Dear Faculty and Staff:

Greetings from French Administration! I hope your fall semester is going smoothly as we approach the halfway point next month.

One of my favorite activities of the year is hosting town hall meetings for all of our colleges and campuses. Attendance at the gatherings earlier this month was up at almost all locations, and I appreciate the faculty, staff, and students who attended to learn more about our accomplishments, new initiatives, and the state of the university budget. In my October letter to the community, I will provide some highlights from the meetings and summarize the key questions that were asked during the Q&A periods.


At the September meeting of the Board of Regents, the regents approved my goals for the upcoming year. I believe it is important for me to share these with the broad University community so that you are aware of the topics I will focus on during the months ahead. These goals were set in collaboration with other WSU leaders to ensure we have a shared sense of responsibility in setting goals and a shared sense of accomplishment when we achieve success. The following are my approved goals for this year:

Financial operations

  • Modify the new budget process, taking into account feedback provided by the community
  • Continue the process of updating the WSU Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) effort to include selection of a vendor
  • Grow the open-source materials efforts to help address student affordability concerns
  • Put in place a balanced budget for every unit for the 2017–18 academic year
  • Develop a plan to reduce redundancy throughout the WSU system
    Meet the target deficit reduction goal of $20M

Student affairs

  • Continue efforts and initiatives related to student safety and the student experience (e.g., substance abuse, violence prevention, residential safety, and transportation)


  • Continue the financial strategy announced in 2016 to bring expenses and revenues in balance within the next 3 fiscal years, including achievement of our target deficit of $7.9M

Leadership team development

  • Complete the national search to identify the next vice president for advancement and CEO of the WSU Foundation
  • Complete the national search to identify the next WSU Tri-Cities chancellor
  • Make sure that each member of the President’s Cabinet participates in a professional development opportunity


  • Send a monthly update letter to the campus communities
  • Send a monthly update (and more frequent updates, as needed) to WSU Regents
  • Use social media (including Snapchat) to engage with faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends
  • Provide WSU updates at town hall-style meetings held for each academic unit (college) and campus during fall semester
  • Work with University Communications to develop and implement a daily online newsletter to advance internal communications
  • Visit each campus (Everett, Spokane, Tri-Cities, Vancouver) on a quarterly basis

Strategic planning

  • Identify 10–12 key metrics to measure progress in our Drive to 25, the initiative to advance the University to recognized status as a top 25 public research university by 2030
  • Create 3-year action plans for each of the 11 metrics that will measure progress in the Drive to 25
  • Develop and launch the “Seattle Initiative,” a 10-year plan to increase WSU’s engagement with and presence in the greater Seattle area
  • Advance the INTO initiative (recruitment of international students) and achieve year one enrollment goals
  • Launch 5 new Global Campus degree programs


  • Initiate the recommendations of a recent study to enhance WSU’s commercialization activities
  • Continue to enhance the University’s high-performance computing capabilities
  • Invest additional funds in WSU libraries to preserve access to periodicals
  • Further enhance research partnerships with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Town-gown relationships

  • Finalize plans for expansion of the Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport
  • Develop a plan for the continued evolution of downtown Pullman that aligns with University aspirations

Fundraising and alumni relations

  • Begin planning for the University’s third comprehensive fundraising campaign
  • Raise in excess of $110M for the 2017–18 year, including $90M in philanthropic gifts
  • Develop enhanced relationships with 5 new strategic corporate partners
  • Complete 4 out-of-state development visits

Legislative advocacy

  • Create a monthly publication focused on joint UW-WSU research projects as part of the effort to continue advancing relationships between the 2 institutions

Academic affairs

  • Successfully complete the 2018 accreditation visit by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Initiate a University program to increase the recognition of and awards given to faculty

Diversity and inclusion

  • Hire an associate vice president of community, equity, and inclusive excellence
  • Rewrite Executive Policy 15 to modernize WSU policies addressing speech on campus
  • Develop and implement a hiring plan to increase the number of faculty and staff of color
  • Develop and implement cultural competency training for incoming students, faculty, and staff

Enjoy the cooler weather as fall settles into the Palouse. I continue to feel energized as we move deeper into the semester and look forward to another year of serving as your president.

Go Cougs!