos on Facebook

SeattlePhotoBooth2_0136The party photos are in, and posted on Facebook. If you attended last Saturday’s pregame party in Seattle, you can tag yourself and share the photos, or download them from Facebook.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Seattle party draws more than 100

seattle pregame partyMore than 100 Global Campus students and family members noshed on coconut prawns, salmon cakes and artisanal cheeses. They put on masks and posed for photos. They talked about courses, graduation dates and life goals. (We’ll be posting more photos later in the week.)

After Saturday’s pregame party at a Seattle hotel, many headed next door to watch the Cougs take on the Ducks at CenturyLink Field.

If you couldn’t make the party, don’t worry. We have a couple more coming up, including the December graduation parties in Pullman and Seattle, and the Tacoma Rendezvous. Here’s a schedule. Please join us at one or all of these events.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

WSU works through financial aid backlog

By Kelcie Moseley, Moscow-Pullman Daily News
     Chairs lining the hallway outside Washington State University's financial aid office were filled with students waiting for their turn at the window Tuesday afternoon. Most looked bored as they waited with phones in hand or computers in their laps. Some were there for the second or third time in a week.
     After a glitch in WSU's new software caused a financial aid backlog the first week of school that affected about 10,000 students, university officials have been working to catch up. As of Monday evening, about $104 million in aid had been distributed to 14,931 students. Roughly 2,000 are still waiting for their full amount of money, according to Darin Watkins, executive director of external communications. More...     Victoria Barth, a junior double major at WSU, was one of those in line on Tuesday. She had to leave one of her two jobs early to get to the financial aid office, where she's trying to sort through an error that canceled half of her semester aid.
     "The good news is even though it sucks and sitting in line sucks, they're really nice and they try really hard to help, so it should be fixed soon," Barth said.
     Barth said she applied for a private loan in hopes she would receive it faster, but so far it has been even more of a hassle. And while the university has waived all late fees surrounding tuition payments, it is still having an effect on her finances.
     "It's just car insurance and car payments and things like that are sucking up all of my money," she said, "so I'm having to pull from savings to stay afloat."
     Barth said she has tried to schedule her visits to financial aid around when she thinks they will be less busy, but they are swamped every time.
     "I kind of feel for the financial aid office, because I don't think they expected any of this to happen. And they're probably way more stressed out than the students are trying to make sure everyone gets their money," Barth said.
     Lori Ennis also stood in line with her two daughters, who are sophomores this year. She said so far it has been nothing but a waiting game for them, and she has been providing them money for rent, groceries and other living expenses. But tuition is still outstanding until they receive their aid.
     "We've never used financial aid before, so when you're new at something like this and it's not coming through we just kind of keep thinking we've done something wrong," Ennis said.
     She said they have been told everything looks fine with their information and status, and they just have to keep waiting. But navigating the website has also been a challenge.
     "Everything is in about four-point type, and you can't find it and it doesn't make any sense," she said. "And I'm pretty computer savvy, so it's kind of been frustrating."
     Some students who have not received their aid yet are part of a group waiting for it to be processed manually, Watkins said. A particular set of grants was taking 15 minutes for each one because only two people were available to work on them.
     "As a result, we've assigned new staff, we've hired some temps, we've used some folks from data input for it, and every day we're moving up some percentage points," Watkins said.
     The Zzusis software that glitched uses the Oracle database as its infrastructure. Watkins said Oracle consultants visited campus to look for any system-wide issues that could cause the glitch to happen again, but found none.
     The goal, according to Watkins, is still to have the situation resolved by mid-October. Short-term, interest-free loans are available to students from the financial aid office, and the Dean of Students office also has a loan program that provides loans of up to $500.
     "We're getting there, but we still have a distance to go," Watkins said.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

WSU arts journal seeks submissions

landscapes logoWSU’s annual undergraduate literary and arts journal, LandEscapes, is accepting submissions for 2013 publication.

The journal publishes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, art, photography, animation, music, graphic novels, screenplays, and any other original work.

The deadline is Nov. 18. Here’s the submissions link.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Big turnout expected for Seattle party

paw cropMore than 140 people have already RSVP’d for our Seattle party at 4:30 p.m. this Saturday.

But the deadline to sign up is Wednesday, so if you want to enjoy  free food, fun socializing and cool giveaways--including the coveted foam paws--let us know soon.

More information, and a registration link is on the ASWSU-Online events page.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Congrats to our honor roll students

Honor RollThe Summer 2012 President’s Honor Roll was just posted.

“This award is especially noteworthy because of the world-class caliber of faculty who teach here and their high expectations of their students,” says the president’s office.

