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First University Center Town Hall Fosters Conversation & Collaboration

Notice Type: 
Event Date: 
Tue, 01/28/2020
Event Time: 
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Event Location: 
Discovery Hall Room 103


ELLENSBURG, Wash. — More than 75 CWU faculty, staff, and students attended the university’s first University Centers Town Hall, a presentation and panel discussion on the unique demographics of center students on January 28.


“Our University Center student body is distinctly different from our Ellensburg residential campus demographic” said Dr. Lauren Hibbs, Executive Director for Extended Learning. “Center students are predominantly first-generation, adult learners who are time-and-place-bound in their local communities. These adult learners are typically highly motivated, bring extraordinary life experience and skills, and provide an intellectual richness to the classroom learning environment. Many times these individuals are employed, have family obligations, or both.” 


In 2019, the CWU University Centers contributed to over 1,240 transfer enrollments, making CWU the second largest transfer institution in the state of Washington.


“We have our sights set on becoming the number one transfer institution in the state,” Hibbs said.


After a short presentation by Hibbs and Interim Associate Provost for Extended Learning Ediz Kaykayoglu, a panel consisting of a dozen participants, ranging from site directors to adjunct faculty, discussed a variety of challenges faced by the centers.


Many panelists noted that the mission of the centers is to drive center students to a seamless, successful academic journey but due to limited resources it is integral to work closely with university faculty, chairs, advising and financial aid staff in Ellensburg to assist lean center staffs.


Monica Medrano, Regional Director for CWU-Moses Lake and CWU Wenatchee, echoed that sentiment: “There is just above one full-time staff member at each of the Centers (Moses Lake and Wenatchee). With limited on-site staff it’s hard to support students the way they need sometimes.”


Hibbs said she felt extremely positive about the first centers’ town hall gathering and appreciated the active participation by faculty and chairs. “We have all of these mini universities out there that we need to keep top of mind and this is a great start.”








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