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Washington State University search Chancellor of Tri-Cities

Opportunity and Challenge Profile

Washington State University (WSU), a distinguished and comprehensive public research university, seeks an innovative and experienced leader to serve as Chancellor of Washington State University Tri-Cities (WSU Tri-Cities). WSU Tri-Cities is part of a vibrant and thriving Tri-Cities community and has close ties to local industry, community colleges, and key partners like the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The Chancellor will lead the Tri-Cities campus through a time of exciting academic and physical growth, positioning the campus as an integral player in WSU’s “Drive to 25,” a system-wide initiative to ensure the University will be recognized as one of the nation’s top 25 public research universities, preeminent in research and discovery, teaching, and engagement by 2030.

More than 1,800 students attend WSU at the 201-acre Tri-Cities campus, located along the banks of the Columbia River in Richland, the heart of Washington’s wine country. WSU Tri-Cities offers 20 undergraduate and 30 graduate degrees in the arts and sciences, business, education, engineering and computer science, nursing, and viticulture and enology, with an emphasis on the STEM disciplines. WSU Tri-Cities has one of the most diverse student bodies in the state, with 34 percent of students identifying as underrepresented minorities and is pursuing Hispanic Serving Institution designation.

In recent years, WSU Tri-Cities has experienced growth in its physical campus, academic programming, and student body. In 2015, the campus opened the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates WSU Wine Science Center, a state-of-the-art facility that is one of the most technologically advanced wine science centers in the world and which has already begun attracting world-class researchers and students. That same year, the Kadlec Regional Medical Center pledged a landmark $18 million gift, the largest in WSU Tri-Cities history, to create five new endowed nursing faculty positions. The campus is also home to the Bioproducts, Sciences and Engineering Laboratory, a 57,000-square-foot research and teaching laboratory that is a result of a partnership between WSU and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

The successful Chancellor will be an experienced, visionary, and collaborative academic leader, prepared to serve both as the chief executive of WSU Tri-Cities as well as a critical leader in the overall WSU system. The Chancellor will be a visible and vocal advocate for the campus within WSU and across the state, partner across the system and within the local community, and enhance the campus’s teaching, research, student success, and community engagement activities. To achieve these goals, the Chancellor will need to address the following opportunities and challenges that are central to the future success of WSU Tri-Cities:

  • Engage stakeholders in the development of a shared vision for WSU Tri-Cities;
  • Facilitate growth of the WSU Tri-Cities academic enterprise within the WSU system;
  • Cultivate, build, and expand partnerships with the Tri-Cities communities;
  • Be a visible, engaged, and collaborative member of the WSU system-wide leadership team;
  • Strategically and effectively manage WSU Tri-Cities resources; and
  • Lead and inspire WSU Tri-Cities students, faculty, staff and community

A list of the desired qualifications and characteristics of the Chancellor can be found at the conclusion of this document, which was prepared by the search committee with the assistance of the campus community and Isaacson, Miller, a national executive search firm, to provide background information and detail the key opportunities and challenges related to the position. All confidential applications, inquiries, and nominations should be directed to the parties listed at the conclusion of this document.

About Washington State University

 Founded as the people’s university in 1890, Washington State University fulfills that commitment by transforming lives through education, research, and community outreach. WSU is truly a statewide institution, with a presence in every county in the state. Campuses are located in Pullman, Spokane, the Tri-Cities, Vancouver, and Everett. WSU’s Global Campus is a door that connects the world to WSU and WSU to the world, online. (See the Appendix for more information about the other campuses.)

The University recently celebrated 125 years of delivering life-changing knowledge and discoveries to citizens across the state, region, nation, and around the world. The University operates as an integrated Research I university, with all campuses adhering to the same set of practices and policies; degree requirements are similar across campuses, and all instructors and researchers, regardless of their location, are considered part of one faculty. WSU has been redefining its administrative and operational structures to ensure delivery of an integrated set of services while allowing each campus increasing autonomy. The operating budget of the University for the 2015-17 biennium is approximately $2.05 billion, and the capital budget authority during the 2015-17 biennium is $311.7 million. The University’s endowment is $886 million, including $418 million from the WSU Foundation and $468 million in land-grant endowments.

