The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up | Manage  Green editions icon Green editions

Calendar


HeraldNet Headlines
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.
Published: Friday, April 22, 2011, 12:01 a.m.
In our view / WSU in Everett


Next challenge: Build trust

The long quest to bring a major research university presence to Snohomish County cleared its highest hurdle so far on Thursday, when the state Senate gave final legislative approval to a process designed to put Washington State University in charge of the University Center of North Puget Sound.
It was hardly the last hurdle, however. Once the governor signs the legislation, Second Substitute Senate Bill 5636, work will begin on a new set of challenges.
The first is building trust between WSU and its new partners -- Everett Community College and the eight other colleges and universities with programs at University Center.
This is not a marriage of mutual consent. It was sought by WSU, at the behest of Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson and other community leaders, and opposed by officials at Everett Community College, which houses and currently runs University Center.
Many of the other partners opposed it, too, arguing that a successful program that has grown to 500 students didn't need an overhaul. Their continued presence may depend, in part, on the approach WSU brings to its new leadership role. It's up to WSU President Elson Floyd now to put his spoken commitment to the region into action, leading a planning process that's transparent and collaborative. It must set University Center on a course for the robust growth in four-year degree opportunities that study after study has shown the region lacks.
That, of course, presents its own challenges, primarily financial. State funding for higher education has been slashed deeply in recent years, and will be again once lawmakers pass a 2011-13 budget. WSU has had to endure huge budget blows, and now must devote resources to fulfilling its pledge to bring engineering programs to Everett.
Facilities will be another challenge. The current space housing University Center is full, and the growth backers of this change envision will require more. Will University Center expansion take place on the EvCC campus, or will it grow elsewhere? In either case, it will require new state funding. The Legislature's understanding of that is implied in the bill approved Thursday.
Lawmakers bought themselves some time. A planning council composed of representatives from WSU, EvCC, other University Center partners and the community have until late next year to complete a strategic plan, with WSU assuming leadership of University Center by July 1, 2014.
For now, the most important capital for WSU to earn is the trust of its new partners. Reaching out to them should be high on President Floyd's to-do list.

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.

loading...

Herald Editorial Board

Jon Bauer, Opinion Editor: jbauer@heraldnet.com

Carol MacPherson, Editorial Writer: cmacpherson@heraldnet.com

Neal Pattison, Executive Editor: npattison@heraldnet.com

Josh O'Connor, Publisher: joconnor@heraldnet.com

Have your say

Feel strongly about something? Share it with the community by writing a letter to the editor. Send letters by e-mail to letters@heraldnet.com, by fax to 425-339-3458 or mail to The Herald - Letters, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We'll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 250 words or less, we wonít ask you to shorten it. If your letter is published, please wait 30 days before submitting another. Have a question about letters? Contact Carol MacPherson at cmacpherson@heraldnet.com or 425-339-3472.

HeraldNet highlights

Nothing but corn
Nothing but corn: Everett Mall business grew from a kernel of an idea
History at every turn
History at every turn: Website finds stories behind county's historic corners
Cold-weather playtime
Cold-weather playtime: Beyond skis & snowboards: 11 ways to have fun in winter
The real bottom line
The real bottom line: Millions spent in Oso, but generosity can't be measured
SnoCoSocial