Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Dr. Mike Trevisan

Dean's Perspectives

Our continued partnership with Khon Kaen University

I am now back from Khon Kaen, Thailand. Recall that the college has had a formal partnership with the Faculty of Education at Khon Kaen University (KKU) for 15 years. I usually like to communicate about college international trips while I am there. In this case, I simply had no time. As part of this trip, Paula Groves Price and I provided keynote addresses to an international curriculum conference being held in Khon Kaen. As part of the meeting, we also listened to graduate student presentations and provided formal feedback for master and doctoral students. In addition, we provided workshops for graduate students that lasted the better part of two days.

Getting to Khon Kaen is no simple task. Flights from Spokane to Seattle, Seattle to Tokyo, Tokyo to Bangkok, and Bangkok to Khon Kaen are required. Those that do the trip know just how demanding the travel is and it is a bit of a bond we share with our Khon Kaen colleagues who travel to WSU. The only way these relationships survive is if individuals from both places are willing to do this travel. We met with Khon Kaen University’s vice president of international affairs, as well as its president. Many university partnerships exist in name only, and little is actually done. Both these Khon Kaen administrators expressed gratitude for this international partnership actually being one of action.

When KKU faculty and students visited WSU last April, we signed another five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which governs the relationship. The visit by Paula and me marked the first set of activities under the new and expanded MOU with KKU. In the past, educational administration was the focus for KKU and WSU. For this trip, educational administration, as well as curriculum and instruction, were the foci for this trip. We toured their Autism Research Center and Demonstration School on campus and discussed yet other possibilities for the future.

Thailand is a developing country and one of contrasts. This is no more apparent than in Khon Kaen, the seat of commerce and government for the northeast region of Thailand. When I visited there in 2001, I saw a Mercedes Benz, a couple of elephants, and a family of four riding on a Honda 90, with none of the riders wearing a helmet. Last year, and in this visit, I saw a good deal of development, with new housing units along a lake in the downtown, and many new buildings. No elephants were seen this time, nor a Mercedes Benz. I did see several big, new SUVs (further signs of overall development) and more people wearing helmets, which is now the law. Still, there were plenty of families traveling in Khon Kaen on one small motorcycle without any protective gear. The hotel we stay at is very nice. A short walk down a street with several bars and restaurants and you’ll see a Starbucks. Visible from our 11th floor room are dwellings with people living in abject poverty.

Whatever we do as a college for KKU is warmly embraced and lauded by faculty and administrators. We really feel appreciated for the work we do and, in some small way, feel like we are making the world a better place, though I want to be careful not to overstate what we offer. In short, this is simply land-grant university work. I hope that the college will continue this partnership for years to come. Given the relationship and the accomplishments thus far, I think this partnership can be a signature international collaboration for the college.

On our trans-pacific flight there, we flew into the jet stream. I like reading the flight data that is provided for each passenger. On this flight, the head wind in mph was given, along with the ground speed and air speed. This reminded me of my high school teaching days. Many of you know that I use to be a high school mathematics teacher. When I taught algebra, I used to develop algebra problems like: “You are traveling in an airplane at X mph and facing a head wind of Y mph. You need to travel Z miles. How long will it take you to get there?” I suspect many of you might remember knocking your brains out trying to solve these problems! J Anyway, on the way back, we traveled with the jet stream at about 800 mph and at about 40,000 feet. Incredible.

KKU faculty and students will be in Pullman in April. I hope each one of you takes the opportunity to introduce yourself and visit with them. Please help make them feel welcome. Paula has a variety of activities planned so there are times to jump in and meet people. As this partnership continues to expand, Paula will be reaching out to faculty to work with KKU. Perhaps a trip to Khon Kaen will be required. Strongly consider this opportunity. While the work can be challenging and the hours long, you will not regret your involvement. I predict you will be changed by the experience.

A Season for Thanks

holiday header

 

As we close the year for the College of Education, I want to take stock of some of the wonderful programs, initiatives, and people within the college that make this a special place to work and a year to remember.

