President's Message: Advancing Inclusive Success, Advancing Washington

By Sabah Randhawa

When I started as president of Western last fall, I was excited not only by Western’s distinctive excellence and student-centered education, but also by the ways that Western could become even more responsive to the needs of our students, Washington and the region. This fall, as we welcomed the largest and one of the most diverse incoming classes in Western’s history, we have had several opportunities to celebrate how Western is evolving to meet those goals.

On Oct. 13 we celebrated the grand reopening of Carver, one of the most heavily used buildings on our campus. Of course we are thrilled that Western Athletics teams and coaches are back in a beautifully renovated home, but Carver is much more than a gym. It’s truly an all-purpose academic facility, and home to some of our fastest-growing, highdemand majors in fields that prepare students for careers in physical therapy, occupational therapy and nursing. Expanded class and lab spaces will ensure that students have access to state-of-the-art facilities and a path to timely graduation.

This fall Western also received a $1 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to increase inclusion and representation in STEM disciplines. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of faculty members from the departments of biology, chemistry and geology, Western was one of 24 colleges and universities nationwide to receive this funding from one of the world’s foremost biomedical research foundations. With this grant Western is positioned to become a national leader in STEM inclusion, which will in turn increase our ability to recruit more diverse faculty and students.

We’re also excited to announce that the first cohort of students has just been enrolled in our new Clinical Doctorate in Audiology (Au.D.). Responding to a national need for audiology professionals, this four-year program, including clinical experiences, will provide students with the knowledge and skills to diagnose and treat hearing and balance disorders for people of all ages.

Ultimately, Western’s future success is not about us, but about the positive differences we are making in people’s lives and communities throughout Washington and beyond. In my mind, that’s exactly what Active Minds Changing Lives is all about.

is president of Western Washington University

Photo by Rhys Logan