  • News & World Report’s 2017 “America’s Best Colleges” rankings place WSU 71st on the list of public national universities. WSU was one of only three Northwest universities to be placed in the top two tiers. WSU is ranked as a “very high research activity” institution by the Carnegie Foundation and is in the top 12 percent of research universities as reported by the National Science Foundation. Also, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching recognized WSU with a Community Engagement Classification for engagement with local, statewide, national, and international

In 2016, WSU announced the “Drive to 25”, the initiative to ensure Washington State University will be recognized as one of the nation’s top 25 public research universities, preeminent in research and discovery, teaching, and engagement by 2030. The “Drive to 25” builds on the cornerstones of WSU’s ambitious strategic plan and its two pivotal goals of offering a transformative educational experience to undergraduate and graduate students, and accelerating the development of a preeminent research portfolio.

The 2014-2019 strategic plan is built on the core values and broad mission of the University. Goals and strategies were developed to achieve significant progress toward WSU’s aspiration of becoming one of the nation’s leading land-grant universities, and emphasize the institution’s unique role as an accessible, approachable research institution that provides opportunities to an especially broad array of students while serving Washington State’s diverse portfolio of social and economic needs. WSU prioritized its research agenda in fall 2015 to focus on five Grand Challenges:

  • Sustaining Health: The Uncompromising Pursuit of Healthier People and Communities
  • Sustainable Resources for Society: Food, Energy, and Water
  • Advancing Opportunity and Equity: The Land-grant Mission in Today’s World
  • Improving Quality of Life through Smart Systems
  • Fundamental Research in Support of National Security

A nationally respected leader in higher education, President Kirk Schulz became the 11th president of WSU and a tenured professor in the Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering on June 13, 2016. He previously served seven years as president of Kansas State University, where he guided KSU to significant achievements in research, enrollment, and fundraising.

President Schulz’s appointment marked the beginning of an exciting new chapter in WSU’s history that will build upon the success of the past and take the University to new heights. The new chapter will build upon the University’s recent significant accomplishments including the creation of the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine on the Spokane campus; successful completion of a $1 billion capital campaign; growth in overall enrollment from 24,396 in fall 2007 to 30,142 in fall 2016; and, an increase of students who self-identify as students of color from 14 percent in fall 2007 to 29 percent in fall 2016.

About Washington State University Tri-Cities

Washington State University Tri-Cities was established as one of three regional campuses for Washington State University in 1989. Prior to 1989 it was the Joint Center for Graduate Study. The first freshman class was admitted in 2007. Today, it provides education to more than 1,800 students with a student-to- faculty ratio of 15:1. The average freshman GPA is 3.36 and the average student age is 25.7. Veterans comprise approximately 10 percent of the student body and the campus has been recognized as a military friendly campus. In 2016, NerdWallet ranked the Tri-Cities area as #7 in the nation for STEM job placements and 92 percent of the campus’s graduates are employed within six months of graduation, a number well above the national average. Because of the campus’s location next to world-renowned engineering firms, federal agencies, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, students interact with eminent professors engaged in leading research and with community and industry leaders committed to providing internships and practical career experiences.

