PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University’s Board of Regents approved a number of recommendations today (March 14) for the campuses in Spokane, Tri-Cities and Vancouver concerning principles of operation and development of the WSU system. The recommendations take effect immediately.

Among the approved recommendations were the following:
– A committee of regents be established to consider issues and action items related to the Spokane, Tri-Cities and Vancouver campuses.
– A regent be assigned to each campus to attend advisory board meetings and work directly with the president and campus executive officer on governance matters related to the individual campus.
– The campus CEOs should have a seat at regents meetings.
– The campus CEOs of the newer campuses shall be named chancellors and grant them greater authority to administer the campuses under the direction of the president and Board of Regents.
– A President’s System Council be established to include the president, provost and chancellors as permanent members. Their role would be to deal with system-wide administrative, legislative and planning issues.
– A Provost’s System Council, too, would be established. It would be chaired by the provost and include appropriate vice provosts and the chancellors or their designees. The council would consider academic plans, programs and issues for the WSU system.
– Also a System’s Council for Administration and Operations would be created to consider issues in all other areas. It would include all university vice presidents, counterparts of each campus and other officers as necessary.

Under academic programs, regents approved the principle for academic programs, emphasizing the primary criteria for approving and evaluating academic programs will be quality. Secondary criteria include responsiveness to constituent needs and cost effectiveness.

The flexibility in the principle provides the following:
– Academic units may be established on any of the campuses in the WSU system.
– Program administrators may reside on any campus and have responsibility for programs on other campuses.
– Doctoral education be a system-wide responsibility and not a function of location. Academic program and especially lower-division coursework at the WSU campuses shall be closely coordinated with other institutions, particularly with community colleges.
A system-wide administrator will be responsible for guiding relationships between the various sources of academic credit.

Student Affairs recommendations will come later in the process. They will include proposals for efficiency and coordination in admission, scholarships, recruiting, advising as well as recognition of separate student bodies for each campus and reconstituting a system-wide student council.

Regents also will later act on recommendations concerning faculty affairs and faculty governance. The goals are to maintain standards of excellence.

The recommendations were developed after more than a year of study with participation by community and university leaders. During the next 18 months the university will be working on a number of recommendations concerning the WSU system.

The regents also approved other recommendations related to the different identities of each of the newer campuses.

WSU Spokane is becoming a second location of the Pullman campus with emphasis on professional and graduate programs, especially in health care, design and some management areas. The university plans to accelerate that trend in the next few years, and over time, move to a single campus with two locations. The proposal also states that the chancellor of the Spokane campus also hold the university-wide position of vice provost for health science.

WSU Vancouver campus has the challenge of needing to expand across the spectrum of academic programs. The university is committed to making the expansion via additional and innovative partnerships with local community colleges, including special institutes. The campus is expected greater autonomy through creation of departments or other academic units,

The Tri-Cities campus faces many of the challenges noted for WSU Vancouver. It offers several unique opportunities for the WSU system: an opportunity to partner with the community for outreach to non-traditional populations and to develop innovative programs with the agricultural industry. The campus has a major role in the university’s strategic partnership with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and development of centers of excellence in many scientific and technical areas of research and graduate education.

Regents also approved a resolution that emphasizes the board’s support to ensure the campus’ environment of safety and freedom of speech. Regent William Marler said the resolution reaffirms how important the feeling of safety and freedom of speech are to academic freedom and diversity.

In its resolution, the board said “it would do everything in its power to assure that WSU is a safe place for all of our students, faculty, staff and other members of our community.

Further, the resolution states the board also “will use all of its resources to support the right of all members of our community to exercise their rights of free speech, assembly and academic freedoms.”

“The resolution is what WSU believes in and stands for,” said student regent Jason Johnson. “It is a place for open dialogue and freedom of speech in an environment that values students’ feelings.”

The university is that environment where “dialogue between people with many opinions can occur,” Marler added. “It exists in an atmosphere of respect, a place where people of different cultures will feel safe.”

In other action, regents approved two department name changes. The Department of Rural Sociology will be called the Department of Community and Rural Sociology. The name change will reflect more accurately the teaching, research and extension interests of the department as it has evolved into a broader orientation with an emphasis on communities and interactions within the communities.

The Department of Comparative American Cultures will be called the Department of Comparative Ethnic Studies. The change is needed to reflect the national nomenclature within the discipline.