Welcome back!

Eight people stand in the Spokane County Extension office. The office includes books, a counter, stools, plants, and brochures.
I accompanied President Schulz and the first lady on a trip to the Spokane County Extension Office this week. (Photo courtesy of Bob Hubner)

Last week ended with a good visit to Bellingham, Wash., followed by the Auction of Washington Wines Gala Saturday evening. Auctions and my competitiveness don’t always make for a good pairing, but I managed to keep my bidding in check. It helped that starting bids were more than I spent on my first house.

Upon my return, I found Pullman definitely busier than when I left. Welcome back to our 9-month faculty and our students who were away for the summer! I missed the move-in days but look forward to seeing our new CAHNRS students at convocation on Friday. This week is full of orientations for new faculty. In addition, the CAHNRS Promotion and Tenure Committee will meet. It is hard to believe the semester is starting.

President Schulz and the first lady traveled to our northeastern counties on Monday as part of their plan to learn more about Extension programs and community impact through regional visits. We appreciate the county/tribal directors and program personnel who took time out of their busy schedules to present their programs.

I left with a few key takeaways: Every county/tribal unit has unique needs resulting in different program priorities; the clientele changes over time and programs adjust accordingly to needs; partnering is core to Extension success; and we can continue to improve how we convey programmatic impacts. I found the presentations and conversations enlightening; they provided me with important stories and talking points to share whenever possible.

While the meetings with the president and first lady include representatives across the region, the fall roadshow of eight town halls that the associate deans and I will conduct in October is open to all faculty and staff who wish to attend. In September, we will solicit RSVPs for each date. Dates for some locations on the west side have changed since I last posted the schedule. Here are the new — and final — dates:

Oct. 16: WSU Vancouver

Oct. 17: Grays Harbor County Extension Office – Elma

Oct. 18: Puyallup REC                                                                        

Oct. 19: Mount Vernon NWREC                                                      

Oct. 23: Prosser IAREC                                                                       

Oct. 24: Wenatchee TFREC                                                                

Oct. 25: Pend Oreille County Extension Office – Newport

Oct. 26: WSU Pullman

This week marks my one-year anniversary with WSU. It’s a far cry from the length of service of many here, but still worthy of reflection. I remain in awe of the work going on across CAHNRS, both through programming and support of programming. I continue to believe that CAHNRS, while smaller than its peers, is mighty and continues to punch above its weight.

I had an annual review with myself. There was no yelling and no tears, but much questioning about what I could have done differently over the past year and what I can do going forward to secure more resources for our faculty, staff, and students who are putting everything they can into their work.

Travel right now is hectic. Perhaps along the way I will find some relief from the high temperatures. I am hoping the same for all of you.