About Washington State University

WSU was established in 1890 as a land-grant university serving the state of Washington. Founded as the people’s university, WSU embraces its land-grant heritage and seeks to transform lives through education, research, community engagement, and serving the public good. In service of this mission, the university has been delivering life-changing knowledge and discoveries to the state, region, nation, and the world for over 130 years.

The university is fortunate to hold meaningful relationships that enhance its research, programs, and student experience. WSU enjoys productive partnerships with major industries in the state, including agribusiness, aerospace, health care, software, technology, and construction. The colleges at WSU Health Sciences Spokane have formed robust partnerships across the state of Washington, both with large medical centers and hospitals, as well as a variety of rural and community hospitals, clinics, and residency programs. Global partnerships are essential to WSU’s mission, and the university engages with international collaborators including governments, NGOs, private sector businesses, and academic institutions.

The university places a high value on diversity, equity, and inclusion in all facets of the institution. Over one-third of the student body statewide is comprised of students of color, and first-generation students represent some 33 percent of the total enrollment. About 15 percent of WSU students hail from outside the state of Washington and about 5.4 percent are international students. System-wide enrollment was 26,490 in fall 2023 and WSU continues to see significant enrollment from students of varying means and backgrounds. The university acknowledges that its locations statewide are on the homelands of Native peoples and has established the Office of Tribal Relations and Native American Programs to guide relationships with tribes and service to Native American students and communities.

The WSU community is deeply committed to providing the resources and support students need to become global citizens and informed leaders who thrive in their professional and personal lives. The university annually awards more than $296 million in scholarships and other financial aid to over 18,000 undergraduate students, alongside scholarship and fellowship opportunities for graduate and professional school students. The university continues to seek avenues for expanding college access, such as the Native Coug Scholars Fund, a scholarship program for Native American students funded in part by the State of Washington. The WSU Foundation consistently raises in excess of $125 million annually from private donors—funds used to support student scholarships and academic, research, and service initiatives.

A comprehensive institution, the university is organized into 10 degree-granting academic colleges as well as the Honors College, Graduate School, WSU Libraries, and WSU Extension:

  • College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS)
  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • Carson College of Business
  • Edward R. Murrow College of Communication
  • College of Education
  • Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture
  • Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine*
  • College of Nursing*
  • College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences*
  • College of Veterinary Medicine

*The dean of the college reports to the Executive Vice President for Health Sciences. For more information about the Health Sciences, see Appendix I.

The WSU campuses are home to a wide array of organizations and activities, including the arts, music, and theater; student-run media (including public radio, daily printed newspaper, and television stations); fraternities and sororities; recreational sports; an active student government, and others. Intercollegiate athletics plays an important role at WSU, and “Cougar Pride” is evident throughout the state of Washington. The university offers access to more than 600 study abroad programs in more than 70 countries around the world, and the system is working to increase the number of students from all of the WSU campuses studying abroad annually.

In the summer of 2018, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) reaffirmed the regional accreditation of WSU through 2025. Washington Monthly recently ranked WSU 46th nationally, a ranking based on what a college does for the country and its students. WSU is ranked as an R1, “Very High Research Activity” institution by the Carnegie Foundation and in 2022 was ranked 77th by the National Science Foundation for total R&D expenditures. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has also recognized WSU since 2008 for its engagement activities with a Community Engagement Classification.

The National Academies have selected 11 WSU faculty for membership, including three from the Paul G. Allen School for Global Health. Five faculty members were named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2022, boosting WSU’s representation to more than 40 AAAS Fellows. Thirteen faculty are members of the National Academy of Inventors. Fifty members of the WSU faculty have been chosen for membership in the Washington State Academy of Sciences, an organization that provides expert scientific and engineering assessments to inform public policy.

WSU operates as an integrated university system, OneWSU, with all six campuses adhering to the same set of goals, practices, and policies. For example, degree requirements are similar across campuses; one degree without campus designation is conferred; and all instructors and researchers, regardless of their location, are considered part of one faculty governed by a singular faculty manual.

In 2020, WSU engaged in a formal process to redefine its multi-campus administrative and operational structures to ensure delivery of an integrated set of services while recognizing the unique nature of each campus. More information about the WSU campuses and the history of the university is available in Appendix I.

President Schulz’s duties have evolved from operating as the chief executive of the WSU Pullman campus to setting the strategic vision and direction for the entire WSU system, advocating for higher education policy, engaging university donors, and representing WSU at the state and federal levels. Similarly, the Provost will be responsible for encouraging the growth and integrity of the system’s academic and research enterprise. WSU is a highly matrixed system with chancellors of each campus, who report to the President, working in close collaboration with the Provost and other system leaders to achieve the system’s goals and objectives.

A nationally respected leader in higher education, Dr. Kirk H. Schulz became the 11th president of WSU and a tenured professor in the Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering on June 13, 2016. He previously served seven years as president of Kansas State University, where he guided KSU to significant achievements in research, enrollment, and fundraising.

Under President Schulz’s leadership, WSU has achieved several significant milestones including:

  • System-wide enrollment totaled a record high of 31,607 students for the fall 2019 semester;
  • WSU’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine was expanded, and WSU residency programs have been established in rural and underserved areas;
  • Philanthropic giving surpassed $154M in FY2022 and $167.9M in FY2023, setting records in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • WSU Everett, the university’s newest campus, expanded its academic offerings, opened a state-of-the-art facility in downtown Everett, and recently formed a first-of-its-kind Degree Partnership Program with Everett Community College;
  • WSU strengthened its partnership with the state wine industry, which is the second-largest producer of premium wine in the country. One vibrant example of this partnership is the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates WSU Wine Science Center located on the campus of WSU Tri-Cities;
  • WSU Health Sciences Spokane reached nearly $38 million in grant and contract funding in Fiscal Year 2020, more than triple the amount in 2010 when the campus was initially designated as the university’s health sciences campus;
  • Enrollment at WSU Vancouver topped 3,500 students for two consecutive years;
  • Over one-third of WSU students now enroll at a campus other than Pullman;
  • The Global Campus has continued to expand its academic offerings to meet student demand and has received national acclaim, ranking 18th for its undergraduate degrees in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Online Bachelor’s Programs” category.

The 2020-2025 WSU System Strategic Plan is the university’s highest strategic priority, identifying objectives that guide institutional priorities and financial investments affecting WSU’s teaching, research, and service mission. Under this model, the university’s senior leadership team and deans have identified four goals and metrics by which to measure progress across the system and the Provost plays a key role in achievement of these goals.

Goal 1: Research, Innovation, & Creativity

  • Increase total R&D expenditures by 5% from $357.6M to $375.5M

Goal 2: Student Experience

  • Reduce the retention gap between our overall group and our first-generation, Pell-eligible, and students of color by 1% per year

Goal 3: Outreach, Extension, Service, and Engagement

  • Consensus on a shared definition of community engagement, metrics to be used, and a system-wide tool for data collection

Goal 4: Institutional Effectiveness and Infrastructure

  • Reduce demographic reporting unknowns to help us better serve students, faculty, and staff