Friday, September 14, 2012

President suspends tuition late fees

Due to financial aid delays, WSU President Elson S. Floyd suspends tuition late fees for the rest of the semester. Here's an update.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Financial aid "highest priority"

WSU President Elson S. Floyd says finishing financial aid distribution is University's "highest priority." See the full column here.

Bioethics certificate covers tough issues

Bill Kabasenche horizontalA lesbian couple wants a baby genetically related to both of them. They’re considering using sperm from one woman’s brother. He just turned 18. Should they ask him?

The situation involved the relative of a WSU student. The student asked Bill Kabasenche, WSU assistant professor of philosophy, for advice. He saw a “wild conglomeration” of issues:

  • Is the brother old enough to give informed consent?
  • Is he old enough to become a father?
  • What responsibilities would he have?
  • Why is it important to have genetically related kids?
  • If genetics are that important, then they’d equally important to the brother, which means he’d have significant responsibilities.
  • Is parenthood fundamentally a relationship of love or of biology?
  • Is the couple using the baby as an instrument to validate the relationship?
  • If people can design their babies, does that replace unconditional love with a sense of comparison shopping?

Kabasenche’s specialty is bioethics. He teaches several courses on the topic and is co-director of the ethics committee at Pullman Regional Hospital. He’s also the force behind WSU’s new online graduate certificate in bioethics.

“The first goal of the certificate is to create sensitivity to ethical questions,” he said. “The second is to give people tools that will help them articulate ethical issues, which is different than just saying, ‘This just doesn’t feel right.’ Being able to articulate it can put teeth behind people’s misgivings.”

The third goal, he said, is to teach students how to evaluate competing ethical concepts. “That gives people in the field more sophistication in their ability to think through these issues.”


Kabasenche used all three approaches in talking to the worried student. “She latched on to some of those things and said, ‘Yeah, actually that’s what’s been bothering me,’ ” he said. She left his office prepared to have a constructive talk with her family.

“I don’t know what they ultimately decided,” Kabasenche said. “The important thing is that they had the best possible ethical foundation for that decision.”

Since the certificate went fully online in spring 2012, prospective students across the country have been sending Kabasenche “inquisitive emails.” Some come from students in WSU’s Professional Science Masters program, but most are from people outside WSU, including workers at biotechnology labs and a doctor who teaches at a university.

“The certificate opens up new opportunities for people working in health care and biotech industries,” he said. “This is a way you can demonstrate on paper that you have training.”

Justin Caouette took Kabasenche’s on-campus courses to earn his WSU bioethics certificate in 2010. He’s now working on his Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Calgary.

“The program enhanced my background and skill set,” he said. “It opened doors to health-related employment in areas such as administration, public policy, teaching, research, hospital ethics committee and institutional review board service, and legal work.”

Caouette has been chosen to develop an online bioethics program for Bristol Community College in Fall River, Mass. “I've been told that the certificate in bioethics has set me apart from other well-educated applicants,” he said.

Kabasenche sees increased demand for that kind of education. Advances in neuroscience are raising a host of issues involving privacy, responsibility, and autonomy. Advances in genetics create questions about reproductive ethics—should you test embryos?—and psychoactive drugs bring discussions of identity: Who is the real you?

“There are definitely more questions than answers,” he said. “The progress comes in an increasingly clear understanding of what the problems are.”

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Deadline near for ticket discounts

DSC_8911The deadline is fast approaching to get discount tickets for the WSU vs. Oregon game Sept. 29 at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field. WSU Online students can save $10 a ticket if they buy them before midnight Sept. 9.

And, if you’re going to the game, stop by our party beforehand. It’s at the hotel next to the stadium. More information is on the ASWSU-Online website.

In other news, if you are planning to graduate this December, you’ll need to contact Cassandra Hernandez at 800-222-4978 to get an application.

If you are planning to graduate in May 2013 or later, the graduation application should be online by then.

Monday, August 27, 2012

WSU game to be on TV Thursday

Mike Leach news conferenceCougar football starts Thursday under the direction of new head coach Mike Leach. (Select photo to watch Leach’s news conference last week.) WSU will take on BYU in Provo, Utah, and the game will be on ESPN at 7:15 p.m. (PT).

For those interested in seeing the Cougs in person, we’re offering discount tickets for the Sept. 29 game in Seattle, and throwing a pregame party in the hotel next to the stadium. Check out the website to register or get more information.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Cartoon cowboys aim at ethics issues

sport mgmt xtranormal screen shotWSU launched an online Sport Management Master’s this fall. One of the new courses is on ethics, and uses a cartoon to raise tough questions. The story is in WSU News.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

We’re global, but we’re here too

van doren dedicationOccasionally, we’re asked where we are actually located. While WSU Online and the Global Campus exist wherever there’s an Internet connection, our physical offices are on the WSU Pullman campus in Van Doren Hall.

