Office of the Dean
Graduate School of Public Affairs

April 14, 1997

Richard L. McCormick
University of Washington
Gerberding Hall

Dear Dick,

It is with great pleasure that on behalf of the University Task Force on Public Service and Outreach, I transmit our summary and final report, "With Community Partners: Building Washington's Future." The Task Force hopes that the report will provide the foundation for a new strategy which takes full advantage of the University's extensive public service and outreach efforts and at the same time charts a deliberately collaborative path for the future with our constituencies.

The Task Force adopted as a basis for the report the firmly held belief that public service and outreach are integral components of the institution's missions of teaching, research, and service. In this context, our recommendations are designed both to enhance the integration of public service and outreach into all three components of the mission and to ensure that these activities become a systemic part of the UW's partnership with the diverse set of communities it serves.

We have consulted broadly within the University, and to a lesser extent beyond the University within the State and nationally. What we have learned prompts us to urge a set of more focused dialogues to raise levels of awareness, to build consensus and to strengthen partnerships.

We also think it is important to take great care in publicizing the report in order to avoid the perception that the recommendations are already University policy. These documents should instead be viewed as a window on the process of developing a strategy to work more collaboratively. That is, our work is only the first step in what must be many to link the University and its constituents in mutually beneficial ways.

Therefore, the Task Force suggests you take the following steps:

1. Distribute the Summary and Report broadly within the University community. As you have with other task force reports, we suggest that you announce the receipt of the report and distribute it throughout the University seeking comments, while emphasizing the critical importance of public service and outreach to both the UW and the community. You may wish to note that the report calls for each unit to assess public service and outreach in terms of its own mission, and suggest that process be initiated this Spring and completed in the Fall term.

2. Seek external review. Because of the particular nature of this Report, the Task Force suggests you distribute it widely outside the University. The summary, full report and appendices are available on the University's Home page ( You also may wish to inform the public of its existence through the news media, emphasizing that it is currently undergoing a thorough assessment by faculty, staff, and students and that you are seeking community input.

We also urge you to seek external counsel from a well-constructed and specifically directed focus group of 10-12 community leaders. We urge a tone of openness tempered with caution about avoiding promising more than the University can deliver. We also suggest employing each Visiting Committee to obtain external reactions to the Report.

3. As soon as possible, establish an interim committee. This body could manage the review process with the internal and external groups. Membership might be drawn from senior members of the administration and some volunteers from the Task Force.

4. Create the public service directory and Web page described in the report. These will be immediately useful in facilitating communication internally and externally.

5. Finally, following completion of the reviews, described in 1 and 2 above, consider appointing the Advisory Committee as described in the Report. The Task Force suggests the establishment of this body as a permanent replacement for the interim committee, to oversee and carry out our recommendations.

Once reactions to the Task Force Report have been gathered and digested by the Advisory Council, you could then complete the development and begin the implementation of the University's long-term public service and outreach strategy.

We look forward to working with you on this important activity.


Margaret T. Gordon
Dean, Graduate School of Public Affairs
Chair, Task Force on University Public Service and Outreach

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