By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

Wohlpart discusses successes and “roadblocks” the university is facing this year in presidential address

Yohanes Goodell
James Wohlpart addressed the crowd on Friday morning.

President James Wohlpart acknowledges high points and roadblocks that CWU is facing in his annual address to the university on Friday, Sept. 29.

Enrollment and tuition 

During the financial portion of the presentation, Wohlpart put emphasis on the importance of enrollment. According to Wohlpart, enrollment in fall 2022 was at 9,395, having decreased each year since its 11,907 peak in fall of 2019. According to a graph Wohlpart showed, this matches the downward trend of US high school graduates in recent years.

According to Wohlpart, enrollment has increased since last year.

“It looks like our freshman class will grow again for the second year, but not as fast as we would have liked and needed,” Wohlpart said. 

According to Wohlpart, one way CWU is increasing enrollment is by increasing the number of admissions counselors from four to 12. According to Executive Director of Admissions Peg Blake, these counselors will go to events in Washington and seven other states including events held at high schools, community colleges and community-based organizations.

According to Wohlpart, retention is also an issue he wants to tackle. Wohlpart said this is why it’s important for culture on campus to be so welcoming and student success oriented.

“There is work for all of us to do in recruiting and retaining students, and we must acknowledge that everything that we do around campus matters,” Wohlpart said. “From faculty implementing culturally sustaining pedagogy and streamlining the curriculum (including especially general education), to staff creating culturally sustaining programs, to even simple things like greeting each other and saying “Hello,” to making sure the lawn is cut and the trash is emptied.”

Staff pay

One of the roadblocks Wohlpart addressed was a shortage of funds to pay faculty and staff professors. According to Wohlpart, funding has shrunk as enrollment has decreased in recent years, and because the amount the state gives to public universities is smaller. Wohlpart said that the reason the amount of money going toward employees is smaller is because the amount the state gives the university for cost of living raises and goods and services do not get an inflationary increase. 

Wohlpart’s proposed solution is to increase student enrollment and to ask the state to reassess how the system they use for the funding of universities. Wohlpart said CWU was joining other universities to collectively alert the state government to this problem. 

“All six of the public universities are working together to inform our legislatures around how that funding formula for universities actually shrinks our total budget.” 

New revenue streams

Wohlpart announced multiple new streams of revenue the administration was applying for this year. 

The University applied for two grants from the Gates Foundation, the Horizons Grant worth $5.4M over three years and the Limitless Grant worth $25,000 over four years.

The Limitless Grant will be used to create a partnership between CWU and Yakima Valley Tech High School. According to Wohlpart, this will allow CWU programs to be layered into the vocational programs the high school offers including business administration, cybersecurity, construction and law enforcement.

The Horizons Grant, according to Wohlpart, would allow CWU to partner with Toppenish, Wapato, Yakima and Zillah school districts to allow those to become dual-credit schools, and expand the College in High School program. Wohlpart said the funding would largely allow the faculty to create programs and curriculum for high school students on a college level, and to cover high schoolers’ tuition. 


During his slideshow presentation, Wohlpart intermittently included slides about individual students who had recently made accomplishments as an example of widespread student success achieved by students who attend CWU. 

“As a result of your work, great things happen at Central Washington University,” Wohlpart said as he presented the first pair of students. 

Student examples acknowledged included senior Nick Puentes, who received a National Science Foundation Fellowship and CWU accounting alum Mathew Bragganza who is headed off to Cornell University.

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