Issue 2010-08 (August 23, 2010)



Krueger Move to Strengthen Sleep Research in Spokane

By Judith Van Dongen

This fall, the research component of WWAMI Spokane will be expanded significantly as Regents Professor James Krueger and his research group move to this campus from WSU Pullman, consolidating the majority of basic sleep research in Spokane.

Krueger is a pioneer in sleep research focused on the biochemical regulation of sleep, the relationships between sleep and infectious disease, and how the brain is organized to produce sleep. He brings with him a long-standing research program funded by the National Institutes of Health and other extramural sources that totals more than $15 million in cumulative research expenditures since 1997.

Krueger's reassignment to the medical education program will provide several important benefits for the WWAMI program in general and WSU sleep research specifically. His arrival will strengthen the research base needed to build a strong foundation for expanding medical education in Spokane to offer the full four years of undergraduate medical education at Riverpoint, along with expanded graduate medical education in the region.

"Not only will Jim's move to the Riverpoint Campus consolidate the critical mass of sleep research in Spokane," said Bryan Slinker, vice provost for health sciences, “it will also increase overall research activity on campus, which is one of the building blocks required for the development of the full medical education program we envision. Jim retains his faculty appointment in VCAPP and Neuroscience, strengthening the ties between Pullman and Spokane. This move will also aid growth of graduate education on the Riverpoint campus; the Neuroscience graduate program will now have students studying with faculty in both Spokane and Vancouver, as well as in Pullman."

Krueger's move will also bring added opportunities to collaborate with other sleep researchers on campus. Krueger will be able to provide mentorship to younger faculty—some of whom trained with him as postdocs—and interact more with the Sleep and Performance Research Center senior leadership, including center director Gregory Belenky and assistant director Hans Van Dongen. In fact, Van Dongen will take up an office near Krueger so he can spend part of his time working closely with Krueger to build a bridge between human and animal sleep research.

Finally, Krueger's presence will increase the chances of bringing in significant grant funding for all sleep researchers. He has already been working with WWAMI sleep researchers Levente Kapas, Eva Szentirmai, and Jonathan Wisor on several new NIH grant proposals and has future plans to apply for an NIH Center Grant with Van Dongen as the principal investigator.

"Grants are always stronger coming from a team of accomplished people, and the team is in Spokane," Krueger said. "I'm hoping that I can take advantage of that, and that they'll take advantage of me, and that collectively we can do these things."

Krueger will be moving his office to the second floor of the Health Sciences Building, where he will be close to other sleep researchers and WWAMI scientists. Faculty and staff joining Krueger in Spokane include research assistant professors Ping Taishi, Mark Zielinski, Chris Davis, and Parijat Sengupta; research technician Stewart Bohnet; and graduate students James Clinton and Kathryn Jewett.

The move is slated to be complete by early October, pending the renovation of space on campus to accommodate the added research activity.  A number of moves to make space for Krueger and his group are already happening right now—read more about these in the next article.

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Who's Moving Where

By Judith Van Dongen

Jim Krueger's move to the Spokane campus has triggered a series of campus moves that has provided an opportunity for physical consolidation of several units that were previously separated.

The Washington Institute for Mental Health Research and Training (WIMHRT) will be moving out of its space on the second floor of the Health Sciences Building to provide space for Krueger and his group that puts them close to other sleep researchers in the WWAMI medical education program, who are housed on the third floor of that building.

WIMHRT's new home is the fourth floor of the Academic Center, where they will be occupying space previously assigned to the Office of Capital Planning and Development. The Office of Capital Planning and Development, in turn, has moved to a series of offices in the northeast corner of the South Campus Facility.

"It's great, because it gets us over there with other support services such as Facilities Operations and Parking Services. It had been our plan for a while to consolidate support services into the South Campus Facility, and it's nice to see that falling into place," said Ryan Ruffcorn.

Previously a project manager in the Office of Capital Planning and Development, Ruffcorn took over as the office's new director this past May and has been facilitating these departmental moves as part of his new responsibilities, which include overseeing design, construction, and space use on the Riverpoint Campus.

