Issue 2012-11 (December 5, 2012)


Former Washington Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown to Lead WSU Spokane

By Kathy Barnard, WSU News

Portrait photo of Lisa Brown

Former Washington State Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, a champion for education throughout her 20-year legislative career, will soon assume a new role in Washington higher education.

Brown, who did not run for re-election this year, will become the chancellor at Washington State University Spokane beginning in January.

Brown spearheaded the health sciences education and research initiative in Spokane. She is an associate professor in the graduate level Organizational Leadership Program at Gonzaga University.

"The energy and momentum surrounding development of the WSU Spokane campus as a hub for high quality academic programs in the health sciences is palpable throughout the community, state and region," said WSU president Elson S. Floyd. "Dr. Brown is well positioned to maintain that momentum and take the program to the next level. We are proud and happy to welcome her to Washington State University."

Brown said she looks forward to leading one of the most exciting educational initiatives in the state.

"I thank President Floyd for this great honor and for the opportunities that lie ahead. The vision he and others have created for a WSU campus as part of the university district is the product of thoughtful discussions and close collaborations," said Brown. "I look forward to contributing to ongoing conversations on this topic in my new role, and I will especially enjoy continuing my service to our state in this capacity."

Elected to the state Senate in 1996, Brown became Democratic Leader in 2003 – serving as Senate Majority Leader 2005-2012 and Minority Leader 2003-2005. After serving two terms in the House (1992–1996), she was elected to the Senate where, in her first term, she was appointed chair of the Ways and Means Committee.

In 2005, she became the first Democratic woman in the state to hold the position of senate majority leader, making her among the longest serving leaders in recent Washington history. Born and raised in Robinson, Ill., Brown studied economics at the University of Illinois, in Champaign-Urbana, and at the University of Colorado, in Boulder, where she earned a PhD.

Floyd thanked WSU Spokane chancellor Brian Pitcher and said he looks forward to calling on Pitcher's expertise in Spokane as well as at WSU's other urban campuses at Tri-Cities and Vancouver.

"Dr. Pitcher has ably led the Spokane campus since 2005 and will continue in a senior role with the WSU Spokane leadership team," Floyd said. "I want to thank him for the incredible progress he has made for WSU and for his willingness to continue to serve in a larger role."

Pitcher said it has "been an honor to serve as chancellor during these formative years of WSU Spokane. The university and community support has been wonderful, and great opportunity lies ahead. We have excellent students, faculty and staff - and ambitious strategies to implement."

During Pitcher's tenure, WSU Spokane has refined its focus to become a highly competitive graduate and professional research institution in the health sciences. Construction of the new biomedical and health sciences building is scheduled to be completed in fall 2013. That is the same time that full doctoral programs in nursing, pharmacy, medicine and allied health will be offered in Spokane and a new pilot program offering second-year medical education curriculum there will begin.

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SLIDESHOW: Reception Honors Supporters of Second-Year Medical Education, Health Sciences

By Doug Nadvornick; photos by Cori Medeiros

Dr. Rachel Safran has told the story many times about how she came to Spokane for medical school, but she still gets laughs with it.

This time her audience was a roomful of WSU Regents and Spokane community leaders at a November reception on the Riverpoint Campus.

"I was a member of the first class of first-year medical students in Spokane," said Safran, who grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, and attended college in Tacoma. "I thought when I was accepted to medical school that I'd be going to Seattle. But then I found out I was going to Spokane. There's a Spokesman-Review article that quotes me as saying how devastated I was."

That's the line that made the crowd laugh.

Then she delivered the twist: Safran quickly grew to love Spokane, both the city and the quality of her instruction and clinical experiences. When she graduated last June with her MD, she had already arranged to spend at least the next three years in Spokane as an internal medicine resident at Sacred Heart Medical Center.

Safran's story is one of many that inspired Spokane residents Dave and Mari Clack to start a group called 'Friends of WWAMI Spokane.' They are raising money and community support for Spokane's medical education program. (WWAMI stands for Washington Wyoming Alaska Montana Idaho, the five states covered by the University of Washington's regional medical school.)

