CWU News

CWU Names 2019 Distinguished Professors, Celebrates Faculty Excellence

Central Washington University’s Board of Trustees have recognized Matthew Altman, Nathalie Kasselis, and Yukari Amos as this year’s Distinguished Professors.

The awards honor professors who excel in teaching, research, artistic accomplishment, and public service. Honorees names are placed on a continuing plaque and each receive a $2,500 monetary award.

All three were recognized for their achievements by the Board of Trustees during the May 16 meeting and honored during the annual Faculty Recognition Ceremony and Reception on May 20 in the CWU Student Union Recreation Center (SURC) Ballroom.

The three 2019 distinguished faculty were acknowledged for the awards listed below. Recipients of each award are listed along with details on why they earned the honor.

Distinguished Faculty of Service
Matthew Altman - Philosophy and Religious Studies
Matthew AltmanMatthew Altman joined the tenure-track faculty at CWU in 2009. Altman’s service record is said to be exemplary--benefiting those on campus, residents of Central Washington, and those within his profession. His record is noteworthy in terms of quantity and scope, but is particularly distinguished by his election to numerous leadership roles within service activities. 
At the department level, Altman served as chair of philosophy and religious studies, where he was recognized as the College of Arts and Humanities Outstanding Chair. He was also recognized with an Academic Service Learning Award for his support and inclusion of community-based learning in teaching.

At the university level, Altman was director of the Douglas Honors College from 2009-2013, during which time enrollment grew fivefold.

Altman serves on numerous university committees, making impacts in curriculum, campus culture, and labor-management. At the same time he engages in the community by serving as a member of the Medical Ethics Committee at Kittitas Valley Healthcare and serving a 6-year term as commissioner on the Public Hospital District 1 Board of Commissioners.

Distinguished Faculty of Teaching
Nathalie Kasselis - World Languages and Cultures
Nathalie KasselisNathalie Kasselis joined CWU’s faculty as an assistant professor in 1996, where she soon became a favorite among both students and colleagues. She has taught no less than 39 different courses, most of them in the world languages department, but also in the Douglas Honors College. Thirty-nine separate and unique courses is more than anyone else in world languages has taught and arguably more than anyone else at CWU.

She has taught courses in Spanish language and culture, Latin American culture, French language and French culture, cinema, and translation. Recently she won funding for, and then implemented a new certificate program.

Kasselis has brought the scholarship of her students into the community and region. Her students translate materials for multiple organizations including the Ellensburg Early Learning Coalition, Ellensburg Parks and Recreation, HopeSource, Ellensburg School District, the Shady Acres Association, and Apoyo Food Bank. She has also led multiple study abroad trips abroad, fostering diversity and diverse experiences among her students.

Distinguished Faculty of Research/Artistic Accomplishment
Yukari Amos - Education, Development, Teaching and Learning

Yukari Amos is a professor in the Department of Education, Development, Teaching and Learning, where she teaches in the English as a Second Language/Bilingual Education program.

Yukari Amos

Amos is an internationally-recognized, prolific and engaged scholar. Last year alone she authored a book and co-edited two others. During her 13 years at CWU, Amos has been the sole author or lead co-author of 12 articles, 13 book chapters and 6 other works.

The breadth of Amos’ research covers contributions to scholarly literature as well as impacts to the discipline, profession, and K-12 schools. This work has concentrated in three key areas: the journey of LatinX teachers and teacher candidates; diversity in children’s literature; and understanding of comparative education, especially in Japan and the United States.

Faculty Promotions/Honors
The ceremony also celebrated faculty promotions, tenure, senior lecturers as well as faculty awarded emeritus status. Download the program, for a complete list of honorees.

For more information on the CWU faculty recognition ceremony contact Della Gonzales, in the Associate Provost Office at, 509-963-1413.

Media contact: Dawn Alford, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-1484,