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State of the campus lays out five-year strategic plan

On Aug. 31, Washington State University Vancouver’s Chancellor Mel Netzhammer presented the annual State of the Campus Address. During the speech, Netzhammer focused on areas of importance to the University now and how those contributed to the future plan of WSU Vancouver.

Netzhammer first highlighted the plans WSU’s new president, Kirk Schulz, has for the University. Schulz is very interested in helping each WSU campus be the best it can be, rather than simply mirroring the main Pullman campus. “We want WSU Vancouver to be the best WSU Vancouver, not the best WSU Pullman,” Netzhammer said.

Netzhammer also addressed the University plan Drive to 25. Schulz wants make efforts to bring WSU into the country’s top 25 public research universities in the future. Netzhammer expressed his support and enthusiasm for this goal, but said that development and discussions need to occur before it can be determined how the Drive to 25 will affect WSU Vancouver.

During the address, Netzhammer also discussed the WSU budget. He acknowledged that concerns about meeting budgetary requirements have been pertinent to the entire WSU system. However, Netzhammer emphasized that while the budget must be carefully monitored, WSU Vancouver is in a secure budgetary situation.

One of the goals set for WSU Vancouver specifically was to grow enrollment. Netzhammer and other faculty members set an ambitious goal to increase the enrollment number by 5 percent. While official enrollment figures for the fall 2016 semester are still being finalized, WSU Vancouver is “painfully close” to reaching the goal.

A major theme of the State of the Campus Address was the presentation of Destination 2021, WSU Vancouver’s new five year strategic plan. This plan helps the University determine what goals it wants to set, as well as ways to reach and implement those goals.
According to Netzhammer, the strategic plan comprises five goals: research, student success, growth, equity and diversity and community. During the address, each of these goals were elaborated upon.

A major component of Destination 2021 is making WSU Vancouver more competitive as a research institution. Netzhammer said that $275,000 has been allocated annually for the next two years to help the campus enhance its research abilities and resources.

To help further student success, Netzhammer said that strides are being made to bring open access education resources to WSU Vancouver. According to Netzhammer, WSU Vancouver hopes to adopt textbooks and class resources for some classes that are free to students or cost very little, in the hope that this will increase student success.

Growth on campus is underway, and new programs are being added to help foster expansion. Entrepreneurship, communications and data analytics programs soon will be available at WSU Vancouver, as well as a masters program in electrical engineering.

To help foster equity and diversity on campus, Netzhammer said that a search is currently underway to hire a campus director for equity and diversity.
Finally, Netzhammer elaborated on ways in which WSU Vancouver plans to engage with the Southwest Washington community. WSU Vancouver is planning to partner with several local economic organizations to help foster economic development in the region.

During the State of the Campus Address, Netzhammer also presented the Chancellor’s Award for Staff Excellence. This year, Student Activities Advisor Nikki Hinshaw received the award for her work helping students in the Office of Student involvement.

For more information on the WSU Vancouver strategic plan, as well as detailed explanations of the specific goals, visit Vancouver.wsu.edu/strategic.

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