Faculty & Staff Insider

June 25, 2018

UW faculty engage with Washington communities during Faculty Field Tour

Each year, more than two dozen recently hired faculty from the University of Washington board a bus and tour the state of Washington, learning from diverse communities with the goal of better understanding our state.

This year’s UW Faculty Field Tour took place June 11–15 and gave new faculty members a chance to experience firsthand Washington’s rich culture, Native history, diversity, economics and geography. Together, they in Olympia, Vancouver, Ritzville, Spokane, Nespelem and Everett.

“This trip is an opportunity for new faculty to visit, listen to and learn from the places and people that define our state and from where our students come and often return,” says Thaisa Way, professor of landscape architecture and chair of the UW Faculty Senate.

Way and Edward Taylor, vice provost and dean of Undergraduate Academic Affairs at the UW, discussed the importance of the tour in a recent op-ed in The Spokesman-Review. The many perspectives and people on the tour encouraged faculty to connect with communities, potentially spurring new research and outreach activities that contribute to our state.

Stops on the tour included Mount St. Helens, the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic in Toppenish, the Washington State University Wine Science Center in Richland, the Grand Coulee Dam, the Nespelem School on the Colville Indian Reservation, and Boeing’s manufacturing facilities in Everett. In Spokane, faculty also met with students who will be coming to the UW this fall during the Welcome to Washington celebration.

“The tour was an excellent opportunity to connect with new colleagues and communities across the state,” says Joey Shapiro Key, assistant professor of physical sciences at UW Bothell. “The most impactful experiences for my work will be the UW collaboration with the LIGO Hanford Observatory and an introduction to the work of a UW Bothell colleague at the Nespelem School, where I hope to integrate astronomy and physics content into their math education project.”

Faculty on this year’s tour represented a range of disciplines and departments, including accounting, architecture, biology, children and youth services, civil and environmental engineering, culture, arts and communication, earth and space sciences, economics, genome sciences, Germanics, informatics, interdisciplinary arts and sciences, international studies, medical physics, microbiology, nursing and health studies, physical sciences, public health, rehabilitation medicine, Slavic languages and literatures, social work, special education, University Libraries and more.