Aligning our actions with the core values that we as an institution embrace – citizenship, civility, respect, safety, and security – is critical to our effectiveness as a teaching and learning enterprise. The Commission on Campus Climate, composed of Washington State University faculty, students, and staff, as well as members of the Pullman community, has provided a clear roadmap for fostering that alignment over the long haul.

I created the Commission to give shape to an institution-wide discourse regarding core values and to develop specific action steps to help improve the overall campus climate for every member of the campus community. Dr. A.G. Rud, Distinguished Professor in the WSU Department of Teaching and Learning and former dean of the College of Education, graciously agreed to serve as chair.

Under his capable leadership, the group developed a set of both educational and administrative recommendations. They range from relatively minor items that can be accomplished almost immediately to larger, long-range strategies that over time could truly change the fabric of our institution.

Key recommendations include:

  • Instituting cultural competency workshops for all faculty, staff, students, and administrators by using existing resources in Human Resource Services, the Diversity Education Program, and WSU Extension’s “Navigating Difference” program
  • Strengthen, simplifying, and publicizing the complaint process for bullying, sexual harassment, and discrimination
  • Implementing the “Green Dot” bystander violence prevention program community wide
  • Providing institutional support for ASWSU’s Cougar Choice certified housing program to support landlords willing to meet certain safety and security standards.

You can read the entire report here (PDF).

I have accepted all of the group’s recommendations and have asked Dean of Students Melynda Huskey, who is serving as interim vice president for student affairs, to lead in their implementation. A member of the commission herself, she has a deep understanding of the recommendations and of the resources that exist or that need to be marshaled to make them a reality.

I thank Dr. Rud and every member of the Commission for their dedication and diligence in tackling this important work. We will be a stronger, more inclusive, more effective institution as a result.