Office of Governor Gary Locke
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - December 22, 1997
Contact: Governor's Communications Office, 360-902-4136
Locke orders evaluation of higher education in Spokane regionOLYMPIA - Gov. Gary Locke today directed the Higher Education Coordinating Board to evaluate several issues involving higher education services in the Spokane region and report their findings to him. A preliminary report on the board's findings is due Feb. 15, 1998, with a final analysis to be completed by June 1, 1998.
Locke's charge to the Higher Education Coordinating Board is broad. "I want the board, in consultation with Eastern Washington University and Washington State University, to fully examine how the state can best maximize our public investment in higher education in eastern Washington and the Spokane area and continue to provide the highest quality education for students," Locke said.
The governor told the HEC Board to "conduct fact-finding and evaluation" on how the state can best meet "the highest standards of opportunity and excellence" in serving eastern Washington's higher educational needs.
Locke ordered the HEC Board to consider "a range of issues, including duplication of programs and access to education; the impact of a graduate research program on promoting the economic vitality of the Spokane area; the future of the Joint Center in Spokane; the full spectrum of administrative and organizational options, including the possible merger of EWU and WSU and the resulting costs and benefits; and issues of leadership and governance."
Locke said he wants to consider a comprehensive set of alternatives for administration and governance at EWU and WSU, including consolidation, joint governance, and transferring programs from one institution to the other, among other possibilities. "This is not simply a matter of deciding either in favor of the status quo or in favor of a merger," Locke explained. "I expect the board to leave no stone unturned in the search for the best solutions for the citizens of the Spokane area, eastern Washington and our entire state."