Interim provost hopes to move WSU toward excellence

Bryan Slinker asked by President Schulz to take over for nine months



New interim provost Bryan Slinker, Dean of WSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, describes how he wants to approach everything collaboratively in his new position on Monday evening in the French Administration Building.

ANDREA GONZALEZ, Evergreen reporter

WSU’s newly appointed interim provost Bryan Slinker plans to focus on increasing the access of university programs for students while finding a way to best achieve the land-grant mission.

Slinker said he was asked by President Schulz to take the job until they find a permanent replacement for the position.

“I have been at WSU for a long time, very loyal to WSU. So I agreed to do it,” he said.

All academic programs are the responsibility of the provost, he said. The provost works with the deans of different colleges, department chairs and faculty to build excellent academic programs, he said.

There are several vice provosts here with different portfolios of work to help advance those interests, Slinker said.

“Access issues are important to me because I’m a first-generation student myself,” Slinker said.

His hard work ethic and scholarships enabled him to continue with his education which is something that is important to him, he said.

Slinker said there are many initiatives that he plans on continuing to work on. Those initiatives include creating new budget models and effectively using all elements of WSU’s system for advancing the university’s interests of achieving excellence.

In general, the university will try to move to a system with better alignment to prioritize budgeting decisions to keep continuous improvement, Slinker said. The five-year strategic plan for WSU is still under development and it is a work in progress, he said.

The provost does not directly deal with admissions or financial aid but he wants to make sure those areas have the correct systems in place. There are a few programs that do run out of the provost’s office such as undergraduate research, Slinker said.

As provost, Slinker is looking forward to engaging with other leadership in the university to keep WSU moving towards excellence, he said. The provost collaborates with others to promote the interests of the university, and the success of faculty in their research and scholarly programs.

Slinker said it is important to approach the job critically, carefully and collaboratively. He looks forward to the challenge of complex problems and working with others to find solutions, he said.

“I’ve worked with several problems for a long time but, when you get into a new position, it seems like I’m learning everything and getting up to speed on projects but learning new things is always fun,” Slinker said.

It is important to have a staff that is experienced, he said. They do a lot of the work to help him understand his new job.

Slinker said he has no plans to do anything differently from previous provosts because he will only hold the position for a short amount of time. He said he hopes by the time his nine months are up, WSU will have established a stable place for the next provost to keep advancing the university.

“Notice, there’s not a lot of stuff in my office, I just moved in,” Slinker said. “[I’m] going to keep it in my mind that it’s only temporary.”

Julie Cary, director of simulation-based education for the College of Veterinary Medicine, said she hopes Slinker continues to keep the morale of the colleges and the deans in a positive direction.

“He cares a lot about the university and he is a Coug through and through,” she said.

Slinker is a thoughtful man, she said, and never makes rash decisions.

The college has many facets to it, yet Cary said he has been able to keep up with all the different aspects of what is going on in the college.

“I would say he gave us a lot of room to work and to grow this program,” Cary said.

Slinker has a background in rural Idaho, she said, which contributes to his humble demeanor.

“He is happiest in his boots and jeans and that’s emblematic with him because that’s how he’s most comfortable,’’ Cary said.