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Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture Faculty and Staff

2020-2025 Voiland College Strategic Plan

Survey Results – Staff, Faculty, Advisory Board Members

February 18, 2020

We conducted a survey to obtain your perspectives on where our college should be going over the course of the next five years, and ideas on how we can get there. You can review the results below.

Look for future opportunities to participate in the development of our strategic plan in the near future.

Jump to:

  1. Accomplishments, Strengths, Traits
  2. Mission
  3. Qualities
  4. Activities
  5. Demographic Trends
  6. Social, Cultural, and Consumer Trends
  7. Economic Trends
  8. Legislative and Regulatory Trends
  9. Share Your Thoughts or Ideas
  10. Advice for the Strategic Planning Team
  11. Campus Affiliation
  12. Unit Affiliation
  13. Employment Classification

Accomplishments, Strengths, Traits

As a member of Voiland College, what accomplishments, strengths, or traits of the college are you the most proud? (Select all that apply.)

Bar chart ranking accomplishments, strengths and traits. Chart data provided below.

Voiland College's undergraduate program72
Voiland College's graduate program31
Voiland College's research program51
Voiland College's undergraduate student support programs35
Voiland College's land-grant partnerships with communities and industry37
Voiland College's faculty, staff, and student working and learning culture84
Voiland College's diverse student population24
Other, please describe*13

*Not a complete representation of survey results.


As listed in its current 2015-2020 Strategic Plan, Voiland College’s mission is:

  • To conduct fundamental and applied disciplinary and cross-cutting research that leads to new knowledge, transformative technology and innovative designs.
  • To educate and prepare students through state-of-the-art programs, preparing them for professional careers and leadership in engineering and design professions.
  • To engage people, industry and communities to improve quality of life and enhance economic development.

Please rate how much you agree or disagree with Voiland College’s current mission:

Bar chart ranking agreement with the college's mission. Chart data provided below.

Strongly agree5234%
Somewhat agree138%
Neither agree nor disagree32%
Somewhat disagree32%
Strongly disagree11%
I have no opinion21%


Identifying Voiland College’s core values will be an important step in our strategic planning process. As we think about organizational values, we often ask, “What are the fundamental beliefs that shape how we work together and serve our mission?”

Please look at the following list of words and choose up to five (5) words/phrases that you feel should best represent qualities of Voiland College during the next five years.

Bar chart of words representing the qualities of the college. Chart data provided below.

Land-grant Ideals41
Global Citizenship12
Freedom of Expression10
Stewardship and Accountability34
Other, please describe*11

*Not a complete representation of survey results.


Voiland College’s leadership has identified several activities the college could focus on during the next 5-10 years. We would appreciate your help in identifying what activities you feel should be priorities for the college. What priority (top, medium, or low) would you assign to each of the following items as potential “grand challenges” for Voiland College over the next 5-10 years? Please drag the activity in the left column to one of the three priority levels on the right. Note that you may also prioritize within each category using a drag and drop function.

Bar chart ranking priority of college activities. Chart data provided below.

ActivityTop Priority
Top Priority
Medium Priority
Low Priority
Foster excellence in the teaching / learning experience8.79%69317
Attract and retain a superb student body7.52%59379
Attract and retain a superb faculty10.32%81303
Attract and retain a superb staff4.71%375515
Position our graduate and professional programs to be revenue generating1.40%114549
Have a faculty, staff and student population that reflects the diversity of our state3.57%283444
Enhance focused support for faculty research4.59%364224
Achieve greater financial independence through a strong business plan that includes an expanded revenue base3.82%305328
Provide appropriate infrastructure for our teaching and research aspirations7.77%614510
Expand industry-related research and student experiential initiatives3.82%306615
Improve student first-year retention and 6-year graduation rates4.46%354824
Significantly expand our shared research facilities in areas where strengths align with global research challenges3.57%285227
Develop an administrative structure that can provide robust, flexible, and nimble support to the college's initiatives and priorities2.93%234240
Be recognized as the state of Washington's most effective college of engineering and/or architecture in contributing to economic development3.18%255429
Lead community engaged scholarship and learning nationally by fulfilling our land grant mission2.93%234437
Provide a quality undergraduate education that prepares students for the modern-day workforce11.59%91242
Provide a transformative educational experience for our students8.54%672812
Position our graduate and professional programs to be nationally competitive6.11%484515
Other, please describe*0.38%313

*Not a complete representation of survey results.

Demographic Trends

During the recent Washington State University strategic planning sessions, participants identified a number of assumptions regarding trends that may have an effect on the university in the future. To what extent do you agree that these assumptions will have an effect on VOILAND COLLEGE?

Chart ranking agreement on effect of demographic trends. Chart data provided below.