I hope everyone will take away from this message just how good the College of Education is as an academic unit at WSU. In fact, the COE and our faculty, staff, and students are leaders in many ways, as other university units look to the college to see how we are doing our work. That being said, here are just three things that really stand out to me:

The college leads when it comes to diversity. Under the leadership of Paula Groves Price, the college is involved in just about every aspect of diversity at WSU. Among other things, this includes:

  • Support for the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. programs and activities.
  • Development of programs for the new Elson S. Floyd Cultural Center.
  • Outreach and service to the Native American communities in the region.

We also troubleshoot when issues of racism, prejudice, and discrimination surface, as they unfortunately have in recent weeks. But I couldn’t be prouder of the way individuals in our college stepped up to clean the student’s car that had been vandalized this semester. The faculty, staff, and students that acted on this student’s behalf showed true Cougar spirit and pride and illustrated how best to counter such negativity; namely, with positive action. I will have more to say about diversity and the college’s role during the spring semester.

External Funding. Having been in this college for nearly 23 years, I know and have experienced the history of the college with respect to external funding. WSU has pressed for increased research productivity and our college has answered the call. Under the leadership of Amy Roth McDuffie, we have more than doubled the grant award dollars over previous years. With several large federal grant awards from the Department of Education, Office of Indian Education, Institute of Education Sciences, and the National Science Foundation, the College of Education is showing WSU that we are players in the research enterprise of the university and making a positive impact as the university takes on the Drive to 25 initiative. Well done!

Development. Under the leadership of Andrea Farmer, the development team has surpassed most key targets for college development and is setting records. The revenue this year already is well over the goal for the year, alumni participation is tied for second among academic units, and other colleges look to us as to how we work with our college’s advisory board. As the university moves toward its third capital campaign, COE is well positioned to make a real difference.

I could list more standouts and will do so in months to come. Before I close, I also want to speak to the tenor within the college. I think it is fair to say that overall, the attitude among people is positive, there is a spirit of good will, and we are looking forward. To be clear, there is a bump here and there. I think all would agree that with even just two people, there will be conflict from time to time. We still have work to do and can take nothing for granted when it comes to working well with one another. For me, I don’t recall a point in history for this college in which the energy has been so high. Thank you.

During this holiday season, let’s keep the COE magic alive by doing something positive or special for someone else. For me, this is the best way to give thanks for the opportunity and privilege to work in a great college at a wonderful university.

I wish everyone a joyous, restful, and safe holiday break.

And… Go Cougs!

Three Minute Thesis: A great program building momentum

The College of Education recently held the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. This was the third competition in as many years. It is clear 3MT is becoming part of the culture of our college, and of the doctoral student experience here in Pullman. Information and photos from this event can be viewed by clicking on this link https://3mt.wsu.edu/education/

Here’s a bit of background about the event. 3MT is a doctoral-level competition that has students deliver their thesis to a panel of judges – in three minutes or less. The purpose of the program is simple: encourage its participants to learn how to effectively speak about their research to non-specialized audiences. 3MT was started in 2008 by the University of Queensland, in Australia. It is a copyrighted competition with specific branding guidelines and rules that must be followed. In 2014, our college sought approval from the University of Queensland to host our own 3MT event. They granted our request. The College of Education hosted its first competition in May 2014. Then-provost Dan Bernardo was one of the event’s judges and immediately saw the value in taking the event university wide.

As a top research institution, WSU values doctoral students gaining their own research experience. But more today than ever, learning how to communicate this research, often times in plain talk, and in a succinct manner, will be vital to gaining important stakeholder attention and helping solve our societal grand challenges. In both 2015, and this year, the competition has been sponsored by the Office of the Provost, and administered by the College of Education.

Congratulations to this year’s winners of the College of Education 3MT. The winners are:

  • First Place – Andrew Iverson; Educational Psychology
  • Second Place – Amir Gilmore; Cultural Studies and Social Thought in Education
  • People’s Choice – Abir El Shaban; Language, Literacy, and Technology

The above individuals won cash prizes. As a first place winner, Andrew Iverson will also compete at the university-level event for a sizeable travel award. He will face off against the winners of other WSU colleges.