Over the past several years, the campus has experienced significant physical and programmatic growth. A few highlights include:

  • Home to the University’s viticulture and enology program, WSU Tri-Cities opened the Michelle Estates Wine Science Center in 2015. Recognized as one of the leading centers of its kind in the world, the center supports Washington’s large and expanding wine industry.
  • The campus houses the Bioproducts, Sciences, and Engineering Laboratory (BSEL), a 57,000- square-foot research and teaching laboratory developed in partnership with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The laboratory conducts research focused on identifying non-energy products that can be used to promote energy
  • Soon, WSU’s newly established Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine will join the College of Nursing as major WSU health sciences programs with a presence on or near the Tri-Cities campus. The College of Nursing has an off-campus facility that was renovated by the Kadlec health system. Kadlec also created an $18 million endowment to help support faculty in the college. In the College of Medicine, WSU’s third- and fourth-year medical students assigned to the Tri-Cities will spend most of their time in clinical settings, but the program will have a presence on

Additionally, the campus recently opened a new student union building, state legislative funds have been designated for a new academic building, and plans are underway to add student housing on campus through a partnership with a private developer. The Chancellor will play a critical role in developing the academic building and identifying other growth opportunities at Tri-Cities. Much of this growth has been supported by community partners and the Advisory Council for Washington State University Tri-Cities, a group composed of business, civic, and education leaders and alumni to foster closer ties between the campus, its alumni, and the community, region, and state.

Role of the Chancellor

The Chancellor has responsibility for and authority over campus budgets, equipment, facilities, space assignments, and operations at WSU Tri-Cities. In coordinated conjunction with the WSU President, the Chancellor is responsible for maintaining and promoting the external image of the campus and relations with stakeholders, industry, the legislature, the surrounding community, and the general public. The Chancellor ensures that the Provost and the deans are well informed about campus activities and initiatives. The Chancellor is also responsible for leadership regarding development activities for the campus.

The Chancellor oversees a leadership team that includes vice chancellors for academic affairs; finance and administration; enrollment management and student services; and research, graduate studies, and economic development. The Chancellor also supervises a chief of staff, an assistant vice chancellor for advancement and regional development and the director of BSEL. In 2016-17, the campus’s budget was approximately $21 million, with an additional $17 million in grants and contracts.

Key Opportunities and Challenges for the Chancellor

The campus now stands at a pivotal moment, striving to maintain its unique strengths while enhancing academic and scholarly excellence, community partnerships, and physical and programmatic growth. In efforts to fulfill the campus’s aspirations for the future, the Chancellor will address several key opportunities and challenges, detailed below:

Engage stakeholders in the development of a shared vision for WSU Tri-Cities

Guided by WSU’s overarching strategic plan and the Drive to 25 initiative, the Chancellor will work closely and collaboratively with all WSU Tri-Cities constituencies—faculty, students, staff, and community members—to develop and implement a shared vision and strategic plan for the campus. This vision will articulate and further WSU Tri-Cities’s unique and distinctive identity as well as the role the campus plays in the larger WSU system, and will serve as a strategic roadmap for future physical growth and new academic programs and initiatives on the campus.

Facilitate growth of the WSU-Tri Cities academic enterprise within the WSU system

The Chancellor will be responsible for facilitating the growth of both the teaching and research enterprises at WSU Tri-Cities by working closely with other campus leaders to identify teaching and research partnership opportunities across departments and disciplines. The Chancellor will also collaborate with other WSU campuses and with local organizations, including the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and community colleges, including Columbia Basin College. These partnerships can also serve the campus’s goal to build a more robust pipeline of both undergraduate and graduate students and capitalize on the campus’s pursuit of a Hispanic Serving Institution designation.

Cultivate, build, and expand partnerships with the Tri-Cities communities

The Chancellor will play a highly visible external role in efforts to further expand WSU Tri-Cities’s reputation as a major intellectual and economic driver and community presence in the Tri-Cities area and southeast Washington. Community partnerships are critical to the success and continued growth of the campus. The Chancellor will work closely with the Advisory Council for WSU Tri-Cities and serve as a visible and vocal leader in the community. The Chancellor will foster partnerships that will enhance fundraising, the campus’s research programs, and continued economic development in the Tri-Cities area.