AssumptionStrongly agreeAgreeSomewhat agreeNeither agree nor disagreeSomewhat disagreeDisagreeStrongly disagree
Changing demographics will require rethinking how we teach including more personalized models of instruction and more accommodating class schedules (evenings/weekends, courses outside of the traditional semester times)2132352216102
International student populations will decrease614254830132
Providing face-to-face opportunities for education at low enrollment locations will continue to be a legislative goal7273849592
Enrollment growth will depend on engaging students at urban population centers15433730480

Demographic Trends Followup Responses

What other important demographic trends should Voiland College consider when planning for the future?*

  • Maximizing on line and virtual course opportunities for non-traditional students and practicing professionals seeking to enhance their knowledge. Non-traditional schedules similar to the Executive MBA model, combining on line coursework with intense weekends or weeks on campus. So many aspects of the schedule haven’t changed in 40 years or more!
  • Number of graduate high school students may decrease.
  • We should pursue what works being located in Eastern Washington, not what works in Berkley, CA or Seattle, WA.
  • Enrollment growth will also depend on a well organized, focused recruitment drive that gets VCEA faculty into high school classrooms to educate H.S. students about what engineers do and about career paths in engineering.
  • Intro classes should be able to be taken remotely so students can get started in their home environments. We’ll get more students, and they’ll have incentive to come to Pullman to finish.
  • None. Just get the best students possible.
  • Stress-levels of students will continue to remain high and we need to be prepared to find ways to accommodate that are meaningful and effective.
  • demographics are of secondary concern of preparing graduating students for a career. focus on helping students get a job and adjustments based on demographics will come along the way.
  • Attracting more women.
  • The branch campus concept is working and working well. I see opportunities to offer more degrees at Olympic: Civil Engineering, Construction Engineering, and marine engineering are examples. Expanded facilities and budgets will be required. There is a huge untapped resource at the Naval facilities in the Bremerton area and a research relationship opportunity with Bangor.
  • Involvement and acceptance of women in STEM fields
  • Online/global hybrid learning models – everything will be online (what defines face to face benefits over learning from anywhere), industry partners/guest speakers used as a mandatory teaching supplement for all courses in bringing the real world into courses (on premise or online) is expected not just desired, older learners (non-traditional) wanting to shift in careers or climb ladder need re-education opportunities and credit given for experience, the world is small – we need to teach students the global perspective with international components/internship requirements, our traditional students and new generations of faculty expect technology and tools they can take anywhere so adaptive learning tools and infrastructure need to be integrated, diversity is growing and we need to reflect the national demographic (not Limit it to The state’s)
  • As a college we need to be more engaged with students in middle school and high school encouraging them to get interested in engineering and plant the seed that they should come to WSU.
  • I am concerned that the average engineering student coming in from high school in the US will not be as educated, knowledgeable and ready as past generations. This could result in lowering the standards of the college. This becomes a real potential issue if we struggle to get enough enrollment. I do not worry about the highest quality students, who will always be competitive.
  • Societal trends that have value – Energy, Environment, Health Sciences, Transportation, computers/digitalization, Infrastructure,
  • It is documented that birth rates of “Generation Z” are among the lowest in decades. The pool of students will be less than in years past. WSU should not compromise its academic standards in an attempt to attract less-qualified students to meet quotas.
  • Enrollment growth is only limited by the University’s short-sighted approach to limiting the hiring of qualified educators so that more course(s) and course sessions can be offered, putting more paid butts in seats. It shouldn’t be easier to fund a new building than to replace an existing faculty position.
  • Consider how to leverage more on-line learning to accommodate flexibility of learning both in scheduling and location.
  • Industry will soon have fewer seasoned professionals due to baby boomers retiring. Teaching students to become leaders will become increasingly important, as mentorship will be lacking in industry.
  • As teleworking becomes more important, teach students how to self- manage and work remotely.
  • Open source and free tuition programs becoming common place. Need to embrace and contribute.
  • Excellence in teaching should be a top priority to reduce failures and dropouts and increase graduation rates
  • Voiland should move more quickly to changing demands of employers.
  • other departments are causing students leave the university. I know of several students who where interested in engineering, but due to attitudes from humanity and english professors are no longer enrolled.
  • The socio-economic divide and how this relates to our land-grant mission. We’ve priced out many eastern Washingtonians.
  • Changing perception of the value of higher education, especially as the state and industry support programs that are not traditional higher education based.
  • First-generation and under-prepared student populations will have an increasing representation in our college demographic. Our on-boarding and first/second-year programs must meet these populations needs if we are to retain them in our college.
  • Meet the needs of the current national environment
  • Financial scarcity hits most of our students in one way or another and this should be driving us to find ways of significantly reducing tuition; this should be merit based but apply equally to graduate and undergraduates
  • Students are attempting to come to Voiland College unprepared to enter college level Math/Calculus. Encourage preparation at HS level for future engineers.
  • VCEA should be aware of barriers in various demographics. Some demographics have biases toward and against Engineering in general and believe that the field “isn’t something this demographic does”. Breaking down those myths and assumptions is important.

*Not a complete representation of survey results.

Social, Cultural, and Consumer Trends

During the recent Washington State University strategic planning sessions, participants identified a number of assumptions regarding trends that may have an effect on the university in the future. To what extent do you agree that these assumptions will have an effect on VOILAND COLLEGE?

Chart ranking agreement on effect of social, cultural, consumer trends. Chart data provided below.

