Make a difference support CSE donate now



Why make a gift to the College of Science and Engineering (CSE)?

Your gift will help provide the best possible learning experience for our students by supporting student research, conference presentations, scholarships, faculty and program support, technical equipment and cutting edge technology.

WWU has a national reputation for high quality, hands on research and learning opportunities for its students. CSE is a shining star amongst its fellow colleges, boasting seven departments and two multidisciplinary programs. Our faculty participate directly in the classroom and laboratory instruction of our students in programs that emphasize independent student scholarship and the development of creative and innovative thinking.

Graduates from our departments and programs are prepared for a wide variety of professional opportunities in each of the disciplinary areas are ideally prepared for pre-professional programs that require scientific and technical backgrounds.

Fundraising Priorities

Fundraising Priorities for the College of Science and Engineering

Western’s College of Science and Engineering (CSE) consists of seven departments (Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering and Design, Geology, Mathematics, and Physics and Astronomy) and two academic programs (the Advanced Materials Science and Engineering Center (AMSEC) and Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education (SMATE)). CSE is currently striving to advance a number of strategic priorities. Opportunities for supporting the college and its programs and departments in reaching these critical goals include:

Student Success

  • Summer or academic year undergraduate and graduate research awards. The hands-on involvement of students in research is a hallmark distinguishing and high-impact feature of CSE’s programs. The limiting factor for student engagement in research is funding to support the student and other ancillary project needs.
  • Student conference travel. Dissemination of research results to the wider scientific community is a cornerstone of the scientific process, and is an unparalleled professional development opportunity for students engaged in research at all levels.
  • Scholarships. Scholarships at all levels are a high priority. A particular need exists for retention scholarships, as well as recruitment scholarships for students with high financial need, as well as students who are underrepresented in our programs.
  • Learning Assistant (LA) program. LAs are undergraduates who provide support for learning in interactive classrooms. LA programs have been shown to be highly impactful in terms of student learning outcomes, retention, and the training of future teachers.
  • Expanded training for teaching assistants. As an institution that cares deeply about instructional excellence, training of the graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants that work closely with our students to support their learning is critical.
  • Dean’s fund. This fund, which is the college’s only flexible foundation account, provides critical, nimble support for the dean's and the college's highest strategic priorities, including new initiatives and emergent student, faculty, and programmatic needs.

Faculty Success

  • Advanced technical equipment and computational and scientific instrumentation. Opportunities to acquire cutting-edge equipment are limited. Funds to be used for the purchase of items, or as matching grant funds, is a high priority.
  • Named faculty/staff awards. Honoring the outstanding faculty and staff in the college is important for supporting our excellent colleagues and improving competitiveness for external awards. Currently, we have limited award opportunities, and tend to have limited eligibility requirements that exclude some valued members of our community.
  • Endowed faculty/chair positions. Endowed faculty/chair positions are an important and effective mechanism for attracting, retaining, and supporting faculty that elevate the profile and impact of the institution in critical areas. An endowed chair also offers a uniquely meaningful opportunity to honor the donor who establishes the position.
  • Professional development opportunities for faculty. Best practices for all areas of faculty life, including effective and equitable instruction, grant-writing, student support, and other areas never stop evolving, but staying up-to-date requires access to professional development opportunities.
  • Named speaker series. Bringing distinguished speakers to campus serves several strategic needs of the college – increasing the visibility of our programs, as well as graduate student recruitment and opportunities for our graduating students, and is an excellent opportunity for students to interact with diverse subject-matter experts.

