PULLMAN, Wash. – Paul E. Pitre, associate professor and program coordinator in educational leadership and counseling psychology at Washington State University Vancouver, has been appointed as a special assistant to President Elson S. Floyd to lead the university’s development of educational programs at the University Center of North Puget Sound.

Pitre will coordinate the university’s work with community and education partners to put together a plan for increased baccalaureate and master’s level programs at the center on the Everett Community College campus.

“It is exciting to be a part of this effort to increase access to four-year degree programs in the North Puget Sound,” Pitre said. “We will be working with our higher education and community partners to increase the presence of higher education in the region.”

“Paul’s background in educational and community leadership will serve the university well in this important role,” Floyd said. “WSU is committed to making this educational partnership work in Everett, and I believe Paul is the right person to lead this effort.”

In May, Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a bill creating a pathway for WSU to assume management of the center in 2014.

WSU is proposing to begin offering an engineering program at the center in fall 2012. The bill signed by the governor calls on the university to emphasize the development of four-year courses in high-demand areas including science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Pitre’s research has focused on educational access and college choice. Before coming to WSU in 2005, he served as an assistant professor at Auburn University.

From 1992-94, he worked at the Seattle Chamber of Commerce as a manager in community relations and public educational partnerships. From 1994-95, he worked at Olympic College in Bremerton, Wash., helping to develop the college’s 2+2 bachelor’s degree completion program.

Pitre earned his bachelor’s degree in communications studies from Western Washington University, his master’s in higher education administration from New York University and his Ph.D. in higher education leadership and governance from the University of Maryland.