WWU Ralph Munro Seminar Set for July 11 to 15

Contact: Sara Weir, chair of Western’s Political Science Department and director of the Ralph Munro Institute, sara.weir@wwu.edu or (360) 650-2912

BELLINGHAM – “Governing in Challenging Economic Times” is the topic of the 2011 Munro Seminar taking place July 11 to 15 on the Western Washington University campus and at Padilla Bay. Elected officials, public policy experts, political scientists and scholars will be among the speakers at events that are free and open to the public.

Topics will range from general legislative issues and state funding for higher education to an examination of public-private collaboration to clean up Samish Bay. A panel discussion on 2011 legislative issues will include state Sen. Nick Harper and state Representatives Chris Reykdal, Hans Zeiger and Mark Hargrove. State Reps. Hans Dunshee and Vincent Buys will be part of a panel discussion on state funding for higher education. Betsy Peabody, executive director of the Puget Sound Restoration Fund will discuss the restoration of Samish Bay on Thursday, when the seminar will be held at the Padilla Bay Sanctuary. 

The seminar, sponsored by Western’s Ralph Munro Institute, is devoted to promoting civic literacy within secondary education and the public at large. It offers students, teachers and community members an opportunity to work with professors, activists and political leaders to learn how local, state and national politics develop. Munro, a WWU alumnus and trustee and Washington’s former secretary of state, will give the welcome and keynote address.

“Our primary goal is for people to be more knowledgeable about government and public life,” said Sara Weir, director of the Munro Institute and chair of Western’s Political Science Department.

TVW will record several of the sessions for broadcast later this month. Click here for a link to TVW's broadcast schedule. The sessions will also be available on TVW's website.

All events will take place on Western's campus in Communications Facility Room 115, except where noted. A schedule of the week’s events:

Monday, July 11, “Civic Education in Washington State”

2 p.m.: Welcome and Keynote Address by Ralph Munro.

3:30 p.m: Panel with Western Political Science Professor Debra Salazar, Visiting Assistant Professor Cole Taratoot and Professor Vernon Johnson, and Munro Institute Program Administrator Jen Reidel.

Tuesday, July 12, “Legislative Issues 2011”

3 p.m.: Keynote address by Richard Thompson, WWU trustee and former Washington State Budget Director.

3:30 p.m.: Panel with state Sen. Nick Harper and state Reps. Chris Reykdal, Hans Zeiger and Mark Hargrove, moderated by Thompson.

Wednesday, July 13, “Challenging Times for Higher Education Financing in Washington State”

3 p.m.: Keynote address by Bruce Shepard, president of Western.

3:30 p.m.: Panel with Charlie Earl, executive director of the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges; Bill Lyne, president of the United Faculty of Washington State; state Rep. Vincent Buys, member of the House Higher Education Committee; Keith Boyd, WWU alumnus and a senior manager at Microsoft; Iris Maute-Gibson, WWU Associated Students Vice President for Government Relations; state Rep. Hans Dunshee, Chair of the House Capital Committee. Moderated by Bruce Shepard.

Thursday, July 14, “Water Issues: The Case of Samish Bay.” Events will be held at the Padilla Bay Sanctuary Conference Room.

3 p.m.: Keynote Address by Betsy Peabody, executive director of the Puget Sound Restoration Fund.

3:30 p.m.: Panel with Rick Haley of Skagit County Public Works; Ron Wesen, Skagit County Commissioner; Mak Kaufman of the Washington State Department of Ecology and Bill Dewey of Taylor Shellfish Farms, moderated by Peabody and Weir.

Friday, July 15, “Challenges for the Future”

2 p.m.: Political Science Professor Todd Donovan on “Elections in Washington State;” Geoff Menzies, manager of the Drayton Harbor Community Oyster Farm, on “Clean Water in Whatcom County;” and Weir on “We are all Civic Educators.”