To make space for Capital Planning and Development, several faculty associated with the Interdisciplinary Design Institute have moved from the South Campus Facility to the Phase One Classroom Building. This consolidates the design faculty into a single building. The only exception is the Integrated Design Lab Inland Northwest, which remains in the South Campus Facility along with its interim director, Libby Blossom.

Another unit benefiting from the reallocation of spaces is Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA), whose staff will be moving to more spacious quarters across the hall from their old office in the South Campus Facility.

All of these moves are slated to be completed by September 1, and Ruffcorn says there's more to come in the next few months and years.

"We're growing so fast that we have to be able to consolidate space as we try to meet the needs of the departments and units on this campus," he said. "Until the new biomedical/health sciences building is complete, and even after that, we’re going to be pushing on our existing facilities to try to use them more efficiently."

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Project Lead the Way Designates WSU Spokane as Biomedical Sciences National Affiliate

By Becki Meehan

Washington State University Spokane will take a leading role in preparing high school students for biomedical careers, thanks to a new affiliation with Project Lead The Way (PLTW).

PLTW is a nonprofit organization that partners with middle and high schools to implement science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curriculum that uses hands-on projects that emphasize critical thinking and innovation and connect classroom learning to real-life problem solving. It has designated WSU Spokane as a national affiliate for its Biomedical Sciences Program. The university is the first such partner to serve the West coast region and the fourth affiliate nationwide.

Established in 2007 to address an impending shortage of health care professionals and researchers, the Biomedical Sciences Program consists of a sequence of four high school courses that are taken along with college-preparatory math and science. It provides students with an understanding of the role of the biomedical sciences in the modern world and prepares them for careers in the field. The courses present a broad foundation in science and healthcare and include specialized knowledge in areas such as molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, microbiology, physiology, anatomy, and public health.

As a biomedical affiliate, WSU Spokane will provide the core training for all four courses through biomedical teachers and affiliate faculty who supply the instruction and training for the high school teachers over an intensive two-week period. This training will prepare teachers to implement the curriculum in their high schools.

"Our job is to remove barriers and strengthen science education, particularly in the biomedical sciences," said Joan Kingrey, academic director for College of Education programs at WSU Spokane. "There are many pieces to PLTW that will ensure success on several levels, especially for the students. It is high-quality science curriculum, high-quality professional development, and high-quality support."

WSU Spokane will also serve as a support network to the teachers and the students through use of science faculty expertise, facilities use, and equipment loans to name a few. As an affiliate of PLTW, WSU Spokane will contribute to high-quality science education and will be a part of the continuous review and revision of the curriculum to assure its currency and relevancy.

"What we’re really doing—beyond preparing students to go on into the sciences—is creating an informed citizenry that understands the importance of science, is not afraid of it, and is willing to support its future growth," said Sylvia Oliver, director of WSU Spokane CityLab. "PLTW is the needed link to improve the science pathways between K-12 and higher education."

In collaboration with the Mead School District, Oliver and Kingrey championed the efforts of putting the right people around the table and pulling the affiliate application together. University administration, faculty, the Riverpoint Partnership for Math and Science, and Spokane community leaders in business and education fully embraced the project and provided their support to Kingrey and Oliver to help make the affiliate status possible.

"As the health science center for WSU and EWU, the campus provides a unique resource to support teachers and school districts for success with science education," said Brian Pitcher, chancellor of WSU Spokane. "Our selection was based on great leadership (Joan Kingrey and Sylvia Oliver), diverse health science faculty, terrific engagement from local industry, and the synergy of broad K-20 campus and public education partnerships."

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Funding Moves Forward for Riverpoint, Division Street Projects

By Barb Chamberlain

Federal funding now working its way through the appropriations process could enhance the entrance to downtown and clean up the site for the next building on the Riverpoint Campus. U.S. Senator Patty Murray, a WSU alumna who chairs the Senate's Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Subcommittee, was instrumental in gaining $3 million in the FY2011 THUD appropriations bill for key priorities for the City of Spokane, the University District, and the Riverpoint Campus.

