Chancellor’s Award for Advancing Equity

Thanks to the work of our Campus Director of Equity and Diversity, Dr. Obie Ford III, WSU Vancouver has established a new Chancellor’s Award for Advancing Equity. This is a high-profile award that will be presented at Commencement. Here are the details:

The Chancellor’s Award for Advancing Equity honors a full-time WSU Vancouver faculty or staff member for excellence in building and expanding a community of equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging on campus. The award recognizes this individual’s outstanding and impactful service to WSU Vancouver through contributions to realizing one or more of the following objectives from Goal 4 of the WSU Vancouver strategic plan to ensure equitable opportunities and outcomes for all student populations; infuse equity-mindedness throughout the fabric of the campus structure and create capacity to work toward equity in all aspects of campus endeavors; and/or build and maintain a safe and welcoming environment for all students and employees.


Nominees will have established specific procedures, practices and/or initiatives that advance equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging at WSU Vancouver in relation to any one of the following Goal 4 objectives. The award committee will rate each nomination based on the criteria below. It is crucial that nominators submit thorough nominations that describe how the nominee meets the award criteria. While completing all three categories of criteria is not required to submit a nomination, nominators should be aware and mindful that each category is interconnected. Therefore, the quality of the nomination is improved by providing as much relevant information about the nominee in each category as possible. The committee for the Chancellor’s Award for Advancing Equity will rate nominations on the following criteria:

  1. Ensure equitable opportunities and outcomes for all student populations.

(Any of the following meets this category)

  • Practices/initiatives that support equity of outcomes in outreach, recruitment, retention or graduation.
  • Partners with culturally specific organizations to increase student access and understand needs of underrepresented students.
  • Identifies/obtains grant funding to increase capacity for services to underrepresented students.
  1. Infuse equity-mindedness throughout the fabric of the campus structure and create capacity to work toward equity in all aspects of campus endeavors. (Any of the following meets this category)
  • Provides ongoing professional development related to equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging.
  • Ensures equity and diversity values in campus-wide activities.
  1. Build and maintain a safe and welcoming environment for all students and employees.

(Any of the following meets this category)

  • Develops and supports initiatives that promote dialogue around climate, equity and diversity issues.
  • Participates in the BaCE professional development program.
  • Implements campus supports to improve retention of underrepresented faculty and staff.

For more information about this award and to nominate an eligible WSU Vancouver faculty or staff member, visit the website.

If you have questions about this award, please feel free to contact the committee chair, Obie Ford III:

Associate Vice Chancellor Search

As many of you know, June Canty will be retiring after this academic year. June has led our student success efforts in Academic Affairs over the five years she’s spent in this position, and she will be missed. We’ve launched the search for a new Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs.  A brief description and link to the full job posting appears below. The application deadline is January 21.

This position supports the Vice Chancellor in the achievement of the academic mission and vision of WSU Vancouver. The Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs (AVCAA) has major responsibilities within the areas of student success, institutional research and strategic planning, academic planning, and assessment. WSU Vancouver is part of the Washington State University system, which operates as one university geographically dispersed. The AVCAA works with constituents, including Student Affairs, on the Vancouver campus, and also serves as a liaison with the Pullman campus. The successful candidate will qualify for tenure at the rank of Professor.

For more information, please see:



Welcome back for Fall 2018!

Hello, faculty and staff colleagues, and welcome to the start of fall semester 2018. First, I’d like to ask you all to help us be sure that all students who should be registered are registered, so that we can capture our FTE accurately. Having all our students registered in all their classes is important for us, so that our FTE is reflected correctly–a process that has budgetary implications for the campus. Census day is a week from Friday–August 31–and the earlier we have all students registered the better, as we track our FTE on a daily basis, and right now our FTE is not up as much as we expected it to be at this point in the registration process.

In other news, earlier this month I celebrated my 5 year anniversary as Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs at WSU Vancouver. I’m feeling good about my time here, and will have some more to say in future posts about the changes we’ve made over the past five years.


Go Cougs!

Congratulations to Renee Hoeksel

Renee Hoeksel, Professor of Nursing, is this year’s winner of the V. Lane Rawlins Distinguished Lifetime Service Award. This award honors individuals who have given a substantial part of their career to advancing WSU through excellent service and have demonstrated great personal commitment to the university and community.

