EVERETT, Wash. – Washington State University President Kirk Schulz will serve as a panelist at a symposium on Tuesday, May 2, that will examine the importance of public research universities in creating an educated citizenry and a robust national research enterprise.

The symposium will take place from 3-5 p.m. at the University of Washington Student Union Building 160 (Lyceum) in Seattle. A reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m. will follow.

 

Abraham Lincoln’s vision

The symposium is part of The Lincoln Project, a national initiative of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) named for President Abraham Lincoln, who in 1862 signed into law the Morrill Act, which created the nation’s modern system of land-grant universities.

“Recommitting to Lincoln’s Vision: An Educational Compact for the 21st Century,” is one in a series of similar forums held across the country by the AAAS. During the past three years, The Lincoln Project has studied the challenges facing public research universities, particularly focused on current and changing financial models and how that has affected the ability of public universities to meet their educational, research and public service mission.

 

Critical investment

“The national investment in public higher education played an instrumental role in our country’s competiveness in the 20th century, and that investment is more critical as the 21st century evolves,” Schulz said. “Higher education is essential to preparing the next generation for careers of the future — we believe government must continue to share in this investment so that access to higher education, regardless of family income, is assured.”

Daniel Greenstein, director of Education, Postsecondary Success in the United States Program for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will deliver keynote remarks. University of California, Berkeley Chancellor Emeritus Bob Birgeneau, who co-chaired The Lincoln Project, will discuss the project and its recommendations. Greenstein and Schulz will join University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce and former Washington Governor Christine Gregoire for a panel discussion.

Margaret O’Mara, UW associate professor of history, will moderate the discussion.

 

Three strategies to ensure research

The Lincoln Project recommends three strategies to ensure the wellbeing of public research institutions and the communities they serve:

  • Address current financial challenges through renewed state support and new cost efficiencies and additional revenue streams at public research universities
  • Create public-private partnerships to sustain and strengthen research and education for the future
  • Improve student access and performance by simplifying financial aid, tracking student performance and improving transfer pathways

The Lincoln Project published a series of five publications that present key facts about public research universities; examine the challenges facing higher education funding at the state level; discuss current and changing financial models of public research universities; and consider the myriad impacts of the research conducted at these institutions. In its final report, the Lincoln Project offered substantive recommendations for sustaining these institutions and advancing their growth for the benefits of the states they serve and the nation as a whole.

 

WSU contributions

Some of WSU’s recent contributions in the Everett area include:

  • An innovative, affordable path to a four-year degree

The university’s newest campus in Everett brings WSU’s world-class academics to North Puget Sound for place-bound students. WSU currently offers six in-demand bachelor’s degrees in Everett. Students save money fulfilling general education requirements by taking their first two years of courses at any community college, and then finishing their degree by enrolling at WSU in Everett for their junior and senior years.

  • Expansion of health care statewide

The new Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, created in 2015, will expand health care in underserved areas of the state and give more Washingtonians a chance to earn a medical degree in state. The college’s innovative community-based model of medical education will rely on partnerships with existing clinic and hospitals to provide clinical education, including Providence Regional Medical Center, The Everett Clinic and Sea Mar Community Health. The inaugural class of 60 medical students enrolls in August.

  • Aligning programs with regional and state need

WSU North Puget Sound at Everett brings industry-aligned undergraduate programs to the North Puget Sound region to prepare students to compete globally in the local economy. The campus offers programs focused on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and the industrial, commercial and professional services needed in the region.

  • Experiential learning and industry partnerships

WSU North Puget Sound at Everett students take full advantage of their proximity to employers in aerospace and advanced manufacturing. Through programs like Boeing Scholars, they gain hands-on experience with industry mentors. Student-led organizations like the Society of Women Engineers and WSU Everett Engineering Club give those same students opportunities for experiential learning in competitions like the international University Rover Challenge or at industry conferences.

  • Rebuilding rural communities

America’s Best Communities was a three-year, $10 million competition that aimed to increase economic development in small communities. The Metropolitan Center for Applied Research and Extension at WSU North Puget Sound at Everett provided leadership for the City of Arlington and the Town of Darrington as they progressed through the competition. Working in partnership with the two municipalities, Economic Alliance Snohomish County and numerous local partners, the Metro Center steadily guided the communities in their quest for sustainable economic prosperity.