Here are the details for the WSU 3MT, which is part of Academic Showcase:

Date: Tuesday, March 22

Time: 1:00 p.m. PDT

Location: CUB Junior Ballroom.

Please join us at the event to cheer for Andrew Iverson and the other doctoral students as they work to develop their presentation skills in three minutes!

Greetings from Khon Kaen, Thailand!

OK, so I travel just a tad. And while I usually try to blog on many of these trips, I was so busy this time around that I wasn’t able to do it until heading back to Pullman.

The College of Education has had a partnership with the Faculty of Education at Khon Kaen University (KKU), which is in Khon Kaen, Thailand. This partnership is bound by a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the two universities, signed by President Floyd in 2012.

The now-retired Dr. Forrest Parkay was the faculty member – and main driver – responsible for the partnership. Forrest started this work as a Fulbright Scholar in Khon Kaen several years ago and the partnership has existed to this day. Most of the work involves providing pedagogical support to KKU’s Ph.D. program in Educational Administration. We’re in the latter half of the current five-year agreement, and now that Forrest has retired and key administrators at KKU are soon to retire, they’re interested in firming up the next arrangement.

This trip was to discuss the MOA renewal.

When KKU requested renewal, I met with Dr. Paula Groves-Price, Associate Dean for Diversity and International Programs, to discuss whether the college should continue the partnership. She and I quickly agreed that continuing this would be in the best interest of the college.

Thailand is a developing country. Khon Kaen, as the seat of commerce and government in the northeast part of the country, is a city on the move. While we have much to offer KKU, they have much to offer in return. Any faculty member who travels to KKU for work will not return quite the same. The experience will generate new possibilities. I find that some of the most rewarding and fulfilling aspects of international work include a new perspective and fresh set of ideas.

A schedule chock full of scholarship – and fun

While at KKU, administrators asked me to provide a two-day workshop to their Ph.D. students on the topic of research and evaluation. I found students to be eager, if not hungry, for new knowledge and skills that could enhance their professional practice. Most of these students are already school principals. Thailand is in the midst of an education reform, putting school principals in an important role as instructional leaders; a role they have historically not been expected to fulfill. The workshop was geared to developing school principal capacity as instructional leaders.

Students are also learning English. There were 20 students in the workshop, all with varying degrees of English skill in writing, listening, and speaking. I provided content, and set up group activities to apply the concepts. Once in groups, a student with a good command of English would lead the discussion and work, and do this in the Thai language. This lead individual would work to ensure that all group members understood the background material and task. The class presentations and products were done in English. I have always found teaching to be, in part, an intellectual activity. I was not well prepared for the language differences I experienced in the workshop. However, I found this aspect very interesting and students made it easy for me. It was a pleasure working with them.

This is not my first trip to Khon Kaen, or KKU. I visited in November 2001 to conduct a two-week intensive workshop on developing dissertations. I teamed up with Forrest for that work, which was done before a formal arrangement was established between the two universities. On that trip, I took my family with me. My wife accompanied me on the current trip. We were able to spend time eating with people we got to know back in 2001. This was good fun and a highlight of the trip for us.

Looking forward

Our college worked with Dr. Asif Chaundry, Vice President for International Programs at WSU, to begin thinking about a renewed partnership. Paula and I also came to the conclusion that there is a good deal more the College of Education could offer to the partnership, and that the college would be better served if the partnership was managed in a similar way as is done with the Nishinomiya, Japan partnership. A key feature would be an open, transparent process for who would work with KKU at any given point of time. In addition to supporting their Educational Administration doctoral program, other key areas in which we could collaborate, and be well received by KKU faculty, would be: STEM education, diversity, curriculum and instruction, and special education. Faculty and student exchanges could also be options. I spoke with KKU officials about these ideas and they conveyed strong interest in an arrangement like this.