One of WSU Vancouver’s founding faculty, Dr. Hoeksel started her career with us in the fall of 1990, when the campus was located in Bauer Hall at Clark College. She has been working to create, grow, and develop the excellence of the Nursing program and the campus ever since. Among her many contributions, she served as a leader in the development of the statewide Direct Transfer Agreement that provides seamless articulation for students to transfer to BSN programs in the state following completion of an Associate’s degree in nursing, which seeks to fulfill the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation to increase the proportion of nurses with a bachelor’s degree to 80% by 2020. Dr. Hoeksel also provided leadership in the development of the Masterplan for Nursing Education. In 2008, the Hoeksel Award for RN/BSN Student Achievement was created on the Vancouver campus to honor the values that Dr. Hoeksel has promoted throughout her career.

In her nomination letter for this award, Dr. Linda Eddy, Vancouver Academic Director and Associate Dean in the College of Nursing, wrote: “Her capable leadership has had a profound influence on the College of Nursing, the WSU Vancouver campus, the University, the nursing profession, and patient and population health outcomes. She did this through active and skilled engagement with leaders across the university, the Vancouver community, and health professionals throughout the state and region.”

The Vancouver campus, Washington State University, and the State of Washington have benefited from Dr. Hoeksel’s advocacy and service, and I’m delighted to be able to congratulate her on receiving this significant recognition of that service.


Oscar Vazquez speaks as part of Common Read

Last night our campus was fortunate to host Oscar Vazquez, one of the team of young roboticists featured in this year’s Common Read book Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream. Mr. Vazquez spoke about having been brought to the U.S. by his parents when he was a child, the events that led him to the robotics team at Carl Hayden High School, and how that team went on to win the Marine Advanced Technology Education Robotics Competition, beating the MIT team and other college teams. He talked about getting a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Arizona State University, then returning to Mexico to attempt to re-enter the U.S. legally and begin a path to citizenship, and the enormous setbacks and hurdles involved in that process. After his return, he joined the military, served in Afghanistan, then began his current career with the BNSF railraod. He has testified before Congress regarding DACA, and showed as part of his presentation a photo of


of himself and former President Obama at the White House. Following his talk, there was a lively Q&A session with the audience.

At the reception following the talk, Mr. Vazquez interacted with Vancouver students, iTech prep students and teachers, and community members. It was clear that his presence engaged our students and community in significant and meaningful ways.

My thanks go to Oscar Vazquez for coming to our campus, to the Diversity Council for sponsoring the event, and to Suzanne Smith for coordinating the event as part of the Common Read program.


Adverse Weather Statement

Just when we thought the winter was going to pass without significant snow and ice, it started snowing at the beginning of this week. And while the campus is truly beautiful when decorated with snow:


the weather can cause disruptions for faculty, staff and students traveling to campus. So I just wanted to remind everyone about the adverse weather statement we adopted last year, and to encourage faculty to include the syllabus statement in their syllabi so students have guidance about what to do in circumstances such as we’ve been experiencing this week.


New Year, New Learning Opportunities

Happy 2018! May it be a year of growth, development and productivity for us all.

The year starts with faculty professional development opportunities offered by Academic Affairs and VIT’s Academic Services, the first of which will be held next Tuesday, January 9. Workshop topics include preparing your class for campus closure, how to deal with accommodations and accessibility issues, Blackboard and One Drive. For a complete schedule and descriptions of sessions, check the Faculty Development Opportunities site.

The Meaning of the Week

I’ve heard some questions and confusion arise about the academic regulation regarding the 15th week of the semester; it’s a topic around which a fair amount of folklore has grown, so I’d like to disambiguate. It seems to be commonly referred to as “dead week,” but is actually called Closed Week in Academic Regulation 78, which defines it as follows:


No examinations or quizzes (other than laboratory examinations, make-up examinations and make-up quizzes) may be given during the last week of instruction.  Paper-proctored exams given for Global Campus courses are exempt from this rule, only if scanning and emailing the completed exam is not possible due to lack of equipment or infrastructure.

Here are some of the piece of folklore that I’ve heard regarding Week 15 which are not true:

  • No new information can be introduced in a course during this week. [There is no such prohibition. It is a week of instruction; only exams and quizzes are interdicted, not teaching of new material.]
  • Classes don’t meet this week. [They do meet! This is why I particularly dislike the practice of calling it “dead week,” a term which historically referred to a week between the end of classes and the beginning of finals that was meant to be used for study.]
  • Make-up exams can’t be scheduled during this week. [Not true. See above.]

Academic Regulations 74-89 pertain to examinations; most of them pertain to final examinations, and collectively they provide the framework in which we operate at the end of the semester. I encourage you to check them out, rather than falling for the folklore.