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WSU College of Nursing Strategic Plan


Strategic Plan 2017-2020

The WSU College of Nursing’s strategic plan was developed through collaboration and consensus. It’s intended to guide our development in coming years as the college continues to innovate and elevate the science and practice of nursing.

Healthy Environment

We empower students, faculty, and staff, and promote collegial dialogue, change, creativity, values development, and ethical behavior.


  • Foster and maintain a civil work and learning environment based on mutual regard, teamwork and collegiality, respectful communication, and observance of norms of decorum.
  • Provide continuous faculty and staff development through annual reviews, mentorship, leadership training and programs.
  • Recognize, value, and reward the unique contributions of faculty and staff members in helping the College of Nursing achieve its goals.
  • Enable structured preparation so that faculty, staff, and students have success in their respective roles.
  • Recognize and celebrate faculty who have expertise in, and choose to pursue, pathways in clinical arenas, education, and/or research.
  • Hold faculty and staff accountable for promoting excellence and providing leadership.
  • Ensure students are committed to innovation, continuous quality and performance improvement, and excellence.

Innovation in Education & Practice

We lead innovation in academic nursing that promotes team-based interprofessional health care, and prepares quality leaders, clinicians, and researchers.


  • Promote transformative interprofessional models of care to improve health in the state of Washington and beyond.
  • Increase research opportunities and investment to promote innovation, including simulation and technology applications, for education and practice.
  • Develop self-sustaining programs such as continuing education opportunities for nursing and health-professions audiences.
  • Advance strategies, technology, and faculty development to achieve innovation in education and evidence-based practice.
  • Improve and maintain student, faculty, and staff support to enhance technology utilization.
  • Explore partnerships and collaboration opportunities to develop a faculty practice plan and interprofessional practice opportunities.

Engagement with our Communities

We strengthen alliances and partnerships with health care systems and stakeholders to address health equity, and to support the achievement of optimal quality of life and affordable, accessible care.


  • Expand relationships and clinical activities with interprofessional groups and interagency cohorts to promote excellence in care of populations.
  • Serve as ambassadors for the College of Nursing by assuming leadership roles in university and community activities at local, state, national, and/or international levels.
  • Strengthen the College of Nursing’s commitment to accessible, high-quality nursing education through continued recruitment of diverse students and faculty.
  • Further the College of Nursing’s engagement with partners to promote excellence in nursing education, enhance the profession, benefit the community, and expand service learning opportunities.
  • Collaborate with WSU global initiatives and international partners to further the University’s international agenda.
  • Engage with stakeholders to address health equity in Washington state and beyond.

Science of Health

We will be a national leader in innovative science addressing health disparities to improve population health in Washington state and beyond.


  • Expand the infrastructure of the research office to increase grant submissions and improve management of grants.
  • Implement research clusters in acute and chronic care, behavioral health, health care service delivery, and interprofessional education.
  • Expand our mentorship program to increase the research skills of faculty.
  • Expand partnerships with other colleges, institutions, and community-based organizations to improve the College of Nursing’s research portfolio.
  • Contribute to the development of the science of nursing through the critique, utilization, dissemination, or conduct of research by faculty and students.

Grant will create fellowships for researchers with disabilities at WSU

Portrait of Dr. Jae Kennedy
Portrait of Dr. Jae Kennedy
Dr. Jae Kennedy, chair and professor of the College of Nursing’s Department of Health Policy and Administration.

Research scientists with disabilities are underrepresented in the health sciences, yet such scholars bring needed perspective to understanding and improving health policies and services for people with disabilities.

A new federal grant will help WSU hire three post-doctoral students with disabilities to become academic researchers, with the goal of having them go on to faculty positions at major universities or leadership roles in federal research agencies and nonprofit foundations.

The five-year, $750,000 award from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research will provide a competitive salary, full benefits, and support for any needed workplace assistance or adaptive technologies.

Called the Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living Fellowship (CHRIL-F), the positions “will bring new scholars with disabilities to the table, and provide them the skills and support they will need to enlarge the policy debate,” said Jae Kennedy, principal investigator, professor and chair of the Department of Health Policy and Administration in the WSU College of Nursing.

The three fellows will be hired by WSU in staggered terms over the five-year grant, and will spend 18 months taking graduate courses, working on research grant proposals and journal manuscripts, and developing individual plans of research. They can spend three to six months of the fellowship at one or more affiliate sites, including Washington DC, Houston, or Lawrence, Kansas.

