Dear colleagues and friends,
I am incredibly proud of our students, faculty, and staff who persevered through some of the most challenging times in our school’s and our world’s recent history. I have been honored to have the opportunity to work with these truly phenomenal individuals.
This spring, I saw our students and faculty rise to the occasion of learning and teaching in the unprecedented circumstances of a global pandemic. Students found needed technology and wi-fi connections, navigated classes, focused on Zoom lectures with distractions underfoot, and managed concerns about the health, safety, and well-being of family and friends. Staff and faculty members supported our students even as they faced their own difficulties. They went out of their way to be flexible and supportive.
And, by and large, we succeeded. More than 98.5% of Voiland College students completed the Spring 2020 semester, nearly 1.0% greater than 2019. Simultaneously, Voiland College graduated 818 BS and more than 150 MS and PhD graduates in May. It’s been a crazy ride, but these shared experiences have strengthened our bond to each other and to WSU and will help to shape our futures.
Much remains uncertain about the upcoming semester, but we are hard at work planning for classes. We are outlining boundary conditions to assess what might be thought of as a challenging engineering problem. We are feeling economic challenges like many are across the country. We know that state resources will be reduced, and we are working on ways to reduce our costs and ensure a balanced budget.
The pain of this time is shared by many, especially for members of our underrepresented communities who are significantly affected by both the pandemic and the continuing challenge of systemic racism.
We will focus our resources on our core priorities while maintaining a structure that positions the college for success in the future – whatever it might bring.
Our core priorities remain keeping our students, faculty, and staff safe and continuing to provide the highest quality education for our students. We pledge to improve our college’s efforts in recruitment, hiring, mentoring, and employee training to promote a culture of inclusivity and reduce bias and barriers.
And, of course, we will continue to follow state and university guidelines for our operations.
Most importantly, we remain focused on educating our students to be next-generation workers and problem solvers who will be ready to take on the challenges of these times. And, we support our faculty and their impactful work in finding solutions to critically important global challenges. We are committed to helping our prospective, current, and graduating students through these uncertain times.
Thank you for your continuing support. Your efforts make an enormous difference in our students’ lives and are more important than ever.
We are stronger as we face these challenging times together. Go Cougs!
Dean, Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99163