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Association for Faculty Women News and Notes

News and Notes

Newsletter from AFW President

Greetings colleagues,

I hope this finds you well. We have a full program of Spring events scheduled. Some are face-to-face, and some are online, to better connect between campuses. Please see our events page here for more detail:

Also, we are partnering with the Graduate School’s Professional Development Initiative for a discussion of Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants. Date TBA.

Calls for nominations will go out this week for the AFW Grad Awards and Sam Smith Awards. Also, not affiliated with AFW but potentially of interest: the Yang Liu (Wendy) Excellence in Teaching Award recognizes a faculty member at WSU who excels in teaching/supporting the international community (deadline Friday, Feb. 18).

I want to share this video from Faculty Workload and Rewards Project, an NSF-funded study about how faculty workload is taken up, assigned, and rewarded.
“How can departments foster fair and equitable faculty workloads?”
Faculty are more satisfied, committed, and productive if work is assigned and rewarded fairly.

If you have yet to complete your annual review, note that Activity Insight now includes four new items with text boxes for open-ended responses regarding these areas: High-Impact Practices; Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access; Community Engagement, and Internationalization. They can be found in the WSU Institutional Priorities screen, by clicking “Add New” and then, under the first text box “Review Year,” typing “2021.” This page has been added because faculty have been concerned that certain types of work are not recognized or valued. The administration values work in these areas and wants to highlight them. These categories are optional, not mandatory.

As this newsletter comes to you on Valentine’s Day, there are some touching photos of WSU love stories up on WSU’s FB page. These represent just a few of the couples who met at WSU.

Also, the best six minutes of my morning were spent watching the Indigenous Love Words Project. People from around the world sent in their responses to the question, “How do you say ‘I love you’ in your Indigenous language?”

Remember, you are loved and needed.

Melissa Parkhurst
AFW President

Jo Washburn and Mary Wack Receive 2020 Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award

This year AFW honored two recipients of the AFW’s Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award: Jo Washburn and Mary Wack.  Both Jo and Mary serve as role models and exemplars of effective leadership.  They each have made long-lasting impacts at WSU for the betterment of all.  

Photo of Jo Washburn taken in 1975 for a short write-up about Jo being the Women’s Intercollegiate Athletics director.

Jo Washburn was a champion for gender equity in athletics.  She was part of the group that sued WSU (and won) in 1979 to ensure that women athletes received equal resources promised under state and federal law.  Jo, a founding AFW member and WSU Athletics Hall of Fame member, passed away in September.  We posthumously award Jo Washburn with the Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award with deep gratitude for her bravery, tenacity, and advocacy that paved the road for so many within and outside of WSU.   

We also recognize Mary Wack with the Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award for her deep and sustained commitment to the advancement of women at WSU.  In her service as the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, we have all benefited from Mary’s steady and deeply thoughtful leadership.  As several of her nominators shared, her impact on undergraduate education at WSU is profound and far reaching.  By example and guidance, Mary has steered us all during the COVID-19 pandemic to center both excellence and compassion in our instruction.  Finally, Mary dedicates significant efforts mentoring women in leadership at WSU providing them advice, solutions, key information, and regular collegial encouragement. 

Photo of Mary Wack

AFW will host a virtual ceremony honoring both Jo Washburn and Mary Wack on December 9th, 2020 at 12:00pm. If you wish to join us, then please email for the Zoom connection information or you can register for the event here: The Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award was established in 2000 to show AFW’s appreciation to President Emeritus Smith for his leadership in advancing the role of women at WSU.

Catherine “Katie” Cooper Receives 2019 Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award

Photo of Katie Cooper
Photo of Katie Cooper, Recipient of the Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award

Dr. Catherine “Katie” Cooper, Associate Professor in the School of the Environment, is the winner of the 2018-19 Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award from the Washington State University Association for Faculty Women (AFW).

She was virtually acknowledged during the Celebrating Excellence Recognition Banquet, part of WSU’s annual Showcase celebration of faculty, staff and student excellence. See

The award recognizes “an AFW member whose leadership has advanced the role of women in the WSU system and/or who has demonstrated leadership in higher education, the community or her profession at the local, state, regional, national or international level.” It was established in 2000 to show AFW’s appreciation to former President Smith for his leadership in advancing the role of women at WSU.

