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WSU Government Relations Newsbeat

Senate hears branch campus bill

WSU issued its full support behind legislation that would remove the term “branch” from “branch campus” in state law during Thursday’s Senate Higher Education committee hearing.

HB 1107 aims to remove the term “branch” as an identifying factor for extension campuses. WSU testified in support of the bill before the House Higher Education committee back on January 17th before the bill passed through the House with a vote of 91-6.

The university, known to be “one university geographically dispersed”, has removed the term from its lexicon over the past two years anyway. You can watch video of WSU’s testimony below.

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Committee presentation highlights industry collaborations

The Senate Higher Education Committee on Thursday held a work session to discuss high demand degree programs and industry collaboration in preparing students for the workforce by the public four-year higher education sector.

Paul Francis, executive director for the Council of Presidents, presented on behalf of the sector and noted that enrollment by the public four-year’s undergraduate students in high employer demand programs of study increased dramatically from the 2007-08 academic year to 2014-15. Supporting this growth are partnerships with industry leaders, experiential learning and internship opportunities, and collaborations with the K-12 sector to cultivate student interest in high demand fields.

Illustrative examples of WSU’s work in this space highlighted by Francis include the Imagine Tomorrow competition, the Boeing Scholars Program, capital facilities funded through industry partnerships to support high demand areas, and health sciences training to help meet the demand for nurses and physicians in underserved areas of Washington state.

Check out the WSU component of the presentation to the committee below. The Council of Presidents is an association of the state’s six public baccalaureate degree granting college and universities.

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.