The annual AFW meeting with the Deans and VCAAs took place this week. I represented Vancouver and joined several of the Deans from Pullman along with a couple of the Deans in Spokane. We had a great discussion; AFW had designed two questions to pose to us. The first was, “we hear a lot about the budget situation recently and about the impact shortages may have at WSU. As you navigate these waters, what innovations or creative approaches are you considering for the near and far future?” I addressed that question by talking about our need to grow in order to achieve three goals: to be able to expand our participation in graduate education, to be able to hire more faculty into our emerging research areas, and to be able to offer a broader range of options to our students in terms of scheduling sections (such as being able to offer more than one section of required courses). The Deans talked very frankly about the challenges they’re facing, and the need to innovate in order to continue to be a great university and to work toward the drive to 25.
The second question was, “with regard to President Schulz’s ‘Drive to 25’ initiative, what ideas are being discussed in your unit to pursue those goals, generally and particularly as they relate to women?” I talked about our focus on hiring faculty with strong research potential to complement the strong researchers we have on our faculty; on leveraging our location, which can provide advantages to researchers in some fields; and about what a great campus Vancouver is for women. Not only do we have many women in leadership positions (3 Vice Chancellors, 3 Directors on the Chancellor’s cabinet; 6 of 7 Academic Directors, both Associate Vice Chancellors in Academic Affairs, and most of the leadership team in Student Affairs), but we have a strong representation of women in STEM fields, as well distinguished scholars and teachers across many fields.
I enjoyed being on the panel with academic leadership from Pullman and Spokane, and I felt very good about the things I was able to say about our campus. I emphasized what a substantial portion of the WSU system we are–about 10% of enrollment, and about 10% of tenure-track faculty, and that we’re a 10% the system can be proud of.