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Perspectives

Task Forces to Evaluate Academic, Administrative Relationships with Urban Campuses

April 11, 2014

It has been 25 years since the Washington Legislature approved creation of Washington State University campuses at Spokane, the Tri-Cities and Vancouver. Created primarily to improve higher education access for residents throughout the state, our urban campuses have grown dramatically in size and scope in the past quarter century. Every year, they serve more students, offer more academic programs, conduct more research, and have more economic impact in their individual regions of the state. They are integral to the overall success of our great institution.

In addition, they and the WSU Pullman campus have evolved to the point where it makes sense to re-visit the academic and administrative relationships among all of the campuses. To that end, Interim Provost Dan Bernardo and I have approved the creation of two task forces to review our current policies and procedures and make recommendations about whether or how those need to change.

The Urban Campus Academic Issues Identification Committee will discuss and inventory all of the academic issues on urban campuses that grow out of our “one university statewide” model. This group’s focus will be quite broad and include areas such as academic program approval, graduate education delivery, tenure and promotion and annual reviews.

The WSU Administrative Systems and Operations Task Force will focus on how to gain efficiencies and increased effectiveness by clarifying whether various administrative processes should be centralized at the Pullman campus or decentralized at the individual urban campuses. The task force work will focus on issues ranging from purchasing and IT support to marketing and student services.

Vice Provost Brian Pitcher will lead both groups, and membership for the task forces draws upon faculty and staff at all levels from all four campuses.

I thank all involved for their willingness to address issues that, in many ways, reflect the maturity and quality of our statewide system of higher education delivery. The results of their work will help guide how that system evolves for the next 25 years and beyond.