AssumptionStrongly agreeAgreeSomewhat agreeNeither agree nor disagreeSomewhat disagreeDisagreeStrongly disagree
The expectation of immediacy in all faculty/staff/student interactions (face-to-face and online) will continue to increase2061369721
WSU branding will become increasingly important for student recruiting and recognition29464117021
Students will increasingly view themselves as customers and consumers, expecting high quality facilities and services3962239310

Social, Cultural, and Consumer Trends Followup Responses

What other important social, cultural, and consumer trends should Voiland College consider when planning for the future?*

  • We have to keep costs under control, and develop strong ties to the community college system for students who understand the value of not being four years older and deeper in debt to earn their degree. We need to address the need for lifelong learning needs of the professionals we graduate.
  • Students will expect current technology and access to state of the art tools used in the workplace.
  • WSU already has a good brand, I don’t think it needs to be fixed.
  • I think WSU should focus on attracting student that care about starting a career. Students that have the top priority of having high quality facilities and services are not as important as those that want to be productive contributing members of society. I think we should focus on students that want to contribute and not those that simply want to consume (high quality facilities and services).
  • New infrastructure and facilities at the Pullman campus are required to attract top faculty and students. Though already identified, infrastructure and funding will drive the future.
  • Instant gratification. Why do all on premise students have to follow a semester program? This is a demand of our system today. This no longer applies online in many institutions with more frequent enrollment opportunities. How long until it is a disadvantage to physical institutions. Why can’t the on prem course be offered simultaneously online? Students can chose to be on prem or online. Frees up classroom space and gives consumers options to attend in person, online, or both. Convenience and attributes/services will drive student interest and market relevance. Institutions will be competing for fewer students, with less state funding. Proof of value and exploring alternative student revenue markets/models will be critical to success.
  • Read “The Coddling of the American Mind”. Enough said. Don’t subscribe to overarching “safetyism”
  • WSU branding but more importantly, differentiation among the other state options, as well as other large programs nationwide. We can’t compete with urban schools because of the social and entertainment options, so we have to shine with our educational experience measured by graduation rates, placement rates, student/faculty ratios and quality staff.
    Utilizing the newest technology/innovations will be important for incoming students, and should be well-advertised.
  • Reduction of student fees will demand higher departmental productivities and improve graduation rates
  • There is a significant push for all industries to think differently about their impact on the environment & global warming potential. Big business (Amazon, Microsoft, etc.) and WA State governing bodies are looking at carbon footprints in every aspect of life and WSU can be a leader in this field from a manufacturing//materials/supply chain standpoint. WSU Engineering can make a significant impact in preparing students about this subject and have a legacy that will continue for generations. Our environment should be considered a stake holder in all decisions we make as graduates of the engineering program.
  • Rise of a lot of marketing and items shifting to be online. Expectations of cultural and diversity programs and their visibility Availability of study tools and homework crib sheets online, and general access to information regards of its reputability.
  • fair, integrity, equal rights, honesty, admitting mistakes, striving to fix them.
  • Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things will be similar to the internet in the level of cultural disruption that we should expect. But we are not taking small and deliberate steps towards growth in this area. We’re making the classic mistake of having an idea and sticking our hands out to the feds for grant funding.
  • I do not believe that we necessarily need to MEET students/families at their expectation level. Yes, they may see the university experience from a consumeristic stance, but that does not mean that we should be expected to become anything other than a quality institution of higher education.
  • This question: What is the value of a college degree in the “post-truth” world?
  • Actually getting results out to a larger audience via social media in an unbiased, engaging and supportive manner is going to be more and more important. VCEA does ok, but isn’t engaging or really relevant to most people on social. A good social team would know how to make it good!

*Not a complete representation of survey results.

Economic Trends

During the recent Washington State University strategic planning sessions, participants identified a number of assumptions regarding trends that may have an effect on the university in the future. To what extent do you agree that these assumptions will have an effect on VOILAND COLLEGE?

Chart ranking agreement on effect of economic trends. Chart data provided below.

AssumptionStrongly agreeAgreeSomewhat agreeNeither agree nor disagreeSomewhat disagreeDisagreeStrongly disagree
State funding will become increasingly tied to specific activities as reductions in discretionary spending continue.20543623200
Society will expect more of universities, but may support reductions in public funding.14524614711
Business models of universities with dependence on tuition dollars and adjunct faculty will be seriously tested.27623013210

Economic Trends Followup Responses

What other important economic trends should Voiland College consider when planning for the future?*

  • Student debt
  • Public universities will come under increasing pressure to focus on their core missions of education and research, and to cut unnecessary layers of administration and bureaucracy. At some point, the exponentially increasing costs of maintaining athletic programs will have to be controlled.
  • As salaries for high-tech positions increase, perpetual budgetary crises in our university and the associated low salary increases will drive the young and the competent to other universities and industry where these persistent budgetary crises are less frequent or less visible. An acute example of this has been the exodus of AI faculty from universities to industry.
  • Embrace non-traditional learners as a growing market. Global perspective, not limited to local/state markets will need to be embraced.
  • impact of online education being offered by competing entities.
  • Global economy.
  • Don’t lose sight of potential recessions in the future, which will likely affect enrollment and public funding.
  • More demands for technologies which are sustainable and socially relevant (e.g. climate change and wealth distribution benefits)
  • government run student loans have caused significant issues for graduates. The public is starting to recognize that large student loans does not work. I believe that in the future universities can not rely on increasing tuition dollars to fund expansions. Many of the expansions that were funded are considered unneeded by many. I believe that universities will be required to use money more effectively.
  • Substantial and sudden reduction in state funding Potential of free tuition/college-for-all policies depending on political winds
  • Federal tax policies ensure funding will become increasingly centralized over the next 5 years. This leads to increased incentive to work with alumni on retirement plans and non-profit foundations.
  • Again the changing perception of the value of traditional higher education.
  • climate change and disruption will have dramatic economic impacts on the state and U.S.