At the reception, the Clacks and other 'Friends of WWAMI' were praised for their support, as were ten local corporations and foundations that have pledged and/or donated nearly $1.2 million  to support a pilot second-year medical education program in Spokane. (The Empire Health Foundation has donated another $850,000.) Currently, second-year students must study in Seattle. This year's group of first-year students will be the first to have the option of staying in Spokane for their second year.

"They're calling it a pilot project, but we're looking at it as a permanent program," said Ken Roberts, the director of Spokane's first year of medical education. "It used to be taboo to talk about the second year, but the community support to help us achieve it has been amazing."

The private fundraising effort is about $250,000 short of its $1.45 million goal.

"We're really close but we need to cross the finish line," said campaign co-chair Marty Dickinson. She said she and her fundraising partner, Tom Quigley, will soon expand their focus to smaller donors.

Community support not limited to medical education

Donors also give money to WSU Spokane's other health sciences programs, something noted at the reception by third-year pharmacy student Lindsay Schaffer.

"Your efforts don't go unnoticed," she told donors.

Her point was reinforced by WSU president Elson Floyd.

"Private gifting makes the difference between mediocrity and excellence," he said.

Floyd credited community leaders with "shedding the past turf wars of the higher education scene in Spokane." He praised outgoing state senate majority leader Lisa Brown for her support of the downtown health sciences campus that now hosts several programs. Under Brown's watch, the legislature in 2011 and 2012 allocated much of the money needed to start construction of WSU's new Biomedical and Health Sciences building. The legislature allowed the university to sell bonds to finance the rest of the cost.

Scott Carson, the chair of the Board of Regents, thanked reception attendees for their support of higher education in Spokane, particularly of projects where WSU is working with the University of Washington.

"You can either simply live in this community or you can be an active part of it," Carson said. "You have figured out which way to go."

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$1.6M Grant Helps WSU Take Success at Addressing Child Trauma to Schools Statewide

By Judith Van Dongen

More than 40 schools and small districts statewide will get help from Washington State University to aid traumatized children during the next four years, thanks to a $1.6 million grant.

Child gazing into the distance

The Area Health Education Center (AHEC) of Eastern Washington—a unit of WSU Extension—received the grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) through its National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative. The grant establishes a SAMHSA Trauma Center based at WSU.

The funding will enable AHEC and its partners to take the foundation they have built locally over the past years and implement it on a statewide level.

"We're very excited that we've now hit a critical mass in the capacity of the work we’re doing," said Christopher Blodgett, director of AHEC and the principal investigator on the grant. "We want to help teachers and other school workers to understand the impact of trauma so they have the knowledge to deal with it."

The team will collaborate with five of Washington's nine educational service districts to implement its trauma intervention method in 10 schools and small school districts per year, disseminating its approach of strengthening educational practice by focusing on positive developmental growth in kids.

Blodgett said the approach is crucial for children who are exposed to trauma, but it benefits all children by creating a more stable school environment. He stressed the importance of training non-teaching staff, such as bus drivers and crossing guards, in addition to teachers.

"You never know who is going to be the meaningful adult in a child's life," he said.

The project builds on earlier work by Blodgett's team on children's exposure to domestic violence and maltreatment. For the past seven years, the focus has been on complex trauma, the chronic exposure to a cluster of harmful events such as violence, substance abuse, homelessness and parents’ divorce. It is estimated that complex trauma affects an estimated 25 to 30 percent of children nationwide.

Over the years, AHEC has built an extensive network of community partners to tackle the task of addressing child trauma in the Spokane area and beyond. Local partners include Spokane Public Schools; Mead, Central Valley, East Valley and Cheney school districts; Community Colleges of Spokane Head Start; and Spokane Regional Health District.

Thanks to these partnerships, AHEC has been successful at securing funding to continue development of the trauma work. In 2010, AHEC received grant funding from the U.S. Department of Justice to develop ways to integrate social emotional learning and trauma response into publicly funded early learning programs in Spokane County. The same year, AHEC received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to implement a school-based trauma intervention program for children in Spokane area schools.