Department and Program Priorities

The priorities listed above can be implemented college-wide, or directed to support a specific department or program. In addition, the following top department- and program-specific priorities have been identified:


  • Specific instrumentation. AMSEC maintains a state-of-the-art instrument center and provides free access and staff support to WWU students and faculty conducting materials-related research. AMSEC’s current instrument priority wish list includes: Dynamic Mechanical Analyzer ($150k), Environmental simulation chamber ($20k), Transmission Electron Microscope ($1.5M), X-ray fluorescence analyzer ($200k).
  • Establishment of an MS degree program in Materials Science. To meet the demand in Washington state for qualified graduates prepared to enter materials-related industries, AMSEC has proposed a two-phased approach to provide access to graduate education in Materials Science at WWU. Phase 1: Accelerated 4+1 BS/MS Program. Phase 2: Interdisciplinary 2-yr MS Program in Materials Science.


  • Specific instrumentation. Support is sought for computing resources - big data analyses require extensive computing power which is used by both researchers and students in the classroom - and for specific instrumentation for different biological disciplines; microscopy, DNA analysis, water filtration, -80C sample storage, etc. Endowed fund for repair and replacement of critical instrumentation used for either classroom or laboratories.


  • Specific instrumentation. Support is sought for several instruments: (1) Fluorescence Spectrophotometer (<$100K), (2) 400 MHz NMR Spectrometer ($400K), (3) Cryogenic - 80C freezers ($15K/freezer). These instruments serve to characterize the structure and environment of molecules of all types (small organics, inorganic complexes, polymers, biological macromolecules). The Chemistry Department commonly leverages each instrument for lab-based courses as well as central tools for research purposes.

Computer Science

  • Data Center: Housing for servers that support graphical and compute resources for both CS and the college is at its limit. Consequently, these resources are currently spread across multiple locations on campus. Computer Science seeks support to increase server space and GPU nodes to advance the research among faculty and students, which will increase the awareness and prestige of Western's position in regional, state, and national computational sciences, which also serves to attract high-tier faculty and prospective students.

Engineering and Design

  • After-hours laboratory access. Our dedicated and passionate engineering students would work day and night in the laboratories if given the opportunity. To ensure safety and access to the facilities on evenings and weekends, an after-hours technician position is desired for the department.


  • Student Support. Specific goals for student support include establishing a scholarship fund for our field mapping courses and other capstone experiences, to continue to provide support for student travel to conferences, and to further enhance support for our graduate program in Geology.
  • Program Support. Specific goals include faculty support for research, service and development activities in the form of named faculty endowments, and enhancement of the department’s general support fund for a range of activities. Important needs for modern research and teaching facilities, including advanced equipment, laboratory support, and dedicated geoscience infrastructure are also goals for enhanced support.


  • Mathematics Department General Fund. This is the Math Department’s flexible account. This fund is used in a variety of ways to support student and faculty success and the department’s programs, including scholarships and support for student and faculty professional travel. Further examples include computer hardware and professional specialized mathematical software necessary for research and for preparing our students for technical careers; materials for our math education lab, where future teachers learn mathematics content and pedagogical practices in an active learning environment; support for activities of student clubs and the Math Center, where students can get tutoring in calculus and more advanced math classes from the Math Fellows, a group of outstanding undergraduate students who play a critical role in the department; and support for research visits and guest speakers.

Physics and Astronomy

  • Complete Endowment of the Max Knittel Scholarship. Max Knittel is a long-time beloved staff member who retired in 2019 after 44 years of service to Western. In his honor, we seek to complete the endowment ($20k) of a scholarship in support of students interested in experimental physics.
  • Junior Lab Experimental Equipment: In their junior year, physics majors take an intensive, lab-based course that builds their expertise with technical and scientific equipment, experimental techniques, and data analysis. Many alumni report that this course was a critical foundation for their subsequent careers in technical fields like optics, materials science, and medical physics. We seek support to maintain and expand the experimental equipment available in this lab, so students may gain experience with the latest experimental techniques in nuclear, optical, and quantum physics.


  • STEM teacher preparation program. SMATE is committed to preparing the highest quality STEM teachers, as well as working toward a more diverse STEM teacher workforce. We have seen decreasing enrollments in our teacher preparation courses as students opt for shorter credentialing programs that are mostly online. We propose to build and sustain pathways that eliminate current bottlenecks, while maintaining quality.