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No event in memory has more challenged university leadership than the onset and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. It brought with it a stunning array of issues, many of which required rapid-fire decision making based on inadequate information and the evolving virus. Consulting with multiple stakeholders, sometimes with competing interests and often without preexisting forums, was a necessity, whether it be local public health officials; students, faculty and staff; the Governor’s Office; our Congressional delegation; the Washington State Department of Health and state emergency operations; officials at the Pac-12 and others. This panel will highlight some of the real-time challenges confronted by WSU’s six campuses, as administrators sought to keep students, faculty and staff healthy while navigating this historic stress test.
President Kirk Schulz, President, Washington State University

Provost Elizabeth Chilton, Provost and Executive Vice President, Washington State University

Darryl DeWald, Chancellor, WSU Health Sciences Spokane

Sandra Haynes, Chancellor, WSU Tri-Cities

Mel Netzhammer, Chancellor, WSU Vancouver

Paul Pitre, Chancellor, WSU Everett

Dave Cillay, Chancellor, WSU Global Campus
1:00PM-2:00PMThe Research Response to Covid-19
Washington State University maintains a highly active research portfolio with activity exceeding $360 million a year, making new advances in agriculture, the health sciences, clean technology and a wide array of other pursuits. That research was severely curbed by the COVID-19 pandemic, as most activity systemwide was compelled to ramp down to meet safety protocols designed to minimize risk and protect workers. Both the ramp down and following ramp-up face a variety of hurdles. This panel will focus on the university’s multi-faceted research response to COVID-19, including bringing the Washington State Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab (WADDL) online for human testing as One Health Diagnostics and our work with stakeholders to expand the university’s research footprint for greater impact.
Chris Keane, Vice President for Research, WSU Research

Guy Palmer, Founding Director & Regents Professor of Pathology & Infectious Diseases, WSU Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health

John Roll, Professor and Vice Dean for Research, WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine

Tim Baszler, Executive Director, Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab

Levi O’Loughlin, Asst. Director and University Biosafety Officer, WSU Research Safety Program

Geeta Dutta, Asst. Vice President for Research & Advancement and Partnerships, WSU Research

Christine Portfors, Vice Chancellor for Research & Graduate Education, WSU Tri-Cities and WSU Vancouver

Glynda Becker Fenter, Asst. Vice President for Federal Engagement & Advocacy, WSU External Affairs & Government Relations


10:00AM-11:00AMBridging the Digital Divide
Of the host of issues brought into focus by the coronavirus pandemic, one of the most critical has been the lack of equitable and sufficient internet access. A problem in urban and rural areas alike, it has resulted in challenges related to working at home, supporting online education, connecting with medical expertise, securing social and government services, and communicating with family and friends. Today’s panel will highlight WSU’s longstanding efforts to bridge the digital divide, with a focus on successful partnership efforts on the ground.
Monica Babine Senior Associate, Program for Digital Initiatives, WSU

Debra Hansen, WSU Extension County Director, Stevens County

Russ Elliott, Director, Washington State Broadband Office

Frank Metlow, Planning Director, Spokane Tribe of Indians

Kathleen Sullivan, Open Data Literacy Consultant & Broadband Lead, Washington State Library, Office of the Secretary of State
1:00PM-2:00PMInnovating in Online Education
WSU has been a pioneer in distance education, offering degrees at a distance since 1992. This session will explore best practices in remote delivery, articulate the differences between deliberately planned online education and the online delivery crafted during the onset of the pandemic, highlight technical challenges in making the pivot to remote learning, and discuss real-time outreach to students during that time, all while calling out lessons learned from the Spring 2020 semester.
Dave Cillay, Chancellor, WSU Global Campus

Sasi Pillay, Vice President & Chief Information Officer, WSU Information Technology Services

Mary Rezac, Dean and Professor of Chemical Engineering, WSU Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture

Mike Caulfield, Director of Blended and Networked Learning


9:30AM-10:30AMReinforcing the Food Supply Chain
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into stark relief existing problems with the food supply system—its lack of resilience, the mismatch between resource and need, and the lack of intermediate scale infrastructure, including mills, processing plants and cold storage. Washington has had to make several pivots in response, confronting international, national, and regional supply chain disruptions across various sectors such as fisheries, grains and meats. What are lessons learned from the pandemic and how can they inform planning going forward—not only in the near term, but in preparation for the next cataclysmic event? The panel will discuss efforts by the Washington State Department of Agriculture, WSU and Shepherd’s Grain to support the Washington food system, with particular focus on food and farm innovation. We will also learn about food insecurity among college students, and efforts being made to address those needs.
Derek Sandison, Director, Washington State Department of Agriculture

Laura Lewis, Director, WSU Food Systems Program

Chad Kruger, Director, WSU Wenatchee Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center and WSU Center for Sustaining Agriculture & Natural Resources

Jordyn Creighton, Director of Campus Student Support Services, WSU Tri-Cities

Jeremy Bunch, Director of Research, Shepherd’s Grain
11:00AM-12:00PMBuilding Community in a Remote Learning Environment
The student body of 2020 will be unlike any before it. Whether personally touched by the reach of COVID-19, economically impaired by its destructive side effects or changed by its lost opportunities, students in 2020 will have unique needs at a time when universities will be more constrained in meeting them. This session will explore how WSU plans to meet the basic needs of students – from food supply to health services ¬–while providing a meaningful college experience. How does one come to feel part of the Coug family, when engaging from afar?
Kim Holapa, Associate Vice President for External Engagement & Strategic Initiatives, WSU Division of Student Affairs

Darryl DeWald, Chancellor, WSU Health Sciences Spokane

Domanic Thomas, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and Enrollment, WSU Vancouver

Debbie O'Donnell, Director of Enrollment Management and Student Services, WSU Global Campus

Mark Beattie, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, WSU Everett

Jana Kay Lunstad, Director of Enrollment and Campus Registrar, WSU Tri-Cities
12:30PM-1:30PMFEDERAL FUNDING, ENROLLMENT AND UNCERTAINTY: Delivering Services in a Pandemic
The COVID recession is hitting higher education from multiple angles, leaving it more vulnerable than it was before the Great Recession. Valuable new investments since that time in high demand fields and services to aid students from underrepresented populations sit atop a wobbly base. In the meantime, the university faces new threats to state support while non-state-funded auxiliary enterprises are being hit early and hard. This session will explore how the university is managing these threats and how federal funding is being used to preserve services and provide emergency aid to students who have lost employment.
Stacy Pearson, Vice President, WSU Finance & Administration

Brian Dixon, Assistant Vice President, WSU Student Financial Services

Kim Holapa, Associate Vice President for External Engagement & Strategic Initiatives, WSU Division of Student Affairs

Craig Parks, Vice Provost for System Innovation and Policy, WSU Office of the Provost

Sean Greene, Interim Associate Vice President for Facilities and Operations, WSU Division of Student Affairs

Lynn Valenter, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Operations, WSU Vancouver

Glynda Becker Fenter, Asst. Vice President for Federal Engagement & Advocacy, WSU External Affairs & Government Relations