Professor Cooper is a respected scholar, award-winning teacher, and champion of women and underrepresented minorities. She has led numerous groups that promote the advancement of women. She chairs the WSU Salary Study Task Force and has chaired the Commission on the Status of Women. She led a Women’s Leadership Conference in cooperation with the University of Idaho. She also serves as the Association of Faculty Women (AFW) liaison to the provost. In each of these roles, Cooper has advocated for change to advance diversity, equity, and inclusiveness.

Cooper is a role model for female students in the geosciences, a discipline with few women at the forefront. She advises and mentors students across the University and donated her time to serve as faculty advisor to the LGBTQ+ Diversity in STEM student group. Outside WSU, Cooper is a popular speaker for community programs, including those serving girls in STEM disciplines.

Bryan Slinker, provost, and Laura Hill, vice provost for faculty development and affairs shared this about Katie: “Katie has…effectively advocated for changes in a number of policies that will make academic life more equitable for women… If we had to choose someone to stand shoulder to shoulder with in battle, we would choose Katie in a heartbeat.”

Association for Faculty Women Honors 2020 Outstanding Graduate Students

The Association for Faculty Women’s Outstanding Graduate Student Awards recognize exceptional performance in academics, teaching and mentoring, and service and outreach, as well as leadership qualities and professional potential. A full description of the awards is here: while a full description of award winners is here: Congratulations to this year’s awardees!


The Harriett B. Rigas Award: Xinyue Dong, Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Nominator and Advisor: Zhenjia Wang.



AFW Founders’ Award:  Ashley Quast, Fine Arts, College of Arts and Sciences. Nominator: Squeak Meisel. Advisor: Reza Safavi.



AFW Founders’ Award:  Julian Ankney, English, College of Arts and Sciences. Nominator and Advisor: Debbie Lee.




The Karen P. DePauw Leadership Award: Lindsay Lightner, Teaching and Learning, College of Education. Nominator: Judith Morrison. Advisor: Andy Cavagnetto.




The Karen P. DePauw Leadership Award: Shandeigh Berry, Nursing, College of Nursing. Nominator: Roschelle Fritz. Advisor: Gail O’Neal.




We appreciate the 2020 generous support of:

  • Bryan Slinker, Provost and Executive Vice President
  • Mel Netzhammer, Chancellor of the WSU Vancouver Campus
  • Matthew Jockers, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences
  • Bruce Pinkleton, Dean of the Edward Morrow College of Communication
  • Robert H. Mealey, Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine
  • John Tomkowiak, Dean of the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
  • Mike Trevisan, Dean of the College of Education
  • Chris Keane, Vice President for Research

Samuel H. Smith Award Leadership 2019 Award Nominations

Previous Award Recipients, from L to R: Lori Carris (2009), Sue Durrant (2000), Margaret Black (2013), Sam Smith, Laura Lavine (2015), Sheila Converse (2014), Katherine Lovrich (2012), Erica Austin (2008), Fran McSweeney (2001), Rebecca Craft (2011)

Deadline:  February 5, 2020

Nominations are being sought for AFW’s Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award. The Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award was established in 2000 to show AFW’s appreciation to President Emeritus Smith for his leadership in advancing the role of women at WSU. The award winner will be recognized at a special ceremony on March 4, 2020 at 5:30pm in the Honors Lounge to be followed by a reception, and at WSU’s Showcase in 2020. See additional links for an overview of the award and past award recipients.

The criteria for the award are as follows: “The recipient of the Award shall be an AFW member whose leadership has advanced the role of women in the Washington State University system and/or who has demonstrated leadership in higher education, the community, or her profession at the local, state, regional, national or international level.”

Nominations should consist of a statement (no more than 1-2 pages) outlining the contributions of the outstanding AFW member relative to the stated criteria, along with the nominee’s current Curriculum Vitae. Letters of support are welcome but not required. Compile all documents in a single PDF. Active and emeritus AFW members are eligible for the award.

Send nominations (in PDF format) via email to: Ana M. Rodríguez-Vivaldi