In the next few days I will work with Paula to further develop the MOA document, building on Forrest’s good work, with an eye toward a new arrangement that both KKU and WSU will find beneficial. I am pleased with the college’s portfolio of international work. A new MOA with KKU will be a wonderful component to this work.

Our teacher shortage is a national crisis

Washington state is experiencing a significant teacher shortage in its public schools. The shortage is across all areas of K-12 and is particularly acute at the elementary level. With a deficit of approximately 7,200 teachers, the shortage is on an order of magnitude that is difficult to comprehend. Pasco School District, for example, hired 200 teachers during the summer. This is still 51 short of what they need. I have also recently heard that Yakima School District had (and may still have) 26 positions open with no applicants for any of them. I have received written testimonials from several other school district superintendents that are equally alarming.teachers_wanted

As anyone can see, a shortage of this size won’t be easily dealt with. And Washington is not the only state with this issue. With enrollment in teacher preparation programs down 30 percent across the country, there are many states finding it difficult to fill the ranks of their teaching workforce. Thus, this is a national issue.

The Professional Education Standards Board, or PESB, is moving in earnest to address the teacher shortage, working productively with school districts, teacher preparation programs, and the legislature. They have produced a number of documents that describe the problem, describe factors that have likely contributed to the decline in the number of teachers, and give strategies to address the shortage (See http://data.pesb.wa.gov).

While there are several factors that contributed to the decline, key for Washington was the downturn in the economy from 2008-2012, which froze the job market for teachers. Though significant retirements were predicted during this time, teachers chose to stay. Teacher preparation programs quickly found that their graduates couldn’t find jobs. In response, the legislature encouraged teacher preparation programs to reduce student slots. Those retirements that were predicted earlier are now occurring in very large numbers, surpassing even what was previously predicted. Coupled with the mandate to reduce class size, and the state is in a real bind. Rural and remote school districts are being disproportionately affected. And in this mix, throughout the state and country, is the very real shortage of teachers who are culturally and linguistically diverse.

Teacher preparation programs in the state have done a good deal of work over many years to increase standards and be selective. This was done based on calls made by reform-minded individuals and organizations, both inside and outside the teaching profession. As a result, the state is clearly providing better prepared teachers into the workforce. And as PESB mentioned in one of their documents, what we don’t want to do as a state is relax these standards as a policy mechanism to try and obtain more teachers. In a 2009 study of class sizes in California, published in the Journal of Human Resources, the authors found that the positive achievement benefits that accrue for smaller class sizes were diminished by allowing emergency credentialed teachers into the classroom who had not obtained regular credential coursework and student teaching experiences. This effect was even more pronounced for disadvantaged schools.

I suspect the college will be engaged with this challenge for a good while. So, where do we go from here? In an email I previously sent to the college, I mentioned some ways WSU is working to address this issue. One thing that is clear to me is that the teacher shortage is not just a production issue. This is also a career issue. While increasing pay and incentives to attract people to be teachers will be necessary, the country will also need to find a way to articulate teaching as a solid career choice. I don’t have data to substantiate this claim, but my own experience and intuition suggests that the reform efforts experienced by K-12 for more than 30 years, and the seemingly relentless chorus of criticisms of the teaching workforce that accompany these reform efforts, have also discouraged many young people from considering teaching as a viable career choice.

K-12 education is the largest item in almost all state budgets; thus, it receives considerable attention and rightly so. Washington state must continue to look for ways to better prepare teachers to productively work in a demanding profession. Our young people and local communities deserve and expect a quality education for all students. The economy depends on it. We must also re-ignite interest in a wonderful career; a career that has arguably been the backbone of our democracy and an essential component in the development of a prosperous, well-informed, and civil society. The stakes are high.

Thoughts on President Floyd

President Floyd’s passing has been hard. He was a special leader and this clearly shows with the outpouring of testimonials, newspaper articles, web pictures, and the WSU memorial service yesterday. Add this testimonial to the list.