Blodgett and one of his staff members, Natalie Turner, were quoted in a June 2012 Huffington Post article on the merits of trauma-informed schools. Walla Walla's Lincoln High School, which was mentioned in the article, received its trauma training from AHEC.

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VIDEO: New Class Helps Students Better Understand Russian-speaking Patients

By Doug Nadvornick

On Thursday afternoons this fall, about 20 WSU health sciences students have taken a break from their science classes to delve into Russian cultural and language lessons.

WWAMI clinical assistant professor Dan Topping says he's teaching the class to help students learn more about the Russian patients they see during their clinical studies in Spokane. Each class starts with a student presentation about some aspect of Russian life. For example, during one class, nursing student Anna Demmert and medical student Kelli Geiger explored Russian attitudes toward contraception and abortion.

Then the students receive a language lesson taught by a teaching assistant and then break into small groups to practice.

Topping hopes to offer the class again next fall, perhaps offering it to a wider range of health sciences students.

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Medical Student Research on Chronic Kidney Disease Wins Top Honors

By Doug Nadvornick

Second-year medical student Jacob Casey from Vancouver, Washington, has won a gold medal in the Cureus national poster competition for medical and health sciences students. (Cureus is a California-based organization whose fall 2012 poster competition for medical students and residents drew more than 500 submissions from around the world.)

Portrait photo of Jacob Casey in white coat

Though Casey is studying in Seattle this academic year, his research is rooted in Spokane, where he spent his first year of medical school.

While in Spokane, Casey approached WSU assistant professor of nursing Kenn Daratha about collaborating on a Medical Student Research Training Program (MSRTP) summer project. Casey had taken Daratha's class on evidence-based medicine and read his research about the medical complications and outcomes for patients hospitalized with chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Daratha and his colleague, Spokane nephrologist/researcher Dr. Katherine Tuttle, agreed to mentor Casey. The medical student formulated his own research question: other than heart failure and sepsis, what are the complicating factors for CKD patients?

Casey conducted a medical literature review and, together, he and Daratha organized a database that included deidentified hospital patient information for more than 26,000 Washington residents with CKD. Through the summer Casey used statistical software to analyze the data and identify a variety of complications that lead to longer hospital stays, readmissions within 30 days after discharge, or even death.

"Skin ulcers were a significant issue for many patients," Casey said. "I never would have thought of that, but they brought many patients back to the hospital within 30 days of their release."

"This study was unique in that it used data from actual hospital patients, not people who volunteered for a clinical trial. It gives us useful real-world results," Tuttle said.

This fall Casey has created a poster describing his research—the same poster that won top honors in the nephrology division of the Cureus competition. He has also written a paper that he plans to submit to a medical journal. He has been invited to present his paper at the Western States Medical Research Forum in Carmel, California, in January. He also attended the American Society of Nephrology annual conference in San Diego with Daratha and Tuttle.

"This project has not only helped Casey to think about nephrology as a possible career choice, it makes him more competitive in applying for fellowships after medical school," Daratha said. "Even more important, it cements in his mind the benefits of using evidence when he cares for patients."

"This project has given me greater fluency when it comes to understanding research and applying it to my clinical practice," Casey said.

Though Casey doubts he'll pursue research as a career right out of medical school, he says it could be an option later in his career.

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Pharmacy Professor Takes New Administrative Role

By Lorraine Nelson, WSU College of Pharmacy

An accomplished pharmacist and clinical professor at WSU has been appointed to a new administrative faculty position overseeing a new pharmacy chapter of the WSU Alumni Association and fundraising for the College of Pharmacy.

Portrait photo of Linda Garrelts MacLean

Linda Garrelts MacLean, a 1978 WSU pharmacy graduate, stepped into the position of associate dean for advancement on Nov. 1. She has been a clinical professor at the college since 2002, has served as chair of the pharmacotherapy department, and has been the associate dean for professional education for nearly two years.

A search is beginning to find a replacement associate dean for professional education.

"Strengthening ties to the alumni base and broadening our development efforts are important to our future success," said College of Pharmacy dean Gary M. Pollack. "The associate dean for advancement is a model that is used at many other universities, and I felt it would work well for us. As a well-known and well-liked alumnus of this college, I believe Linda will make an excellent executive director of our new alumni association.”