The building was dedicated, above, in 1908 as the Domestic Building, and housed home-ec classes. A few years later, it was named after Nancy Van Doren, an English teacher and librarian.

Below is our building now. It’s small by today’s standards, but we enjoy how it exemplifies our long history of bringing education to students.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

WSU pushes back tuition deadline

Financial aid is a bit slow to disburse this year, and WSU wants to ensure that students don't get caught in middle. Here's the article in the student newspaper.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Join us for party, football game

IMG_2208WSU Online students, families and friends are invited to a fun-filled football weekend in Seattle.

Discounts on football tickets. Save $10 on your tickets for the WSU vs. Oregon game Sept. 29 at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field. This deal is good only until midnight Sept. 9, so better get them right away. Here’s how: Have a look at the stadium chart; the tickets are in section 124. Go to the ticket website. Enter the promo code: GLOBALCOUGS.

Pregame party. Just before the game, please join us in the ninth-floor banquet room at the Silver Cloud Hotel Seattle-Stadium, 1046 First Ave South. The party is hosted by ASWSU-Online. There will be appetizers, door prizes, free T-shirts and foam paws. We’ll also be collecting non-perishable food for the Northwest Harvest Food Bank and the first 100 students donating at least four items will receive a gift. When WSU Athletics works out the game schedule, we’ll provide an exact time.

Please register here by Sept. 22 if you and up to five guests would like to attend the pregame party. Registration will open Aug. 25.

Monday, August 13, 2012

WSU pilots a new way to chat online

Rubria Rocha de LunaRubria Rocha de Luna: “To learn a language, you have to talk with other people.”

A stapled sheaf of papers became an envelope of videotapes. The videotapes became DVDs, the DVDs became an online media center. In terms of information delivery, online education has evolved swiftly. But what about interaction? Students are online at different times, so how do they communicate?
     For years, the answer has been threaded discussions: Students write something, come back later, and respond to the responses. Part of their grade depends on that interaction. But suppose, instead of writing, students could post audio clips and webcam videos. Suppose conversations took place around a slide show, with students able to sketch on the slides and participate from smartphones.
     And suppose Washington State University’s Global Campus piloted the software in two of WSU Online’s most interaction-intensive courses: Spanish 101 and 102.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

WSU president meets new online leaders

ASWSU_onlinegov_2WSU President Elson S. Floyd was the surprise guest as incoming ASWSU-Online leaders met face-to-face Thursday for the first time.

“When he came in, I thought he looked familiar,” said student government Vice President Demian Ford, a North Idaho native who is serving in the Navy.

Floyd started by asking the group why they chose an online program. The answers came from around the table, and included flexibility, cost, quality, and the ability to take your schoolwork wherever you go, even to Mexico. (Don’t get sand in the keyboard, one senator advised.)

Floyd called the new Global Campus, which includes WSU Online, a “significant step forward” for WSU. The addition of Global Connections and the Digital Academy, he said, lets WSU replicate the residential experience by offering extracurricular activities.

“We’re building capacity,” he said, “in a student-centric way.”

The ASWSU-Online team is on the Pullman campus until Friday, meeting with WSU Online staff and representatives of campus groups. Among the topics of conversation will be the next ASWSU-Online event, a Seattle pregame party Sept. 29. For more information on ASWSU-Online or upcoming events, please go to the website.

In other news: American Public Media is doing a radio show and wants to hear from online students. Select this link to participate.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Health plan covers lion’s share of costs

butch WSU Online“Why yes, you do feel a little chilly. Perhaps it’s your lack of plush fur.”

You’ve heard of Obamacare and Hillarycare. But how about Butchcare?

Washington State University’s student health insurance plan has about 2,200 enrollments for all campuses, said Merry Lawrence, patient services billing and insurance supervisor at Washington State University Health and Wellness. Yet fewer than 100 of those are WSU Online students.

That’s because online students tend to have families and jobs, so they often take fewer credits than the minimum seven-credit course load. And often those jobs already provide health insurance.

But for those who do wish to enroll, the insurance can be a good option. At last check, it offered prescription drug coverage and vision coverage, and was also available for dependents and domestic partners. The deadline to enroll for fall semester is Sept 6. For more information, please visit the webpage.

In other news: WSU’s financial aid office says the new zzusis system means that continuing students enrolled in fewer than 12 credits no longer need to complete the Fall Enrollment Form. It’s all automatic.

