As we gear up for an in‑person fall semester, I am delighted to announce that Dr. Elizabeth Chilton, WSU’s Provost and Executive Vice President, has accepted the role of WSU Pullman Chancellor, and will officially start in her new, dual role July 1, 2022.
In January of this year, I detailed a need to separate the role of the WSU System President and the WSU Pullman Chancellor. Like our other five campuses, the Pullman campus has a unique identity that is both separate from, and supports the success of, our WSU system. By combining the chancellor and provost roles, WSU will be able to maintain its commitment to academic excellence and student success. As I mentioned in my September 2020 campus letter, WSU Pullman is the system’s largest and most established campus, earning it the moniker of “flagship campus.” Dr. Chilton’s redefined role will capitalize on the expansive scholarship and research happening at the flagship campus, while preserving and enhancing the elements of the academic enterprise that have made WSU so successful.
Over the course of the summer, WSU’s Vice President for Human Resource Services and Chief Human Resource Officer, Theresa Elliot‑Cheslek, engaged each of our vice presidents in an exercise to help shape our organizational structure. This several weeks-long exercise took a deep dive into which roles and responsibilities were happening at the system level, and which were happening at the campus level. This crucial feedback helped to develop our new leadership structure, which will be implemented July 1, 2022.
The biggest changes of note, in addition to the appointment of the WSU Pullman Chancellor, is the change in reporting structure for Cougar Athletics, International Programs, the Office of Research, and the Division of Student Affairs. With this transition, Athletic Director Pat Chun, Vice President Asif Chaudhry, Vice President Chris Keane, and Vice President Mary Jo Gonzales will formally assume roles as WSU Pullman Vice Chancellors for their respective areas. Effective July 1, 2022, these four leaders will report to the WSU Pullman Chancellor. Appointing these area leaders to expanded roles that include a focus on WSU Pullman will allow our flagship campus to grow and maintain an identity that is separate from that of the WSU system.
Effective immediately, I have charged a team, led by the President’s and Provost’s offices, to manage the transition over the next year. Additionally, this team will be working with subgroups in Athletics, International Programs, Research, and Student Affairs to ensure a smooth and thoughtful transition. We will also be engaging a set of working groups across the system including academic and faculty affairs, finance and administration, and student success to provide recommendations for a successful evolution. Finally, over the course of the next year, we will develop what the appropriate structure looks like for the WSU System Office.
Since arriving at WSU, I have heard from many of you about your desire to better serve your local communities. This evolution is the first step in our recommitment to our land‑grant mission of providing education to all, regardless of means or background. The OneWSU system will better support our campuses and local communities by allowing an appropriate level of autonomy for each location, while at the same time ensuring a consistent WSU mission, branding, and quality. I look forward to discussing this with you in more detail at our town halls this fall. In the meantime, I hope you all are enjoying the last few weeks of summer!
See you in August,
Kirk Schulz, President
Washington State University