Elson S. Floyd As a college, we felt a rather unique connection with President Floyd. While university presidents often have a tenured faculty appointment in the department for which they affiliated as a scholar, I suspect few presidents have that appointment in a college of education. But that was the case with Elson. I’m sure many were not aware of this. Certainly no one in the college ever thought Elson would come back to us as a faculty member, but we still felt a connection.

Like good leaders do, Elson worked to not show favoritism to any individual or unit at WSU, including us. In fact, most in our college will remember that while I was serving as interim dean in early 2013, the president was quite hard on us due to our lack of university presence. He argued that we needed to make our own case for our contribution to WSU. While this “ruffled a few feathers,” I think he was exactly right in his criticism of us at that time.

To the college’s credit, we embraced this challenge and put a number of initiatives into place: better university communication, particularly about our accomplishments; the development of strategic connections with various colleges and campuses; leading by example in the university’s efforts to provide better support and flexibility for the urban campuses.

I want everyone to know that President Floyd was very pleased with the way this college rose to his challenge. He was openly complimentary of our work and performance. He mentioned this in university forums, meetings and receptions. And, like good leaders do, he made it a point to compliment the work, in person, directly to individuals in the college, including me.

Elson S. Floyd For many years, I didn’t know President Floyd except to say hi in the airport when I would see him (which was nearly every time I traveled). But as I transitioned to dean, and for several months afterward, I got to know him on a professional basis. I observed a top-notch administrator address difficult issues with strength, courage, grace, style, and integrity. I think it is fair to say that he viewed issues as problems to be solved. He was a consummate problem-solver. I became very impressed with him. I knew at that point the university had a special leader. Of course, this makes his untimely loss all the more difficult for the university community.

If you stroll the campus in Pullman you will readily see the impact President Floyd had on this university. The same can be said about the urban campuses, as well. Clear examples of his work and accomplishments include the new buildings, the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health, a safer speed limit through campus, a state-of-the-art medical school building in Spokane, a Division I football stadium and other athletic facilities. On top of these is the imminent medical college in Spokane and the successful completion of a billion dollar capital campaign. There are many, many more.

Once Elson appointed me as the permanent dean, all I ever wanted to do was to make him feel like he made the right choice. I suspect this won’t ever change. Because, when all is said and done, President Floyd’s best administrative and leadership skill wasn’t buildings. It wasn’t campaigns. It was people. His impact was certainly felt by the university infrastructure, its programs, and the ideas it holds dear. But even more so, that impact was felt by the individuals who help carry out the university initiatives. Elson S. Floyd

This is our time to mourn the loss of a fabulous leader and a special person. It is also our time to celebrate the president’s accomplishments on behalf of WSU. We can best pay tribute to President Floyd by working to carry out the initiatives he set into motion: initiatives that will catapult WSU into an elite group of universities, positioning us to have real impact in the lives of individuals and communities throughout Washington state and the country.

Last reflections from Korea

Speaking at Pusan National University.
Speaking at Pusan National University.

July 21, 2015

My wife and I are sitting in Incheon Airport waiting for our flight to Seattle. This is a huge airport, with multiple levels, and includes shopping, a cultural center, restaurants, nursing rooms, and showers. So this is quite the place! I am also reflecting on my stay here in Korea and the experiences the sport management students had, and will continue to have, for the next two weeks.

One of the key learning experiences for students is navigating a new city on their own. This is an obvious and essential skill for anyone traveling internationally. The way to go is usually the subway. The subway system in Korea, particularly in Seoul, is world class. It is dependable, inexpensive, and logical — once a person figures out the logic. The challenge is that all signs are marked in Korean characters. Even though there is an English spelling associated with the characters, these are also in Korean. I am unable to adequately describe the initial difficulty in figuring out the system. Once the subway system has been used a couple of times, faculty Yong Chae Rhee and Chris Lebens give an assignment to students to figure out their way back to the dormitories from an excursion somewhere in the city. As if by magic, they all show up at the designated time.