Monday, August 6, 2012

WSU veterans expert praises aid act

Matthew ZimmermanWSU Veterans Coordinator Matt Zimmerman tells Kitsap Veterans Life that the extra five years to complete an education under the Post-9/11 assistance act is “an unexpected bonus” But he also suggests that enrolling veterans carefully compare the benefits of the Post-9/11 act to those of the Montgomery GI Bill by going to

“You need to go back and run the numbers with your own pocketbook and see what is best for you,” he says in the Kitsap publication.

We last talked to Matt back in January, when he explained why WSU Online was named one of the top 10 online universities for supporting the military.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

New sign on our historic building

van doren playUnless you come here every day, you probably won’t notice anything different about our lovely building, Van Doren Hall, on the WSU Pullman campus. But if you look very closely, we’ve got a new sign. WSU installed it this week. On the left, it now says “Global Campus” to reflect our new and improved status.

What’s the Global Campus? Select this link to read about it, or hit the play button on the photo to watch a video.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Nearly 100 sign up for new session

Intersession logoNearly 100 students have enrolled in Washington State University’s first Intersession, an online session that lets students earn three credits in three weeks.

Intersession is launching with four courses: Anthropology 468, General Education 110, General Education 111, and Communications 101. Because of the fast pace, students can enroll in only one course.

The session runs from July 28-Aug. 19, and 99 students have enrolled. Forty-nine of those are Pullman campus students and 23 are from WSU Online. WSU Vancouver has 20 enrollees, WSU Tri-Cities has six and WSU Spokane has one.

The Intersession, offered through WSU’s Global Campus, is among several new accelerated online sessions. WSU began offering a three-week Winter Session in 2010, and this summer began offering two six-week sessions, in addition to the regular 12-week courses.

“These new sessions aim to meet two goals,” said David Cillay, assistant vice provost and executive director of Global Campus, which includes WSU Online. “They let students earn their degrees more quickly. And they provide flexibility for students with busy lives.”

Monday, July 16, 2012

Filmmakers use building as backdrop

van dorenVan Doren Hall, the graceful home of WSU Online, is buzzing today as filmmakers shoot scenes out front for the movie “Admissions.”

The movie, also being filmed at Gonzaga University in Spokane, stars Andy Garcia and Vera Farmiga as two parents who fall in love while taking their children on a college admissions tour.

VM program helps students, faculty

Margy FotopoulosThe coordinator of WSU Online's Virtual Mentor program uses the WSU eLearning Services blog to explain how she went from skeptic to advocate.

“I have been coordinating this program for over three years now, and I have to say that I have become the program’s biggest fan and never miss an opportunity to sing its praises,” says Margy Fotopoulos.

What exactly do the Virtual Mentors do? 

"VMs answer non-content related questions, provide technical knowledge (like navigating the course space), and build community within the course," she says. "We have VMs in well over half of our courses, and the continued growth of the program seems to be in the cards." Here’s the link.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

WSU launches Global Campus

WSU Online is about to become part of an ambitious and far-reaching new campus, the Global Campus. The story is in WSU News.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Super-sundae: 600-foot banana split

banana split fan1Video: “This is the best ice-cream-eating thing ever.”
(Here’s one of the many great events organized by WSU’s Conference Management unit.)

By Katie Roenigk/(Moscow-Pullman) Daily News
     On Monday afternoon, about 400 teenagers and 100 adults lined up in front of the Washington State University Compton Union Building to help devour a 600-foot banana split ice cream sundae that spanned the length of two football fields along the Glenn Terrell Friendship Mall.
     The challenge was part of this year's Summer Teen Conference through the WSU Extension. The conference takes place annually, but planning team member Pam Watson said she's never seen such a large snack for a group of hungry teens. She has seen a giant banana split before, however.
     "Our State (4H) Ambassadors, which is a group of about 16 kids, have been doing this off and on at their meetings," Watson said. "So we wanted to try it here."

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Newspaper covers new psych degree

