DAESA STAR: Fall 2023 Issue

DAESA STAR enewsletter: Fall 2023 issue. Brought to you by the Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement at Washington State University.
Official enewsletter of the WSU Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement (DAESA).

The Timeless Cheer of Valuing Your Colleagues

Message from William B. “Bill” Davis, Interim Vice Provost for Academic Engagement and Student Achievement

The return of the fall semester allows us to welcome all the new and returning people to our campuses. During this time, I find my thoughts turning to the people in DAESA I’ve not gotten to connect with over the summer. I do hope everyone took well-deserved breaks and enjoyed the warm weather.

During my summer break, I again found the time to start to dig into several books that sit on my “would like to read” pile. One of these is Meditations by the Roman Emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius. It was personally intriguing to read and reflect on the inner thoughts of someone who was the leader of a very complex organization nearly 2,000 years ago. While there was much in the book that caught my attention, one of the threads that Marcus wrote about seemed especially prescient. In the Martin Hammond translation (Penguin Classics, Book 6, Verse 48) it reads: “Whenever you want to cheer yourself, think of the qualities of your fellows—the energy of one, for example, the decency of another, the generosity of a third, some other merit in a fourth. There is nothing so cheering as the stamp of virtues manifest in the character of colleagues—and the greater the collective incidence, the better. So keep them ready to hand.”

As the Interim Vice Provost over the past two years, I’ve received a lot of joy and inspiration from the energy, decency, generosity, and resilience I see every day in the people who work in DAESA to support the students, staff, and faculty at WSU. This has been reinforced during the listening sessions that Clif Stratton and I have participated in this August throughout the areas in DAESA. These qualities have also been demonstrated by both Terese King and Michael Highfill as they supported DAESA over the past two years through their temporary roles as Interim Assistant Vice Provosts.

I hope all of you take the opportunity to recognize these attributes in your colleagues and to show your appreciation of them. We all have a role in building the community that we want to be a part of!

Signature of William B. Davis.

Meet Our People

ASCC Advisor/Coach Harrison Hughes Touts AI in National Press

Harrison Hughes.

Harrison Hughes, a career advisor/coach and academic advisor in the Academic Success and Career Center (ASCC), is celebrating his 20th year at WSU—as a student and an employee. While he’s made impacts on thousands of students, his efforts also recently led to him being featured as a guest expert in an Inside Higher Education story.

Gaining Expertise

Hughes works directly with about 350 students every year, providing comprehensive academic and career guidance to those from various backgrounds—undergraduates to graduate and professional students, international students, and returning students. His responsibilities have evolved since he first began as an ASCC graduate intern in 2010.

These days, Harrison listens carefully and helps students to find the major(s) or career that suits them best; reviews their course plan progress and path to graduation and a career; and administers and interprets assessment tools for individualized counseling. He also critiques resumes and conducts mock interviews as they prepare to seek jobs and internships. In addition, he develops workshops on career skills and job hunting; contributes to curriculum revisions for online teaching platforms; supervises those working the busy ASCC front desk in Lighty 180; manages and trains junior career staff; and helps to maintain and update the ASCC.wsu.edu website.

ASCC Post Leads to Article

On that site, he often posts pithy, helpful tips for students striving for academic and career success. A recent post is titled “Do’s and Don’ts of ChatGPT with Resumes and Cover Letters.”

“Students approach career readiness on their own timelines and in their own ways, so our goal is to provide accessible career readiness information on our website,” said Amanda Morgan, ASCC associate director. “Harrison hit the nail on the head in perceiving that ChatGPT is a timely and relevant topic to students engaging in the job search process.

“His blog post has had around 1,000 hits since it went live in January. It’s our most popular blog to date so clearly he was onto something.”

His post also generated interest beyond WSU. Harrison is the first expert cited in the Inside Higher Education Aug. 9 story by Ashley Mowreader, “Career Services Offices Teach Students to Use AI” in which he estimates that about 30 percent of his students since November have shared that they use Chat GPT for career and other purposes. The tool helps “those who have a ‘functional’ resume but just need expansion of a shifted focus for a specific job or more cohesive sentences,” he said.

“I believe that as technology becomes more intuitive and widespread, our abilities as student developers are more important than ever to help students leverage the tools to be successful,” he said in his LinkedIn profile.

Rooted in Service

His WSU role and relationship to colleagues and students means everything to him.

“I believe in the word ‘service’ and I appreciate being in a position to have the opportunity to serve. It’s my privilege to help people, possibly reducing their anxiety and potentially pain in their career search after graduation. My coworkers are my partners, sharing ideas, encouraging me, and reducing my own anxiety.”

Regional Ties

Harrison is from Finley, Wash., near Kennewick, and earned his A.A. degree from Columbia Basin College in Pasco. He transferred to WSU and earned a B.A. in anthropology and B.S. in psychology, followed by his M.A. in education/counseling psychology with an emphasis in community setting. He began working for ASCC during his master’s program. He lives in “the beautiful city of Palouse.”

