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Central Washington University

CWU President Challenges Faculty, Staff to Adapt Work to the Digital World

Central Washington University President James L. Gaudino today told the university community that CWU has become stronger against economic odds.  During the annual State of the University Address in McConnell Hall the president said student-centered values that have made CWU successful must not change, but that they should be translated to the digital world that defines student lives.

Gaudino said new digital environments provide ever-increasing choice over virtually unlimited content and more control over how, where, and when it's available.  Gaudino, the first dean of College of Communication at Kent State University and former executive director of the National Communication Association (NCA) in Washington, D.C., added that students simply expect the same choice and control in all aspects of life, including education.

"Adapting established pedagogy to digital environments is just the next evolution in teaching and learning," said Gaudino. "Using modern communication channels is choosing to be more effective and compelling educators."

Gaudino said CWU had made significant strides in digital education over the previous year, including doubling the number of online majors and seeing online summer enrollment bypass face-to-face instruction for the first time.  Gaudino said the university would be the first in the state later this year to create a Running Start online option, allowing high school students anywhere in the state to earn college and high school credits simultaneously and fully online.

Technology also is streamlining 14 business processes, according to Gaudino. The two-year initiative— "Improving CWU’s Applications and Technology (iCAT)—involves reviewing all of the university’s administrative systems, streamlining processes whenever possible, and employing digital solutions when applicable.  Gaudino said the university also was overhauling data-collection systems in order to ensure decision-making is based on accurate information.

University stability also is attributable to comprehensive financial planning and steady enrollment according to Gaudino, who said those factors allowed the university to grow through the Great Recession, despite deep cuts in state funding.  Gaudino added that an infusion of new faculty and staff brought a wave of "incredible new talent that made CWU better, stronger, and more diverse." 

Gaudino told the campus community that their greatest accomplishment of the past year was a continued focus on quality of teaching, quality of research, and quality of service in the midst of tremendous challenges and changes.

"I know we are up to these challenges.  I have seen breathtaking innovation from CWU faculty and staff. We have peerless leaders on this campus, and I have seen their transformational impact on this community," said Gaudino. "We've become stronger when circumstances predicted we would not. We have succeeded where other universities have not. We have even surprised ourselves with our success."

Stream the video recording at

Read the full text of the president's address here.


Media Contact: Linda Schactler, Executive Director of Public Affairs, 509-963-1384,

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