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Office of the President Perspectives

A Cougar shoutout to our new athletics director

While our community continues to cope with and heal following the tragic death of Tyler Hilinski last week, I want to share some uplifting news with you regarding our athletics program. As many of you are already aware, Patrick Chun accepted our offer to become WSU’s new athletics director last week.

Hiring Pat is truly a game-changing day for our athletics program. When we began our search, we focused on identifying candidates with a blend of high-level leadership experience, vision, and passion—an individual who could lead Cougar athletics to the next level of success.

In Pat, we’ve found that person. He brings more than 20 … » More …

Summer means advancing key issues

Dear Faculty and Staff:

Greetings from the East Coast! I write this letter between visits to WSU alumni and friends in the Washington, D.C., and New York City areas. When I travel out of state for these trips I am reminded again that we send our graduates across the nation and beyond—and that regardless of whether these alumni are hundreds or thousands of miles away—they are enthusiastically committed to ensuring the University’s success.

As relatively new Washingtonians, Noel and I are enjoying our opportunities to discover the abundance of outdoor attractions that make the Pacific Northwest a fabulous place to live. In May, we drove … » More …

Course Material Cost Reduction Task Force issues report

In collaboration with the Associated Students of Washington State University, I recently convened a task force to explore the issue of rising costs of course materials, along with potential solutions and alternatives. The task force has submitted its final report to me, and I strongly endorse its recommendations.

Washington State University is committed to addressing the rising cost of higher education. Financial hardship is the number one reason students do not persist to earn their degrees. Unfortunately, increased tuition costs have coincided with higher costs for textbooks and other course materials. In fact, textbook costs have risen 1,000 percent—three times the cost of living—between … » More …

Be safe and stay safe this summer

Dear University community,

As we come to the end of another academic year, I wish all Cougs a safe summer. Our students, faculty, staff, and visitors are the University’s chief and most precious assets. Concerns for your safety extend not only to when you are on campus, but also to your journey home and to other destinations as you participate in summer activities.

In late February, I personally recommitted to making safety one of our highest institutional priorities. We are working harder than ever to prevent accidents and incidents, integrate health and safety … » More …

Reflections from the Whistle Stop Tour

President-elect Kirk H. Schulz and Dr. Noel Schulz’s tour of WSU’s five physical campuses gave our new first couple an opportunity to see the many parts of our great university. The two-day trip also displayed WSU as a cohesive system with campuses statewide that reflect the economic and human diversity of their communities.

Kirk and Noel were able to see what makes each of our campuses unique and responsive to community needs and what makes them an integral part of WSU’s system-wide priorities around students, academic excellence and research.  Their engaging and personable approach was lauded by attendees at each stop.

Standing room only crowds … » More …

Your Voice Matters: Employee Engagement Survey Launching March 28th

Our greatest resources at Washington State University are the dedicated faculty and staff whose daily efforts help our students succeed. Our employees teach, lead research and perform any number of crucial tasks propelling our great institution forward.

Because of what you do for WSU, it is worthwhile to occasionally ask how well WSU is doing supporting you. While no workplace is perfect, WSU strives for an organizational culture of integrity, trust and respect. We want the work that you do to be reflective of your professional abilities and aspirations.

Next week, employees will have an opportunity to share their thoughts in our second biennial Employee … » More …

Washington State University President’s Commitment to Safety

The students, faculty, staff, and visitors of Washington State University are the University’s chief and most precious assets. The University is committed to protecting their health and safety, as well as that of the environment. In a University safety culture, averting injury, danger, or loss is foremost on the minds of every member of the WSU community.

With this statement, I affirm my commitment to University safety. A University safety culture means many things, but surely it transcends compliance with regulations. It includes:

Proactive prevention of accidents and incidents
Integrating health and safety considerations in all phases of operations
Continual improvement of … » More …

Loss of Students Highlights Need for Highway Improvements

As president of WSU, I have been grieving with the WSU community the loss of two students killed in separate automobile accidents over the Thanksgiving break. Eighteen-year-old Christine Hunter died in a two-car collision on U.S. Highway 195 on Friday, Nov. 20. Morgan Cope, 20, died Sunday, Nov. 22, in a collision on state Highway 26.

Both Morgan and Christine were freshmen, active in their sororities and excellent students. They loved their experience at WSU and were already members of the Cougar family.

As a parent myself, I can think of no greater pain than that associated with the death of a child. We, of … » More …

Preparing for the Worst

As the first frantic reports from Virginia Tech emerged through news media nearly a decade ago, the unfolding violence witnessed on that seemingly faraway campus appeared both tragic and unthinkable. But now, as we have all watched similar crises play out across our nation and around the globe, we at Washington State University, have long-since accepted the harsh reality that the potential for gun violence on our campuses was probably never nearly as distant nor as unthinkable as we might once have imagined.

Today, we must prepare for what once seemed unthinkable as though it were inevitable. Much of that planning focus has centered on … » More …

Taking time to be thankful

Year-end projects. Exams. Grant deadlines. Lesson plans and research articles.  The lives of Washington State University faculty, staff and students are busy, to be sure. But as our community nears Thanksgiving break, my hope is that individually and collectively we take some time to reflect on how lucky we truly are.

There is much to be thankful for. Together, the Cougar Nation has made remarkable progress on a number of major initiatives. We are on track and on time in establishing the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine. We have celebrated completion of the $1 billion Campaign for Washington State University. We continue … » More …

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