Todd Mordhorst, Office of the Provost

President Kirk Schulz and Provost Dan Bernardo expressed their appreciation recently to the WSU community for the efforts that have led to record-breaking enrollment, major progress in reducing the university’s annual operating deficit and other notable achievements.

WSU’s top two leaders delivered that message as Town Halls 2018 kicked off with four meetings, Sept. 11, 12, 14 and 17, at various units on the Pullman campus.

“We are in a highly resource-constrained environment, but students are still having an outstanding experience at WSU,” Schulz said Wednesday during the town hall for noncollege- affiliated staff and students. “Our faculty and staff are still making a lot of things happen for our university.”

The series will continue October–November on various campuses statewide. (See schedule below.)

Enrollment, fiscal health achievements top list

The record fall semester enrollment of 31,478 students systemwide indicates that more students are choosing WSU over other universities, Schulz said. The class includes 4,543 freshmen on the Pullman campus — an increase of 15 percent from last fall. Ethnically diverse students represent 30 percent of the student body systemwide, while nearly 34 percent of the students are first generation college students.

The president commended the university community for exceeding expectations in addressing WSU’s overall fiscal health. During the past fiscal year, the university reduced its annual operating deficit by $22 million — more than doubling the $10 million goal. Schulz said that similar success in the current fiscal year would likely lead to WSU’s operating budget being in the black for the first time in five years next academic year.

Among the other notable achievements highlighted:

  • The university raised $145.1 million in fiscal year 2018, the third-highest total ever and a 36.9 percent increase compared to 2015.
  • Total research and development expenditures climbed, totaling $356.9 million last year.
  • The university received numerous commendations from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities at the conclusion of the recent successful reaccreditation process. Initiatives to improve student access and success and WSU’s approach to assessing student learning outcomes were among the areas receiving commendations.

Progress in the Drive to 25

The president also provided an update on the Drive to 25, WSU’s goal to become a top 25 public research university by 2030. While the university has ground to make up in the metrics established to measure progress, the recent achievements in research expenditures, annual giving and growth in the number of graduate degrees granted are reasons for optimism.

WSU faculty already are more productive than their colleagues at peer institutions in some of the Drive to 25 measures, Schulz noted. One of the keys to increasing WSU’s standing is to hire additional tenure-track faculty, a topic to be discussed in-depth with the university community in coming months.

Action plans to advance the university’s place in the Drive to 25 measures are available online for review.

Top goals for the year

Schulz and Bernardo also laid out several high-priority goals for the coming year.

Among the priorities:

  • Continued progress in the modernization initiative, including the systemwide implementation of Workday, the new comprehensive software package for managing human resource, payroll and financial services recordkeeping.
  • Continued progress in creating a more inclusive and welcoming campus environment. The effort includes a rewrite of Executive Policy 15 (Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct), implementation of a hiring plan to increase the number of faculty and staff of color, and the introduction of cultural competency training for students, faculty and staff.
  • The initial steps in updating the university’s 5‑year strategic plan. The 2014‑2019 plan will be rewritten to support the goals of the Drive to 25. The plan is due to be finalized in April, 2020.

Upcoming WSU Town Hall meeting schedule

  • Oct. 1, 4–5 p.m.

    College of Veterinary Medicine
    Bustad Hall, Room 145

  • Oct. 2, noon–1 p.m.

    Carson College of Business
    Todd Hall, Room 268

  • Oct. 2, 4–5 p.m.

    College of Arts and Sciences
    CUB Auditorium

  • Oct. 3, noon–1 p.m.

    Honors College and Office of Undergraduate Education
    Honors Lounge, Room 110

  • Oct. 9, noon–1 p.m.

    WSU Vancouver
    Dengerink Administration Building, Room 110

  • Oct. 11, noon–1 p.m.

    WSU Everett
    Room 102

  • Oct. 16, 9–10 a.m.

    Martin Stadium, Club level

  • Oct. 30, noon–1 p.m.

    WSU Tri‑Cities
    East Building Auditorium, Room 266

  • Oct. 6, 11 a.m.–noon

    College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
    Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences, Room 101

  • Oct. 6, 2–3 p.m.

    College of Nursing
    Nursing Building, Room 205
    (Videostreamed to nursing locations in Vancouver, Tri‑Cities and Yakima)

  • Oct. 7, 11 a.m.–noon

    Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine faculty, staff and students
    Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences, Room 101

  • Oct. 7, 2–3 p.m.

    WSU Spokane noncollege affiliated staff and students
    Spokane Academic Center, Room 20

For more information about the upcoming meetings, see the WSU Town Hall website.