CWU News

CWU professor receives statewide citizenship recognition

Central Washington University philosophy professor Cynthia Coe is among five honorees, selected from among the state’s six public universities and college, to receive a 2017 Representative Timm Ormsby Award for Faculty Citizenship.

Coe was selected, in part, because of her involvement with workshops for Ellensburg School District teachers and staff on gender identity issues and terminology, vulnerabilities of transgender and gender-nonconforming children and adolescents, and what schools can do to make every student feel accepted and safe. 

Coe, who has been at Central since 2003, specializes in contemporary critical race and feminist theory, European and 19th Century philosophy, and the philosophy of history. She was at the forefront of adding a diversity requirement to the philosophy major requiring students enroll in at least one course in traditions and ideas apart from those based on the history of Western philosophy. The goal is to further prepare CWU students to fully participate in a world of diverse ideas and perspectives.

With an interest in how people are influenced by personal feelings, tastes, and opinions, she has published numerous articles on those subjects, as well as two books: The Fractured Self in Freud and German Philosophy and Intrigues of Time: [Emmanuel] Levinas and the Trauma of Responsibility.

Between 2009 and 2012, she also served on the American Philosophical Association’s Committee on the Status of Women, helping lead conversations on how to empower women in graduate programs and diversify philosophy coursework.

Coe, who has directed the university’s Women’s and Gender Studies program, works to motivate students, faculty, staff, and the community to think critically about assumptions on gender, identity, and justice through her academic expertise, ethics, and feminist philosophy.

Coe was named the university Distinguished Professor of Service in 2015 and has received the College of Arts and Humanities (CAH) Outstanding Faculty Research Award, CAH Outstanding Faculty Service Award, and CWU Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award.

Coe’s newest honor is named for state Rep. Timm Ormsby, a Democrat from Spokane, to recognize his promotion of civic leadership statewide. Created in 2013, and sponsored by the Washington Council of Faculty Representatives, it recognizes, honors—and is meant to encourage—civic engagement by faculty, apart from their typically required service.

Media contact: Robert Lowery, director of Radio Services and Integrated Communications, 509-963-1487,

May 9, 2017