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Equity, diversity interim vice president named

Michael J. Tate, the dean and director of Washington State University Extension, (photo left) was named on June 30 the interim vice president for equity and diversity. Tate will assume his new duties Sept. 1.

“Mike Tate brings an outstanding combination of higher education experience and institutional knowledge to this job. I am pleased he has agreed to take on the task and I am confident that he is the right person to move this important effort forward,” said WSU President V. Lane Rawlins.

Rawlins announced the creation of the new vice presidential position in May. He said the position would take a leadership role in increasing diversity on the WSU campuses, especially among faculty and staff. As part of his duties, the vice president will work with the commission on race and ethnicity, a 12-member panel appointed by Rawlins in May to serve as a forum to gather information around campus and communicate issues to campus administrators.

“I look forward to this opportunity as interim vice president for equity and diversity. It is an honor to serve our university and the state of Washington in this capacity. My career, in part, over 30 years, has been dedicated to the principles of equity and diversity in education. The opportunity to be part of advancing our practice and programs is very exciting,” Tate said.

Tate expects to spend considerable time this summer thinking about the agenda for the coming year. He and Rawlins plan to hold an open discussion session at the beginning of the academic year where they will address plans, listen to ideas and answer questions about this topic.

Tate became associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Home Economics (now the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences) and associate director of WSU Cooperative Extension (now WSU Extension) on July 1, 1998. He was named director of Cooperative Extension in January 2000 and dean of Cooperative Extension a year later.

In October 2002, Tate began a two-year, part-time appointment with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. He is serving as chief education adviser in the Division of Competitive Programs in the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service.

Tate came to WSU from Michigan State University where he was assistant director of extension. He received three degrees from Michigan State — a bachelor’s degree in food science and human nutrition in 1972, a master’s degree in adult and continuing education in 1982 and a doctorate in extension education and administration in 1996.

During Tate’s tenure as interim vice president for equity and diversity, Linda Kirk Fox will serve as interim dean and director of WSU Extension. Fox is currently the associate dean and associate director of WSU Extension.

A national search will be conducted to fill the vice president of equity and diversity position on a permanent basis. No timetable has been set for that appointment.

Rawlins also has provided a President’s Update titled “Our Next Steps to Attain a More Diverse and Equitable Environment at Washington State University” that can be found at

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