"I am honored to serve the WSU College of Pharmacy in this way," MacLean said. "My interest in entrepreneurial activities will blend nicely with these new responsibilities. I sincerely look forward to working closely with our alums and developing new relationships with other friends of the college. It is a very exciting time to begin this work as the profession of pharmacy advances."

MacLean owned Jones Pharmacy in Spokane for many years until she sold it several years ago. She is nationally recognized in the pharmacy profession; in 1997 and 1999, national pharmacy magazines named her among the top most influential pharmacists in the country. She was president of the Washington State Pharmacy Association in 1997-1998 and has continued to be active in state and national pharmacy organizations, including the National Community Pharmacists Association.

MacLean coached the WSU pharmacy students who won the NCPA business plan competition in 2006 and 2010. She teaches business management and leadership and does research in diabetes care.

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Renewed Agreement Ensures WSU Nursing Training for Cadets

By Alli Benjamin, College of Nursing

Thanks to the recent resigning of an Army ROTC Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), army cadets interested in nursing careers will continue to have the chance to enroll at the WSU College of Nursing. The MOU outlines an agreement reserving five spaces annually for qualified army cadets in the college's Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program in Spokane.

MOU being signed
Lt. Col. David Bingham signs the MOU as College
of Nursing dean Patricia Butterfield and Lt. Col.
Todd Plotner and Lt. Col. Jason Pape look on.

(Photo by Alli Benjamin)

Cadets who want to earn a spot in program must apply for and meet all of the program's enrollment requirements.  From the applicant pool, ROTC leaders jointly select the five cadets to be awarded seats in the program. The ROTC leaders continue to mentor and stay in close communication with students and faculty once enrolled.

"We thank the WSU College of Nursing for our continued partnership in training the nurses who will soon provide exceptional care to those who defend and protect our nation," said Lt. Col. Todd Plotner, professor of military sciences. "It's tough to be an Army ROTC cadet, and it's tough to be a nursing student. Combine these demands, and you'll see why no other academic major in ROTC is managed with such attentiveness and rigor. Army nursing is a tough profession and a high calling. We expect Army nurses to be caring, compassionate, smart, and tough."

A reception and signing ceremony were held at the college with fellow military faculty, army nursing cadets, military, and college leaders present. Lt. Adam Busby, a 2012 graduate of the program, captured the enthusiasm and his deep appreciation for the experience.

"WSU College of Nursing understands that medicine is a battleground no matter where a nurse is working—whether it’s pushing for evidence-based practice at a small community clinic or administering medication in a military hospital," said Busby. "I feel confident that my training in both ROTC and WSU College of Nursing prepared me for the challenges I will face in my career."

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Pharmacy Students Publish Comparison of Diabetes Management Smartphone Apps

By Lorraine Nelson, WSU College of Pharmacy

Two WSU pharmacy students and a professor recently conducted a consumer-style review of smartphone applications for diabetes management that has been published in the professional journal Clinical Diabetes.

Similar to the products reviews found in Consumer Reports magazine—but without the rankings list of best to worst—pharmacy professor John White and students Joseph Tran and Rosanna Tran reviewed 10 smartphone apps. They compared the apps on price and 19 different features, such as usability, glucose tracking, carbohydrate tracking, and electronic synchronizing with the patient's health care provider.

"Apps such as Diabetes Log, which is free in the Apple iTunes store, provide the main essentials for diabetes monitoring, whereas Diabetes Buddy, which costs $6.99, is a more comprehensive app that offers additional features for more detail-oriented users," the research paper states in its summary and conclusions.

Although they didn't rank the apps, the LogFrog DB made by Amphistyle had the most features and is the only one of the 10 with GoogleDoc synchronizing. The reviewers said it was the easiest of the 10 to navigate for both children and adults and one of the most versatile diabetes apps available. The app uses pictures instead of words for navigation, including a frog for getting started. It costs $2.99.

In addition to the products review, the authors reviewed and summarized existing research that establishes what is known about the effectiveness of consistent self-monitoring of blood glucose by patients on their disease management, which is one of the main functions of the diabetes apps.

