President Elson S. Floyd said early on he wanted to identify areas of WSU pre-eminence to emphasize to potential students, faculty, donors and other influential audiences. At his first question-and-answer forum with the WSU community Monday, he presented three of those areas.
 
He also asked Provost Robert Bates to explain the six areas of strategic academic strength that he and WSU deans have identified.
 
Among other topics addressed by Floyd were:
 
* His request to the provost to quicken the pace of a study on reconfiguring the colleges of liberal arts and sciences — and perhaps combining them in some fashion.
 
* The $1 million that is part of WSU’s supplemental budget request to the state legislature for a feasibility study of a new computer system that would transform WSU technology.
 
* Work in progress on a request for proposals to build a hotel on the Pullman campus. Floyd wants WSU to build a conference center to accompany the hotel.
 
* The need to improve graduate education, building on the improvements made in undergraduate ed, if WSU is to move into the nation’s top ranks of research universities.
 
* Faculty and administrative professional salary increases in the supplemental budget request, needed to maintain competitiveness and address inequities.
 
The three areas of excellence that Floyd and WSU fundraisers are touting to potential donors during the quiet phase of the university’s major multi-year fundraising campaign are:
 
1. Veterinary medicine, including the global animal health initiative.
2. Agriculture.
3. Global digital campus (distance learning) initiative.
 
The six areas of strength identified by Bates and the deans are:
 
1. chromosome biology and reproduction
2. advanced materials technology
3. molecular plant science and genetics
4. infectious disease at the human-animal interface
5. clean energy technologies
6. linking the brain to behavior and performance (neurosciences, sleep studies, etc.)
 
Other topics raised in questions from the audience included College Hill relations and historic preservation, sustainability, the strategic plan update and the importance of social studies/humanities at a research university.
 
Floyd said more than once he advocates shared governance and transparency and wants to hear from WSU community members on the issues important to them.
 
More forums are planned for:
— Tuesday, October 16, 5 – 5:30 p.m., Todd Hall 120, videostream to be available the following morning.
— Monday, October 29, 12:15 – 12:45 p.m., Food Science Human Nutrition (FSHN) Building T-101, available live on video conference to all WSU campuses and WECN sites.
— Thursday, November 15, 8:30 – 9 a.m., in Todd 404, video stream to be available later in the day.
— Monday, November 26, 5 – 5:30 p.m.,  in Todd 120, video stream to be available the following morning.
 
To view Floyd’s 35-minute forum on videostream, see www.experience.wsu.edu.