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Washington State University
Washington State University Office of the Provost

A Message from OAE

The Office of Academic Engagement (OAE) was developed to support undergraduate student engagement in learning and involvement in the highly impactful experiences of our campus community. Engagement (or the physical and mental energy one invests) in their academics is a leading indicator of overall student success, and while it is a simple concept, it has complex determinants. For instance, student financial factors can limit engagement, as can considerations associated with being the first in their family to attend college (needing to develop a sense of belonging and/or believe in ability); behaviors and learning strategies associated with academic success can impact engagement, as can a student’s skill and disposition at working within a diverse environment.

We develop externally funded programs and initiatives that focus on the development of a student’s belief in their ability and sense of belonging in the WSU community. This requires program design that incorporates student involvement in an inclusive campus environment, rather than providing services in isolation by one office or entity. Research has demonstrated that a more inclusive approach not only has a positive impact on retention, but more importantly, better prepares a student for long-term success.

We have three principles that drive program development:

  1. Our programs and initiatives are evidence-based and evidence-generating. Operating at a critical intersection of research and practice allows us to utilize theory and implement promising practices to identify impactful solutions for scale.
  2. Despite generating evidence, our efforts are student centered. This often means developing a program design that sacrifices ostentatious outcomes and fails to isolate effect in order to serve those most in need and consider individual student success.
  3. Being student centered requires that OAE efforts are collaborative by design, utilizing student service expertise from across the institution as well as student input. As an Academic Affairs unit, faculty involvement is a strength and critical to services and assessment, yet we also aim to be a primary collaborator with Student Affairs in matters of student life (i.e. health and wellness, residence life, civic engagement).

We welcome potential partners, be they faculty from any discipline, staff practitioners from across the system, or student groups with a vision for helping their fellow Cougs, to reach out to us with ideas on how we can collaborate and ensure all students are able to make the most of their WSU experience.

Go Cougs!
The OAE Team

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