"Consistent self-monitoring of blood glucose has been shown to be a useful tool in improving glycemic control in type 2 diabetes," the authors state. "The implementation of smartphone applications and tools for the management of diabetes may be an effective option in reducing the progression of diabetes and improving quality of life."

Citing 2011 figures from CTIA: The Wireless Association in Washington, DC, the authors say more than 85 percent of Americans owned and used a mobile phone and half of those users also had Internet access through their mobile phones.

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Nursing Students Team Up to Clean Up Neighborhood Park

Photos and story by Alli Benjamin, College of Nursing

As part of their community health clinical, undergraduate nursing students Callie Runkel and Andrea Rhoads completed a community health assessment at Mallon Place, an assisted living home in West Central Spokane. During the assessment, they observed conditions of roads, sidewalks, houses, and resources.

Runkel, Rhoads, and fellow students saw that nearby Dutch Jacobs park was not being used because it needed to be cleaned up. Used needles, trash, and discarded bottles littered the small neighborhood park. So they voluntarily intervened. They worked with fellow students Brandy Kinney and Maddie Hogan to bring in equipment borrowed from the City of Spokane and spent a morning cleaning up the park. Thanks to these industrious students, the community and residents at Mallon Place again have a safe place to enjoy the outdoors.

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  • Ruth Bindler, who retired from the College of Nursing this past September, was recently recognized by the Spokane YWCA as a Woman of Achievement in the professional category. She was nominated for the honor by Barbara Richardson, a colleague and WSU PhD in Nursing graduate, who cited her as being an outstanding mentor and role model. "I have met many wonderful women in Spokane, but few have made such a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of youth and the education of so many nurses as Dr. Bindler," said Richardson.
  • John Roll, professor of nursing and associate vice provost for graduate education and scholarship for the Division of Health Sciences, is one of eight WSU faculty members who were recently named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Roll received the honor for his distinguished scholarly contributions to the field of addiction, particularly for applications of behavior analysis to the understanding, development, and dissemination of evidence-based treatments.
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Community Connections

  • Jan. 13, Community Conversation on STEM Education
    Please plan to join the newly-formed Spokane STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Network to learn about the importance of STEM education and jobs to the future of our community.  This community-wide forum will be held from 7:30 to 10:00 a.m. at the Lincoln Center (1316 N. Lincoln Street). As part of the forum, the Spokane STEM Network will review the challenges and opportunities associated with growing a STEM workforce and creating STEM jobs in Spokane County. They will also unveil their plans and discuss specific goals and strategies that address their mission of serving as a catalyst for STEM learning and innovation throughout the community. But most importantly, the Spokane STEM Network will be soliciting your feedback about the organization and its plans and explore ways to work together to promote STEM education and jobs. To register for the event, go to the Greater Spokane Inc. Web site.
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Personnel and Staffing Changes


  • Zuping Xia, Associate Research Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences/College of Pharmacy, effective October 15, 2012
  • Danilo Da Silva, IT Technician 2, Technical Support Center, effective October 22, 2012
  • Jennifer Morin, Instruction/Classroom Support Technician 2, Pharmacotherapy/College of Pharmacy, effective October 29, 2012
  • Philip Lazarus, Professor and Chair, Pharmaceutical Sciences/College of Pharmacy, effective November 1, 2012
  • Nancy Fike, Development Assistant Director (Director of Philanthropy), Development, effective November 5, 2012
  • Russell Guidry, IT Technician 2, Technical Support Center, effective November 26, 2012
  • Brett Oglesbee, Director of Finance and Administrative Services, College of Nursing, effective January 2, 2013
  • Nicholas Honn, Research Intern, CJ Simulated Hazardous Operations Tasks (SHOT) Lab / Sleep and Performance Research Center (SPRC), effective November 16, 2012
  • Cynthia Jewett, Research Intern, CJ Simulated Hazardous Operations Tasks (SHOT) Lab / Sleep and Performance Research Center (SPRC), effective December 3, 2012  


