The Dean’s Lecture Series takes faculty expertise and knowledge from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences into the community in an ongoing effort to foster closer connections, share intriguing and timely information, and inspire conversation.

Firelight on the River: Siberia's Ket People and Ancient North America

Professor Edward Vajda provided audience members with a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at his original fieldwork with Ket elders during six different trips to Siberia over the past two decades. His presentation included stunning photos of traditional and modern Ket lifeways as a backdrop to historical, linguistic and anthropological discoveries. The Kets are proving to be the oldest inhabitants of northern Asia, and their language, with its unique word tones and complicated verb prefix system, appears related to languages spoken in North America by the Tlingit and Dene (Athabaskan) peoples.

Dr. Edward Vajda has been a professor in Western Washington University's Department of Modern and Classical Languages since 1987. He teaches courses in introductory linguistics, morphological theory, historical linguistics, Russian language, folklore and culture, and Eurasia's nomadic peoples. His research focuses on the languages of Northern Asia and includes original fieldwork with Ket, a severely endangered language spoken today only by a few dozen elders in the remote Yenisei River basin.

Presented by Dr. Jay Teachman, Professor of Sociology at Western Washington University

Currently more than 21 million veterans live in the United States, which equates to about 10 percent of the population age 17 and older. These veterans have served during times of peace and during times of war, but they have all dedicated a portion of their lives to the service of their country. A growing body of literature has begun to outline the consequences of military service for the lives of veterans, yet our knowledge remains fragmented. In particular, it is difficult to understand the scope of effects of military service and how these effects may have changed over time.

Presented by Dr. Kevin Leonard, Professor of History at Western Washington University

In September 1925, a Bellingham judge removed 9-year-old Russell Tremain from the custody of his parents, who had refused to send their son to school. John W. Tremain and his wife, Ethel Tremain, insisted that the mandatory flag salute was incompatible with their religious beliefs. Even as local community leaders condemned John and Ethel Tremain, they struggled with the presence of the Ku Klux Klan in Whatcom County. In his presentation, Leonard will explore the tensions between religious freedom and patriotic nativism that were evident in Bellingham in the 1920s.

Presented by Dr. Jun San Juan, Assistant Professor of Kinesiology, Physical Education, Health & Recreation Department

Running is becoming an increasingly popular activity with participation noted at all age levels. The increase in both participation and increased frequency of training can lead to significantly increased exposure to running-related injuries, most notably in the lower extremities. In his presentation, Jun San Juan will discuss multiple factors that can contribute to running-related injuries.


Presented by Dr. Michael Fraas, Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Western Washington University

Concussion in sports has gained a great deal of attention in the media. Should athletes, parents, and educators be concerned about the safety of young athletes? This presentation will explain the impact of concussion, and highlight ways to effectively treat concussion symptoms and safely return athletes to competition and the classroom.

Presented by Sheila Webb, Associate Professor of Journalism at Western Washington University.

Presented by David Sattler, Professor of Psychology at Western Washington University.

Presented by Kathryn Trueblood, Associate Professor of English at WWU.

WWU Professor Ira Hyman discusses his research into the relationship between cell phone use and "Inattentional Blindness."

Michael Karlberg discusses the Bahá’í community in Iran, which has suffered from waves of violent oppression for over 150 years.