*Not a complete representation of survey results.

Legislative and Regulatory Trends

During the recent Washington State University strategic planning sessions, participants identified a number of assumptions regarding trends that may have an effect on the university in the future. To what extent do you agree that these assumptions will have an effect on VOILAND COLLEGE?

Chart ranking agreement on effect of legislative trends. Chart data provided below.

AssumptionStrongly agreeAgreeSomewhat agreeNeither agree nor disagreeSomewhat disagreeDisagreeStrongly disagree
Options for students in the K-12 system to earn college credit while in high school will increase.17542725620
Dual credit and credit for prior learning will increasingly be pushed by the state, regardless of the equity of experience.12483137300
Population shifts will continue to lead to the restructuring of major university systems in response to population loss and economic shifts.16403729720
Structural changes in university systems, such as campus mergers, will be the subject of legislative activity in many states.10232760801

Legislative and Regulatory Trends Followup Responses

What other important legislative and regulatory trends should Voiland College consider when planning for the future?*

  • We have to stop contributing to making college unaffordable. Lean and efficient must become watchwords.
  • Competition between WSU and institutions like EWU will only increase. Who will ultimately succeed will be a difference in decisions made now, do we invest in slogans and making people feel good or do invest in our facilities and the job we have been tasked with doing, educating students.
  • WSU and VCEA should make a serious effort to reduce administrative costs, and to publicize the effort and cost savings achieved. If we do not do it ourselves, it will be done for us by state agencies that do not understand academia.
  • LARGER STUDENT POPULATIONS; need more support staff and faculty to spend one-on-one time with students.
  • I can see a trend where the UW and WSU campuses are the eminent engineering colleges similar to today. Teaching programs will be concentrated at CWU, EWU, and WWU. Engineering focus will be intensified at these locations.
  • How can we offer something unique? Are the programs we offer better or could the state see benefit in melding our programs across institutions, or reducing funding to those programs not highly performing/adding value for taxpayers. We need to heavily educate taxpayers on the value research provides, over a teaching only institution. This ignorance creates many questions around a research institution’s value.
  • I believe there will generally be a more activist government involvement in University education etc. whether it results in better educational outcomes or not. Universities risk be politicized like the rest of society is today.
  • funding mechanisms such as taxes and loans will be highly politicized and results may not necessarily be effective in meeting the goals of society and higher education institutes.
  • Decreasing student pools will require new organization models in universities, which are already too top-heavy. A lot of trimming of low-value positions and roles will be tested.
  • Restructuring of student loans; climate change effects; higher taxes for upper income population
  • Stronger controls on budget processes and reduction in overall state support depending on the economy Changes in student loan policies Changes in research priorities at state and federal funding agencies based on political ideology/priorities – both increase and decreases of available funding Increased awareness of environmental policies with respect to climate change-related impacts, wildfires, health, etc.
  • Merger of U of I and and WSU Pullman campus to enhance resources?

*Not a complete representation of survey results.

Share Your Thoughts or Ideas

Have we omitted anything important? Please share any thoughts or ideas you may have about Voiland College’s mission, priorities, values, and future.*

