Applause rang out in the auditorium as a gold chain with a gold medallion was placed on Speaker Jim Wohlpart. The May 19 presidential installation marks Wohlpart’s first year at the CWU, officially inducting him as the university’s 15th president.
Wohlpart, whose work began in June 2021, said he was keen to show diversity, equity and inclusion high on his list of goals.
“The foundation of our work must be the engagement and success of an increasingly diverse student body,” Wohlpart said during the installation. “This must be the lever that guides everything we do and we must consider student success broadly through three pillars: first, ensuring the professional preparation of our students, second developing their civic capacities and third helping them to develop a sense and a sense. .”
Presidential functions and first-year review
According to Wohlpart, its duties and objectives are set by the board of directors. He said he has a list of eight goals this year, although some of them are longer term.
“One of [the goals] created the vision, mission and strategic plan. [Others were to] elevate shared governance, increase high impact practices, start a campaign,” Wohlpart said. “So these eight goals are how they will measure my success.”
Creating the vision and mission statement and establishing a strategic plan to achieve that vision and mission is a long term goal. The vision and mission statement, sent to the university community, including students, was submitted Friday to the board of trustees for approval.
After approval, the next step for this goal will be strategic planning to find the best ways to implement the vision and mission, according to Wohlpart.
“The steering committee will work over the summer to think about how we would organize a strategic plan,” Wohlpart said. “This strategic plan will create a pathway to get us to that place of equity and that will mean enrolling more students of color, first generation students, lower socioeconomic students, providing them with more resources to succeed…and then to help them succeed as they follow through by staying in school and graduating.
In addition to annual goals, Wohlpart said his day-to-day duties include fundraising, discussions with lawmakers and managing the leadership team. The management team had to deal with changes in February, with two people resigning from their positions. See The Observer cover on this here.
Wohlpart also made changes to the positions of the management team. According to Wohlpart, he took the position of vice president for enrollment and combined it with the duties of the academic position and student life, creating an all-new vice president of student engagement success. This position should be filled this summer.
The chief of staff post has also seen multiple candidates as the search for Linda Schactler’s replacement continues. Wohlpart said the VP Advancement position has ended and Paul Stone has been hired for the position.
Wohlpart said he hopes to continue to provide transparency to students and the rest of the university community. Along with increasing communication, he said he’s also seen a lot of students getting involved.
“What I keep hearing from people is that they really appreciated the transparency,” Wohlpart said. “We have had students involved in all the major committees that participate in all of our research. And I hope I send a lot of emails… so hopefully we’ll work to increase that.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
In an interview with The Observer in the fall term, he said his number one goal was to create a culture of inclusion. See more of this Q&A here.
“As we model this type of civil discourse at Central Washington University, we need to create an environment of meaningful engagement with others who have different backgrounds and worldviews,” Wohlpart said during the installation.
One of the ways Wohlpart plans to change this culture is through the vision and mission statement, and eventually the strategic plan. The mission statement reads, “To build a community of equity and belonging, Central Washington University encourages culturally supportive practices that expand access and success for all students.”
As Pride Month approaches in June, some students have wondered how the university plans to ensure this culture of inclusion will be felt by the LBGTQ community in particular.
“One of the things we’ve been trying to do is be more proactive in our work around the LGBTQ community and other communities…to show them our support. Then we hope it will help change the culture,” Wohlpart said. “We try to be proactive with a whole range of things with lots of events, lots of education, lots of demonstrations.”
Additionally, Wohlpart plans to work more with the campus and student community regarding disability services. He said he hopes to change the idea of disability services “talking about a deficit”, to make the culture on campus more about accessibility and accessibility services.
“[This] talks about the institution’s responsibility towards anyone with access to [those services]said Wohlpart. “We actually have a donor who is very interested in accessibility services. We are currently working with this donor to increase the ability for us to offer services to a range of students that we do not currently offer.
Other questions from students
Earlier this month, The Observer posted a call for questions to the president on social media. Some additional questions asked by students regarding COVID-19 and registration number and how these have affected non-tenure track faculty.
According to Wohlpart, there has been little evidence to suggest an increase or outbreak of COVID-19 among students, staff and faculty. He said some teachers noticed a few students in class were sick, but nothing like before.
“It’s interesting, as the cases have started to go up a bit, the hospital cases aren’t going up,” Wohlpart said.
Now that enrollment is open, enrollment projections should be around 10,000 students, as Wohlpart predicted in early fall.
“We are still projecting 1,700 freshmen, it could end up being slightly higher than that, [and around] 900 transfers,” Wohlpart said. “Still slightly down from last year, but not as strong as in the past.”
Wohlpart said there have been some adjustments within the faculty, like every year. He said that due to the last two small incoming classes during the pandemic, it has affected “the front lines in a way that it shouldn’t have”.