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WSU Everett highlights successes and future plans at annual address

EVERETT—Washington State University President Kurt Schultz provided insights into the past year’s achievements and challenges, as well as the future direction of the university at the State of the University Address held on the Everett campus on March 26.

president Schultz
WSU President Kirk Schulz. SOURCE: Washington State University

The address began by highlighting the University’s recent fusion week, which was held on October 12 through 13 bringing together energy companies, elected officials, research institutions, NGOs, educational presentations, fusion lab site tours as well as a VIP networking reception.

Enrollment at Washington State University kicked up by double digits this past fall as well, which the University is extremely proud of. Indicators further show that the University will expect additional increases in enrollment this coming fall.

Washington State University has been working closely with Everett Community College to home in on transfer pathways to assist students transitioning from community college to four-year institutions. The University is also working closely with the Washington Student Achievement Council to pilot a new transfer tool which the University says will be not only valuable to WSU Everett but the WSU system as a whole.

Within the last year WSU distributed about $150,000 to its students primarily focused on scholarship access. These dollars come from the Puget Sound Taxpayer Authority account and were raised by the state through the light rail being built, as well as having access to the funds via Snohomish County. These dollars will be available to the University for the next decade and will eventually help in its recruitment efforts as well.

The University’s MESA (Math, Engineering, Science, Achievement) program, back in July 2023, also received state dollars for which will allow students access to STEM degree programs and be successful as they move along the path towards graduation.

When President Schultz took the stage, he covered some key takeaways from the previous year. At the top of his list of successes was renovating a new College of Medicine building at its Spokane campus as well as holding a groundbreaking ceremony over the summer for a new, state-of-the-art facility for Engineering.

Another success President Schultz noted, has been with the congressional district having secured several items in this year’s federal budget for instrumentation around research and infrastructure, programmatic funds, for campus safety—all dollars that the President said will make an impact on the university all thanks to the University’s Government Relations team.

The university also has a great track record in bringing in state support for its major and minor works projects—ranging from one to $2 million such as a roof replacement, renovating a lab, or a new air conditioning system.

WSU has been making strides in research measuring right above $370 million in research expenditures—up by 3% from last year. WSU ranked 77 out of 637 institutions for its scholarly work last year. The institution was also the second largest institution for USDA funds last year, for the second year in a row.

“Folks are out there hustling, they’re making a huge difference, they’re doing great things,” said President Schultz.

WSU has been currently working with the county to add testing for sustainable aviation fuels to coincide with Paine Fields new research and development facility, new wheat breeding for agriculture, and the Institute for Northwest Energy futures which is in the process of being stood up by the state.

“As climate change comes through our region we are doing what we need to do to ensure farmers and ranchers have the tools they need to continue to be globally competitive,” said President Schultz. “We want to make sure that we keep bringing infrastructure, that includes people, that includes facilities, that includes grants, congressional earmark funding, everything possible to continue to grow our research efforts at Washington State University.”

President Schultz said one of his goals, as President is to continue to put forth graduates who are workforce ready and that means they are ready to work in a diverse and multicultural environment which starts at the educational experience across WSU. Just some of the ways the university has done this is to provide much-needed scholarship dollars to Native students through its Native Scholars program which will be increased moving forward, and expanding support for families whose native language is not English.

Some other priorities of President Schultz are to continue to deliver a quality, and affordable, education experience for Washington residents as well as continuing to be transparent and welcome civil discourse.

Going forward, President Schultz identified one of the university’s challenges to adapt to a changing landscape.

“I have to remind myself at the end of the day when I look at budget spreadsheets that it’s our students and making sure that they’re successful, that they leave WSU and go on to do great things and look back and say there was a faculty member I had, a project I was involved in, this opportunity I had I never thought I would get, as part of the Coug experience,” said President Schultz. “That is not just Pullman, or Spokane, or wherever – that’s all of our campuses as a whole system and that’s what we got to keep our eye on. That’s what we’re going to continue to do.”

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