WSU to review administrative structure

WSU President Kirk Schulz holding a microphone.
WSU President Kirk Schulz answers questions following his 2024 State of the University Address at the Everett campus.

EVERETT, Wash. — Highlighting recent achievements, vital ongoing initiatives, as well as challenges facing Washington State University, President Kirk Schulz delivered his annual State of the University Address Thursday afternoon.

On the Everett campus alongside Chancellor Paul Pitre and Faculty Senate Chair Eric Shelden, Schulz delivered a brief presentation before addressing questions from the university community. The 2024 State of the University was broadcast on YouTube and is available to watch in its entirety.

Administrative structure, program reviews on the horizon

Given the challenges WSU and higher education more broadly faces, it’s essential that the community comes together to ensure the university remains a great place to study, conduct ground-breaking research and spend a career, Schulz said. He noted budget planning exercises are underway with units across the system, and alluded to broader introspection on the horizon.

“One of the things that we’re going to start now, working with faculty, staff and students, is really preparing ourselves for the fall semester to do a complete review of both the administrative structure of the university across the system, as well as a program review.”

Key to these reviews will be inclusion of all stakeholders at WSU, a willingness to collaborate, transparency, and taking the time needed for such an important process. Program reviews, Schulz emphasized, aren’t synonymous simply with cuts, but are an opportunity to better understand what programs should receive additional investment by the university in order to help WSU thrive in the future.

State of the University highlights

Campuses across the WSU system have seen significant infrastructure improvements in the past 12 months, Schulz noted. The forthcoming Schweitzer Engineering Hall and the USDA-ARS Plant Sciences Building on the WSU Pullman campus, WSU Vancouver’s new Life Sciences Building, and WSU Spokane’s recently renovated Medicine Building, were among the projects highlighted during the address.

WSU also received significant support in recent state and federal budgets that’ll assist in its research enterprise, community outreach and campus safety efforts.

A significant portion of Schulz’s address was dedicated to highlighting the university’s efforts to address a loss of confidence in the value of higher education. He pointed to WSU’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and access endeavors as an example. Because students entering the workforce will be expected to collaborate with diverse teams, it’s vital that WSU provide opportunities to learn about these principals and gain varied perspectives while enrolled.

WSU is also working toward its historic land-grant mission in ensuring access to a college education. At WSU, Schulz noted that one-third of students from within the state pay no tuition, and that around three quarters of undergraduates across the system receive some form of financial aid. The university is also seeing positive indicators for fall enrollment, aided by moves to reduce the barriers certain fees pose and encouraging prospective students to visit campuses.

During his remarks, Pitre shared highlights for the WSU Everett campus, including partnerships with Amazon and local community colleges, as well as joining an initiative dedicated to ensure the ease of credit transfers.

The State of the University address is one of the 2024 Showcase events happening across the system this week. More information is available on the Showcase website.

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