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?”
     “Yes.”
     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