As we begin this distance delivery fall semester, I want to thank everyone in the WSU Vancouver community. Everyone has been working hard to get the semester ready to go, AND everyone has been working hard to keep up each other’s spirits as we face these challenges while physically isolated from each other. First, I want to acknowledge the peoples in whose homelands WSU Vancouver is located–the Chinookan and Taidnapam peoples and the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, whose ancestors survived the apocalyptic pandemic that killed 90% or more of the indigenous people of North America, an event we all need to recognize and remember.
Here are my thank yous, in no particular order:
Thank you to the Academic Advisors and Success Coaches from the academic departments and from the Student Resource center and to the folks in Admissions for their outreach to help get our students registered. And thanks to Laurel Rea and Felix Braffith for their work on this, as well.
Thank you to Mike Caulfield and the Academic Solutions group in VIT for all the trainings and resources they put together for faculty to develop great pedagogy for distance delivery. Thanks also to the folks at AOI in Pullman, in particular Rebecca Vandevoord, for the trainings and workshops they provided. Thanks to Michael Stamper and the rest of his VIT team for technical and material support. And a special shout out to Chris Rhoads, who made all our Town Hall and Student Forum events run smoothly over the summer.
Thank you to all our faculty who have applied their imaginations, their professional expertise, their care and their time to build courses that students will find engaging and effective, and for making it a priority over the summer.
A big thank you to all our student leaders who worked over the summer to keep our students feeling connected–and thanks to our continuing students for sticking with us, and our new students for diving in to pursue their educations undaunted by the most devastating pandemic since 1919.
Thank you to Obie Ford III and the BaCE committee and BaCE facilitators for a summer of great workshops, support, and inspiration, particularly the Wellness Wednesdays programs. #BlackLivesMatter. And thanks to Shameem Rakha and Katherine Rodela for providing a great learning opportunity for the instructors who’ll be teaching our first-year experience course.
Thanks to Holly Beck and Holly Davis–you keep Academic Affairs on track from afar with equal grace as you did in person.
Thanks to the Academic Directors: Jane Cote (Business), Karen Diller (Library) , Linda Eddy (Nursing) Sharon Kruse (Education), Pavithra Narayanan (CAS), Elizabeth Soliday (CAHNRS), Hakan Gurocak (ENCS, outgoing) and Xinghui Zhao (ENCS, incoming), and to Christine Portfors, Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education and Thabiti Lewis, Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, for always being such a great team to work with.
Special thank you to our new faculty members for joining us this fall. I’m sure none of you will ever forget what your first semester was like!
Thank you to Elias Cohen, who not only knows all the stats about WSU Vancouver, but also knows that we need to use that information to continually work to make this a more equitable, more meaningful organization.
Thanks to Brenda Alling for always getting the message out!
Thank you to Bill Hooper and all the facilities crew–I know they’re lonely on campus these days! And I also know they’re keeping the place ready for us to (joyfully) return one day.
Thank you to Chancellor Mel Netzhammer for his fierce love of, and advocacy for, WSU Vancouver. Thank you to Lynn Valenter for steering Vancouver’s fiscal ship safely through choppy waters. Thank you to Domanic Thomas, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, for partnering with Academic Affairs to always improve the VanCoug student experience; to Jennifer Miltenberger and Max Ault for building community support for the campus, and to Sherri Bennett, who joined us as Chief of Staff just before we went remote, and has had to learn her way around the organization virtually. And thanks to Julia Getchell, for putting the “human” in Human Resources!
Finally, I wish all our faculty a smooth first week of class, steady internet connections, and lots of excited and engaged students on your screens!