imageMore info about WSU Online’s new psychology degree, from the Moscow-Pullman Daily News. By Katie Roenigk, Daily News staff writer
     The more than 3,000 students enrolled at Washington State University's online campus will have the opportunity to explore a new degree when they sign up for classes next fall.
     For the first time, Cougars who take classes via the Internet can pursue a Bachelor of Science in psychology.
     Samathana Swindell, a WSU professor who helped develop some of the psychology courses offered online, said the new degree comes as the result of student demand.
    "For a long time there has been a tremendous interest among students majoring in a general social science area," Swindell said. "They're interested in pursuing psychology specifically." More...     Administrators have known for several years that a psychology degree would be appreciated by the online student body, but Swindell said the time was not right to launch the new program until recently.
     "We've been offering several classes, but we weren't able to put together a full curriculum for an online degree," Swindell said, explaining that funding and faculty had to be recruited for the expansion. "But that opportunity recently became available, so we spoke to faculty about that possibility and were able to move forward. ... We had people well-positioned to be able to develop those courses, and we seemed to foresee we'd be able in the long term to have instructors to teach those courses."
     Rebecca Craft, chair of the psychology department, said it is difficult to quantify how much it cost to develop the online psychology degree.
     "We developed the courses required for the major over many, many years," Craft said this week.
     Officials said the degree offers a comprehensive understanding of basic psychology and knowledge of scientific methods.
Job prospects
     According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor Statistics, the employment outlook for psychologists is projected to grow by 22 percent from 2010-2012 - faster than average. Swindell said the online psychology degree offers students a "highly marketable" set of talents that will prepare them for graduate work in psychology, social work, education, law, medicine and business.
     "We emphasize critical thinking (and) developing communication skills, whether written or oral, and I think that skill set applies across a variety of different career interests or job openings," she said. "And I think there's a lot of interest in psychology as a discipline in general, just understanding human behavior. Many people have fundamental questions about human behavior."
     She guessed that online students will be eager to take advantage of the new psychology degree, but officials at WSU's Center for Distance and Professional Education say it is too soon to gauge enrollment numbers for the fall.
     They have received a handful of inquiries about the degree already, however, and Richard Miller, the senior marketing communications coordinator for WSU Online, said he quickly heard from one student who now plans to earn a psychology degree. Previously, the student was working toward a degree in social sciences with an emphasis in developmental psychology.
     Swindell said her department strives to ensure online students receive an education in psychology that is comparable to the one students earn when they study on campus, though she added that there are fewer classes available online currently.
     "That's something we'll be able to address in the coming years," she said. "In terms of just core learning goals, we see the online program as equivalent to the on-campus program."
     The deadline to apply for fall semester is July 13, and all transcripts must be sent by July 27. For resident undergraduates in fall 2013, online courses will cost $569 per credit for part-time students, or $5,693 total for full-time students taking 10-18 credits.
     For nonresidents, the cost of an online degree is $729 per credit for part-time students, or $7,283 total for full-time students taking 10-18 credits.
     In comparison, undergraduate state residents who study on campus next semester will pay about $10,800 total in tuition, and out-of-state undergraduates will pay $23,956.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Tuition rates, and a Top 10 list

     WSU Online has just posted its tuition rates for Fall 2012-Spring 2013. Here's a link.
     In the last few months, people have been taking a hard look at the cost of college, and asking, "Is a college degree worth it?" The answer is generally yes, with a degree expected to bring an additional $300,000 to $600,000 of earnings over a lifetime. But that's a very rough estimate. It depends on what skills you already have, and how you decide to use your degree.
     A question we can answer with more certainty is, "How do I get the most value for my educational dollar?" WSU Online's executive director, David Cillay, recently offered this Top 10 checklist:
More... 1. Reputation. Will your diploma impress employers? If you don’t know, ask your friends and family what they think. Then do an Internet search and see what students say.
2. Quality of instruction. Look up a few faculty members online and examine their resumes. Do they work for the college or are they teaching in their spare time? Do they have a role in designing the courses? If so, they’re more likely to take a personal interest in the quality.
3. Cost per credit and number of credits needed. That information should be readily available online. If it’s not clearly stated, proceed carefully.
4. Social events. Studying online can be lonely. If a college offers social gatherings, it shows it is dedicated to providing social as well as academic support.
5. Availability of materials. Is there free library access, for example?
6. Support services. Tech support? Career counselors? Academic advisors?
7. Is there a student government? An alumni association? Both show that the college cares about more than finances, and that alumni are proud of their college.
8. Bricks and mortar campus. There are excellent online colleges that don’t have campuses. But a real campus creates a sense of belonging – and helps impress employers. Sports teams also can bring an esprit de corps that’s useful in networking.
9. Go online and search for the college’s name. Scroll past the promotional materials and look for an unfiltered view from other students and graduates.
10. Call and ask to talk with someone. See if you get a sales pitch or someone genuinely interested in your future.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