Be a visible, engaged, and collaborative member of the WSU system-wide leadership team

In addition to leading WSU Tri-Cities, the Chancellor is also a key member of the WSU system leadership team. It will be important for the Chancellor to appropriately balance the occasionally competing responsibilities and priorities as the chief executive of the WSU Tri-Cities campus with the goals of the larger, matrixed environment of the system. The Chancellor will leverage the strengths and resources of other University leaders to improve both the Tri-Cities campus and the system as a whole. Additionally, as faculty on the Tri-Cities campus also report to deans on the Pullman campus, the Chancellor will collaborate closely with the Provost and deans on academic matters including faculty hiring, review, and retention as well as curriculum and academic program development.

Strategically and effectively manage WSU Tri-Cities resources

Like most public universities, WSU has become increasingly self-reliant in the face of dwindling state funding. As a result, the Chancellor will be expected to develop and manage the campus’s current budget and to diversify revenue sources for the future. This will include successfully increasing enrollment, research contracts and grants, and developing new programmatic offerings where appropriate. The Chancellor will work with campus stakeholders to identify programmatic, physical and technical infrastructure, and other funding needs. The Chancellor will then be responsible for making a compelling case to WSU administration, community partners, and funding organizations for support to help meet these needs. The Chancellor must bring strong budgetary oversight experience to the role and be a strategic and prudent steward of WSU Tri-Cities resources, ensuring they are invested wisely in accordance with the larger strategic vision for the campus and the University.

Lead and inspire WSU Tri-Cities students, faculty, staff and community members

The strength and success of WSU Tri-Cities is due in large part to the quality and commitment of its faculty, students, staff, and community partners. The new Chancellor will coalesce these groups around a common cause, vision, and mission and will develop and maintain trust and mutual respect through open, transparent, frequent, and timely communication. The Chancellor will also value and enhance the campus’s culture of shared governance and decision making.

Qualifications and Characteristics

The successful candidate must be able to inspire the leadership team, the campus, and the broader Tri- Cities community, and embrace the challenges and opportunities of a rapidly evolving campus at a critical stage of development. The ideal candidate must have the leadership skills and vision to foster WSU Tri- Cities’s continued academic excellence within the context of WSU’s mission and values. The successful candidate will possess all or most of the following:

  • An earned doctorate and a distinguished record of teaching and research appropriate to appointment at the rank of full professor at WSU;
  • Experience in high-level academic administration at a university or college campus (or comparable institution) undergoing growth and development;
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with University administrators, faculty, students, and staff;
  • A track record in establishing and maintaining successful working relationships with legislators, local community leaders, county, state and federal officials, businesses, foundations, and alumni;
  • Excellent fundraising, financial management, and strategic planning skills;
  • Strong operations improvement experience and an understanding of leading-edge campus administrative systems and structures;
  • Significant experience in building and sustaining highly productive leadership teams and in inspiring others to achieve excellence;
  • An orientation toward continuous improvement, including an appreciation for quality and competency;
  • An ability to lead through consultation and balance the needs of diverse constituencies by building consensus with a fair, collaborative, and transparent leadership style;
  • A commitment to shared governance;
  • Excellent communication and listening skills;
  • A strong civic and community orientation and outstanding political acumen;
  • A passionate dedication to diversity and an understanding of its value within an institution of higher education;
  • A demonstrated track record of creativity and innovation;
  • A reputation for integrity, transparency, accountability, enthusiasm, inclusivity, and a sense of goodwill.

Compensation and Location

Compensation will be commensurate with experience. The Tri-Cities are a group of three closely tied cities: Richland, Kennewick, and Pasco, located at the confluence of the Yakima, Snake, and Columbia rivers in Southeastern Washington. The Tri-Cities area offers a variety of outdoor and cultural activities, including a number of golf courses; a 67-mile system of paved pedestrian and bike trails; ample opportunities for boating, fishing, and swimming; three professional sports teams; a number of  performing arts venues; and more than 100 wineries within a 50 mile radius. In 2010, Kiplinger rated the Tri-Cities among the top 10 best places to raise a family, and CNN/Money ranked the Tri-Cities one of the top 10 best bets for gains in housing value. The Tri-Cities Airport located in Pasco provides the region with commercial and private air service.

