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                                                  College of Liberal Arts 

CoLA Color


CoLA Weekly


Friday, January 16, 2015  


I hope you had a relaxing and rejuvenating holiday. Scott and I did as our boys came home and we welcomed a full house with ALL that entails. It was also nice to have some time back in the peace and quiet of the office looking out on the winter wonderland and getting some larger tasks accomplished. And now everyone is back on campus with the energy and excitement that comes with the start of a new semester. Welcome Back!


We have some great plans for this new semester, but before we jump in I want to share with you some wonderful news regarding last December's Commencement. In addition to celebrating the graduation of over 200 CoLA majors, we also celebrated the 26 graduates who got their start in CoLA's  Learning English for Academic Purposes (LEAP) Intensive English Program -- 17 earned Master's degrees and 9 earned Bachelor's degrees. The graduates are from countries including Benin, China, Korea, Kuwait, Libya, and Saudi Arabia and in programs across the university as well as CoLA's own Minjeong "Iris" Song who graduated from LEAP, earned her B.A. in Communication and now her M.A. in TESOL. It was great to see such success from our LEAP graduates!


This semester CoLA will oversee some larger projects as they come to fruition. We are very excited about the development of the Center for Liberal Arts Student Success (CLASS) that will improve Workforce Development and Student Retention efforts within the college. You can follow the development of CLASS here.  


We are also finalizing our strategic plan EMPOWER: College of Liberal Arts  after a semester-long college discussion that has led to our new draft.  Please take time to look over this strategic plan draft here and provide your feedback by January 30.  We would like the plan to go live in February.  I appreciate the engagement of faculty, staff, and students in these important college initiatives, and I will keep you updated as we progress.  


This year we announced new supplemental funding opportunities to support research presentations at conferences for faculty and graduate students. I am pleased with the response so far as we have been able to provide supplemental funding for the following faculty to present at conferences:

  • Valerie Stoker, Religion, American Academy of Religion Conference, San Diego
  • Carlos Costa, Political Science, MidWestern Political Science Association, Chicago
  • Kris Bezdecny, Geography, Association of American Geographers, Chicago
  • Shengrong Cai, English, American Association of Applied Linguistics, Toronto
  • John Oswald, Geography, Association of American Geographers, Chicago
  • Lars Soderlund, English, Conference on College Composition and Communication, Tampa
  • Tom Lukowicz, Music, Roger Bobo Festival of Brass, Ellisville, MS
  • Sharon Lynette Jones, English, College Language Assoc. Convention, Dallas

We've also been able to support the following graduate students and their research presentations:

  • Jamal Russell, English, Midwest Modern Language Association, Detroit
  • Melissa McCarthy, International Comparative Politics, Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs, Lawrence, KS
  • Katherine Mullins, English, Midwest Modern Language Association, Detroit
  • David Kauffman, Music, North American Saxophone Alliance Region 5, DeKalb, IL
  • Abigail Sorensen, MHumanities, National Popular Culture Association, New Orleans

We look forward to sponsoring more research presentations. You can find applications, as well as other important college forms and policies, on our website here.


I am so proud of our new faculty this year and I want to make sure you know who they are:   

I have enjoyed getting to know each of them and see the great contributions they are making in their departments and in the college. I hope you will all help them feel welcomed to the WSU family. We will highlight one new faculty member each week in the CoLA Weekly, so stay tuned!


Have a great Spring Semester!


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Kristin Sobolik