  • Engineering and architecture must always be a force for good. The more you can put that into values and priorities, the better. Along with innovation (education and research) and quality (quality of education, quality of facilities, quality of research, …). And, serving (serving the students, serving society, ..). Thanks and I am generally pleased with Voiland and proud of what is happening at the College.
  • Undergraduates desperately need space to be able study and collaborate. Women undergraduates routinely face discrimination. They often complain privately but are worried about sharing their experiences publicly. More diversity awareness could alleviate this.
  • We need to be a center of lifelong learning and drop reliance on the “four years and done” model of turning out graduates/finding our “customers.”
  • Quality of education will always be a priority and the best way to achieve it is to retain great faculty in staff.
  • Although already covered, the lack of funding for necessities such as maintenance of laboratories and upgrading technology used in the classrooms will prevent students from learning to their highest potential. Postponing maintenance until failure occurs not only causes chaos when a failure occurs but also paints a poor picture in students’ (and potential students’) minds which is in stark contrast to the actual quality of programs WSU has to offer.
  • I believe that the over emphasis on producing Ph.D. graduates at the expense of Master of Science degree will continue to cause undo stress and problems with tenure track faculty. Having come from a much higher ranked land grant institution, the over emphasis on young faculty to graduate Ph.D. students and not M.S. students will drive very good faculty members away. The focus here at WSU is so out of character. The administration should look at how Virginia Tech, Texas A&M, and Penn State administer this issue. The are higher ranked and higher prestige while embracing the MS option for many students. I believe that the university would build more in-state political support from MS graduates that typically stay in the state after graduation, rather than Ph.D.’s only when they typically leave the state upon graduation.
  • Our priority should be graduating the best students possible and helping place them in jobs they can be successful at. If we succeed in doing that many of our other goals or perceived deficiencies will fix themselves over time. There is no magic bullet for fixing everything.
  • The VCEA dean needs to focus almost solely on bringing new resources into the college. All potential funding areas should be aggressively pursued: i) increased state funding for engineering should play well in the legislature, as it directly impacts on growing the state’s economy and providing new jobs; ii) we are located on the West Coast of the United States, a short plane ride away from the largest and most dynamic high-tech business centers in the world (Seattle, Bay Area/Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, San Diego). It is critically important that we increase ties to these industries and convince them to provide significant amounts of support for our research and educational missions. VCEA faculty in key areas can be of great help in doing this; it is a matter of including them on the fund raising team. iii) More outreach to key alumni able to support VCEA should be done. Efforts by the central administration to monopolize access to such alumni (e.g., Paul Allen when he was alive) should be strongly opposed.
  • The School of Design and Construction seems to be on the back burner and not included in the mission and priorities of the Voiland College. Would like to know when this will change and that SDC can get the proper funding and recognition it also deserves?
  • We need to be relevant to more students and their parents earlier in their high school decision making process. We can do this by emphasizing the quality and relevance of our undergraduate programs.
  • don’t overreach.
  • We should focus on our land grant mission. It isn’t realistic to expect WSU to be a top 25 R-1 university. Currently, we don’t even have the research infrastructure or support in place that is needed to achieve this goal. It is discouraging to have a goal that is unattainable. We should focus on being a top land grant institution as we fulfill our mission.
  • I believe that many of the questions in this survey are based on an assumption that we are where we were 5 years ago in the way we operate. We have had massive funding freezes and cuts which have made it extremely difficult to maintain the support and quality of the undergraduate students. All that is talked about is that we need to expand and enhance our graduate programs and we are doing that literally at the cost of the undergraduate program.
  • The idea of trust in the leadership was not included in the priority listing. As indicated by the survey, there will be external pressures that will force administration to make some difficult decisions. Faculty and students will be stakeholders in those decisions, so administration should listen and seriously consider the stakeholders in order to gain their trust that the decisions being made are the most rationale. This has not been the case in VCEA recently under the current administration.
  • We need to provide the most modern technologically advanced environment and we’re not; students have to surround themselves with The Spark if they want that or go to PACCAR (and PACCAR is most CEE graduate/faculty. Plus, the Spark doesn’t even belong to VCEA, but all of the faculty want to teach there. Our environment is a reflection…)
  • Infrastructure is key. Out dated facilities need to be replaced. The parallel to athletic facilities to attract top recruits and coaches.
  • I think some clarity could be added to this process if we clearly identify and rank overarching goals (ends), and then categorize and prioritize specific actions (means) to achieve those goals. Perhaps that was done, but it was not readily apparent in this survey. Questions sometimes seemed to mix high-level goals in with very specific methods for perhaps achieving those goals.
  • Strong faculty with excellence in research, teaching, and good citizens of the units and VCEA are very important. Please value them and retain them.
  • We currently have large undergraduate enrollments that are providing significant revenues, without working for it. What happens if this market shrinks, or falls off. How do we offer greater value to compete with our competitors, and attract stakeholders, if the market changes? Could we create and sustain a few boutique programs unique to us with preeminence that can offset revenues? I’d think this should be a heavy consideration for future planning.
  • Never forget that WSU is a land grant institution and its primary mission is to provide Bachelor graduates for the State of Washington
  • having a strong online presence with social media is an important element of today’s world. This means the College, the faculty, and staff need to be visible and effective online.
  • Given state budget challenges develop win-win-win relationships between students, the university, and industry. Make it easy for business to work with the university e.g. minimize overhead rates (or Foundation rates), develop fair intellectual property rights assignment, etc.
  • Maintain high visibility acacemic research. Study models of Stanford/MIT/Harvard/ Texas/Berkeley.
  • Consideration needs to be given to the role of the Bioengineering within the school. The faculty needs to grow in order to have a critical mass. If it cannot be supported at a higher level, should it be called out as a separate degree? How about a Chem E degree for all with specialization topics (ie Catalysis, Bioengineering, etc) available in senior year?
  • I believe the College is well reputed and effective, but would like to see more broad state support to prevent narrowing of research and study areas. I rely on universities to think globally.
  • Good progress on setting stage for strategic plan.
  • While the research is a priority for funding and new technology/knowledge, the mission statement makes it clear that the research (and maybe grad enrollment) is a priority over the education that students receive, especially undergrads. To me, this may rub some students or potential students the wrong way.
  • We need to maintain a strong, world class research program and not just chase after undergraduate enrollment dollars.
  • I would like to see more attention placed on engineering student internships.
  • The effects of climate change and wealth redistribution are major factors that may affect the engineering curriculum and budget
  • VCEA needs to be more competitive and aggressive to increase the qualifications of its graduates. The mindset needs to change in our higher education institutions to be able to move more quickly to make progress in research and educating.
  • I believe that WSU should make a stronger effort to improve ties to industry for the purpose of improving student undergraduate experiences, improving our recruiting efforts, and improving research grants and research cooperation. WSU’s isolation makes this a challenge but it is very important. Maintaining a “freedom of speech” environment where EVERYONE is encouraged to contribute their thoughts and “political correctness” is discouraged is very important in an environment where other universities have caved in to this value. in industry, it is important to speak up if the project is not going right or there is a better way.
  • The college should incorporate a value around climate/environmental stewardship.
  • There needs to be better cross-collaboration between departments and opportunities for this to happen more regularly. Systems are so integrated that how particular engineering specializations link to larger systems needs to be an inherent part of the conversation.
  • Maintaining student labs with hands on is vital, this includes traditional techniques.
  • I would really like to see the Biochemical/Biomedical engineering program and the new Medical School receive the support it needs to fully deliver on its potential… I think the growth of that side of the Voiland school needs the impetus to surge in this direction, by increasing faculty numbers and adding the doctoral program…
  • Yes. There is nothing novel or unique to WSU espoused in our mission, priorities, values, and future as they pretty much align with those of any land-grant institution. This is largely because our faculty and administrators have little to no reason to be here, specifically, aside from the fact that it’s a decent land-grant school in a good state. While this ‘lack of place’ issue could be overcome with careful conditioning and exposure to our constituents, Voiland College remains very insular. If we added an outreach and engagement component to tenure, we could start to overcome this issue and build more of a supportive community.
  • I have worked for Voiland for a few years, and in my time I have not seen many priorities or resources focused on students. These generations of students have different needs than what has traditionally been seen in higher education. We cannot ignore these needs if we are looking to attract and retain students from wide demographics.
  • Facilities need to be regenerated
  • The way to lead and make WSU a national name is with bold initiatives that put us ahead of the mainstream, not by playing the same games and chasing the same accolades/funding/metrics/etc… that every other school in the country is chasing.
  • Undergraduate enrollment and retention will be vital.
  • It’s important to remember that VCEA has both global and land grant priorities. The research and students that the college creates will go on to be important in both aspects. VCEA must look to the future to plan ahead — but also look to the wider present to anticipate that future. This is really the time for civil and mechanical engineering to be at the forefront of innovation, so it would be good to consider what the world needs at this time.
  • If we focus on quality of education, many of the other goals on the list will be met.
  • Hire and retain top tier faculty and student.

