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From the President: VP SES Search Process and Committee

CWU students and the Wildcat statue outside the SURC

CWU is working hard to fulfill its promise to students about prioritizing their success by launching a national search for a new vice president.


Dear Colleagues, 

Student success is, and always has been, a priority here at Central Washington University. Our staff and faculty are known for doing everything they can to help our students reach their potential—not just in the classroom but in life.

This ongoing, university-wide commitment to student success has become one of the hallmarks of the CWU experience. But, as much as we have done to prioritize our students’ needs over the years, we know we can always do more.

Part of that growth is listening to what students are telling us and taking action to improve their experience in academics, advising, professional development, campus activities, and everything in between. Like most long-term priorities, this initiative is a work in progress. But I have no doubt that everyone at CWU is committed to maximizing student success and helping us become a model for other institutions of higher learning.

During our Student Success Listening Sessions last year, we identified a critical need to elevate the student experience and we initiated a search for a Vice President for Student Engagement and Success (SES). After conducting a brief search last spring, we did not receive enough experienced applicants who met CWU diversity requirements and opted to postpone our search until the new academic year. Fortunately, we were able to bring in Dr. Lucha Ortega on an interim basis this summer, and she has done a tremendous job so far.

Today, I am pleased to announce that we have launched a new national search for our future Vice President for SES. We are hoping to conduct candidate reviews and interviews during fall quarter, with campus interviews expected in early 2023. If the search process goes according to plan, we hope a new vice president will be able to join the Wildcat family by July 1, 2023. The hiring committee would appreciate your help in spreading the word about this exciting opportunity, so please consider sharing position description with your professional networks. 

I also want to thank our committee of faculty and staff members for their valuable input during this painstaking process of finding the right person to carry CWU’s student success efforts into the future. The 12-member committee represents a broad cross-section of departments and interest groups on campus, and they will be responsible for screening candidates and deciding who will be the best fit for Central. They are: 

  • Michelle DenBeste, Provost’s Office (committee co-chair) 
  • Dania Cochran, President’s Office (committee co-chair) 
  • Andria Keirn, Diversity Advocate 
  • Manuel Rodriguez, Admissions 
  • Lola Gallagher, Publicity Center 
  • Elvin Delgado, Faculty 
  • Amber Hoefer, SLICE 
  • Ruben Cardenas, Veterans Center 
  • Luis Reyes, ASCWU Board of Directors 
  • Mariah Minjarez, ASCWU Board of Directors 
  • Monica Medrano, University Centers 
  • Lynsey Groat, Human Resources 
  • Inti Valverde, Financial Aid 
  • Stefanie Parker, Student Health and Counseling Services 

I am confident that this dedicated group of professionals will come together to find the right candidate for such a critically important role. Each of them has demonstrated a commitment to the success of our students, and I appreciate everything they have done to this point.

If you have thoughts and feedback about the hiring process for the Vice President of SES, please feel free to reach out to the committee members or co-chairs. 

Sincerely, 

Jim Wohlpart 
President