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Dr. Mike Trevisan

Dean's Perspectives

A recap of state budget cut impacts on our college


WSU’s final budget for 2009-10, released this week, contains good news about our Sport Management Program:

“WSU will maintain and continue the program and major. The department will remain in the College of Education while a review is conducted regarding its permanent academic home.”

As I mentioned in recent college e-mail, sport management faculty will be discussing with the College of Business whether the program would be a good fit there. Meanwhile, the College of Education will certify new sport management undergraduate majors in June and will also offer the 200-level prerequisite courses for that major in the fall 2009.  Current graduate and undergraduate students, as well as the newly certified undergraduate students, will complete their degrees in the College of Education.

We appreciate all of the emails and other communications that we  received regarding the possible discontinuation of the program, as well as your ongoing support of the sport management faculty, program and students.

Our final budget cut will be $808,091, or approximately 11 percent of our 2009 budget. Other program reductions remain as I explained in my earlier column, posted below.

May 1, 2009

Dean Judy Nichols MitchellBy Judy Nichols Mitchell
Dean, WSU College of Education

As many of you know, Washington State University has released its preliminary budget plan in response to a $54.2 million reduction in state funding for 2009-2011, or $27 million per year. I’m writing to let you know how our college is affected.

Before I get to the figures, I should remind you that the budget will not be finalized until June 1. The university will take feedback on the plan throughout May. For more information, or to submit a comment or suggestion, please click here.

For College of Education programs, there will be a reduction of $1 million in state funding. That figure represents a 13.8 percent decrease in our annual budget. Such a deep cut means some painful decisions had to be made, in part because our college is more reliant on state funding than many other WSU units.

Given our desire to protect academic opportunities and quality, our first cutbacks were in the administrative area. The annual budget for the dean’s office will be cut $205,000, which impacts communications, recruitment, community collaboration and other services.

Unfortunately, we could not avoid program cuts. I’m sorry to report that we will discontinue the Sport Management Program, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students already enrolled will be allowed to complete their course of studies, but no new students will be admitted. This decision was based on our belief that other programs are more central to the mission of the college. It is in no way a criticism of the high-quality Sport Management faculty and their enthusiastic students.

We will also reduce the number of students we accept in the secondary and elementary teacher preparation programs. From a former high of 150 students annually, enrollment will drop to 80 in each of the two programs. We also will reduce the number of graduate assistantships we offer, cut back on travel, reduce the number of courses we offer each semester in all our programs, and consolidate our secondary certification and masters in teaching programs. Additionally, the equivalent of 16 full-time faculty and staff positions will be discontinued, affecting 20 employees.

Yes, our fiscal belt is uncomfortably tight. But with your encouragement and support, we will continue our progress, and we will thrive. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about the budget, or our work.

Diversity: A priority in our teaching, research, outreach

Dean Judy Nichols MitchellBy Judy Nichols Mitchell
Dean, WSU College of Education

In the Washington town where she grew up, no one expects Hispanics to earn college degrees, Anna Ochoa Rivas says. Those who plan to attend college are met with skepticism, especially if they are female. But Anna beat the odds. In May, she received a double degree in accounting and Spanish from WSU. This month, she will enter our masters in teaching (M.I.T.) program.

Our state and nation urgently need more teachers of color. Building their ranks with determined people such as Anna is one of our dreams here at the College of Education, where diversity is a top priority. That’s why we are enthusiastic partners with the Martinez Foundation, which just initiated its M.I.T. fellowships for minority students who want to teach. Anna is one of WSU’s five Martinez fellowship winners; others are Shannon Gleason, Elida Guevara, Kevin Takasaki and Jenna Visoria. There will also be five Martinez fellows each at the University of Washington and Seattle University.

Edgar and Holli Martinez take a personal interest in the students they help, and plan to offer support and encouragement far beyond the generous $15,000 fellowships. We look forward to collaborating with their foundation, and the other universities.

We support diversity in our teaching, research and outreach in many other ways. Among them:

The Clearinghouse on Native Teaching & Learning. Faculty associated with the Clearinghouse made a stellar effort in the past year that resulted in the state-funded study From Where the Sun Rises: Addressing the Educational Achievement
of Native Americans in Washington State
. The report’s key recommendations include improving relationships between public school districts and tribes, and creating courses in college education programs that stress culturally appropriate methods.

Associate Professor Michael Pavel was primary investigator for the report. Working with him were Associate Professor SusanRae Banks-Joseph, Assistant Professor Lali McCubbin, Assistant Professor Ella Inglebret, and postdoctoral Research Associate Jason Sievers. When the team presents its findings to the WSU President’s Native American Advisory Board this month, they will be honored for their efforts by the Governor’s Office on Indian Affairs. Not that they’re resting on their laurels. The report will be continually refined. Says Dr. Pavel: “It is a living document.”

The Globalization, Diversity, and Education Conference. The 2009 conference, our fifth, was a resounding success. I add my voice to the participant who wrote: “My thanks to the entire conference team for a great job … Bravo!” This year’s conference drew 150 representatives from 16 states as well as Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Its size, we are told, is one of its joys. In addition to providing a mix of presentations that would be hard to find elsewhere—such as cultural pedagogies, contemporary identity shaping, media literacy and sustainability, to name a few—the organizers provide time for the networking and socializing not always possible at other, larger conferences.

The 2009 Globalization Conference was the first to be organized by our cultural studies faculty, who are already making plans for the 2010 conference. It will still take place beside the Spokane River, but will move upstream from the Red Lion Hotel to WSU Spokane’s Riverfront campus.

The Cultural Studies and Social Thought Ph.D. Program. One hallmark of this program is the way doctoral candidates are mentored by faculty into the world of research, teaching and action. Another is its emphasis on turning theory into practice. Thirteen of the current cultural studies 22 students are members of ethnic minorities and/or international students. Among them is joan.o’sa oviawe, who was named WSU’s 2009 Woman of the Year. Joan was an established policy specialist and social activist before arriving in Pullman, and will return to her native Nigeria eager to apply what she has learned here.

Brandon Sternod, one of the program’s first graduates, is an assistant professor at California State University, Stanislaus. Brandon recently sent us the kind of feedback that makes our efforts worthwhile. He described the cultural studies program as “a unique and enriching experience for any educator and/or aspiring scholar. The subjects it addresses are timely, challenging, and provocative. The faculty and collegiality are second to none. And the opportunities for personal and professional growth and development are limitless.”

We have other projects and programs, both ongoing and developing, that focus on issues of diversity and culture. I look forward to sharing details of those with you in the future.