*Not a complete representation of survey results.

Advice for the Strategic Planning Team

What one piece of advice would you give to Voiland College’s strategic planning team as they move forward in developing Voiland College’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan?*

  • technology advancements have already been effecting what the classroom looks like and what is expected of students. For example, students use computers as a standard tool now. We should try hard to understand how technology will be used and how technology can solve some of the social and economic issues we face. For example, Do we need more buildings or will classes be done by use of computers. Even some grade schools hold “snow day” classes by computer. Future students will be comfortable with this concept.
  • When looking to expand graduate program ensure that you look at the effect on the undergraduate program. We are loosing the hands on education approach that differentiates us from online or large universities. Our students get jobs because they are job ready day one. And that is from having practical engineering experiences in the classroom.
  • We need more transparency and input on administrative decisions. Many recent decision have been made without adequate consideration from those involved.
  • We must differentiate ourselves from the UW as the institution that is concerned about students. We must get a handle on the multi-campus system, which is sending resources to locations with few students while starving the locations that students want to attend.
  • Updates early, often, and detailed.
  • To keep up with the industry/workforce and what is needed from the college graduates.
  • Think long term and plan big but be flexible enough to change as needed.
  • The future is unknowable; be flexible
  • Take a long hard look at any roles or responsibilities among the faculty/staff/administration that don’t contribute to the bottom line. Trim excess fat. Make the hard decisions.
  • Strive to get as close to 100% as possible of Engineering students having an internship or some type of industry experience prior to their Sr. year in their undergraduate degree program. Don’t try to boil the ocean. Pick strategic areas within each discipline to excel and be nationally competitive. For example, in Comp. Sci., we may not have a nationally competitive program overall, but we could excel in targeted areas like Big Data analytics and AI/Machine Learning.
  • Strategic plan should feature/include: support for initiatives with predefined $ commitment to push for research (and teaching excellence in selected strategic areas of importance within the college
  • Set your goals and aspirations at a high level.
  • Serious thought should be given to the use of satellite campuses. Can the school afford to keep these given today’s and tomorrow’s economic reality? To me. it would make more sense to consolidate efforts rather than trying to decentralize. Many states are looking to consolidate and merge campuses, not the other way around.
  • Reorganize the departmental boards with high level members that are in positions to make decisions on behalf of their companies. Present boards are too technically oriented and lack decision making powers.
  • Recruit top students at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Do not lower standards to boost revenue. Increase support staff for research.
  • Recognize the necessity of ongoing costs of maintenance. The continual funding of maintenance at an adequate level is the only way to guarantee the quality of some of the most valuable tools that we as a college have to offer.
  • Recognize and support staff, all we hear about in meetings and initiatives are faculty and students. Support staff have a huge impact on student success but are widely ignored on campus.
  • Really look at the current model 2015-2020 and analyze the specifics that it is working and enhance those areas to continue success going forward. Then look at the areas that might need improvement or are somewhat lacking and strategically look at better ways to bring those on the up swing.
  • Read this:
  • Re-evaluate the criteria by which non-tenured faculty are evaluated.
  • Please involve the SDC Central Board in the strategic planning. Industry certainly should have a voice and/or opinion since we provide funding for the college.
  • Please consider the needs of undergraduate and graduate students (our ‘customers’) as you develop policy. Involve student affairs representatives every step of the way.
  • Observe when good things happen, take care of the people you have, and leave room for initiatives.
  • New facilities
  • Mary said something at her last faculty meeting visit for my department which if I understood her correctly, I thought was a great idea. An engineering building/ office space building which serves to instruct engineering and architecture students, but also rents office/lab space to industry. Industry, perhaps in return for reduced office space rental fees industry gives students some access. Examples could include sponsoring capstone projects, Masters projects. Internships. Industry professionals could consult with faculty. Students could get a better idea of what it is like to be an engineer in the work space.
  • Make space for students to congregate. Inviting (to college age people) places where they can hang out comfortably. Students bumping into each other causes projects, teamwork, discussion, and review. Today, those spaces don’t exist. (At least for computer science folks). Labs are not a place students want to be.
  • Keep your focus on students and the student experience!
  • It would be informative to see a report on the efficacy of scholarships given to undergraduates. i.e. Does a scholarship to an undergrad measurably increase the probability of obtaining an engineering degree?
  • It is easy to be distracted by trendy marketing words, the maneuvers of competitors, chasing the dollar, broad institutional strategies and the momentum of the masses. Don’t let that distract you from keeping the success of each student in achieving an education that launches a successful career the ultimate measure of your success.
  • It is difficult to think deeply about all of these subjects in one short sitting. Please keep stakeholders engaged throughout the process/revisions. Also be sure to have open session so active discussion can lead to deeper and broader thinking.
  • Invest in the faculty development and retention.
  • Include staff. The quality and satisfaction of your workforce will greatly influence the success of the College. It is obvious that we need quality faculty, but staff are over looked and made to feel invaluable. To succeed, we need everyone’s ideas and for all to feel valued.
  • Improve and expand research programs, not shift staff toward >75% teaching roles.
  • If there to be changes, they need to be gradual and beneficial for students, faculty and staff. Rapid changes often resulted in losing great faculty members in the past. Such examples were called “faculty exodus”.
  • I think it is extremely counter-productive to have an unstated policy that the only way to get raises is to threaten to leave. It is an utter waste of everyone’s time. There are definitely people in various departments who have received wage increases (and sometime large ones) by going out and interviewing places, getting offers, and then using it as leverage. I find this practice concerning for a couple of reasons: (1) it is a huge time sink on the part of faculty, (2) it necessarily affect the quality of undergraduate and graduate education because of how often the professors are gone, and (3) it seems like a contorted way of assessing contribution of faculty to make them threaten to leave before they are deemed worthy of pay increases. Maybe I am just one of the jaded ones who has refused to play this game and hence suffered the negative effects of it, despite there being hundreds of openings in my field the last three years, and I should just bite the bullet and engage in the same charade.
