OneWSU progress update and next steps

Dear Colleagues,

I’ve been very lucky to spend time on each of our campuses this semester, and what continues to inspire me is the uniquely different populations that each of our campuses serve. And serves well. Our Everett, Vancouver, and Tri‑Cities campuses offer four‑year degrees within a small, family-like atmosphere, and they support many first generation, non‑traditional, and transfer students in their home communities. Our Global campus provides students with the flexibility they need to earn degrees while raising families and working full‑ or part‑time jobs. WSU Pullman offers the traditional residential student experience at WSU’s flagship campus. Spokane is training the next generation of healthcare professionals. And finally, WSU’s statewide presence is truly made possible by our Extension enterprise with locations in each county.

The unique nature of each of WSU’s locations is what helps us achieve our land‑grant mission of providing access for all. WSU stands out in its ability to meet students where they are and provide them with the opportunities and resources they need to succeed. We are literally changing lives. As we evolve, our priority remains to determine the best structures and methods to provide centralized support to our distinct locations—the driving force behind OneWSU.

OneWSU Progress update

As announced in July, Provost and Executive Vice President Elizabeth Chilton will be starting as the inaugural chancellor of the WSU Pullman campus effective July 1, 2022. In addition, Vice Presidents Asif Chaudhry and Chris Keane, Interim Vice President Ellen Taylor, and Athletic Director Pat Chun will be taking on dual roles as WSU Pullman vice chancellors for their respective areas and transitioning their reporting lines to Chancellor Chilton over the next eight months. The intent with this transition is to build a leadership team for WSU Pullman with individuals who are not only experts in their fields, but well‑versed in WSU’s processes, policies, and procedures. It is important to remember these leaders and their respective units will maintain system roles in addition to supporting the flagship campus.

I have also appointed a transition team, staffed with professionals in the President and Provost offices to guide the structure of our offices as we evolve. One notable need is an individual who will lead the academic enterprise for the WSU Pullman campus. As such, Chancellor-designate Chilton’s office will be engaging in a process with system academic leadership to define the role of WSU Pullman’s Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and launch an internal faculty search early in the 2022 calendar year. This timeline will allow the successful candidate time to transition into the role and be ready to assume the duties on July 1.

Next steps

In addition to creating a separate leadership structure for WSU Pullman, we are establishing a new Office of Strategy, Planning, and Analysis to bring focus, coordination, and alignment to system planning. This new unit will split off personnel from the current WSU Office of the President to focus on leveraging institutional data and enhancing analytics to facilitate and support robust planning, knowledge discovery, and transparent decision-making across the WSU system. Similar units exist at a number of peer and aspirational peer institutions. As with other OneWSU reorganizations, the intent is not to add additional administrative positions but rather redefine roles and responsibilities for current employees.

I am appointing Chief of Staff Chris Hoyt to a new dual role as Vice President of Strategy, Planning, and Analysis, effective November 1, 2021. Chris led WSU in the creation of our first‑ever system strategic plan, and her expertise will be critical as we continue to develop our planning efforts across the WSU system. Chris will be engaging with university partners over the coming months to help grow the culture of planning at WSU. As stated in our guiding principles, we are committed to using the system strategic plan as the basis of our OneWSU system evolution, and I look forward to partnering with Chris’s team.

Our OneWSU future

As we take this huge step forward, I am very excited for the future of our institution, and the growing impact we will have on our communities, state, and world—as we strengthen our campuses, we strengthen our system.

Finally, I want to close this message with a profound thanks to all our faculty, staff, and students. It seems that all we’ve talked about for the last 18 months is COVID‑19, but because of your efforts, there is light at the end of the very long tunnel. Across our system, you have stepped up for our students, faculty, staff, and communities. You are each embodying what it means to be a Coug.

Thank you,

Kirk Schulz, President
Washington State University