PULLMAN – WSU today was named among 119 national university and college recipients of the 2008 “Community Engagement Certificate” from The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
 
The Washington D.C.-based foundation selection recognizes higher education institutions that demonstrate excellence in “alignment between mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement.” The award is issued by the foundation as part of an effort “to encourage more higher-education institutions to reach out to the world around them.”
 
WSU was selected for the honor in the dual categories of curricular engagement and outreach and partnerships and lauded as a university that engages faculty, students and community in mutually beneficial and respectful collaboration.
 
Serving citizens statewide
 
“We are proud of this designation but even prouder of the efforts that warranted it,” said WSU President Elson S. Floyd.
 
“WSU is integrated throughout all 39 Washington counties with hands-on programs that make a difference to the citizens all around the state,” said Floyd. “This award acknowledges that WSU is engaged in cooperative enterprises, educational experiences and cutting-edge research that is changing lives, not just throughout the state of Washington but also in communities around the world.”
 
Floyd pointed out that the Carnegie endorsement is a verification that WSU is making significant strides toward achieving one of the four major goals of a five-year strategic plan adopted earlier this year. One of the tenets of the plan calls upon the university to “lead in relevant local, national, and global outreach and engagement.”
 
Distance degrees
 
In addition to four regional campuses around Washington and successful distance-degree programs that attract on-line students from around the state and the world, WSU has well over 100 different extension, outreach, economic development and job-related programs in every one of the 39 counties in Washington. The university outreach efforts run the gamut from small business development and job training to 4-H programs and English language instruction, to state-of-the-art research that makes a definitive and positive impact on people’s lives. Examples of extension research focuses include water quality and marine life, sustainable agriculture and development, alternative energy, and human and animal health.
 
“It is wonderful to garner this distinction because of the attention it brings to the widely varied ways that WSU touches thousands of Washington citizens,” said Linda Kirk Fox, dean and director of WSU Extension. “But for everything it accomplishes for our communities, it has an equal impact on our own faculty who make such a difference, and on our students who learn the importance of giving back to their communities.”
 
Economic impact
 
John Gardner, vice president for Economic Development and Extension, said that the WSU’s involvement in the state has a multi-billion dollar impact on the state’s economy.
 
”The thousands of jobs provided and people educated every year are just the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “WSU has a day-to-day impact on the economy and quality of life in this state and around the world.”
 
WSU’s Outreach and Engagement Council
 
WSU’s Outreach and Engagement Council, co-chaired by Linda Kirk Fox, WSU Extension, and Muriel Oaks, Center for Distance and Professional Education, developed WSU’s application for the Carnegie recognition.
 
Council members include Melanie Brown, Center for Civic Engagement; Tori Byington, Graduate School; Larry Cohen, College of Pharmacy, WSU Spokane; Vernette Doty, Center for Civic Engagement; Emmett Fiske, Center for Environmental Research, Education and Outreach (CEREO); Larry Fox, Veterinary Clinical Sciences; Cathy Fulkerson, Institutional Research; John Gardner and Marcia Garrett, Economic Development and Extension, WSU West; Joe Harris, Center for Entrepreneurial Studies; Arlene Hett, School and Community Collaboration Center; Anne Hirsch, College of Nursing, WSU Spokane; Beth Lindsay, Libraries; Nick Lovrich, College of Liberal Arts; Jeremy Lessmann, Chemistry; Rob McDaniel, WSU Extension, Seattle; Fran McSweeney, Office of the Provost; Judy Meuth, Women’s Studies; and Rory Ong, Comparative Ethnic Studies.