Regents OK health plan, hear about WSU North Puget Sound

By Kathy Barnard, University Communications

EVERETT, Wash. – Washington State University will appoint an interim chancellor to lead transition of leadership responsibilities at what will become WSU North Puget Sound at Everett, according to WSU President Elson S. Floyd.

Floyd told the WSU Board of Regents at its meeting here this morning that he hopes to have an interim chancellor on board by April 15. Paul Pitre, campus dean at Everett, will continue to lead academic programming.

“Hiring an interim chancellor rounds out the leadership team in Everett to ensure that the transition of responsibilities is smooth and complete,” Floyd said. “It also will allow Dr. Pitre to focus on the fine work he is doing in the academic arena here.”

WSU assumes management responsibilities for the current University Center North Puget Sound on July 1.

“As you can imagine for me, a longtime Everett resident, this is quite interesting and thrilling,” said Connie Niva, board chair.

In a presentation to the regents, Pitre said the institution is prepared and poised to make the transition. He outlined WSU’s progress on a number of fronts at the center, including information technology, marketing and branding and increasing academic programming.

Jennifer Johnson Hernandez, a junior in engineering at University Center, praised WSU for bringing new engineering courses to Everett.

“I live in Marysville and I am very happy WSU is offering mechanical engineering because to go to Pullman, or any other city for that matter, would not be possible for me,” she said.

Student Gabriel Valea of Everett agreed.

“As a first-generation college student, I can tell you that having a program close to home is great because we don’t have to cover the costs of going away to college,” he said. “You can save a lot by living at home, working a full-time job and still be able to go to school.

“What is happening here is innovative, and it’s great,” he said. “I think a lot of people will be willing to join and the program will expand.”

Pitre said that in addition to transitioning operations, WSU will stand up three new programs in the coming year in electrical engineering, communications and hospitality.

He said WSU has hired a project manager and programming architect for the new facility being developed at Everett. The Washington Legislature approved $10 million for first steps toward construction.

Pitre emphasized the collaboration and consultation of the University Center Coordinating and Planning Council, comprised of representatives from all of the higher education institutions at the center.

He said he wants to see growth, with a goal of hitting the 90-student capacity for the center by fall 2015.

In other business, the board approved:

• A series of proposals aimed at creating a new health care system for WSU students on the Pullman campus that reflects major national trends in the integrated delivery of health care services.

The plan calls for a $36 per semester increase in the academic year health fee for undergraduate students to cover the financing for a $6.9 million remodeling of the Washington Building to consolidate primary medical care and campus mental health services into a single location. Currently, Health and Wellness Services and Counseling and Testing Services are located in separate buildings.

The Counseling and Student Health Advisory Committee endorsed the proposal and fee increase.

• Extending the professional sciences master’s degree in electrical engineering to WSU’s Global Campus. Delivering the degree online will provide access to qualified, place-bound individuals statewide, nationally and internationally – including working professionals in engineering-related industries – at times convenient for them.



Kathy Barnard, WSU University Communications, 509-335-8055,