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‘A university of choice’
President outlines goals for research, engagement, more
Friday, Mar. 9, 2012
By Hope Belli Tinney, WSU News
PULLMAN, Wash. - WSU’s "Face-to-Face” tagline might be a little dated, given that the university is expanding its distance education and distributed learning programs, but there is no question that the university continues to be "World Class” – the other part of the tagline - said President Elson S. Floyd in remarks to the Faculty Senate on Thursday.
Between phone calls from Gov. Christine Gregoire, Floyd gave the Faculty Senate an overview of what he sees as the primary goals of the university and his priorities moving forward.
AAU pursuit continuing
"I want us to become a university of choice,” Floyd said, one that attracts top students who choose WSU over other top universities. Becoming one of the leading research universities in the country continues to be a primary goal, he said, and he continues to believe WSU can achieve Association of American Universities status.
Floyd emphasized the need for increased interdisciplinary collaborations, global engagement and efforts to align WSU’s strategic initiatives with state and national priorities. WSU’s plan to provide engineering education in Western Washington for 425 students is an example of that, he said.
He talked about the need to increase out-of-state and international student enrollment, a goal that will both raise revenue and increase diversity. But "we are not going to do any of these things by sacrificing Washingtonians,” he said.
Universitywide steering committee
Floyd announced his intention to create a WSU Steering Committee, made up of diverse representation from administrative leadership, faculty, staff and students. If the Faculty Senate agrees, Floyd said, the committee, which would include about 33 members, could begin meeting as early as fall 2012.
Floyd’s remarks to the Faculty Senate were delayed when he received a phone call from Gregoire just as he was about to take the podium and begin his Power Point presentation. He left FSHN 101 to speak with her, but returned a few minutes later.
"In Olympia right now there is nothing but chaos,” Floyd said, shortly before receiving another call from the governor and leaving again for several minutes.
"This is one of those instances where I’m happy to be a jazz musician because it helps me improvise,” said Faculty Senate Chair David Turnbull.
Mid-term grades change returned to committee
In other matters, the senate returned to the academic affairs committee a proposal that originated with ASWSU to require faculty members to post mid-term grades for all students. Several senators spoke against the proposal, saying it placed an undue burden on faculty and the onus should be on the student.
Requiring faculty to take the time to post mid-terms for all students is not the best use of resources, said Sen. Jow-Lian Ding. Students should have to initiate contact, he said, because that would create a dialog between student and teacher.
Daniel Vickoren, ASWSU director of academic affairs, said ideally students will ask their instructors for help when they need it, but many students do not. Some are ashamed or painfully shy, he said, and others are overwhelmed or may be depressed. This policy would "uncover students who are having emotional problems,” he said.
Under current policy, mid-term grades are mandated for freshmen and new transfer students only. If freshmen or transfer students receive a grade lower than a C-, an academic advisor will contact the student to discuss what is going on and make them aware of various resources on campus, from counseling services to tutoring and the writing center.
It’s great if students figure out the system as freshmen, Vickoren said, but many of them do not and need additional help, which this proposal would provide.
"This is for students who need someone to call them in and ask what’s going on,” he said.
After the meeting, ASWSU Vice President Amanda Spalding said she was disappointed the matter had been sent back to committee. Since there are only two more Faculty Senate meetings this semester, she said, the proposal has been effectively killed until 2013.
Nominations open for chair elect
The senate also sent back to committee a proposal to revise the global studies minor and a proposal to change the scheduling of block exams.
The Faculty Senate is continuing to accept nominations for Faculty Senate chair elect. Current candidates are Gary Collins and Kathryn Meier. Nominations will be accepted until March 22 and can be emailed to Turnbull at Turnbull@mail.wsu.edu.
The next Faculty Senate meeting is set for March 29.