August 2019

Provost Perspective

Provost Montoya, Butch T. Cougar, and others greet students as they walk onto the Pullman campus.

Excited to
join the Cougar family

I am excited to start the fall semester as provost and executive vice president of Washington State University. I’ve spent my career at research-intensive land‑grant universities and I believe we are perfectly positioned to engage our communities to make a difference through education, research, and extension programs. I look forward to getting to know our diverse community of places and people and joining with you as we craft a system‑wide strategic plan that boosts the Drive to 25.


President’s monthly message

Welcome to the season of opportunity. The fall semester brings with it renewed hopes throughout the entire University community—at our campuses and locations statewide. Opportunity abounds for our new and returning students, our faculty, our researchers, our extension experts and our staff.

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Provost’s Office Restructure

The Office of the Provost is restructuring the vice provost positions to strategically align with the office’s system‑wide focus on faculty development, student success and inclusive excellence.

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Faculty Development

Workshop series looks to bolster network of chairs and directors

The Chairs and Directors Workshop Series is designed to provide information and engagement for leadership and faculty interested in leadership positions. The timely workshop topics cover administrative duties and responsibilities, as well as soft skills that all leaders can develop and hone.

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Student Success

Cougs Rise bridges the gap for high school students

Dozens of students are getting a taste of life on campus and faculty are pitching in to make their transitions to college life smoother through Cougs Rise. First-generation students from five Washington high schools are gaining valuable experience through a variety of high-impact practices at WSU.

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Equity, Diversity and Inclusive Excellence

The Office of the Provost is committed to inclusive excellence. Recognizing that it is a goal that can only be achieved through structural change, we will be offering a monthly column dedicated to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusive Excellence.

How do departments balance service workloads?

There are strategic approaches to faculty service that can help make workloads more equitable and create more cohesive, cooperative departments across the university. Studies continue to show women and underrepresented minority faculty shoulder a disproportionate amount of service and invisible work at universities, leading to lower overall job satisfaction and higher turnover. Initial findings from the Faculty Workload and Rewards Project showed: using data and adding transparency, establishing clear expectations and accountability, and creating opt‑in defaults and rotations for certain roles, raised faculty satisfaction and led to fewer faculty members leaving their institutions.

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Link Up

College Highlights

Min Du, professor and Endowed Chair in Growth Biology in the Department of Animal Sciences (College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences) received the Animal Physiology and Endocrinology Award from the American Society of Animal Science. Du was recognized for helping address the worldwide epidemic of obesity and its attendant health problems, exploring the role of genes, maternal obesity, nutrition and other physiological conditions on early development, obesity and health.

Anne Marie Guerrettaz, assistant professor of language, literacy and technology in the Department of Teaching and Learning (College of Education), earned a $50,000 grant to research textbooks in Spanish-language classes and their impact on student learners. The grant from the Spencer Foundation will fund research that involves examining textbook use in classrooms and what kind of learning the textbooks elicit, Guerrettaz says.

Two WSU faculty members are playing key roles in implementation of the First Step Act, a landmark piece of legislation that is helping thousands of non‑violent inmates integrate back into communities across the country. Zach Hamilton and Alex Kigerl, from the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology (College of Arts and Sciences) were part of a team that put together a risk assessment model that is improving lives and easing prison overcrowding.