CWU News

CWU Board of Trustees Approve Two New Degrees

At its recent board meeting, Central Washington University’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved establishing a new Bachelor of Science degree in Entrepreneurship and Bachelor of Arts degree in Deaf and Sign Language Studies.


“These two new majors allow Central to continue to be the leader in offering academic programs that students need and want,” said Lynn Franken, CWU’s interim provost and vice president for academic and student life. “Both are in response to industry demand.”


The BS in Entrepreneurship, spurred by a $460,000 grant from the Herbert B. Jones Foundation, allows the university to create a degree program for individuals seeking entrepreneurship education. It will prepare students with the knowledge, skill-sets, and experience to develop their own commercial enterprises.


Washington state already has seven university-level entrepreneurship education programs. The new major allows Central to remain competitive with other institutions in providing a substantial outlet for individuals seeking entrepreneurship education. Additionally, the degree encourages students to pursue mentorships and make industry contacts that can help them establish support networks that can prove beneficial in future endeavors.


“The new Entrepreneur program allows the College of Business to serve as an incubator for new and innovative ideas,” said Jeffrey Stinson, dean of the College of Business. “One of the most unique aspects of our program is that all students do start a business, so they put in practice what they learn in the classroom.”


The BA in Deaf and Sign Language Studies will be the first such program offered in Washington state. It was developed in response to the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf and the Center for the Assessment of Sign Language recently adding a BA degree requirement.


“The demand for the program is obvious as the number of American Sign Language (ASL) minors at Central has more than doubled since 2013,” noted Taralynn Petrites, ASL program coordinator. “The demand for individuals trained in ASL in the state of Washington is so critical that in 2019, the Washington state legislature proposed a grant program to increase the number of sign language interpreter programs available to higher education students in the state.”


Both of the new majors previously were recommended for approval by the CWU Faculty Senate, which must evaluate and approve all new majors, minors, specializations, and certificates before they are forwarded for final approval to the Board of Trustees.


CWU Board of Trustees media contact: Richard Moreno, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-2714,