The bill includes $1 million in funding to improve the safety and design of the Division Street Corridor, a key gateway into downtown, the University District and adjacent business districts.

Another $2 million is included to clean up contaminated soil located within the building site of the Riverpoint Biomedical/Health Sciences Phase I Building. The Riverpoint Campus is part of a larger parcel formerly owned by the railroad, and historically had been used for industrial purposes between the early 1900s and the mid 1980s.  As a result of this past use, soil contaminated with metals and carcinogens came to be present over a portion of the site.

If approved, these funds add significantly to the record of federal investment obtained for the Riverpoint Campus and the University District.

Senator Murray worked to obtain over $3.2 million to date for lab and simulation technology for the Nursing Building, which serves as the statewide headquarters for the WSU College of Nursing.

She also provided critical support at the very inception of the University District vision when a group of community leaders proposed the idea. In response to her interest, students and faculty at the Interdisciplinary Design Institute provided initial conceptual renderings of what a revitalized University District could look like with safe streets and pedestrian-friendly connections.

She has worked ever since for transportation and infrastructure upgrades necessary to make the University District vision a reality, with her efforts resulting in over $8 million for road and pedestrian improvements such as the Division Street Corridor. Other projects benefiting from her support include Martin Luther King Jr. Way (the Riverside Avenue extension; see video of the dedication event here) and future traffic-calming redesign of Spokane Falls Boulevard through the Riverpoint Campus.

"We thank Senator Murray for her significant support for expansion at the Riverpoint Campus and enhanced safety for our students and the community," said WSU President Elson Floyd. "The Biomedical Building is the university's number one capital budget priority in the upcoming state legislative session. The partnership with the federal government we have through Senator Murray's efforts allows us to leverage the state’s ongoing investment in the academic health sciences center growing at Riverpoint."

These most recent funding requests still require additional approval, including votes by the full Appropriations Committee, the full Senate and a joint House-Senate conference committee.

Other federal support for Spokane campus growth and development in the past includes funding for Gigapop connectivity secured through the efforts of Senator Maria Cantwell; research support for the Center for Study of Addictions and Substance Abuse in the WSU College of Nursing thanks to Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Brian Baird; and appropriations for the start-up of the Applied Sciences Lab and the Sleep and Performance Research Center supported by former Representative George Nethercutt.

These federal funds leverage the state's investment in capital facilities to enable more rapid build-out and program expansion that provide a return to taxpayers. The Sleep and Performance Research Center, for example, has brought in nearly $15 million in grant and contract funding from private, industry and public agency sources—a return on investment several times the initial $4.5 million earmark.

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Pharmacy Students Help Diabetic Campers Just Be Kids For A Week

By Matt Haugen, WSU News Service

Check blood sugar, eat food, give insulin, repeat.

Doing this four times or more a day is common for people with diabetes. However, when it's a young child, the reality of often being the only person you know who has to do this can be daunting.

In North Idaho, Camp Fun In The Sun offers diabetic children a way to be kid and share their experiences, while having trained health care students, physicians, RNs and certified diabetes educators near them.

The camp also offers Washington State University pharmacy students a chance to really understand what living with type 1 diabetes means. The disease requires insulin injections because the body does not produce enough, which is different than the more common type 2 diabetes that people acquire later in life, often because their diets lead them to become insulin resistant.

Before heading off to the camp, WSU student pharmacists receive three weeks of intense diabetes education. Just as if they had the disease, the student had to test their blood sugar multiple times a day, keep track of their food intake, and figure how much insulin they would have to administer to themselves.

"What this camp offers the WSU students is a place to see diabetes in the real world, with health care being the way it is, and with the cuts in healthcare and education, pharmacists are going to be on the first line of education and defense when it comes to diabetes self management” said Deb Belknap, camp health care director.

The camp is also a way for WSU pharmacy students to earn credit toward the seven internships that comprise their fourth and final year of pharmacy school. In operation for more than 20 years, Camp Fun in the Sun is operated by Community Health Education and Resources of Spokane.