Three days ago we went to the demilitarized zone – or DMZ – that separates North Korea from South Korea. From the demarcation line, North Korea owns two kilometers (1.25 miles) north that makes up half of the DMZ. South Korea owns two kilometers south for the other half of the DMZ. The area is controlled by the United Nations.

The visit to the DMZ was interesting, sobering, and tense. It is clear that the war between the two countries continues. The South Korean soldiers at the DMZ are on constant alert. The guards at the demarcation line that separates North Korea from South Korea remain in a posture ready to fight. All soldiers at the DMZ have a black belt in taekwondo and are college educated.

The plaques that mark various sites along the route tell a story of a long struggle, a tremendous fight, and unimaginable suffering. Koreans also give thanks for sacrifices that other countries endured, such as the U.S. with its military. Though actual fighting is rare between the two countries, the barbed wire fences and guard towers that line the route to and from the DMZ are constant reminders that the countries remain at war.
The last place we stayed was Yonsei University. This is a private, elite university with a top-flight medical school and hospital. The Yonsei Cancer Center holds 2,000 patient beds. The campus is beautiful with many lush green spaces and interesting architecture. Yonsei University is one of the hospitals that has dealt with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS. Korea has experienced a decline in tourism this summer as many have been concerned about the MERS outbreak in this country that occurred a few weeks back. MERS is clearly contained and nearly nonexistent now. Chris mentioned that the country is so confident in its containment of this outbreak that they have offered free medical care and $100,000 for anyone contracting MERS, all as an enticement to gain tourists back.

As Yong Chae and Chris were planning and scheduling activities, many of them were canceled given the MERS outbreak. Thus, a number of changes were made to the schedule of excursions and experiences that the students received. The good news is that given the containment of MERS, some of the events that were canceled have become available again. Yong Chae and Chris are working to reschedule these activities. I think a takeaway for me is that summer-abroad programs require a good deal of flexibility and creativity.

The presentation at Pusan National University went quite well. There were about 40 students and faculty in attendance, in addition to our sport management students. Yong Chae acted as the interpreter during questions and answers at the end of the presentation. There was good attention and interaction. It was quite invigorating for me. The students were science education graduate students. We’ll see what comes of this. I am hopeful for continued collaboration with PNU.

Our experiences in Korea were uniformly positive. My wife and I found the Korean people to be respectful, cordial, and most willing to try and communicate with us, despite our lack of Korean language (except hello and thank you). I learned more about Korea and its history. And despite years of oppression by Asian neighbors, I found Korean people to be upbeat, positive, confident, and with a can-do attitude. Their success in the global economy is a poignant example of what can occur when people see the best in even the worst of circumstances.

Tae Ho Kim is a new faculty member in our sport management program. His in-laws took WSU faculty and their families out to dinner last night. It was a gracious and generous gesture, and quite a meal! Tae Ho’s mother-in-law is an epidemiologist at Yonsei University’s College of Nursing. She will retire next year. However, she will work another two years for a Korean government agency in Bangladesh helping to establish nursing schools in the country, work that she has been doing as a faculty member. Her comment to me is that, at one time, Korea needed and received assistance from other countries. But now Korea is giving back by helping other countries develop in positive ways, such as in Bangladesh. I think this best sums up my impression of Korea and communicates the enduring spirit of the country and its people. I hope everyone in the college gets an opportunity to visit Korea. I think you will be as impressed as I.

Here are some other photos:

r_7uq-lD

RU6kzHvs

K3lAWEnO

KSkksBWf

Greetings from Busan, Korea!

Written Monday, July 13

As most of the college knows, I am traveling in Korea for a few days to discuss possible collaborations with a couple universities and to spend a little time with the sport management’s summer-abroad program. This is the second year of the summer-abroad program. The students have been here since mid-June and are clearly enjoying themselves. Dr. Yong Chae Rhee and Chris Lebens from sport management are the lead faculty here, teaching, making sure that students are supported, and that the schedule and logistics are appropriately dealt with.

