Before we close the book on 2015 and dive headlong into the spring semester, we’d like to take a few moments to reflect on a momentous fall.
It’s our hope that “From the Provost” provides helpful information, points you to valuable resources on campus, and gives you insights into the future of our great University. We welcome your questions, comments and feedback. Please email them to email@example.com.
- In August, the Office of the Provost and the College of Education teamed up and unveiled the Aspiring Teacher Leadership and Success (ATLAS) program. Funded by a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Dept. of Education, it will provide 140 participants each year with opportunities for academic development, assistance with college requirements, and motivation toward the successful completion of their degrees. The partnership provides an excellent model for student support programs throughout the system.
- We’ve made honoring faculty a priority during our time as co-provosts. This spring, we’ll formally do so by presenting awards at Showcase on March 25. We truly appreciate all those who took time to nominate faculty members, and we hope to promote and build on our culture of recognizing outstanding research, teaching, advising and support.
- The Transfer Clearinghouse embarked on its mission this year, and promises to reap rewards for WSU students for many years to come. Under the leadership of director Susan Poch, the Clearinghouse aims to boost the number, and the retention rates, of transfer students. The Clearinghouse clears up confusion and eases the admission process, and the long-term vision includes a transfer center, where students could access a multitude of student support services.
- An outstanding class of Cougars joined us in August, bringing system-wide enrollment to a record 29,686. A total of 4,220 freshmen students enrolled at the Pullman campus, along with 1,149 transfer students. Diversity continued to increase across the WSU system, as 30.4 percent of the undergraduate population identified as minorities. Student preparedness also increased in 2015, as entering freshmen posted an average high school GPA of 3.32.
- The Institutional Effectiveness Council delivered its initial report in September, providing benchmarks and setting the stage for fulfillment of the Strategic Plan. The report revealed, among other things, our peer-comparison group, the measures used for assessment, and our progress to date on each of the themes: World Class Innovation, Discovery and Creativity, Transformative Student Experience, Outreach and Engagement, and Institutional Effectiveness: Diversity Transparency and Integrity.
- We received fantastic news in October when WSU landed an Assets for Independence grant, which will fund the new Invest in Success program. Up to 85 low-income students can enroll in the program each year, and they will have the opportunity to save money and have it matched at up to 400 percent interest. The maximum benefit is $4,000 per student, with the money going toward educational expenses. WSU received national attention for the program, which will begin operations next month.
- Mental health is emerging as one of the most important issues facing our students, faculty and staff. Resources for mental health abound on campus, and thankfully, many people in our community are working to remove stigma around mental health issues, and help those in need. We continue to work to strengthen our mental health on all campuses.
- As part of our mission to highlight outstanding faculty members at WSU, we initiated the Featured Faculty program and we were delighted to join them in Martin Stadium to watch the Cougars this fall. We will continue this new tradition into basketball season, starting in January.
- Earlier this month, we discussed the issue of textbook costs, and a few tips for faculty on how they can help minimize the costs for students. Part of providing access to WSU is eliminating barriers to success and finances can hold students back from reaching their goals. We’re committed to finding solutions so that all students can earn their degrees without taking on major financial burden.
- Most recently, we addressed the importance of assessment, and the progress we’ve made in undergraduate and graduate programs in that area. Assessing our student success programs will be a priority as we move forward.
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