The camp is an intense lesson in type 1 diabetes for WSU students, but for the kids with the disease, the focus is on having a typical summer camp experience, which isn't difficult, given that the camp is nestled under towering pine trees on the beautiful Lower Twin Lake about five miles north of Rathdrum, Idaho. Activities such as swimming, arts and crafts, and basketball fill the days of the 100 campers.

"You can learn about diabetes from notes, and your books, and your teachers, but being here,  it's so different, seeing the kids actually interact and they just act like normal kids and they don't care, they come in and 'Oh, I have a low, I'll sit here 15 minutes with you' just go back out and play, and they just bounce back, like 'I'm ready, I'm ready' it’s just like it doesn't affect them" said Sherry Whitley, WSU pharmacy student.

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Murphy Joins Health Policy & Administration Faculty

By Judith Van Dongen

Washington State University Spokane has hired WSU alumnus Sean Murphy, PhD, as an assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Administration. His appointment is effective August 16.

Murphy's expertise is in applied microeconomics, with a specific focus on health economics and econometrics. Before coming to WSU Spokane, he was an assistant professor of economics at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas, where he taught health economics and microeconomics in the university’s College of Business.

At WSU Spokane, Murphy will teach health care economics, research methods, and health care information systems, as well as continue his research in the area of disease management and other health-related topics. One of the research projects he is currently working on is a grant-funded study to estimate the economic impact of the medical community in Amarillo, Texas.

"As a proud alumnus of WSU, I am especially excited about my new position and the opportunities it brings," Murphy said.

Murphy's professional involvement and dedication have earned him several awards. Most recently, he received the 2010 Research Excellence Award from West Texas A&M’s College of Business. He also won the Distinguished Paper Award in Economics at the 2010 Midwest Business Administration Association (MBAA) International conference.

"We're delighted to have Dr. Murphy join the faculty," said Joseph Coyne, interim chair and professor in the Department of Health Policy and Administration. "He will provide a significant contribution to the research and teaching in the department."

Murphy received his PhD in Economics from WSU in 2008, based on his dissertation "Disease Management and Latent Choices." He also holds BA and MA degrees in Economics from the University of Montana.

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New Student Leaders Take the Helm at ASWSU Spokane

By Judith Van Dongen

After the student government elections this spring resulted in a tie, a subsequent revote yielded two new leaders for the Associated Students of Washington State University Spokane (ASWSUS)—Todd Keatts (left) president, and Brad Demmert (right), vice president, are full of ideas on improving the student experience for WSU Spokane students and are ready to rise to the task.

Keatts, a senior in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, grew up on a farm in rural Pomeroy, Washington, where he helped raise cattle, wheat, and barley. Prior to coming to WSU Spokane, he was a premed major at WSU Pullman. He decided to pursue a career in nursing while spending time volunteering at Pullman Regional Hospital.

For fellow nursing senior Demmert, home is Spokane's South Hill. He came to this campus from the Running Start program at Eastern Washington University, where he finished his prerequisites and earned a minor in Spanish. Demmert has several family members working in the medical field and enjoys the rewards of helping patients and families in their time of need.

Both Keatts and Demmert served in leadership roles at the College of Nursing in the past year. They were on the student ambassador team and served as junior class officers together—Demmert as class president and Keatts as treasurer/secretary.

As representatives of all students at WSU Spokane, their goal is to increase unity among students from different disciplines.

"We hope to create better activities and outlets that will allow more students to interact and get to know each other," Keatts said.

One such outlet they have been working to put in place is a WSU Spokane student senate, which last year's students voted to create. Elections for this new senate are slated to take place later this fall. Other initiatives they are working on are a test preparation grant to help students pay for the cost of study materials of licensure exams, child daycare subsidy grants, and student travel grants, among others.

"Todd and I will always be open to suggestions from students, faculty, and staff and are excited to continue making WSU Spokane a dream school—one that people from all backgrounds and programs will want to attend," Demmert said.