WSU Online launches psych degree

     Washington State University is expanding its online degree program this fall with a new Rebecca Craft Mar2012bachelor of science in psychology
     "We foresee a considerable demand,” said Professor Rebecca Craft, right, chair of the psychology department. "Not only does this fulfill the land-grant mission of reaching out to students across the state, nation and world, but we also expect a lot of interest from on-campus students with scheduling issues.”
     WSU Online receives many inquiries regarding a psychology degree, said Communications Coordinator Vicki Schulhauser, who fields requests from prospective online students. "There’s a lot of interest,” she said. "Until now, the closest students could get to a psychology degree was to choose psychology as a concentration area and earn a degree in social sciences.” More...     WSU’s psychology degree offers a comprehensive understanding of basic psychology and knowledge of scientific methods. The degree is also excellent preliminary preparation for graduate work in psychology, social work, education, law, medicine and business.
     The U.S. Dept. of Labor Statistics projects the employment outlook for psychologists to grow faster than average, by 22 percent from 2010-2012. Previous graduates of WSU’s psychology program have found employment in such professions as health and human services, business, management, research and development, and sales, as well as in administrative positions.
     The new degree will appeal to military members and veterans, said Judy Monhollen, a 2003 WSU Online graduate who counseled troops and family members as a Family Readiness Support Assistant at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
     "I've talked to so many people who expressed interest in studying psychology,” she said, "due to the mental strains placed on soldiers because of deployment and their opportunity to witness the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder firsthand.”
     The deadline to apply for fall semester is July 13, and all transcripts must be sent by July 27.

Monday, May 21, 2012

‘Army brat’: WSU Online means quality

Judy MonhollenJudy and Paul Monhollen. “There’s just something about being a Coug that you can’t match at any other university!” Judy said.

     She calls herself an “Army brat.” On the Internet, she goes by “wsuarmywife.” Her father was a soldier, she’s married to a soldier, and she was born at Fort Lewis.
     It’s safe to say that Judy Monhollen knows a lot about life in the U.S. Army. She shared that knowledge as a family readiness support assistant at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Wash.
     “Because I was a person outside the soldiers’ chain of command that they could just talk to, we often talked about their goals in life,” she said. “Many expressed a desire to complete a degree, and most wanted to do it before they got out of the military to set them up for success in civilian life.”
     Judy understands the difficulties of earning a diploma while balancing work and family obligations.
     In 2002, she was finishing up her history degree at WSU Pullman when her younger brother was killed in a car accident. He was 18. The crash was two weeks before his high school graduation. More...     “It became increasingly difficult to concentrate on school,” Judy said. “I moved back home because I needed to be around my family in Western Washington to work through my brother’s death.”
     In 2007, she married Paul Monhollen, who did two tours in Iraq and is now a staff sergeant assigned to HHC, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. The couple is expecting their first child in September.
     After getting married, Judy decided to finish her history degree. She enrolled in WSU Online and graduated in December of that year. She looked back on that experience when soldiers wanted to talk about earning their degrees.
     “I told them that, for me, WSU Online was the best of both worlds. Professors and Ph.D. candidates who are teaching at the physical university are also teaching the online courses, so you get world-class minds teaching your classes. In addition, you’ll be receiving an education from a Pac-12 school, which truly means quality.”
     Some were swayed by her reasoning, she said, and others got swept up by her enthusiasm.
     “They knew what a big WSU football fan I was, so they caught on to the Coug experience, especially around the Apple Cup,” Judy said. “There’s just something about being a Coug that you can’t match at any other university!”

By Richard H. Miller/WSU Online

Monday, May 14, 2012

Grad photos now on Facebook

may 2012 WSU Online receptionIf you haven’t checked out our Facebook page, now’s a great time. We’ve posted photos from our two spring graduation parties, including our first Seattle event. Congratulation to all our amazing graduates!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

New Global Campus includes WSU Online

WSU President Elson S. Floyd makes announcement in today’s Perspectives column.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Grad starts first endowed scholarship