Last week I stopped in the city of Chuncheon to visit Kangwon National University (KNU). Some will remember a faculty member from this university, Dr. Seok Pyo Hong, who spent his sabbatical with the college last year. He was my guide for the two days in Chuncheon. I was there to work with the KNU international affairs office (similar to WSU’s International Programs office) to sign a memorandum of understanding or MOU between KNU and WSU. Deans often represent the university in MOU negotiations when traveling abroad. There is a protocol to follow which is provided by International Programs. I met with the president of KNU and other deans and faculty to discuss the MOU and sign. We then went to a local restaurant that serves traditional Korean food. It was quite a spread!

Kangwon National University
Kangwon National University

And speaking of food! Korean food is wonderful. My wife Fran, who is traveling with me, and I are adventurous eaters. We are at lunch here in Busan while I write this blog at a small local café that serves Korean-style sushi and noodles. We are focused on sushi! Busan is an ocean city so before leaving we want to make sure that we have a seafood dinner somewhere near the waterfront. Much of Korean food is spicy which is something Fran and I enjoy. In fact, the hotter the better – at least to a certain level.

On Thursday I will give a one-hour presentation to Pusan National University (PNU) faculty, administrators, and students regarding STEM education and research at WSU. Like the U.S., STEM is a national priority in Korea. Also similar to the U.S., Korea sees STEM as key to its economic development. Advances in telecommunication and medicine, for example, have thrust Korea onto the world stage as a leading innovator in these areas. And also similar to the U.S., Korea is beginning to see the need to take a global perspective with regards to its STEM-related innovations. STEM education is thus receiving attention in Korea.

Last summer, Chris and Yong Chae met with administrators at PNU while here with the summer-abroad program. The administrators expressed interest in a STEM faculty exchange, and expressed interest in meeting to discuss that possibility further. Chris and Yong Chae brought this information and request to me in late September or early October, and that’s how this trip started. While all of this is exploratory, I have a draft MOU with me and, as per WSU protocol, my dean counterpart and I will discuss ideas and work them into a draft MOU. Should we come to some type of initial agreement on an exchange, I will bring details back to WSU for discussion with faculty. Assuming support, the MOU will then be provided to International Programs for approval.

The top STEM education faculty member in Korea is a faculty member at PNU. Her name is Dr. Jeonghee Nam. It turns out that she is a collaborator with two professors in our college: Andy Cavagnetto and Rich Lamb. She will be in Pullman in August to attend the international Argument-Based Inquiry Conference that the College of Education is sponsoring. Fran and I will have breakfast with her on Thursday.

We’ve seen several interesting places in Chuncheon and Busan. We spent a night in a Buddhist temple in Busan with the students. The temple stay was well worth the time. Also with the students we have attended a Korean baseball game. Now that was interesting! Koreans seem to know how to have good fun at these games. We’ve also seen a Korean soccer match. Interesting to me are the number of international players on professional sports teams, though most players are Korean.

Our every need in Chuncheon was met by KNU and particularly Dr. Hong. He was a most gracious host and we thanked him for his work on our behalf while there. Yong Chae and Chris are also working to meet our needs and facilitating the entire trip. These faculty members have done a wonderful job in preparing and implementing this trip. They are both working long hours to make this a special and memorable trip for these students.

The sport management summer-abroad program is the first of its kind in our college. The program has paved the way for others. In fact, kinesiology conducted its first summer-abroad program this summer in Costa Rica. The experiences students get from a program like this simply can’t be duplicated in any other way. Though the sport management students have only been in Korea for 4 weeks or so, it’s easy to see that the experiences have already broadened their perspectives on a variety of issues. I think it is fair to say that these experiences have changed and shaped their lives in significant ways. As the world “gets smaller” through the internet and quick travel abroad, and global concerns increase on a variety of issues, an international or global outlook will be essential in solving problems and improving the opportunities of people around the world.

Thanks sport management for taking the lead.