  • I believe we need to refocus on being better at what we currently do and/or claim we currently do before expanding into new initiates. I recognize this is contrary to one of my prior statements about needing to connect with middle and high school students early on. I’m not convinced we are sending our students out into the workforce or graduate programs with the best preparation that we can; we need a transformation of how we teach our students and have them engage with industry and research as core parts of the curriculum instead of optional enhancements. This is, in my eyes, doing what we claim to be doing currently but at a truly high level and I believe all our other priorities will fall into place when we graduate top tier individuals who have real preparation. When this happens our standings will increase, we’ll attract better students/faculty/staff causing our innovative research to increase, graduation rates to improve, and our revenue generation will provide the ability to stay in the black financially while expanding our reach and implementing new initiatives.
  • Focus on preparing students to compete and contribute to society.
  • Focus on high value activities, even if it means cutting or dropping programs that have been in existing for a long time
  • Focus on creating the best student experience where they come out well-prepared for the workforce.
  • Focus on 100% of students are employed within 3 months of graduation. All other things will fall into place (e.g. excellence in curriculum, innovation, attracting/retaining faculty/students/staff, connections with companies and community, etc…)
  • Face the realities of the world today and be practical about this: we’re not going to become Stanford, so let’s take ownership of that fact and capitalize on making our own bold, radically different identity for the future. Most important, let’s do something real this time that the faculty can get behind and participate in instead of just making a bunch of talking points for a webpage.
  • Engage industry more often. For example, the construction management group often has industry reps in for guest lectures and other events that are beneficial for both the industry and the college. I know it has led to donations from some companies as well. Perhaps that’s an opportunity for students to be more aware of other career paths or courses they may want to take (e.g. construction industry or construction engineering courses), as well as giving them connections to industry. With considerable ebbs and flows in both the design engineering and the construction world, it would be beneficial for students to understand both sides.
  • Education in the professions is not a one time thing. We need to be teaching how to learn, to provide support and continuing learning opportunities throughout their careers.
  • Don’t overreach with lofty goals. Create a transparent plan that tracks to accountability. Who is responsible for doing what by when? Then have them report back to us on progress – often.
  • Do not lose focus on what is good today as the strategic plan is developed. “Job ready day one” has served the graduates and college well over time.
  • Do not get caught up in the national ranking rat race
  • Do not forget that our mission is to provide educated engineers that can add value to society and provide the opportunity for them to be individually successful. We can never be a diploma mill!
  • Do not focus only on research and/or research related activities…the students should come first in everything that we do.
  • Do not fall into a trap of lowering grades in order to increase enrollment (and get more FTE state funding). Competitive grades and quality enrollment is much more important for the nation as a whole
  • Develop and showcase more relevant hands-on design opportunities for undergrads; work with high schools and cc’s to push WSU-originated engineering programs into their schools
  • Continue to focus on teaching fundamentals e.g. Maxwell’s equations, fields and waves, control system theory, etc. Avoid teaching trending things that will change over time e.g. protocols, design methods (like Agile), etc.
  • Climate change and carbon costs will revolutionize the way we do business over the next 20 years. Our future engineers will need to be able to understand and respond to these impacts. All facets of supply chain, manufacturing processes will be scrutinized and our future graduates need to understand how they can lead and make a difference. By doing so, you will attract of the next generation of engineers because they deeply care about the environment.
  • Being able to brand WSU as a leader in the shadow of UW will be an ongoing effort to attract the best student population and to be able to engage more fully with industry leaders and corporations.
  • Be realistic about where we are located and what our mission is as a land grant institution.
  • Balance between “stretch goals and doing it all” with clear more narrow focus on what could be achievable.
  • Attract and retain strong and potentially high-performing faculty. Stop allowing the old tenured faculty without any active research program to play politics and do not give them power to influence all sorts of decisions. It is very clear that VCEA has a big old boys and girls club that does a lot of harm to the aspirations of VCEA.
  • Ask questions. Look outside the traditional model. What is our perceived public value now. What do we want it to be? Are we open to change the current educational paradigm or live within it? What do we need to operationalize our vision in current markets? What markets could we, or should we, be looking into? If you were looking at learning something new to advance your career today, or your personnel’s knowledge, what would be the most advantageous type of experience for you? (Look at how YouTube or online resources put knowledge instantly at our fingertips. Why not 1-3 week seminars building up into class for credit?).
  • As we are thoughtfully preparing the new strategic plan – it is imperative that we consider what unintended (or intended) conflicts could arise during implementation of goals. Often goals are well intentioned and have many unconsidered, or unresolvable competing values. When goals are not carefully considered with respect to strategy in implementation – it can (at times) lead to much unnecessary internal conflict and/or chaos.
  • As stated, I believe we should focus on attracting and retaining high-level of faculty that are research-driven and have integrity. Supporting them fully with infrastructure and personnel to see them succeed.
  • As proud as I am of faculty and staff in my department (super proud!), I am somewhat embarrassed by the condition (and colors) of the buildings we occupy. Though hospital green once was popular in institutional buildings, it just makes me feel sterile and anxious about being in a place that reminds me of hospitals from my childhood.
  • Any planned new initiative, whether in research or education, should include a detailed and credible plan for bringing in new funding dedicated to that initiative. There must be an end to the zero-sum policy of funding new initiatives by reducing funds for existing programs, as has been done in the past.
  • Any goals or expectations that are established in the strategic plan must be supported financially. It seems that the prior plan put all the emphasis on raising funds through development efforts, but these never really materialized — especially with the drastic budget cuts that we experienced the past 3 years.
  • Actually consider the information gained in this survey and in the feedback given by faculty and students to develop the strategic plan.

