Chancellor Mark Pagano hosted the second town hall meeting of the 2018–19 academic year Nov. 20. The town hall focused on an update of the UW Tacoma strategic plan and provided a look into campus budgeting. At the end of the meeting, several staff and students shared their concerns about the Teaching and Learning Center being moved out of its current space without the TLC’s input.
The meeting discussed the current state of the UWT strategic plan — a five-year plan called “Charting Our Course.” Assistant Chancellor for Strategy and Assessment Joe Lawless helped present an update on how the plan’s current success. Lawless also explained the funding for the plan from past fiscal year reports and talked about future fiscal year proposals.
The strategic plan has six facets which were identified as important for the overall well-being of the campus: students, communities, scholarship, equity, culture and growth. Each facet has two co-champions in charge of creating subgoals and reporting on changes and improvements. The co-champions are comprised of UWT deans, associate chancellors, lecturers and professors.
The other major discussion at the town hall meeting was about the current state of the TLC and the Center for Equity and Inclusion. One point of contention last year between UWT’s administration and student body leadership was that the CEI was too small and could not operate to its fullest potential in its current space.
The CEI is currently located in WCG 104, where it is comprised of a general purpose room with additional office space in the adjacent room. The goal, which Pagano has promised, is to have the CEI move into a new, bigger space by the beginning of next fall to help better facilitate resources for the center.
“I committed, very publicly, one day [last year] out on the staircase to move and expand the CEI,” Pagano said. “I’ve committed to that, so I cannot go back on my word… We plan to move the CEI by next fall. It’s unacceptable to have been here for four years and not have moved it.”
TLC staff and students are worried that in keeping with the promise of moving the CEI, they will be removed from their current working area in the Snoqualmie Library building without their input or consent.
“We are not opposed to a move,” TLC writing consultant Beck Adelante said. “The TLC and CEI would be great partners, but it seems counterproductive to, as it’s been said, prioritize the CEI over the TLC … We would like transparency.”
Pagano reassured the meeting attendees that nothing has been set in stone and that there are still several spaces that are being looked at for the CEI’s relocation. Some of these options include the use of the Tioga library and merge the CEI and TLC to share the space in the Snoqualmie building.
“Yes, there are all kinds of rumors,” Pagano said. “We are going to have additional surveys. We are going to have additional interactions with the library and TLC staff to find out the best place. One of the places we have come to right now [for the CEI] is in Snoqualmie in a partnership with the library and the TLC.”
Despite what Pagano said at the meeting, members of the TLC are still wary of how the administration is handling the CEI move. There will be another town hall Dec. 5 in William W. Philip Hall 12:30–1:15 p.m. to further address and get input on the CEI move.
“The TLC and library are fully in favor of the CEI getting a new space. We’re desperate to collaborate with them and admin and campus planning on this move,” Adelante said. “We ultimately are fighting for equal consideration and priority, and having an equal[ly] dedicated budget. We absolutely do not want to be shut down for any length of time.”