Reorganization: Big Changes Within Academic Affairs

With the hiring of three new directors, the reorganization of Undergraduate Affairs and Student Success is nearly complete.

This reorganization came under the direction of the Provost, Rex Fuller. The reorganization brought those offices that provide the largest share of student academic support services under a single unit. Now Undergraduate Affairs, General University Academic Advisement, TRiO and the Program Leading to University Success (PLUS) are all in a direct reporting line to the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Affairs and Student Success. The opening of the University’s first Transfer Center is also complete.

In addition to the reorganization, three new directors that will lead major retention and transfer initiatives on campus in the coming years have been hired. Carmen Perez-Frayne, formerly associate director of the university’s highly successful TRiO program has taken over as director of the program.

Carmen brings many years of experience to this position, as well as a great deal of dedication to our first generation, disabled and high-need students. Carmen comes with specialized experience in supporting first-generation and low-income students, not only at EWU but also the University of Hawaii Hilo, Western Washington University and Seattle Central Community College. Carmen is currently Secretary of Northwest Association for Education Opportunity Program (NAEOP). In 2010, she was selected to be a part of the NAEOP Emerging Leaders Institute, and was selected to receive the Washington State’s TRiO Association Emerging Leader Award in 2011. Carmen brings not only many valuable skills to this position, but a lifetime of dedication to students.

Verlinda Washburn, former associate director of PLUS is now director of the program. Verlinda has a BA in English, as well as her MFA in Creative Writing from EWU. Verlinda will oversee the expansion of EWU’s Program Leading to University Success (PLUS) in its new home, the EWU Learning Commons in the JFK Library.

Verlinda, formerly assistant director in the Academic Success Center here at EWU, was formally a PLUS Coordinator here at EWU. Previous to her work in the ASC, Verlinda was the assistant director, Academic Success Center/Writing Center Coordinator at Dickinson State University, in Dickinson, North Dakota. Verlinda has received the Exceptional Leadership Award from the ASC at EWU, as well at the Outstanding Administrative Service Award from Dickenson State. In addition to her years of service in higher education Verlinda also had a long private sector career, including years as a manager in the Marriott company and owning her own collection agency.

Keith Klauss, the newest addition to Undergraduate Affairs, has come from EWU’s Office Admissions to head the University’s very first Transfer Center. Keith has been pivotal in the creation and implementation EWU’s Destination Eastern, our dual admissions program with the Community Colleges of Spokane. Keith will oversee the expansion of this program with our community college partners throughout the Pacific Northwest. He will also oversee curricular alignment between EWU and our community college partners.

Keith brings a wealth of experiences around transfer students not only having worked with them in EWU Office of Admissions, but also as a transfer student himself. Keith comes with not only knowledge about EWU, but also about the state’s approach to community college and four-year university relations. He currently serves as secretary of Intercollege Relations Commission for the state of Washington, which oversees important issues concerning articulation and the Direct Transfer Agreements.

Academic Affairs hopes to hire a permanent Vice Provost for Undergraduate Affairs and Student Success in the coming weeks.