Since our last update in March 2014, WSU Tri-Cities continues to grow as our region’s premier university. WSU Tri-Cities is driven by a commitment to dynamic student engagement, research experience and community engagement. An entrepreneurial spirit and polytechnical approach allows our urban campus to leverage opportunities and provide the type of student experiences usually found at private colleges.
High profile faculty
Our team of faculty and staff are serious about the promise to provide a world-class education as part of a Tier 1 research, land-grant university. Students at WSU Tri-Cities have face-to-face interaction with faculty and support from staff. Class sizes are small, and typically 35 or fewer students are taught by a Ph.D. faculty member. Most recently, Dr. Joseph Iannelli, executive director of Tri-Cities’ Engineering & Computer Science programs, was appointed on a panel of experts to ensure plans to protect Hanford workers from chemical vapors at the tank farms are carried out effectively.
Growing student life
Since becoming a four-year institution in 2007, our urban campus has grown in many ways. The campus has seen a 90 percent growth in freshmen since 2012. Our total student population is approximately 1,500. There are 14 countries represented by international students on campus. Ethnically diverse students make up 30.5 percent of enrollment, and veteran students are 8 percent of the student population.
In fall 2014, WSU Tri-Cities began implementing soccer and rugby intramurals. As student population grows, there continues to be greater demand for student activities. Because of the growing student population, our campus added a weight and cardio room allowing students the opportunity to take physical education courses on campus. Additionally, the student government passed a vote to build a student union building and is currently in the planning phase.
Academic programs in arts and sciences, business, education, engineering, nursing and viticulture and enology are supported by a vibrant Career Development Center. Internships are facilitated through the Career Development Center and each of the departments. Prospective freshman and transfer students coming from out of state should ask our admissions team about the Western Undergraduate Exchange.
Partnerships are key to WSU Tri-Cities, from research collaborations with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to the transfer student partnerships with Columbia Basin College, Big Bend Community College, Wenatchee Community College, Walla Walla Community College, Yakima Valley Community College and the Community Colleges of Spokane. Through partnerships with our region’s community colleges, students benefit by ensuring the courses they take easily transfer into continuing programs and certifications.
In November 2014, WSU Tri-Cities Engineering and Computer Science departments successfully completed national the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) certification. While the process will be complete in this fall, this certification demonstrates the quality of our local Engineering and Computer programs. The strength of our programs is, in part, due to industry partners investing in our programs. Industry partnerships allow for the addition of academic degrees, faculty, student laboratory equipment and scholarships. WSU alumni and alumni-owned businesses team with our campus for the “Cougs In The Community” service-learning initiative. Generous donors provide more than $400,000 annually for scholarships.
State-wide unique programs
In September 2013, Gov. Jay Inslee led the ground-breaking ceremony for the Wine Science Center at WSU Tri-Cities. Through a development authority managed by the city of Richland, wine producers, grape growers and the Port of Benton, this public/private effort is building the most technologically advanced wine research and education center in the world. The $23.5 million project is in its final stages of completion and will be open for classes beginning fall 2015. Through the leadership of Thomas Henick-Kling, director of the WSU Viticulture and Enology program, the research and training conducted in the Wine Science Center is an important factor in the exponential growth of the wine industry.
The College of Nursing continues to develop in prestige and size with the recent $18 million endowment by Kadlec Regional Medical Center for the establishment of a Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree at WSU Tri-Cities. Not only do students at WSU Tri-Cities have a state-of-the-art education facility in which to prepare for their careers in health care, but they also have the opportunity to be a part of a world-class doctorate program. Five additional faculty will be funded by the endowment in order to offer the Doctoral program. Thanks to the continued support from Prosser Memorial Hospital Foundation, Trios Health (formerly Kennewick General Hospital), Lourdes Health Network, Lampson International, Group Health Cooperative, Kadlec Regional Medical Center and other donors, our nursing program will continue to serve our region, state and beyond.
A leader in innovative instruction
WSU Tri-Cities has received a national grant to implement a new instructional program called Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID). The purpose of implementing AVID at WSU Tri-Cities is to help students be successful through organizational skills, advising, mentoring, highly engaging instruction and a strong vision of what their potential is.
WSU Tri-Cities is the first university in Washington to receive the grant. WSU Tri-Cities was selected for this grant because of the innovative interventions already being put into place that compliment AVID. New students to WSU Tri-Cities receive a weeklong session that emphasizes math and writing preparation. All freshmen take a core class that provides historical and social significance of the Hanford area. Additionally, programs such as TRiO Student Support Services, provide academic tutoring and guidance for first generation students.
Faculty will receive training over the next two years. This training will help classroom instruction to increase student interaction and academic success. WSU Tri-Cities will represent Washington at the national AVID conference in the summer 2015.
Running Start begins fall 2015
Beginning fall semester of 2015, WSU Tri-Cities will have a new Running Start program for 200 high school students. Running Start is part of Washington State’s Dual Credit initiatives to give high school students the ability to earn college credit as a junior or senior in high school. Qualified high school students are treated as college freshmen or sophomores and are able to take courses preparing them for undergraduate degrees and programs. These credits also transfer to most higher education institutions across the country and provide the ability for students certify into programs sooner. WSU was approved by state legislation to create the program in 2012 and views this opportunity to help students advance into careers at an accelerated pace.