To help them achieve their goals, several of last year's ASWSU officers are returning to their positions, including master of health policy and administration student Geetha Gujjarlapudi as chief of staff, nutrition and exercise physiology major Dylan Jones as director of events and programming, and master of architecture student Camila Obniski as director of technology and media affairs. Newcomer Paul Milani, who is in the Doctor of Pharmacy program, will serve as director of legislative affairs.

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WSU Launches Pilot Research into Parkinson’s Medication Management

By Lorraine Nelson, College of Pharmacy

A pharmacy professor at Washington State University plans to spend fall semester working with and studying a select group of Parkinson's Disease patients, thanks to a national fellowship award. 

Joshua J. Neumiller, an assistant professor of pharmacy at WSU Spokane, is hoping to find out if intensive medication management will help the patients' motor skills after they have gone through deep brain stimulation surgery.
Neumiller will be working with Spokane neurosurgeon Dr. Jonathan Carlson, as well as the pharmacy and nursing departments at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane.

Neumiller received the only Pharmacy Faculty Development Fellowship in Geriatric Pharmacy awarded this year by the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education in Rockville, Maryland. Neumiller also will have help from other WSU College of Pharmacy and College of Nursing faculty.

The $25,000 Fellowship requires matching support from WSU. Neumiller has been relieved of all his teaching, advising, service, clinical practice and administrative responsibilities for six months starting in September to undertake this innovative research project.
Research on the subject is limited, and it is hoped that it will show that Parkinson's patients fare better with intense attention to their medication regimen when hospitalized, Neumiller said. Through this work, the multidisciplinary research team hopes to further elevate and improve the level of exceptional care these patients already receive.
Neumiller is a certified geriatric pharmacist and has a clinical pharmacy practice at Elder Services in Spokane. He graduated from WSU in 2005 and has been a licensed pharmacist for the past five years.

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College of Nursing Hosts Historical Nursing Exhibit

By Katherine Traczyk, communications intern, College of Nursing

The Washington State University College of Nursing has recently acquired an exhibit honoring nurses for the last 100 years of service. NURSES AT YOUR SERVICE: A Century of Caring is presented in the Nursing Building foyer at 103 E Spokane Falls Boulevard and will run through October 15, 2010.


The exhibit features ten display panels highlighting the progression of nursing starting in 1909, the year of the Nurse Practicing Act of 1909, which legally recognized qualified nursing school graduates as registered nurses in Washington State. The panels tell the story of how economics, war, epidemics, and the choices made by nurses themselves have shaped professional nursing in Washington State in the last century. In addition, the College of Nursing has chosen to showcase student nursing uniforms dating from 1920 to the present.

The display was previously housed in Tacoma at the Washington State History Museum. It is being shown at the Riverpoint Campus thanks to the efforts of Bob Pringle and a team of nurses and staff at WSU Spokane, who worked hard to get it here. Support from Sacred Heart and Deaconess funded the transportation to Spokane.

The exhibit was originally developed by Washington State History Museum in partnership with the Washington State Nursing Centennial Consortium.

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US News and World Report: High Marks For WSU’s Academic Reputation, Graduation Rates

By Darin Watkins, WSU News Service

In its annual ranking of colleges and universities nationwide, US News and World Report lists Washington State University as the 52nd best state university in the nation, with a ranking of 111th overall. This ranking is about where WSU has been listed for the past few years.

The most dramatic change is the increase in WSU's academic reputation. With a score of 64, this represents the third year in a row this number has gone up in a category that doesn't easily change. According to US News and World Report, its Academic Reputation Score is an index based on a series of surveys that go out to directors of admission, provosts, and now high school counselors. Because it is based on a four-year moving average, these numbers rarely change traditionally, but reflect a growing importance of WSU's academic reputation and profile.

"Apparently the good word is getting out," said WSU Provost Warwick Bayly. "WSU has long been a place of world class research and undergraduate education. This increased academic reputation score reflects our unwavering commitment to excellence."

