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Tri-campus Steering Committee Notes
May 12, 2004 Meeting
301 Gerberding, Regents Room


  1. Kenneth Mortimer, Past President, WWU and University of Hawaii, Senior Associate with the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems.
  2. Draft Mock-up Report of Steering Committee's Report to the Regents
  3. Logistics of stakeholder's meetings.


  1. Kenneth Mortimer (Past President, Western Washington University and the University of Hawaii; currently, Senior Associate with the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems) joined the group to discuss the committee's charge; asked what he could do to help.

    Campbell introduced members of the committee to President Mortimer.

    Douglas Wadden presented a brief history of the process taken that resulted in the formation of the task force. He briefly reviewed the results of NWASC report and explained that the steering committee began moving forward in February. The task force was first slated to complete its work by June of 2004; the target deadline has since been moved to fall quarter, 2004. Wadden stated that the UW branch campuses were created without a long-term plan or any strategic thinking. The committee was hoping to try to affect any plans in Olympia, but that probably won't happen. In any case, rather than to implement any proposals, the goal of the task force was to develop ideas and fully research them to create a resource of UW leaders. Redefining the UW "system" would be a long term process, discussed for years to come. The major challenge will be to get UWS faculty involved in the conversation.

    The reason Mortimer was asked to join the meeting was to share his wealth of experience and ask for some of his ideas.

    Mortimer began by presenting his past experience regarding public policy, including having been a professor of higher education specializing on governance and directing the Center for Higher Education at Penn State University. He ended by stating that he has done extensive studies on multi-campus institutions and shared some of those experiences with the committee.

  2. Regents Report: Wadden will introduce the topic and present a brief history of what the committee has been about, will talk about the fact that topics have been thrashed around, stress that they are not simple problems to address. He will do this by giving an example of an issue, such as academic programs, and then frame plausible options in terms of where the university is now and the university's role in the state of Washington. It was said that there was a need to stress the complexity of the issue.

    Ross Heath said that he, Wadden, and Campbell will submit a list of options, pros and cons, and then attach resources to each option. Heath will do a PowerPoint and perhaps a spreadsheet to suggest the number of issues and the number of variables.

    It was asked whether, after the brief history, the committee should begin framing the question. Whatever the issue, all the questions about organization and management apply.

    It was suggested that the opening sentences be transposed where they pertained most closely to the idea of missions, so that the presentation began with the values, rather than dealt with the details. Jack Meszaros said that the grid of constituencies who would be consulted should be a part of the document.

    The committee has done the benchmarking, explored options and spoken with consultants. There wasn't a need for a polished report, but an update of what has been done, and the complexity of the task, with the bottom line being that the committee was creating a resource rather than solving the problem, which ultimately was in the hands of the President and the Regents to decide.

    The group must also stress that the external environment is pushing us hard. Present as though the group is trying to prepare the Regents when the time comes to address. It was said that the presentation should stress that this Taskforce was not intended to preempt the work and reports that are coming out of Bothell and Tacoma to address the legislative mandate for their campuses to become four-year institutions.

    It was suggested that the principles that Mortimer brought should be included in the presentation. Heath said he would send the report around electronically and have the group insert their words, since he felt unable to capture all the changes being suggested.

    It was also recommended to indicate that this is a work in progress and not a solution to the problem. An additional recommendation was to put bullet points in for strengths and weaknesses, to make it clear that the committee intends to frame the problem, not solve it.

    It was recommended that report be introduced by saying "You might want to know about" and concluding by saying, "We are doing all that for you and we'll be back later. Is there anything else you want to know about that we're missing?" This would assure that Regents understood the report was informational rather than directive.

  3. Group will go ahead and use Meszaros's questions when interviewing other universities. Charlie Emlet and Belinda Louie will take Colorado. It was decided to collapse the stakeholder groups to make fewer meetings. Tacoma will meet with stakeholders on May 26.
Notes recorded by Robert Corbett and Nancy Bradshaw. Edited by Robert Corbett