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Office of the President News and Notes

The system strategic plan: next steps

February 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff:

Happy end of February! This is the time of year when I get so tired of winter that I allow myself to imagine tropical weather settling over the Palouse starting March 1. For our colleagues who are winter sports enthusiasts, the beginning of March typically signals the end of skiing and other snow sports for 6 or 7 months. Meanwhile, for me March is when I get the Airstream ready for the summer camping season—I can’t wait.

I encourage everyone to participate in the 2020 U.S. Census effort that kicks off April 1. This once-a-decade endeavor provides critical information … » More …

Draft strategic plan sets WSU’s course

January 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff:

Happy new year! I hope you had some quality time away during the holiday break and that the beginning of the semester is going well.

As we begin 2020, I cannot help but reflect on how fantastic the past decade has been from the University’s standpoint.

In 2010, WSU’s system enrollment was 25,989, research expenditures totaled $304 million, and philanthropic support amounted to $97.9 million for the prior year. The nation had just emerged from the Great Recession, which led to an unprecedented set of reductions in financial support for public higher education, including WSU.

Today, we enroll nearly 31,500 students, research expenditures surpass … » More …

Dr. King’s legacy challenges us to serve

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:

With a legacy that has withstood the hands of time and forever shaped civil rights around the world, there is so much to choose from in celebrating the life of Martin Luther King Jr.

Champion of equality. Advocate of change through nonviolent means. Voice of the nation’s conscience in addressing discrimination, harassment, and economic disparity.

As we approach the national commemoration of Dr. King’s life next Monday and continue our system‑wide tributes next week, I would like to challenge all of us to reflect on a question that this towering pillar for equality once posed.

“Is your heart right? If your heart isn’t … » More …

Vital system planning efforts continue

November 2019

Dear Faculty and Staff:

Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you are able to spend some time with family and friends over the holiday. Noel and I will enjoy an early Thanksgiving lunch before heading to Seattle for the Apple Cup football game against the University of Washington on Friday.

At the November Board of Regents meeting, University leaders reported on many of the ongoing high‑level institutional initiatives that will shape our future. I want to provide some updates and share my perspective about 3 of those initiatives.

System‑wide strategic plan

We continue to move forward with the development of our first comprehensive system strategic plan. Following … » More …

Ramping up efforts to keep our students safe

By all accounts, Samuel Martinez was a 19‑year‑old you would love to hang out with.

Sam was funny, bright, and caring. Polite. Serious. Responsible. Fiercely loyal to his family and friends. He loved sports, and he volunteered often for community service projects.

Knowing Sam’s virtues makes coming to terms with his tragic death November 12 at his fraternity house in Pullman all the more heartbreaking. Losing a family member hurts. When that family member is young and brimming with potential, the pain is gut-wrenching.

As our community grieves Sam, I extend my deepest condolences on behalf of the entire Cougar nation to the Martinez family, Sam’s … » More …

Our support for DACA students remains steadfast

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:

With the U.S. Supreme Court on the cusp of considering oral arguments for and against the legality of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, now is an apt time to restate the University’s unequivocal support for all students, regardless of their immigration status.

This commitment is grounded in our longstanding institutional heritage. As a land‑grant institution, we continue to proudly subscribe to the overarching principle upon which land grants were created 157 years ago: namely, that higher education should be accessible to all, regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, citizenship, or other protected characteristic. Put more simply, undocumented applicants to … » More …

Exercise your right to vote this Election Day

November 4, 2019

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:

Tomorrow we all have the opportunity to exercise one of the crown jewels of American liberties—the right to vote—as local and statewide ballot initiatives and candidates for various offices are decided this Election Day.

To those who have already returned their ballots, thank you. To those who have not, I encourage you to cast your vote. Ballots must be postmarked no later than November 5 or returned to a ballot drop box by 8:00 p.m. that day.

The outcomes of elections can impact many aspects of daily life that we take for granted, affecting the quality … » More …

Goals set areas of focus for the year

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 … » More …

Notable progress in our fiscal health

August 2019

Dear Faculty and Staff:

The beginning of fall semester is such an invigorating time of the year. I hope you feel as energized as I do by the enthusiasm of our new and returning students. Best wishes to all students, faculty, and staff system-wide for a successful, rewarding semester.

One of my goals as president is to be transparent about our budget and fiscal situation. In my view, this means providing data as well as high-level summaries that provide insights about the data.

As most of you know, we have been focused on improving the University’s fiscal health since 2016. We have communicated regularly about … » More …

Welcome to the season of opportunity.

August 2019

Welcome to the season of opportunity.

I can’t think of a better way to describe my mindset as we gear up for the academic year that awaits us in just a few short days.

I view the fall as the season of opportunity for good reason. Fall semester brings with it new and renewed hopes throughout the entire University community—at our campuses and locations statewide.

It is the season of opportunity for our new and returning students, who will take the next steps in their journeys toward fulfillment of personal and career aspirations.

It is the season of opportunity for our faculty, who … » More …

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