Recap of Board of Trustees meetings on Dec. 11 and 12, 2014

Report to Trustees: WWU Fall Freshman Class Most Culturally Diverse

The Board of Trustees received a report prepared by Enrollment and Student Services Friday showing that Western Washington University’s fall 2014 freshman class is the most culturally diverse in the history of the university. Of 2,784 freshmen, there were 793 students of color, or 28.5 percent. This compared to 2,792 freshmen for fall 2013, with 711 students of color at 25.5 percent. There was an 8.8 percent increase in first-generation freshmen.

Total fall enrollment at Western for fall quarter 2014 was just over 15,000 students at 15,060. This compared to a total fall 2013 enrollment of 14,950.

Eighty-nine percent of new students are resident, or in-state, with 11 percent from out-of-state, including international students. Western enrolled students from 41 states and international students from across the globe. Nearly 74 percent of transfer students came directly from a state community college, led by Whatcom, Bellevue, Skagit, Everett and Olympic community colleges. Leading counties of residence for students are King, Snohomish, Whatcom and Pierce counties.

The average freshman grade point average (GPA) increased from 3.42 to 3.43; the transfer average GPA increased from 3.23 to 3.26.

The Dec. 12 meeting is available for viewing online. Audio from the Dec. 11 meeting also is available.

In other business, the trustees:

  • In joint session with Western’s Foundation Board, discussed if and how Western should be more of a globally engaged university.
  • During the public comment period heard from several Western students who are members of the group Autonomous Students United to Reduce Tuition. The students discussed the many challenges regarding soaring student loan debt and urged the trustees to work to reduce tuition.
  • In honor of Western President Emeritus Charles J. (“Jerry”) Flora, who passed away late in 2013 at age 85, renamed a building at Western's Shannon Point Marine Center in Anacortes.
  • Approved the refinancing of Housing and Dining System Revenue Refunding Bonds, taking advantage of favorable interest rates, to result in a cost savings of $165,000 a year over the next 10 years, or a total savings of $1.6 million.
  • Government Relations Director Becca Kenna-Schenk provided an update on the upcoming legislative session in Olympia, scheduled to start Jan. 12. She said that the Council of Presidents released a press release, which was covered by The Seattle Times and other media.
  • Heard a report from Associated Students President Annika Wolters on many AS activities, including the successful expansion of the student shuttle into the Happy Valley neighborhood.
  • Deborah DeWees, executive director of the WWU Alumni Association, provided an update on WWU’s comprehensive campaign.
  • Discussed the Housing and Dining System Capital Plan.
  • Approved an amended 2013-2015 internal audit schedule.
  • At a Friday luncheon, Michael Fraas, assistant professor of Communications Sciences and Disorders, presented some of his research about concussions and sports.
  • At a Thursday dinner that included the trustees and other university boards, former Trustee Phil Sharpe recognized the many significant contributions to Western, the community and region of retired faculty members Bert Webber of Huxley College and Rand Jack of Fairhaven College.

For more information on the trustees’ meeting, see the board's meeting materials.

The dates for the next regular meeting of the Board of Trustees are Feb. 12 and 13.