Tri-campus Steering Committee Notes
Fred Campbell began by making remarks regarding his conception of the committee's task. It was proposed that Seattle had never determined what Bothell and Tacoma add to the UW "system." One possible view was that Seattle could move its mission to emphasize research-based undergraduate education, and graduate and professional education and research. Bothell and Tacoma would then emphasize strong undergraduate education and their commitment to the community, although each would carry this out in their own way. The report from the committee would then cover: (1) outside forces; (2) stakeholders; (3) national models; and (4) dimensions of organization.
Another proposal for the report was that the committee should determine what they needed from history to guide the present and the future. The report then should present: (1) the history of tri-campus set-up; (2) campus identities; (3) relationships between campuses; and (4) lessons from other systems. Next, there should be a communication plan, and then what could be learned from other universities. A diagram was handed out proposing what questions should be brought to what constituencies.
It was reiterated that the main job for the task force was educational and that the committee and its report will be a resource. It was noted that the committee would flesh out answers in order to draw responses from stakeholders. It was felt that Seattle would probably see "consequences" applying to Bothell and Tacoma, not necessarily for itself.
Another proposal for the committee's report was made. In this version, three questions would be answered: (1) what are the givens?; (2) what systems lead to what outcomes?; (3) what are the key considerations of managing other three campus systems? It was said that this could lead to a set of models with advantages and disadvantages.
It was asked whether the committee should consider regional issues. Possibly, the committee may want to look at the conditions that precipitated the development of the regional campuses. This raised the possibility that perhaps the development of branches is preordained: from regional and place-bound to fully research campuses. It was noted also that the key would be to have diversity, but to build in flexibility; and that the task of the committee and the Taskforce could not be easily separated from the future of the university in general.
It was remarked that universities no longer were seen as serving citizens, since professors are more and more becoming entrepreneurs, but that the committee could help shift the conversation. The reason WSU had chosen to give Vancouver and Tri-Cities more autonomy was inherent in their location, which is some distance away from Pullman. Again, it was asked whether autonomy then was simply a function of size of campuses, growth leading to more self-management.
The committee brought up the example of ASU West, including notes by Chancellor Carwein about her visit with their administration. There was then a discussion of models concerning whether form should/does follow function. Specialization (with maximum integration) could lead to programs being moved from one campus to another. Another model would have Bothell and Tacoma focus on undergraduate education. At the same, the community in Tacoma and Bothell are also driving changes. It was asked what model would allow for maximal flexibility, given the conditions already prevailing.
It was felt that programs should be flexible for students; departmental walls should be "porous," although such flexibility could lead to performance-based accounting. It was also proposed that local autonomy had been there from the beginning; and that as the institutions grew, they differentiate, but they differentiate in the same way. The UC system had created colleges on campuses to foster interdisciplinary approaches. Flexibility has to be institutionalized, which is problematic considering how programs are FTE driven. In some ways, the lesson of the UC system was the maximum flexibility and centralization could go together. It was observed that the committee was thinking in terms of a federated system.
The committee then discussed the specifics of the stakeholders meeting, concluding that Bothell and Tacoma representatives will generate groups for their own campus, while Campbell, Wadden and Heath would do so for Seattle, and would make sure to include a Bothell or Tacoma representative at all meetings in Seattle.Notes and Summary by Robert Corbett