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In the News

  • Assistant professor Weihang Chai, WWAMI Spokane, was recently featured in the Smart People section of, a CBS Interactive Web site. She was interviewed on her work to find a way to stop cancer cells from growing. Read the interview here. 
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  • Linda Garrelts MacLean, clinical associate professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacotherapy, has been installed as the chair of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy's Self-Care Therapeutics/Nonprescription Medicines Special Interest Group.
  • A team of WSU pharmacy students is among three finalists in the annual Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition. The team consists of second-year pharmacy students Kurt Bowen, Robert Bryan, Erik Nelson, and Vinh Nguyen. The team will travel to Philadelphia this October to compete against teams from Auburn University and Drake University at the National Community Pharmacists Association's annual convention and trade exposition.

If you or one of your colleagues or students has received a special honor or award, or reached another professional milestone, please e-mail the information to Judith Van Dongen at

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Community Connections

  • Browne's Addition Summer Concert Series, Thursdays through August 26
    Come spend your warm summer nights at the Browne's Addition Summer Concert Series in Spokane's Coeur d'Alene Park, where magic is created through the convergence of community and art. Join family and friends and hear some of the area's best and most diverse musicians every Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. Free and open to the public. For more information, go to the Browne's Addition Summer Concert Series Web site or contact Sarah Calvin by e-mail or at 509-218-9398.

Personnel and Staffing Changes


  • Keith Kelley, Student Services Specialist, Student Affairs, effective August 2, 2010
  • Martha West, Office Assistant 2, Student Affairs-ASWSUS, effective August 4, 2010
  • Alan Stanford, Business Advisor, SBDC, effective August 9, 2010
  • Sean Murphy, Assistant Professor, Health Policy and Administration, effective August 16, 2010


  • Tori Crain, Research Intern, Sleep and Performance Center, effective May 31, 2010
  • Angela Bowen, Research Intern, Sleep and Performance Center, effective July 15, 2010
  • Amy Bender, Polysomnographic Technician 2, Sleep and Performance Center, effective August 15, 2010

Recruitment & Searches:

  • Assistant/Associate Professor Educational Leadership and Counseling Psychology (position may be in Spokane or Pullman), screening of applicants begins immediately, with an August 15, 2010 deadline
  • Coordinator (Community Liaison) with the National Children's Study for the College of Nursing; position closed July 11, 2010, applications are under review
  • Coordinator (Hispanic Outreach Liaison) with the National Children's Study for the College of Nursing; position, closed July 11, 2010, applications are under review
  • Coordinator (Clinic Liaison and Research Assistant) with the National Children’s Study in Grant Country (Moses Lake) for the College of Nursing, position closes August 20, 2010
  • Information Technology Specialist 3 with the National Children’s Study in Grant Country (Moses Lake) for the College of Nursing, position closes August 20, 2010
  • Manager (Research Study Manager) with the National Children’s Study in Grant Country (Moses Lake) for the College of Nursing, open until filled
  • Office Assistant 3 with the National Children’s Study in Grant Country (Moses Lake) for the College of Nursing, position closes August 20, 2010
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Way to Go!

Thanks to the exemplary work and meticulous construction skills of Bob Scharff, the display "Nurses at Your Service: A Century of Caring" is on the walls at the Nursing Building, and will be here through mid-October. Bob is always a pleasure to work with, and I am not surprised he always finds ways to improve upon any project brought to him. We are really fortunate to have him supporting the Riverpoint campus.
(from Bob Pringle, Riverpoint Campus Library)

Here's where you make someone's day a little brighter by extending your thanks for a job well done. Send your “Way to Go!” comments to Judith Van Dongen and watch for your thanks to be published in an upcoming issue of the Campus Bulletin!

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The Bulletin is a monthly publication that is usually published on the second Wednesday of each month. The exact publication date may shift due to holidays. If you have an item that you'd like us to include, send it to us by Friday in the week before publication.

The Bulletin covers news of interest to the faculty, staff, and friends of Washington State University Spokane, and associates on other WSU campuses and on the Riverpoint Campus.

Regular columns cover professional accomplishments, opportunities for involvement in the campus community and the Spokane community, notices of new developments on campus, upcoming events, personnel changes, and other news.

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