Western Washington University will host four award-winning children’s and young adult book authors and illustrators from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27, at Western’s Performing Arts Center as part of Western’s 13th Annual Children’s Literature Conference.

The conference brings together teachers, librarians, readers, and writers to celebrate children’s literature and reflect on how children’s books shape the experience of growing up.

This year’s speakers include: Peter Brown, Cynthia Lord, Melissa Sweet, and Gene Luen Yang, who was just named the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by the Library of Congress. Yang is the first graphic novelist to receive the honor since the post was created in 2008.

In honor of Yang’s recognition, the early bird registration deadline for the conference has been extended to midnight on Monday, Jan. 25.

Registration is open and available through the conference website at  The cost to attend is $125 if registered before the early bird deadline of Monday, Jan. 25, or $175 after the early bird deadline. Discounts are available for students, para-professionals, retired teachers, or groups. Clock hours are also available.

The day will include author and illustrator presentations, book sales and autographs, a question-and-answer panel, and an announcement of the 2017 visiting speakers.

Video by Dylan Nelson / WWU Communications and Marketing intern

This past fall, Western students from Woodring College’s Secondary Education department dove head first into teaching as they entered their first quarter in the program. For their class, an introduction to general teaching methods, the Western students had the opportunity to work with sixth-grade students as pre-service teachers at Whatcom Middle School.  

They spent fall quarter working with classes and in the library, where they were able to take a hands-on approach to teaching and were given the chance to practice course concepts in a real classroom.

Lauren McClanahan and Don Burgess, both Secondary Education professors at Woodring, were able to help their students gain real world experience by conducting their class on-site at Whatcom Middle School. McClanahan believes that this new approach to teaching their general methods course was beneficial for both the Western pre-service students and the sixth graders.

“By seeing (and being seen) how a school community operates, our students are better prepared to face the challenges that teaching presents.  For many of our students, this "early and often" approach to working in classrooms further solidifies their desire to teach,” she said.

The students planned and taught eight lessons, surrounding the structural theme of Carol Dweck’s book “Mindset.” The days that the students were not teaching in the classroom they spent in the middle school library, planning for their next lesson.

Although McClanahan says this is a new approach to teaching the general methods course, she wants to be clear that this model is not an exception in the Secondary Education department, but more often the rule.

“We value providing our students--from their first quarter in the program to their last--plenty of opportunities to interact with middle and high school students and schools,” she said.

McClanahan was able to capture the experiences of the pre-service students, and produce a video that displays how beneficial and exciting the program is for first-quarter students.

“I hope you might find time to watch this video produced by Lauren McClanahan.  It demonstrates the power of the residency experiences for secondary education candidates.  It’s a wonderful testimony to the importance of school-university collaborations,” said Francisco Rios, the dean of Woodring College of Education.

Western's men's and women's basketball teams will each have a game televised on ROOT sports this month.

The women's team will face off against St. Martin's on Wednesday, Jan. 13 in Lacey; tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. The women's team is 9-5, with a 5-1 record in the GNAC.

The men's televised game will be against arch-rival Central Washington University in Ellensburg at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23. The men's team is currently 9-6 with a 3-3 record in conference play.

Here's this year's institutional 30-second PSA that will be shown during each game (turn on sound/speakers to hear).

This month’s episode of Western Window is hosted by Chris Roselli of the WWU Alumni Association and Al Dowling, a student at Western. The following is the story lineup for this episode:

  1. What’s New in CBE? – Craig Dunn, interim dean of Western’s College of Business and Economics, talks about the new interdisciplinary focus of the curriculum in the college. (1:05)
  2. Spotlight on Scholarship – A Look inside Scholar’s Week, an annual celebration allowing Western students to display and celebrate undergraduate research at Western, from Anthropology to Zoology and everything in between. (5:50)
  3. Time to Shine – Western’s “Gems Night Out” program aims to attract girls in grades 3-8 to explore science and technology with the goal of seeding an appreciation for the disciplines that could result in them focusing on science-related majors in college and careers afterwards. (11:14)
  4. Learning to Clean Up – Students in Western’s Huxley College of the Environment are learning more about toxic contamination in places like the Hanford Nuclear Reservation and how these sites can be cleaned and remediated and the many factors that go into real-life cleanup of toxic sites. (16:19)
  5. Natural Happiness – How important are the outdoors to Western students? Here’s what a few of them had to say as they reflect on how nature impacts their happiness. (23:20)

The award-winning documentary film 'Out of Nothing' will spend a week at the Pickford Film Center starting Friday, Nov. 20.

A number of Western Washington University students and alumni, including producer Andrew Lahmann, worked on the film's production. Lahmann co-produced the film with Ryan Stiles.

The documentary film has been picked up for worldwide distribution by Studio Canal and ESPN. Because so many of the film's crew is from Bellingham, they have been allowed by their L.A. agents and distributors to hold a special five-day advanced run of the film in town, Lahmann said.

The film follows four local men as they set out to conquer the world records of land speed racing on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, using homemade motorcycles they built on extremely low budgets here in their garages. The movie is less about motorcycles, and more of an inspirational story about working hard to follow your dreams.

Aside from acquiring distribution, the film is fresh off a win for Best of Festival and Best Documentary in New York and London, respectively. The entire musical score was composed in Bellingham, and students from WWU Symphony Orchestra were brought in to record on the soundtrack. All of the original lyrical songs from the film were also written and recorded specifically for the story by local Bellingham bands.

Students participating in the Asia University America Program will share their traditions, games and food during Japan Night, a free event held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 13, in the Viking Union Multipurpose Room.

The event is an opportunity for WWU-AUAP Japanese exchange students to connect with the Western community. Western faculty, staff and students are invited to participate and learn about Japanese culture.

The evening will feature a theme centered on the four seasons of the year. Homemade Japanese dishes will be shared, including yakisoba, veggie gyoza and dango. Participants can learn to write their names in Japanese, try on traditional clothing, and make an origami crane.

Twice a year, WWU-AUAP Japanese exchange students travel from Tokyo to Western for a five-month intensive English program. A new group of students will arrive winter quarter and organize another Japan Night in the spring.  

To learn more about Western’s Asia University America Program, please visit

Video URL

Secret agent Vincent Viking must stop a notorious group of cyber terrorists from hacking the U.S. military. Having exhausted all other options, he travels to the technology capital of the nation - the Pacific Northwest - in search for backup, but quickly learns there's a shortage of highly-trained cybersecurity professionals. What will happen to the country if no one pursues a cybersecurity degree? Secure your future with Western Washington University on the Peninsulas. 

Coming to Poulsbo in 2016-2017.

"Around Kitsap," a television show from Bremerton Kitsap Access Television, recently featured West Sound CoderDojo, a program that offers free programming classes for kids age 8 to 18, hosted by the Western Washington University Center in Olympic College, Poulsbo.

The CoderDojo movement is a global movement of free, volunteer-led, community based programming clubs for young people. Students learn how to code, develop websites, apps, programs, games and explore technology in an informal and creative environment. In addition to learning to code attendees meet like-minded people and are exposed to the possibilities of technology. There is a focus on community, peer learning, youth mentoring and self-led learning, with an emphasis on showing how coding is a force for change in the world.

Experience levels range from beginner to advanced and participation is always free.

For more information, visit

The Department of Physical Education, Health, and Recreation at Western Washington University recently changed its name to the Department of Health and Human Development in order to emphasize the goals and outcomes of its programs in kinesiology/physical education, health and recreation.

Video by Kyra Betteridge / WWU Communications and Marketing intern