Other WSU Campuses

Washington State University Pullman
The main campus, founded in 1890, features world-class facilities for teaching, research, the arts, and Pacific-12 Conference athletics. The campus is located on more than 620 acres among the rolling hills of southeastern Washington in a geographic region known as the Palouse.

Due to significant investments from the state as well as private and federal support, outstanding new campus facilities have been constructed and others upgraded significantly during the past decade. Major new facilities include the PACCAR Environmental Technology Building, the Paul G. Allen Center for Global Animal Health, the Biotechnology Life Sciences Facility, and the Veterinary and Biomedical Research Building.

Pullman is a dynamic center of higher education, research, and culture. Part of the Knowledge Corridor that connects WSU to the University of Idaho eight miles to the east, the city is 75 miles south of Spokane, Washington’s second-largest city. Demographics Daily designated Pullman a “dreamtown,” reflecting the city’s exceptionally high quality of life. The city also boasts one of the highest percentages of graduate degrees among U.S. micropolitan areas, and its public school system has been ranked among the top 100 in the country. World-class outdoor recreation opportunities—including golfing, skiing, hiking, and boating—are just a short drive away.

Washington State University Spokane

Located in the University District along the riverfront in downtown Spokane, WSU Spokane is the University’s health sciences education and research campus.

The campus is home to the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, which will welcome its charter class in August 2017. The University has relocated all of its health sciences disciplines and built new facilities on the campus in recent years. Among the new construction: an $80 million Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences Building and a $34.6 million Nursing Building.

The 48-acre campus, which also houses programs offered by Eastern Washington University, is located just across the Spokane River from Gonzaga University.

Washington State University Vancouver

The only four-year university located in southwest Washington, WSU Vancouver is the second largest campus in the WSU system. WSU Vancouver helps drive southwest Washington’s economic growth through relationships with local businesses and industries, schools, and nonprofit organizations.

Students choose WSU Vancouver for its big-school resources offered in a small-school environment. State-of-the-art facilities in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area support 22 bachelor’s, 9 master’s, and 8 doctoral degrees. Notable programs include creative media and digital culture, environmental science, mechanical engineering, neuroscience, psychology, and public affairs.

Washington State University North Puget Sound at Everett

Established in 2014, WSU North Puget Sound at Everett is the lead institution in the Everett University Center, a WSU-managed consortium of seven universities offering more than 20 degree-completion programs on the Everett Community College campus. WSU NPSE offers upper-division courses leading to six high-demand bachelor’s degrees: electrical and mechanical engineering, hospitality business management, integrated communication, software engineering, and data analytics.

A state-of-the-art, four-story Washington State University facility located across the street from Everett Community College will open in the fall of 2017. It will be the new home for WSU North Puget Sound at Everett and Everett University Center programs.

Global Campus

More than 3,200 students across the country and around the world are pursuing a WSU education through the Global Campus, the University’s online degree program. Students can choose from among nine bachelor’s degrees, more than two dozen minors and certificates, and twelve master’s degrees.

The same faculty who teach at WSU campuses statewide use cutting-edge technology to offer online students a rigorous and engaging educational experience. And the Global Campus offers virtual extra- and co-curricular activities such as online career fairs, live-streamed cultural events, and interactive faculty web presentations to build community.

Applications, Inquiries, and Nominations

Screening of complete applications will begin immediately and continue until the completion of the search process. Inquiries, nominations, referrals, and CVs with cover letters should be sent via the Isaacson, Miller website for the search Electronic submission of materials is strongly encouraged.

Julie Filizetti and Brett Barbour
Isaacson, Miller
1000 Sansome Street, Suite 300
San Francisco, CA 94111
Phone: 415.655.4900