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WSU Government Relations Newsbeat

College of Medicine receives NCCU accreditation

Washington State University’s College of Medicine passed another milestone this week by receiving accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The college obtained approval from the commission to offer a Doctor of Medicine to medical students beginning their coursework in August.

The college in October gained accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, which allowed it to begin recruiting students. More than 700 students applied during a one month recruiting window and about 340 are being interviewed to identify the 60 that will make up the inaugural class that will be seated in August.

WSU’s top priority this legislative session is a request for $10.8 million in the 2017-19 operating budget to support 60 first-year and 60 second-year medical students.

Students from all campuses attend Coug Day at the Capitol

About 160 WSU students swarmed Olympia today pressing the cause of higher education during the annual Coug Day at the Capitol event.

Organized by the Associated Students of Washington State University, the delegation included students from all WSU campuses — including the Global Campus — speaking with one voice. Of those who participated, fewer than half were from the Pullman campus. Also participating was a delegation of graduate students.

After a morning briefing, students met with legislators throughout the day to discuss issues surrounding higher education. They finished the day with a brief address from Federal Way Rep. Kristine Reeves, a WSU alum who then led the group in the singing of the university fight song in the rotunda of the Legislative Building.

TVW interviews Med School Dean

Dr. John Tomkowiak, inaugural Dean of the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, was interviewed on Inside Olympia this week to discuss the development of the state’s second publicly funded medical school. The dean spoke with TVW about the selection process the college is using to find the right 60 students from among the 700 applications the college received and how the University plans to address the shortage of doctors in rural and underserved urban areas of Washington.

The dean’s interview can be viewed below.

WSU report on Cross-Laminated Timber heard in Capital Budget committee

Washington State University professor Dan Dolan spoke before the House Capital Budget committee last week to discuss results of a report he and his team drafted on the current status and barriers to using cross-laminated timber (CLT) for construction. Dolan’s report includes details on where CLT is currently being utilized across North America, how CLT products can be used within Washington in accordance with current building codes, and what the Legislature can do to assist the designing and implementation process.

View professor Dolan’s full report in the video below:

Senate updated on Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine

Dr. Ken Roberts, Vice Dean for Academic and Community Partnerships, provided a status update on the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine to the Senate Higher Education committee Tuesday.

In October, the college received preliminary accreditation status, giving the University permission to begin the student recruiting process. In the narrow month-long admissions window, the College received over 700 applications. Of those 700, 340 interviews have been planned for the 60 spots in the College’s inaugural class.

Dr. Roberts update goes over next steps in the process, including an outline on the first and second year teaching curriculum and how the College is modeling its program towards the overarching goal of expanding healthcare options in underserved areas of the state and producing physicians who will serve in rural regions.

Video of Dr. Roberts’ testimony can be viewed below.

Senate briefed on top WSU budget priorities

Washington State University outlined its top budget priorities before the Senate Higher Education committee during a work session earlier this morning.

The land-grant institution gave an overview on its geographical reach across the state and updated the committee on the status of current university initiatives, including a brief summary of the developing Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine.

Video of WSU’s testimony can be viewed below.

Senate committee updated on WSU’s marijuana research

WSU provided a briefing on its marijuana research activities to the Senate Commerce, Labor & Sports committee yesterday afternoon.

Nick Lovrich, Regents Professor Emeritus and chair of an internal WSU committee overseeing university cannabis research efforts, highlighted five WSU research projects including tests on cannabis as a substitute for opioid medications and the psychological effects of long term use.

Lovrich also explains the difficulties of acquiring research marijuana at the federal level and the impact this research has on the state of Washington, particularly with regards to law enforcement policies and practices.

Video of WSU’s testimony can be viewed below.

WSU testifies on governor’s capital budget plan

The governor’s proposed capital budget received hearings this week in the Senate and the House and WSU testimony zeroed in on the university’s top two priorities — its $58.9 million request to build the Plant Sciences Building and its $38.1 million request for construction on the first stage of the Global Animal Health Phase II project, both in Pullman.

The governor’s proposal funded the former, but not the latter.

The proposal funded the university’s $3 million request to design a new academic building at WSU Tri-Cities, its $4.9 million request to renovate STEM teaching labs in Pullman, and its $500,000 request for pre-design of a new life sciences building in Vancouver.

You can view this morning’s testimony from the House Capital Budget Committee below.

WSU testifies on Governor’s operating budget proposal

The first week of this year’s legislative session has featured budget committee hearings in both chambers on the governor’s proposed operating budget submitted to the Legislature last month.  The Governor’s proposal includes a fully-funded tuition freeze, new funding for the State Need Grant and $10 million of WSU’s $10.8 million request to support 60 first year and 60 second year students for the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine.

It did not fund WSUs $5 million request to bring new STEM programming to Everett, Vancouver and Bremerton and its compensation package calling for three 2 percent salary increases over the 17-19 biennium was only half-funded.

Video of WSU’s testimony can be viewed below.

Medical school, ag buildings top WSU legislative agenda

Gavels fell at noon today to usher in the 2017 legislative session, scheduled to run 105 days and adjourn on April 23.

WSU is pursuing a series of priorities in the Legislature this year, topped by operating funding for the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine and construction funding for two agriculture research buildings in Pullman. You can find WSU’s legislative agenda here.

The university is seeking $10.8 million to support 60 first year and 60 second year students for its recently accredited medical school. Some 700 prospective students applied for the 60 available slots and interviews began on Friday. Classes start in August.

WSU also is seeking $97 million to construct the Plant Sciences Building and the Global Animal Health phase II project, both on the Pullman campus. The Plant Sciences Building will replace half-century old facilities to facilitate modern plant research and develop new varieties that enhance competitiveness and ward off disease. The Global Animal Health phase II project will be the new home of the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, which accreditors have repeatedly warned needs a new facility. The lab monitors for animal diseases such as BSE, salmonella, avian influenza, West Nile Virus, pandemic flu, Foot and Mouth Disease and others.

The university is also supporting the Washington Competes agenda produced by the public baccalaureate sector and supported by the Independent Colleges of Washington and the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. The agenda promotes new investments for high demand degrees in health sciences, STEM and teacher preparation, student success and compensation. Key items include better funding for the State Need Grant. And it also includes WSU’s request for new enrollments in Everett and Vancouver to support advanced manufacturing.

WSU also is supporting legislation to promote better use of open educational resources. The university has been a leader in this space to reduce textbook costs for students.