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Tri-campus Steering Committee Notes
August 30, 2004 Meeting
UW Tacoma


  1. Discussion of Taskforce Retreat
  2. Hal Dengerink Presentation

  1. The committee met before the presentation by Hal Dengerink, Chancellor of WSU Vancouver, in order to discuss the format of the convening of the Task Force and the two-day retreat, scheduled for October 29 and 30. Ross Heath and Douglas Wadden answered questions about the retreat's format, which will consist of plenary sessions, discussing the various issues raised by the tri-campus system, and then break out into workgroups who will discuss and report on particular aspects. The main concern raised was whether the discussions would be fruitful with such a large group of people, many of whom would have to be brought up to speed with the committee's understanding of the problem. It was reiterated that the function of the retreat is educational as well as investigative.

  2. The committee met with Hal Dengerink, who serves as WSU Vancouver's Chancellor but also Special Assistant to President for System Implementation. Dengerink brought a PowerPoint presentation, which his remarks closely followed. These notes will highlight particular points he made, rather than comprehensively describe the presentation.

    Dengerink noted that he started from the standpoint of organizational theory. In particular, he borrowed a premise from researchers Albert & Whetton on institutional identity. They claim that in large institutions, such as churches or the military, it is important for various parts to share mission, vision, and values, while there was room for variation in the strategies and tactics used to carry out them out. Dengerink shared four hypotheses arising out of this: 1) Multi-campus universities needed to share a mission at least broadly. 2) Each campus should support each part of the university. 3) Individual missions of the campuses should be respected. 4) Organizational and administrative structure should be determined by the individual and combined missions of the university.

    Dengerink set forth the original definition of the multi-campus WSU: one university geographically dispersed. Therefore, there was one faculty, tenured in Pullman, one set of academic programs, approved by a system-wide faculty senate, and one student body, so that all WSU credit was equivalent. Current realities are that Pullman is campus-centered, while Vancouver and Tri-Cities are more community-oriented. All three newer campuses exist in different contexts than Pullman, resulting in local demand for different programs and research, while they relied on different models of education (traditional 4-year vs. 2+2). Faculty experiences are also different, as the newer campuses rely more on community partnerships for research and faculty cross disciplines more frequently. Tensions therefore persist (and will not be entirely resolved); nevertheless, a multi-campus university can be much stronger than a single campus.

    Dengerink explained the series of interlocking councils that provide governance and coordination for the four campuses of the university. These include a President's System Council, a Provost's Academic System Council, and a System Council for Administration Operations.

    Dengerink concluded by noting a few factors for the future, including the Legislature's request (HB 2707) to the newer campuses to report on their future development, as well as the plan being explored by Arizona Board of Regents to take campuses from Arizona and ASU and consolidate them under Northern Arizona University as comprehensive institutions. The size of the newer campuses would also factor into how they develop. His final point was WSU assumed that there would be differences at the level of strategy and tactics of their campuses, and that the evolving organizational structure should maximize flexibility for each campus, while retaining the central mission of WSU as a multi-campus university.

Notes and summary by Robert Corbett.