October 2019

Dear Faculty and Staff:

Happy Halloween! I hope your day tomorrow is filled with treats rather than tricks. I still remember the excitement as a child of putting on my costume (which my mom often made) and trick or treating in our neighborhood. My biggest disappointment of the day happened after returning home and not being allowed to eat as much candy as I had planned.


I was very inspired by the University’s strategic plan visioning session on Monday. More than 650 faculty, staff, and students from more than 10 different locations around Washington offered thoughtful and heartfelt input as they envisioned our shared future. The participants enthusiastically engaged in conversations that will help us define how—as a statewide system—we can better serve the state of Washington going forward.

I appreciate the ongoing involvement of the WSU community throughout the strategic planning process. In addition to the visioning conference, more than 500 members of the community participated in our land grant symposium last May and more than 1,600 responses were submitted earlier this fall through our online survey, which focused on purpose, values, vision, goals, and assumptions. We have also hosted listening sessions, scheduled focus group sessions with students, and held ongoing discussions with members of the president’s cabinet and the college deans as part of the process of ensuring creation of a community-inclusive plan.

I encourage you to remain engaged in the process as we move forward during the next few months with the drafting, and then refining, of our system plan. You can stay updated on the latest developments through the strategic plan website.


As we plan together, I think it is important to note I submit a list of my goals and objectives to the WSU Regents each academic year that they formally approve at their September meeting. The list is typically long and detailed. Following a suggestion from the Regents last year, I have compiled a shorter list focused on big picture goals for this year.

I want to share these goals with you to provide a sense of how I will focus my attention in working with the University community during this academic year:

Goal 1
Create and implement an overarching, 5 year strategic plan for the WSU system that is directly tied to the University budget.

Goal 2
Continue to improve the fiscal health of the WSU system, resulting in an overall budget surplus by July 1, 2020.

Goal 3
Officially start major fundraising campaign No. 3 on July 1, 2019, with areas of strategic fundraising to be guided by the WSU strategic plan.

Goal 4
Develop and implement a 2 year plan focused on enhancing WSU’s presence in the Greater Seattle area and tie it to the University budget and philanthropic goals.

Goal 5
Develop and implement a joint academic affairs/student affairs student success initiative for WSU Pullman focused on increasing student retention and graduation rates across all student demographics.

Goal 6
Continue system wide implementation of the recommendations developed by the working groups of faculty, staff, and students focused on campus culture and climate issues.

Goal 7
Meet target spending levels for WSU Athletics for 2019–2020.

Goal 8
Continue leadership development for the WSU senior leadership team (chancellors, deans, and vice presidents) with consultant Jean Frankel to enhance strategic decision making, grow the team’s group leadership capabilities, and improve interpersonal communications.

Goal 9
Develop and implement a revised enrollment management plan for the WSU system.

Goal 10
Conduct a successful national search to identify WSU’s next provost and executive vice president.


As always, I welcome any questions or concerns you might have. I wish everyone the best as we enter the final third of the fall semester.

Go Cougs!
Kirk