WWU part of new $15 million grant to study the Cascadia Subduction Zone

WWU geology faculty members Colin Amos and Emily Roland are contributing scientists in the Cascadia Region Earthquake Science Center, a new multi-institution earthquake research center to study the Cascadia Subduction Zone and bolster earthquake preparedness in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

The Cascadia Region Earthquake Science Center (CRESCENT), which will receive $15 million from the National Science Foundation over five years, will be the first center of its kind in the nation focused on earthquakes at subduction zones, where one tectonic plate slides beneath another.

CRESCENT, based at the University of Oregon, will unite scientists from 14 institutions and will advance earthquake research, foster community partnerships, and diversify and help train the next generation of geoscientists.

Amos and Roland will be part of the CRESCENT team tasked with developing a 3-D model of the subduction zone and the faults impacted by its activity.

Emily Roland and Colin Amos

WWU geology faculty Emily Roland and Colin Amos are contributing to a regional center studying subduction zone earthquakes. Photo by Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News. 

We Will Measure Our Success By:

Tenure/Tenure-track Faculty

  2021-21 2021-22 Target
Total Faculty  563 561 600-625
Percent Faculty of Color 20.6% 20.0% 18-23%

Students Graduating with High-Impact Experiences

  2020-21 2021-22 Target
Students Graduating with High-Impact Experiences 90.9%* 90.5%* 95%

(Student leadership, learning communities, study abroad, culminating senior experiences, or research/creative work outside of normal course requirements. * Calculation of High Impact Experience data was updated in 2023.)


  2020-21 2021-22 Target
Research and Sponsored Programs Annual Expenditures $13.5 million $13.5 million $15 million to 20 million



New Academic Offerings

Western launched several new educational offerings in 2022-23 to meet the changing needs of graduates, the state of Washington and the planet, including:

Critical Disabilities Studies: A new program focusing on the interdisciplinary academic study of disability as a social and cultural construct.

International Business German: Students will attend and earn bachelor’s degrees from WWU and Reutlingen University in Germany.

New Master in Teaching with a multilingual education emphasis, offered in South King County.

New electrical engineering concentrations: artificial intelligence and machine learning, wireless networking and signal processing and a custom option.

New minors: Arab American studies, climate change.

New certificates: ecological restoration and geographic information science.

an areal view of campus overlooking Bellingham Bay

Among the new offerings approved to begin in 2023-24 are a bachelor’s degree in natural resource management in Everett, Port Angeles and Poulsbo, minors in food security and policy, exercise science, linguistics and cognition, and South and Southeast Asian studies, and certificates in salmon restoration, sustainable tourism, and entrepreneurship and innovation.

New building planned for student support services

With design and construction funding recently approved by the State Legislature, work is underway on the Student Development and Success Center, which will provide a welcome center for prospective students and visitors, as well as a consolidated space for student support services.

Services to be co-located in the Student Development and Success Center will include student advising, counseling, career development and health and wellness services, creating a prominent “hub” for student support.

architectural rendering of the exterior of the proposed student center, a two-story building with large windows
architectural rendering of the interior of the student center, with a shiny polished floor, high ceilings and a wide staircase

Rose Una: The mathematics of climate science

Mathematics Outstanding Graduate Rose Una was immersed in mathematics research and mentorship at Western, both as a Computer Science/Math Scholar and as a Math Fellow.

With the help of the Jarvis Memorial Summer Research Award, Una spent two years researching the mathematics of modeling biological cell patterns and presented at the 2023 Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics. She also interned with the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, where she worked on improving NASA’s global climate models with the help of machine learning and
statistical benchmarking methods.

Next, Una is heading to graduate school at Oregon State University to study ocean, earth and atmospheric sciences, particularly the physical processes of climate change.

Rose Una stands smiling in a corn field