  • David Sclar, Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences/College of Pharmacy, retirement effective November 2, 2012
  • Sonja Carlson, Fiscal Specialist 2, Office of Research, effective November 9, 2012
  • James Lindstrom, Extension Specialist, Extension, retirement effective December 31, 2012
  • Xueyu Dia, WWAMI, effective December 31, 2012
  • Amber Johnson, Research Intern, WWAMI-Krueger Lab, effective January 1, 2013
  • Andrew Elmer, Research Intern, WWAMI-Krueger Lab, effective January 1, 2013


  • Brigitta Jozefowski, from WSU Extension Coordinator to Criminal Justice SHOTS Lab, Coordinator, effective November 5, 2012


  • Saleh Elgiadi, from Director Information Services to Executive Director, Information Technology Services, effective July 1, 2012
  • Angela Earley, from IT Specialist 4 to Information Systems Manager, Information Technology Services, effective July 1, 2012
  • Gay Lynn James, from Administrative Assistant 2, Department of Education to Extension Coordinator Specialist, Area Health Education Center, effective November 1, 2012  

Recruitments & Searches:

  • Assistant Professor, Statistics, College of Nursing, open until filled, review of application currently underway
  • Assistant/Associate Professor, Speech & Hearing, open until filled, apply at
  • Assistant/Associate Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences, open until filled, apply at, screening begins Jan. 16, 2013
  • Assistant/Associate Professor (2 positions), WWAMI, open until filled, apply at
  • Assistant/Associate Professor, Nutrition & Exercise Physiology Program, College of Pharmacy, open until filled, apply at, screening begins Feb. 1, 2013
  • Assistant/Associate/Full Professor, College of Nursing, open until filled, apply at
  • Associate Professor, Faculty Scholar in Residence, College of Nursing, open until filled, review if application currently underway
  • Clinical Assistant/Associate Professor (2 positions), Pharmacotherapy Department, College of Pharmacy, open until filled, apply at, screening begins Dec. 17, 2012
  • Extension Regional, Community and Economic Development Program, WSU Extension, open until filled, apply at
  • Extension Regional, Regional Extension Horticulture Specialist, WSU Extension, open until filled, apply at
  • Maintenance Mechanic 2, Facilities Operations, closed October 22, 2012, pending background check
  • Office Assistant 3, Student Affairs, closed November 27, 2012, under review by department
  • Practice Lab Preceptor, College of Nursing-Yakima, closes December 16, 2012, apply at
  • Professor, WWAMI, open until filled, apply at
  • Program Coordinator, College of Nursing-Yakima, closed, interviews pending
  • Research Operations Engineer, Shock Physics, open until filled, apply at
  • Secretary Senior, College of Nursing, closed, interviews pending
  • Tenured/Tenure Track Faculty, College of Nursing, open until filled, apply at
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Way to Go!

  • In a letter from the Spokane Police Department, security officer Michael Reitemeier received recognition for his valuable assistance in keeping the WSU staff, students, and general public safe during the incident involving a suspicious package on the pedestrian overpass between the Gonzaga and Riverpoint Campuses. We also commend him for his professional behavior and the positive reflection he extended to the WSU Spokane Campus Security staff. Way to go, Mike! We thank you for your quick response and excellent communication.
    (from Lt. Al Pignataro, Campus Security)
  • To Officer John Grewell—aka "Doc"—20 years of service as a combat medic in the Navy came in handy in saving a life during a recent incident near the Riverpoint Campus. Thank you for being a first responder and providing basic first aid to the injured victim while waiting for authorities to arrive and for providing an expedited route through campus to the scene. Thank you for your quick response and professional behavior!
    (from Lt. Al Pignataro, Campus Security)
  • A special thank you and recognition to President Floyd, Brian Pitcher, Gary Pollack, Michael Ryan, Ken Roberts, Patricia Butterfield, Rachel Safran, Ashley Ormsby, Lindsey Schaffer, Marty Dickinson, Tom Quigley and Scott Carson for delivering an excellent program during the recent WSU Regents Reception. Thank you all for your hard work and the positive reflection you have on WSU Spokane!
    (from the WSU Spokane Office of Communications and Development)

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.

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