Nancy and Frank KrookNancy Krook is one of WSU’s first distance graduates.
Only a rare Seattle blizzard could delay her from becoming a Cougar. And not for long.
     Leaving Washington State University Pullman to follow her husband to the West Side was a mere hiccup. Nancy Krook took classes at Skagit Valley College, then enrolled at Western Washington University.
     The 30-mile drive to Western didn’t deter her. Neither did having courses at 9 a.m., 1 p.m., and 7 p.m.  Neither did raising two small daughters. She even convinced the administration to let her apply her credits toward a WSU diploma.
     “Nancy was determined and stubborn—some say from her Norwegian heritage—so we set up baby-sitting and arrangements,” said her husband, Frank Krook, “and I arranged my schedule so we could undertake the challenge together.” 
     But that was 1969, Seattle’s snowiest year ever. A series of blizzards dropped a total of 67.5 inches of snow on the region. During one snowstorm, Nancy’s car broke down on a bad stretch of Interstate 5 near Lake Samish. She tried to flag someone down. No one would help. She got out, began to walk on the icy shoulder through the wind-whipped snow. The editor of the local newspaper stopped and gave her a ride—along with a lecture about the perils of walking beside the freeway. More...      The Cougar plan was put on hold, but not forgotten. In 1993, Frank was on the WSU alumni board and attended a meeting on WSU’s new “Extended Degree Program.” He asked the presenter to check Nancy’s eligibility. He didn’t tell Nancy. A few months later, the phone rang.
     “Unbeknownst to be me, my husband had signed me up for information on the new program in social sciences,” Nancy said, “and thus began my pursuit of a much-coveted WSU diploma.”
     The Extended Degree Program involved watching videotapes, a far cry from the interactive experience of today’s WSU Online. But the quality of the faculty made up for the low-tech delivery method.
     “The professors were outstanding and extremely interesting, which motivated me to finish the 18 required credits and graduate with the first class of 1994,” Nancy said.
     Both Frank and Nancy work in real estate, and are active in the Coug Nation. Frank was director of the Skagit, Island, and Whatcom counties district of the alumni association for two terms and, in 1999-2000, served as president of the Washington State University Alumni Association. Nancy serves on the Alumni Association advisory board.
     “Nancy knows what a special feeling exists among Cougars and alumni of Washington State University,” Frank said. “And, because Nancy was one of the first graduates of the program, we felt that we should be the first to endow a scholarship to assist future students.”
     In 2011, the Krooks created the Nancy and Frank Krook Scholarship, a $25,000 endowment that supports an annual $1,000 scholarship.
     Brian Gass of Bellingham, Wash., received the first $1,000 scholarship this spring. Gass works setting up oil exploration equipment on ships. When he’s not at sea, he volunteers in his children’s elementary school, and has helped the Lummi Tribe manage grant money. His goal is to become a CPA.
     “I have three children and a wife with multiple sclerosis, so this scholarship was a godsend,” he said. “It will allow me to graduate a semester earlier.”
     Nearly 20 years ago, in Nancy’s last WSU term paper, she wrote that someday she’d find a way to give back to the distance program.
     “We are thrilled now to offer a scholarship that helps further someone’s education and career,” Nancy said. “WSU’s program opened the door for me to finish my WSU educational career.  Without it, I would not have been able to accomplish that dream.”

     To help a WSU student, please visit WSU’s Campaign Page.
     For information about applying for the Nancy and Frank Krook Scholarship, please contact Deanna Hamilton, 509-335-5454.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Another accolade for WSU Online

ottoWashington State University Online’s bachelor’s degree in criminal justice has been ranked in the nation’s top 10 by the SuperScholar website.

SuperScholar cited WSU’s "outstanding academic reputation” and noted that graduates of the online program receive the same degree as traditional WSU students.

"Washington State has the second-oldest criminal justice program in the nation, founded in 1945, and that long tradition continues with its online degrees,” SuperScholar said in announcing the seventh-place ranking. "Washington State’s faculty consult with and aid law enforcement professionals and bring real-world expertise to their instruction.”

Only regionally accredited colleges and universities listed in the National Center for Education Statistics database were eligible for the rankings. Programs were ranked based on market reputation, academic quality, student satisfaction and cost, SuperScholar said.

The accolade follows several other top-10 rankings:

  • Earlier this month, SuperScholar ranked WSU’s online bachelor’s degree in business ninth in the nation, saying the university’s online business degree programs "are among the best in the world.”

  • In January, U.S. News & World Report ranked WSU Online sixth for student services.

  • In the same rankings, WSU’s online MBA program was ranked first in admissions selectivity and third in student engagement and accreditation.

  • Also in January, the 2012 Guide to Online Schools ranked WSU Online sixth for supporting the military.

  • In Dec. 2011, the SuperScholar website ranked WSU Online fourth among the nation’s top five online degree programs.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sport Management master's set for fall

Applications for fall admission will be accepted until June 1. Later applications will be considered for January 2013 admission. Here's the story in WSU News.

