Report on the Strategic Plan
By any measure, the years between 2008 and 2013 were some of the most challenging in the nearly 124-year history of Washington State University. The Great Recession resulted in a reduction of more than half of the institution’s state funding, as well as double-digit tuition increases for students. As an institution, we made hard choices and discontinued entire academic programs. Hundreds of positions were eliminated.
Despite those hardships, Washington State University continued methodically to make progress toward its strategic goals.
Student enrollment grew by more than 20 percent during the life of the last Strategic Plan, reaching a record high freshman class of over 4,200 in 2013. The student body grew in diversity as well as size during the same time frame: in fall of 2013, a full third of the freshman class came from ethnically diverse backgrounds, up from just 12 percent in 2008.
Thanks to the innovation and enterprising spirit of our faculty, the number and size of competitive research grants soared between 2008 and 2013. Scientists in the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences and the College of Engineering and Architecture successfully competed for the largest single grant in the history of the institution—$40 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to explore the use of woody biomass as the basis of a new biofuel economy in our state.
Provost and Executive Vice President Washington State University
We also launched a $1 billion capital campaign and are well on our way to successfully completing the campaign before its July 2015 closure. That is attributable to the confidence and support WSU enjoys from the members of the Cougar Nation in Washington and around the globe.
Even with all of ups and downs of those years, the 2008-2013 Strategic Plan provided a clear road map as well as a platform on which to build a new Strategic Plan. The following report highlights some of our successes and challenges in meeting the goals of the Strategic Plan.
Dr. Daniel J. Bernardo
Provost and Executive Vice President
Washington State University