Regents approve new degree programs, discuss faculty listening sessions

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Members of the Washington State University Board of Regents authorized three new degree programs as part of a slate of nearly two dozen action items approved during Friday’s meeting on the Spokane campus.

These academic programs include two new undergraduate programs and a new master’s program:

  • Master of Veterinary Anatomic Pathology
  • Bachelor of Science in Public Health
  • Bachelor of Arts in Social Work

Both the masters of veterinary anatomic pathology and bachelors in public health are expected to be available to students this coming fall. Both will be offered on the Pullman campus, with the public health degree also being offered in Spokane and Vancouver. The new social work degree program is expected to debut in the fall of 2025 on the WSU Tri-Cities campus.

Regents also approved several updated fee rates for the upcoming academic year, revisions to university policies, the renewal of WSU’s contract with Workday, and the university’s 2025–27 state capital budget request. Additionally, regents voted to approve the fiscal year 2025 Athletics Budget and the establishment of a new WSU Pullman Cougs Against Hunger Student Food Pantry Fee. Chair Lisa Keohokalole Schauer and Vice Chair Jenette Ramos were also reelected to their respective positions on the board.

During Thursday’s committee meetings, regents heard presentations on the research enterprise of the university, fiscal year 2025 budget planning, and the university’s AI Task Force.

Faculty listening sessions

Members of the WSU community also heard from regents regarding recent listening sessions with faculty pertaining to the challenges and opportunities facing the university. In-person and remote sessions between March 18 and April 10 allowed nearly 300 attendees to provide feedback while engaging directly with members of the board.

“What I was so impressed with in the five faculty listening sessions that we hosted was a deep, deep dedication to WSU,” Schauer said. “And while there are lots of challenges that I think this board has been engaged in, there are also tremendous opportunities.”

Schauer compiled a summary of the comments received during these meetings and vowed to work openly and transparently with the university community to tackle the issues facing WSU.

Four core areas of focus were identified based on feedback provided:

  • OneWSU, empowering the university team and leveraging the strength of the system
  • Fiscal health and transparency
  • Reputational strength — safeguarding WSU’s legacy while prioritizing academic excellence, amplifying the university’s story and increasing enrollment
  • Stabilizing WSU Athletics

Schulz plans to step down in 2025

Schauer also shared with the WSU community during the meeting that Schulz plans to step down as president of the university in June of 2025. Schulz will continue to serve in the role while the university searches for his successor. Kirk and Noel Schulz also shared a video announcement concerning the path ahead.

Regents voted to amend President Schulz’s contract as well as approve guidelines for the search for his replacement and select the search firm that’ll assist in that process. The university’s 25-person presidential search advisory committee will be chaired by Regent Ramos, who will be joined by regents Enrique Cerna, Lura Powell and Brett Blankenship, as well as five at-large positions and 16 nominated members.

More information about how members of the university community can get involved in the search will be made public next week.

The WSU Board of Regents are next scheduled to meet as part of a retreat in Vancouver June 6–7.

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