Key Opportunities and Challenges for the Provost and Executive Vice President

Drive a comprehensive, strategic, and clearly articulated vision and plan for academic excellence and innovation across the WSU system

As the most visible champion for WSU’s academic enterprise, the Provost will develop a collaborative vision for the academic and research goals of the university and clearly articulate how the academic enterprise across the system will work to achieve these goals. The Provost will help the university anticipate and adapt to trends in higher education and promote academic excellence. Working with deans, chancellors, faculty leadership, and other leaders, the Provost will develop a plan to enhance the teaching, service, and research enterprise of the university at all levels. The Provost will support excellent teaching through ongoing faculty development and support, promote innovative, inclusive pedagogy, and incentivize interdisciplinary collaboration. The Provost will think strategically and creatively about how to recruit and retain excellent faculty; this includes enhancing faculty evaluation and recognition processes, serving the varied needs of differently ranked faculty, and building morale across campuses. In partnership with the Vice President for Research, the Provost will also increase momentum behind research engagement and continue to build out relevant infrastructure and guidelines, with increased emphasis on STEM and other creative activity. Maintaining a broad perspective on the university’s land-grant mission, the Provost will also ensure continued focus on access, community outreach, and meeting the needs of underrepresented populations.

Lead the development of a comprehensive model for an exceptional and seamless student educational experience across the system

The Provost will cultivate and deepen excitement for WSU’s ongoing mission of transformative education that addresses the student experience holistically and will pursue the student success metrics outlined by the system strategic plan. Working in close partnership with the chancellors, deans, student affairs professionals, and those engaged in student success across the system, the Provost will identify and address issues that act as barriers to student success, including limited scholarships, stipends, and other financial support for students, housing and food insecurity, and mental health services. The Provost will enhance academic programs to increase engagement and promote academic advising to boost student retention, facilitating policy and procedural changes that better integrate and support international students, students from traditionally under-represented backgrounds, and those pursuing education at all phases in their career trajectory. The model will also support students pursuing degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, students wishing to study internationally, and those participating in extension, professional, or continuing education programs.  

Foster collaborative relationships across the system

In close partnership with the President and campus chancellors, the Provost will help this distinctive multi-campus university system mature in ways that integrate, embrace, and build upon the individual strengths of each of the six campuses while maintaining consistency and quality across the system. The Provost , in conjunction with the Executive Vice President for Health Sciences for matters involving the health sciences, will lead the development of processes, policies, and guidelines that provide clear direction in areas like development of new programs, academic trajectory for the entire WSU system, working strategically and collaboratively as part of the executive cabinet and multi-campus leadership, while mentoring and empowering deans to promote collaborative partnerships across campus- and system-wide projects. Both within and beyond the university, the Provost will enhance the visibility and accessibility of deans to form meaningful connections, better serve the communities and system, and facilitate partnership and development opportunities. To that end, the Provost will help steward a culture change that values bottom-up collaborative leadership for the benefit of individual units and the institution as a whole.

Develop a comprehensive system-wide enrollment management strategy

Working closely with the Vice Provost of Enrollment Management, the Provost will guide the university’s growth through strong enrollment management and cultivate creative approaches for additional revenue streams. WSU is committed to improving the student journey through enrollment, retention, and progress to academic success. To accomplish this, the Provost will lead the development and implementation of a comprehensive system-wide enrollment management and completion strategy. This comprehensive plan will transcend traditional structural boundaries, strategically coordinate retention efforts, and ultimately ensure the same level of success for all students. 

In collaboration with WSU communities, build programs with measurable goals to improve equity, diversity, and inclusiveness on all campuses

Working with the various WSU campuses and communities, the Provost will provide leadership, professional development, and accountability to enhance dialogue and strategic messaging about the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The Provost will establish goals for inclusive pedagogy and practices, provide support structures for concerted efforts to hire and retain a diverse faculty, and ensure that each WSU entity doing this crucial work is sharing its best practices. The Provost will promote a greater sense of community and opportunities to meet the needs of a diverse student population hailing from across the state, country, and world. By promoting the value of a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment within higher education, the Provost will be a primary champion for free speech, academic freedom, and the life-changing value of a WSU degree.

Establish strong operational, financial, and management processes to support WSU’s growth and success

Like many public institutions nationally, Washington State University has sustained budget challenges over the past several years. In close collaboration with the Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration, the Provost will advocate for academic affairs and prioritize operational and fiscal pathways that best support the academic mission. As WSU continues to grow, the Provost, in conjunction with the Executive Vice President for Health Sciences for matters involving the health sciences, will lead strategic implementation to optimize operational processes for individual campuses regarding infrastructure, physical capacity, and allocation of resources. The Provost will manage and coordinate this growth by bringing perspective on the future of higher education and how to adapt to emerging fields and expanding online resources. As required, the Provost will also identify areas and programs that can no longer be supported or need to be evaluated for financial viability. The Provost will help guide multi-campus discussions about academic budget and financial models and their implications for faculty, staff, students, and programs. By applying well-developed academic budgeting knowledge and familiarity with funding models, the Provost will promote a strong and financially sustainable academic enterprise.

Serve as a WSU ambassador and academic champion, enhancing the visibility of the university system locally, nationally, and beyond

The Provost will play a key role in promoting and marketing the university’s academic activities internally and externally. The Provost will highlight the research and impact WSU has on the state and beyond and build WSU’s reputation as a research university. The Provost will support the work of chancellors as they work closely with the local communities and state legislature to ensure WSU is responsive to the educational needs of the regions in which the campuses are located. The Provost will contribute to enhancing local relationships, engaging in fundraising and donor cultivation where appropriate. Through participation in national conferences and other professional associations, the Provost will continually engage in thought leadership on the future of land-grant and research universities in the 21st century. In partnership with the Vice President for International Programs, the Provost will also promote global engagement among the university’s students, faculty, and staff. By staying true to the University’s land-grant ideals of access and equity, the Provost will enhance WSU’s ability to deliver transformational education across the state of Washington, the United States, and internationally.