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Spring 2020

Director’s Message

Kent Keller, SoE Director

Dear Friends, Alumni, and Supporters of SoE:
For the record, this inaugural issue of SoE Connections comes out as the School of the Environment and broader WSU join colleagues in higher education nationwide in marshaling our energies and imaginations to move forward in the face of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic that has killed nearly 130,000 Americans in just four months. Whatever the coming academic year 2020-21 holds – from massive delivery of classes online to dorm quarantines to socially distanced football – we can anticipate big challenges and seismic shifts in the ways we do things.

Of course, as the old adage holds, big challenges bring big opportunities, and as you peruse these pages I think you’ll find it difficult to suppress optimism. Across the WSU system we have terrific students going on to do great things; inspiring faculty teaching and researching at the tops of their fields; and talented and dedicated staff (the unsung heroes) who manage to keep things running in the face of all adversity. We also have a growing number of generous alumni and friends who provide for student scholarships and programs to advance and expand our education, research, and service abilities. Thanks to all for your invaluable support!

At WSU, we occupy prime academic “real estate”: SoE is the platform spanning physical, life, and social sciences where we apply disciplinary tools within novel frameworks to articulate our most interesting and important problems and advance understanding of the Earth system – and in the process, develop citizenry for a sustainable future. We have support within the University evidenced, for example, by hiring of a half-dozen faculty across the system during the past five years (two in just this past year), and the rollout of our Environmental and Ecosystem Sciences major on the WSU Global campus.

So please enjoy this newsletter and consider visiting us on campus or at least staying connected via social media (Facebook and  Instagram) or email!

Wishing you and yours the very best,

Kent Keller

SoE: Connecting Earth and Life