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Roots of Contemporary Issues RCI

Administration and Oversight

As one of the highest impact undergraduate courses at Washington State, the RCI program is committed to maintaining consistent and transparent standards of governance, oversight, and assessment. The following allow us to maintain a challenging curriculum across all sections of History 105/305, ensure high-quality classroom instruction, and maintain clear coordination with WSU’s learning goals.

Steering Committee. Chaired by the Director, this committee made up of tenured/tenure track faculty from the History Department; faculty from the RCI Program on the Pullman, Vancouver, and Tri-Cities campuses; a representative from WSU libraries; at least one faculty member from another department; a representative from the Associated Students of Washington State University; and representative from the History Graduate Student Association. It oversees and vets course content and assignments, and its members participate in programmatic assessment, including syllabi review and classroom observations. It is also responsible for rethinking and improving the RCI program at the programmatic level, provides oversight of the Director’s activities and offers a place for the Director to get feedback.

Hiring Committee. We hire nationally competitive faculty who are experts in the content of the program in their teaching and research fields. We have received 80‒100 applications each of the past four years. For Spring 2018 members of the hiring committee included Jesse Spohnholz (chair), Clif Stratton, Katy Fry, and Lawrence Hatter. We hired Sarah Walsh  (University of Maryland, College Park, 2013), Ben Nobbs-Thiessen (Emory University, 2016), Eugene Smelyansky (University of California, Irvine, 2015), and Brenna Miller (The Ohio State University, 2018) as Teaching Postdocs on the Pullman campus.

UCORE Committee. For 2018–2019, the Assistant Director (Clif Stratton) serves on and chairs the UCORE committee in order to coordinate ROOTS activities with the larger UCORE mission of WSU. The Assistant Director also served on the UCORE subcommittee for assessment. This is particularly important for aligning RCI’s assessment with the university’s assessment, but also for aligning RCI’s approach to UCORE with the university’s broader general education initiatives and reforms.