Grant funding can also be used for conference travel, which typically is more difficult and costly for people with disabilities, but which is critical for networking and presenting research work.  The specific uses of support funds will depend on the needs of the fellows hired, but could include office space reconfiguration, or hiring a personal aide or interpreter.

With this grant, “We propose building a small but sturdy pipeline for disability researchers with disabilities by designing postdoc positions specific to their needs,” Kennedy said.

Besides Kennedy, the project team includes Roberta Carlin, director of the American Association on Health and Disability; Lex Frieden, a professor of bioinformatics and rehabilitation at the University of Texas in Houston; Jean Hall, a professor and director of the Institute for Health and Disability Policy at the University of Kansas; and Elizabeth Wood, a research associate in the Department of Health Policy and Administration at WSU.

The same team makes up the Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living (CHRIL), established by Kennedy under a $2.5 million federal grant to bring together disability advocates and researchers to investigate how the Affordable Care Act and related legislation affects the lives of adults with disabilities.

“The members of the CHRIL have personal, professional, and political experience with disability, and many contacts throughout the research and disability communities,” Kennedy said. “We are not just advocates and researchers who happen to have disabilities: disability is central to what we do and why we do it.”

Research spotlight: Predicting hospitalization for mental illness could aid early intervention

Mason Burley
Photo of Mason Burley
Doctoral candidate Mason Burley defends his thesis on April 20, 2017.

Research Spotlight: Mason Burley, “Evaluating Risk for Psychiatric Re-Hospitalization: a Recurrent Event History Analysis” (Individual Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program)

The treatment of people with serious mental illness has changed dramatically over the last 50 years, from long-term institutionalization to community-based care. But the community-care system is lacking, and some people with serious mental illness are repeatedly hospitalized, released and re-admitted, a costly and disruptive cycle.

Washington State University doctoral student Mason Burley wanted to identify consistent and reliable factors associated with psychiatric re-hospitalization to help guide public policy and treatment options. » More …

Dr. Jae Kennedy named president-elect of disability research organization

Portrait of Dr. Jae Kennedy
Dr. Jae Kennedy

A decades-long interest in issues relating to disability has taken Dr. Jae Kennedy to a leadership position with NARRTC, an organization that advocates for increasing the quality and rigor of applied disability research. Kennedy, professor and chair of the WSU College of Nursing’s Health Policy & Administration program, was named president-elect of the organization at its annual conference last week.

NARRTC is made up of current and former grantees of the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation. The federal agency funds projects to generate new knowledge on disability and rehabilitation and to encourage the adoption and use of that work. Projects include new rehabilitative technologies, and advances affecting quality of life issues such as the ability to work, be a parent and participate in community activities.

Separately, Kennedy and doctoral candidate Elizabeth G. Wood won this year’s best paper award at NARRTC’s annual meeting for their work, “Medication Costs and Adherence of Treatment Before and After the Affordable Care Act: 1999-2015.” Not taking prescribed medication because of the cost is an important health problem that’s been growing since the 1990s, Kennedy noted. Their research found a coincidence between health policy changes, such as the introduction of Medicare Part D prescription coverage and the Affordable Care Act, with a reduction in cost-related nonadherence (CRN). » More …

Study to Examine Affordable Care Act, Those with Disabilities

Jae Kennedy

By Eric Sorensen, WSU

A Washington State University researcher will lead a $2.5 million examination of the federal Affordable Care Act’s impact on what may be the largest group in need of its services: people with disabilities.


Jae Kennedy“Their service needs are different and their health needs are more intensive,” said Jae Kennedy, professor and chair of the Department of Health Policy and Administration, College of Nursing, WSU Spokane. “There are a lot of reasons why this is an important population to study and make sure that the legislation is living up to its promise.”

The ACA, he said, has aspects of care coordination and care management that “could potentially erode some of the freedoms that some people with disabilities currently enjoy. There’s reason to be skeptical. A lot of other so-called reforms haven’t benefited important segments of the disability community.”

Most experience disability sometime

While many of them reject the term, people with disabilities have been called the nation’s largest minority. Some 57 million Americans have a disability, by the U.S. Census’ definition. More to the point, said Kennedy, “Disability affects nearly all of us at some point in our lives, usually towards the end but often earlier.” » More …

Why Choose the WSU College of Nursing?


Why WSU?

For nearly 50 years the WSU College of Nursing has elevated the practice and science of nursing, and our graduates at all levels are highly skilled and in-demand.