The Budget, The Budget, The Budget

Our college’s budget is something that ties all programs, staff, faculty, and students together. So it’s no surprise that so many attended our second forum on budget/reprioritization, both in-person and on the phone (event took place Fri., April 10, 2015).Mike Trevisan

Washington State University has faced budget challenges many times in its history. In the 21 years I have been here I have experienced six or seven budget reductions. Each one has its own challenges. Each one brings some level of ambiguity and personal fear. But WSU and the College of Education have always worked through them and we will do this again!

WSU has experienced remarkable success this last year. Under the leadership of President Elson Floyd, the university has met and exceeded a $1 billion capital campaign goal and won legislative approval of a medical school. These accomplishments give me pause and make me proud and pleased that I am part of the WSU drive for excellence.

The demands on the budget not only come from limited state-revenue sources but also the need to internally prioritize where limited resources should go for the health and betterment of the institution. An internal salary increase, new medical school, and push toward AAU status are top issues that are competing for WSU resources. I mentioned to those present at the forum today that there is a creative tension between what is good for an individual and for a program, an individual and the college, the college and the greater university. And so it goes.

I anticipate that all needed information for making budget changes in the college will likely not be available until fall. As I articulated today, the four criteria I will use to make budget decisions are:

Strategic. Decisions need to make sense for the overall health of the college, and fit in with our vision and mission.

Transparent. When information is available and I can share it, I will do so. I want everyone to have the most up-to-date information about the budget in order to have a clear understanding of where we stand as a college and what this could mean for a particular individual.

Sustainable. Too often, with budget issues, the “quick-fix” or “Band-Aid approach” is used. Though it may be more difficult up front I will strive to make budget decisions that won’t need to be addressed again in the next couple of years. In short, long-term solutions require long-term decision-making.

Humane. Above all, we’re in the people business. It’s where the majority of our budget is allocated. The one promise I can make is that concern for each individual will be used throughout this process.

I want to thank all in the college for their hard work in making the college a better place to work, and in helping the college improve its presence and stature at WSU. In the meantime, I encourage a solid closeout to the semester and wish everyone an enjoyable summer. I look forward to continued work on initiatives important to the college and WSU.

Work travel can be a necessary evil – but with some benefits

This blog post written on Friday morning, Nov. 14

I have never liked business travel. Being away from home, family, and the normal routine has always been hard on me. However, I am unafraid to travel. In fact, when I started at WSU in 1994, I quickly concluded that to “be in the game,” travel out of Pullman would be required. I have kept to that thinking ever since.

As many of you know, late September and all of October has been intense travel time for me. I have been to Washington DC, Madrid, twice to Denver, as well as a handful of times to Seattle, all for work-related activities.

Given email access in hotels and in recent years, airplanes, coupled with cell phone communication, I remain well connected with the college, even while on the road. You wouldn’t know that I am writing this blog at 35,000 feet unless I told you.

My strong preference is to be at home, but I do look for positives while traveling. The flight early this morning provided a clear view of Mt. Rainier. In the light of dawn, it looked surreal. I felt I could reach out and touch it. Its beauty and majesty gives me pause. When I was in Madrid it was 82–85 degrees Fahrenheit the entire week. Shorts and-flip flops was the evening dress, and as you know, my favorite way to go. In addition, this trip I am traveling with Amy Cox, Brandon Chapman, and Cathy Claussen as we work to raise money for the Sport Management program’s new Title IX and gender equity professorship. Familiar faces help. And given that this trip is for development, I am guaranteed to meet some interesting people, a key reason why I have come to enjoy development work.

As a land-grant university, there are significant expectations for faculty, staff, and administrators to partner, collaborate, and be present to a significant number of stakeholders. Any faculty member with an active research program is traveling. Most academic directors, department chairs, and administrators on up the administrative chain, are traveling. Thus, travel is part of the WSU experience.

I will return late Sunday night. I have one more trip during early December and then I will be down for several weeks. During that time I promise to roam the halls a bit to say hi and see how you are doing. For, despite being well connected to the college while traveling, nothing beats face-to-face interaction.

Now on to Houston!