In recognition of WSU’s high level of student engagement across the system, the university has been selected as a NASPA LEAD Initiative Institution for this academic year. NASPA, a national organization for student affairs professionals, recognizes colleges and universities that are committed to making civic learning and democratic engagement a part of every student’s college education. WSU is among 47 colleges and universities selected nationally and is the only Pac-12 school to be included.
Katie Banks, an instructor in the Department of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs, said student interest in civic and democratic engagement is growing on the WSU Tri-Cities campus. Much of the culture around engagement there emanates from several key courses that integrate community engagement into the curriculum. In her political science 101 course, Banks asks students to apply core course concepts outside the classroom by attending relevant campus and community events. She also asks students to research a topic important to them and write a letter to a politician explaining why it deserves their attention.