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01/31/2003 - WSU Proposes New University System

Following an eighteen-month study of Washington State University’s satellite campuses, V. Lane Rawlins, WSU President, has recommended some sweeping changes to the school’s Board of Regents. His recommendations include moving toward a Washington State University system, which grants the satellite campuses in Spokane, Vancouver, and the Tri-Cities greater autonomy while maintaining the strengths and safety of being associated with a university system. “It is time to recognize that they are, in fact, unique campuses, not simply branches of the Pullman campus,” Rawlins said.

Rawlins believes that this new form of governance would allow the urban campuses to better serve their region. To this end he also recommends assigning a regent to each campus to help with governance; along with the creation of a new regents’ committee for oversight. The role of the campus advisory board would be reviewed. Under this plan, the campus executive officer would become a chancellor, with all the powers and responsibility that a chancellor should assume. A number of councils would have to be created to deal with plans, programs and issues for the entire WSU system.

According to Rawlins, academic programs may be located at any of the campuses; however, lower-division undergraduate work may be coordinated with the local community colleges. A seamless program that allows dual enrollment at a community college and WSU could be worked out. Graduate education would remain a system-wide enterprise with a single graduate faculty. Although the WSU system would maintain one faculty and academic degrees from one university, fees could be tailored to fit the student bodies of each campus.

At this time, the WSU Spokane campus is primarily focused on professional and graduate education and research. The Spokane faculty works closely with faculty on the Pullman campus. The chancellor of the Spokane campus would also be a vice provost for health sciences at the parent university.

There are many issues to clarify and a lot of work yet to be done, but the faculty senate has begun the work. Among the factors to be considered are student recruiting, student affairs, fund-raising, marketing, information technology, and libraries. President Rawlins expect the work to take another eighteen months to complete.

To learn more about WSU’s proposed changes, go to:

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