*Not a complete representation of survey results.

Campus Affiliation

It is important to us that all of Voiland College’s stakeholders have an opportunity to provide feedback in the development of the college’s strategic plan. What WSU campus are you most affiliated with?

Bar chart showing campus affiliation of respondents. Chart data provided below.

Global Campus10.75%
None / I prefer not to answer42.99%

Unit Affiliation

It is important to us that all of Voiland College’s stakeholders have an opportunity to provide feedback in the development of the college’s strategic plan. What Voiland College unit are you most affiliated with?

Bar chart showing unit affiliation of respondents. Chart data provided below.

Civil and Environmental Engineering1410.45%
Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering118.21%
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science2317.16%
Mechanical Engineering and Material Science1410.45%
Dean's Office128.96%
Design and Construction118.21%
Engineering and Applied Sciences10.75%
Engineering and Computer Science85.97%
Engineering and Technology Management10.75%
Center, Institute, or Lab32.24%
Advisory Board1611.94%
I prefer not to answer

Employment Classification

What is your employment classification?

Bar chart showing the employment classification of respondents. Chart data provided below.

Administrative Professional
Tenure-Track Faculty3526.12%
Classified Staff32.24%
Temporary / Hourly Employee10.75%
Adjunct, clinical or other non-tenure track faculty1813.43%
I am not a WSU employee4332.09%
I don't know/ Prefer not to answer118.21%