CWU News

CWU Vice President Elected to Serve on Northwest Higher Education Commission

Central Washington University’s vice president of inclusivity and diversity has been elected to serve as a commissioner for the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

Delores “Kandee” Cleary was named one of four new NWCCU commissioners last month, and she will begin her three-year term during the commission’s June 24-26 virtual meeting. As a commissioner, she will help rate more than 160 higher education institutions in the region for performance, integrity, and quality.

Cleary, a CWU Department of Sociology faculty member since 2002, said she is honored to have been selected by her peers for such a crucial role. 

“I look forward to working with other professionals to help colleges and universities around the Northwest respond more effectively to diversity-related issues,” she said. “We have focused a lot of attention on these issues at CWU in recent years, and I believe sharing our successes can benefit other institutions.”

Under Cleary’s leadership, CWU has earned five Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Awards from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. The university also has been recognized by Campus Pride as one of the top LGBTQ-friendly schools in the nation. Additionally, Cleary has helped identify strengths, gaps, and opportunities in the university’s inclusion policies, practices and procedures since becoming a vice president in 2010.

The NWCCU board consists of up 26 commissioners who are elected to serve staggered three-year terms. Most of the commissioners represent institutions accredited by the commission, with consideration given for diversity of institutions and geographical distribution, including at least one person from each of the region’s tribal colleges.

Joining Cleary on the commission later this month will be Rachel Solemsaas, chancellor at Hawaii Community College; Bradley J. Cook, president of Snow College in Utah; and Marlene Tromp, president of Boise State University.

Learn more about the organization at

Media contact: David Leder, Department of Public Affairs,