History of Innovation

Our founders were visionary nurse-leaders in Spokane, who understood the role that nurses with bachelor’s degrees would play in improving health care. In 1968, four colleges in Eastern Washington created the first intercollegiate nursing education program in the nation, called the Intercollegiate Center for Nursing Education (ICNE). Our name has changed over the years but our values never wavered – to advance nursing at all levels and contribute to the excellence of the health sciences at Washington State University. In 2017 the WSU College of Nursing was named a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League for Nursing, one of just 15 universities and health-care centers to receive the honor.

BSN: the Frontline Workforce

Sixty percent of BSN graduates in Washington are WSU College of Nursing alumni, and our students are in demand by employers statewide. Our rigorous program helps ensure that students achieve high first-time pass rates on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). The pre-licensure (BSN) program offers a blend of course work, skills practice, simulation and clinical experience on WSU campuses in Spokane, the Tri-Cities and Vancouver. The RN-BSN program offers a degree-completion program geared for the working professional, with courses offered in a flexible, mostly online format that can be completed full- or part-time.

Master’s Degrees Prepare Leaders

Over the years, our graduate programs have evolved to meet the health care needs of the state. We offer two tracks in the Master of Nursing in Population Health degree: the Nurse Leader track prepares students for leadership roles in acute and outpatient settings, while the Nurse Educator track prepares graduates to work as college or university faculty. Our Master in Health Policy and Administration (MHPA) serves a broader range of professionals, preparing students for leadership roles in health care management and policy.

The Highest Level of Knowledge and Practice: the DNP & PhD

We offer two doctoral programs, DNP and PhD. Our DNP graduates are helping fill a critical and growing role for nurse practitioners in Family Practice and Psychiatric Mental Health. Graduates of the nurse practitioner programs consistently earn outstanding scores on national certification exams. Our PhD program embraces mixed methodology and is home to a diverse group of interdisciplinary faculty. Students and faculty take part in groundbreaking research that attracted more than $7 million in funding in 2016.

Multiple Campus Sites

True to WSU’s land-grant roots, the College of Nursing offers degree programs across the state to help address health care needs of all Washington residents. Degree programs are offered on WSU campuses in Spokane, Richland (the Tri-Cities), and Vancouver, and in Yakima and Walla Walla. Not all programs are offered at every site.

Accessible Faculty

Faculty not only teach our students – they guide and mentor them every step of the way. Says Lorie Stucke, a recent graduate, “I was always so impressed by the faculty here and what they would do for their students. How they worked to help students overcome their fears and steer them to where they would find success, always with a very gentle but honest interaction.” Many faculty members are engaged in clinical practice and community outreach, and their scientific discovery is changing the understanding and evidence-based practice of health care.

Interprofessional Education

Research and evidence over the past two decades have shown that teams of health care professionals working together can improve patient care and outcomes. Students at the College of Nursing will work in interprofessional teams from WSU’s other health sciences programs, as well as with students from other universities in the state. These teams will learn from each other, and learn to respect each other, cooperate and communicate, from the very beginning of their training.

Advanced Instructional Tools

Our state-of-the art Clinical Performance and Simulation lab gives students in all programs opportunities to gain skills and confidence using high-tech mannequins and real people acting as “standardized patients.” WSU’s Academic Media Services (AMS) system lets students attend class in person, participate in live video lectures, or view streaming lectures at convenient times for them. And the College of Nursing collaborates with other health sciences universities, colleges, and programs, as well as health care facilities, research institutions and community-based programs, to offer students a wide range of educational experiences and opportunities.

Growing Research Portfolio

Research faculty focus on a variety of health care-related issues including rural mental health, substance abuse, addictions, geriatrics, environmental health, transitional care, under-served populations, cultural competency in nursing, and childhood obesity.

Part of the Community

WSU nursing students regularly contribute to community health by participating in flu-shot clinics, providing low-cost sports physicals, and engaging in outreach to rural, low-income and under-served areas. Students have volunteered at Camp Stix – a summer camp for children with diabetes – and have worked with middle-school and high-school students to introduce them to careers in the health sciences.

Putting Education into Practice

The WSU College of Nursing is fortunate to have the support and commitment of health-care partners and preceptors statewide. BSN students are required to complete clinical hours in hospitals and clinics, practicing skills under the guidance of faculty, as well as an advanced clinical practicum where they work alongside practicing nurses. Graduate students rely on more than 400 statewide preceptor nurse volunteers to provide them with time spent shadowing and delivering care to patients.