Monday, April 16, 2012

New course: Philosophy in Film

Joseph CampbellIf Rick chooses love, he’ll be helping the Nazis.(“Casablanca.”) If Cypher chooses pleasure, his life will be an illusion. (“The Matrix.”)
     WSU Philosophy Professor Joseph K. Campbell uses a dozen of these cinematic quandaries to create “thought experiments” in his Philosophy in Film course. Campbell is interim director of WSU’s School of Politics, Philosophy and Public Affairs. He created the course in 1998 because students can be resistant to reading.
     “But they do have a pretty good background in films—as opposed to philosophy books, and books in general,” he said. “I thought they’ll watch the movies, then we’ll have a common text.”
     Campbell is now re-creating Philosophy in Film as a six-week online course for summer semester. It will be his first time teaching online, and he was hesitant. More...      “I’m very old-school, a traditionalist in a lot of ways,” he said. Then he ran into an old friend, a philosophy instructor who often teaches online.
     “The fact that he was enthusiastic about online teaching made me feel more at ease,” Campbell said. Campbell also realized working with WSU Online would help him learn technological skills he can apply to on-campus courses.
     “I’ve always enjoyed teaching,” he said, and pointed at the WSU Marian E. Smith Faculty Achievement Award on his office wall. “But I haven’t utilized the technological resources of the classroom as well as I could. The more I can learn about it, the better.”
     Campbell earned his 1983 B.A. in philosophy from Rutgers University—ignoring friends who worried about his job prospects—and his master’s and doctorate in philosophy from the University of Arizona.
     Despite his friends’ concerns, Campbell went on to build a solid academic career. He taught at Kent State and Boise State, and has been at WSU since 1996. He helped create WSU’s film studies minor. He’s served on dozens of WSU panels and committees, as well as the boards of the Moscow (Idaho) Civic Association and the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre in Moscow.
     But what if there are students who don’t want to become professors. Why should they study philosophy?
     Campbell pointed out that philosophy develops a powerful combination of writing skills and quantitative skills, like logic and reasoning. He mentioned that philosophy majors earn top scores on graduate exams, such as the LSAT and the GMAT. And, he said, philosophy just plain makes you smarter.
     “Once you can think about the philosophy of time,” he said, “thinking about everything else is a lot easier.”
By Richard H. Miller/WSU Online

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Missiles are tough; being a dad is tougher

andrew zander
     "I can’t go into too much detail,” he says.
     “Nuclear warheads?”
     “We don’t talk about that.” He tilts his head back and slightly to the side. His eyes slant bright behind rimless glasses.
     “It’s on Wikipedia.”
     Andrew Zander smiles, says nothing.
     “Tell me about a typical day at work.”
     “We have an explosives handling wharf at Naval Base Kitsap. The submarine pulls up inside. A huge crane takes the missiles on and off the sub. I watch the sailors and make sure they don’t make any mistakes.”
     “Mistakes? Doing what?”
     “The maintenance is often with the warheads. Certain components require replacement because they have a half-life.”
     “A half-life?”
     Zander smiles again, says nothing. A WSU Online student walks by, heading toward the banquet room at the Tacoma Marriot. She holds a baby in her arms. The baby has a crimson and gray cap. The student is wearing blue jeans, and a red CyberCoug T-shirt over white thermal long underwear.
     “Oh. I see. So how did you get this job?” More...     “I enlisted in the Navy as a missile technician. I was doing patrols on submarines for eight years, then I worked for Lockheed Martin doing maintenance on ordnance, then got a government quality assurance job. So now I watch the handling and servicing of the missiles. They’re the Trident II D5.”
     I’d heard of Zander before: Lives in Silverdale, Wash. Used to be president of the online student government. Left WSU Online in 2008 because of a sick baby. Re-enrolled in 2011. When I found out he would be at the March 24 Tacoma Rendezvous, I arranged a meeting.
     I ask about the baby.
     Maya was born with tracheoesophageal fistula, Zander says.
     “Her esophagus didn’t connect to her stomach. It formed a pocket. When we tried to feed her, she’d spit it up. And the pipe coming up from her stomach actually connected to her trachea, so stomach acid was going into her lungs.”
     After a feverish morning of worry, panic and despair, Maya was operated on at Madigan Army Medical Center at Joint Base Fort Lewis-McChord.
     “Everything is connected right now,” Zander says. “Except for some scar tissue that causes her to choke if she takes too big of a bite of food.”
     Maya is 4 now, and says cute things that Zander posts on Facebook: “Look at my toes, they're magic,” she said recently. And once, when they got lost, Maya meant to say, “We need GPS.” Instead she said, “We need CPS.”
     I ask Zander what I always ask students. Why did you choose WSU’s online degree program?
     “Credibility,” he says, and stops. I wait for more. He says, “Who in Washington state hasn’t heard about WSU?”
     And why major in social sciences with an emphasis in developmental psychology?
     “Mainly so I can be a better father,” he says. “I grew up without a father so I never had any sort of positive role model to emulate. So the next best thing was to figure out how people learn and develop.”
     “And that actually works with Maya?”
     “I’ve never had to rely on physical discipline,” he says. “I’ve always been able to just reason with her. Using reasoning and talking calmly seems to avert a lot of child meltdowns.”
     I can’t help but ask: “Does that help when you argue with your wife?”
     He laughs. “A little bit. As we’re having an argument, she’ll say, ‘You’re so cold and aloof.’ No, I’m just rationally thinking things out.”
     Rationality, I say, is a good quality in someone who deals with missile warheads. Especially the kind of warheads that have a half-life.
     He says nothing. Just tilts his head and peers down through his glasses and smiles.

--By Richard H. Miller/WSU Online