For fun, he said he “enjoys nerdy pop culture.” That includes playing video games and table-top gaming complete with models and role playing.

Back at WSU, one of his most recent engagements was to be a panelist for the Core to Career faculty-development program’s kickoff session. He presented with ASCC colleague Melanie Kiel on faculty lessons from the career center and on student misconceptions about how to approach career planning, particularly the gaps in knowledge around how to leverage coursework to demonstrate career skills.

Hellos and Farewells

New University Administrators

DAESA’s very own Clif Stratton was selected to be WSU Pullman’s first Vice Chancellor for Academic Engagement effective July 16. The role focuses on undergraduate education and student success. A history professor, he led DAESA’s University Common Requirements (UCORE) program since summer of 2019; he was closely involved with general education initiatives since he came to WSU in 2010.

DAESA thanks Clif for his many years of service to the division and UCORE specifically. All of the DAESA areas look forward to working with him in his new role to serve the students, staff, and faculty on the Pullman campus.

New Assignments and Newcomers

  • Chelsea Andersen has joined the Office of Academic Engagement (OAE) as a program specialist. She is a recent WSU graduate with a Bachelor of Business Administration majoring in finance and has previous work experience in clerical and financial positions.
  • Ashley Boyd has been appointed as the new director of the University Common Requirements Program (UCORE). She is currently an associate professor in the Department of English with a track record of excellence in scholarship, teaching, and curricular assessment. A system-wide announcement of her appointment will soon be published in the WSU Insider.
  • James Dalton is OAE’s Veterans Student Support Services (SSS) coordinator. An Army veteran, he earned his M.A. in political science at WSU. He previously worked at Bellevue College as the founding director of its Veterans Resource Center and chair of the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges Veteran and Military Services Council. He will provide academic coaching and other services to veterans, instruct the UNIV 304 veterans transition course, and oversee a team of student peer advisors.
  • Josefina Galvan-Barajas, formerly OAE’s College Success Programs assistant director, is now its student success manager for Dare to Dream.
  • Morann Johnson is a new assistant director in ASCC acting as the coordinator of tutoring services and the coordinator of training/professional development for WSU’s academic advisors through the Advisor Learning Program. She also has a role as an academic advisor for students who have not yet decided on a major pathway. Morann has been working with students in various stages of development for 20 years. She earned a B.S. in human development, an M.S. in educational leadership, and a teaching certificate from WSU.
  • Laura Lydia has been promoted to OAE’s Passport to College student success specialist.
  • Sara Mahuron is the new assessment specialist in the Office of Assessment for Curricular Effectiveness.  She will work with faculty in programs and colleges to assess student learning outcomes aimed toward the improvement of undergraduate academic programs. Previously, Sara worked at the University of Idaho as the associate director of assessment and accreditation in the areas of academic and cocurricular assessment, program review, surveys, NWCCU accreditation, and system administration.
  • Lexi Schaar is OAE’s College Success Programs assistant director effective Sept. 5. She previously was an academic advisor for teacher education in the College of Education. She earned a B.A. in European studies and linguistics at Seattle Pacific University where she played collegiate basketball, and an M.S. in adult organizational learning and leadership at the University of Idaho. She also worked there as an academic advisor.
  • Kadin Ward has joined OAE as a program specialist. He is a recent WSU graduate who majored in sports management and minored in communications. Kadin has experience with podcasting, legal services, finance, record keeping, coaching, and customer service.
  • Denise Webb (Sanchez-Castellanos) is the new program coordinator for the MARC and MIRA programs. She was formerly the program assistant for WSU LSAMP.
  • Josue Zuniga is OAE’s College Affordability Programs financial education coordinator. A WSU alum, he will work with students on building financial wellness and consult on financial education curriculum, financial wellness integration, and student resources.


  • Ricky Thai, Academic Success and Career Center (ASCC) student employment coordinator, has relocated to Vietnam.

Upcoming Events

Please check DAESA’s calendar page and website for information on additional programing and student support programming updates.

  • Sep. 12: The Common Reading Program will co-host an invitation-only event, “An Afternoon at the Museum,” for students enrolled in First-Year Focus courses and UNIV 104 sections at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art on the WSU Pullman campus. Students will receive credit for mingling with attending faculty and for visiting the galleries and a specially curated exhibit, “Here in a Homemade Forest.” It references the common reading book Braiding Sweetgrass in its general introduction as well as in student reflections posted beside the curated artwork. The exhibit will be available through March 2024.
  • Oct. 2–3: Career Expo and Technical Fair, offered virtually from 11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. Oct. 2, and in-person from 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Oct. 3 in Beasley Coliseum at WSU Pullman, is co-hosted by the Academic Success and Career Center (ASCC).
  • Oct. 2: “Thriving Authentically” Industry Panel, 5:00–6:30 p.m. in the CUB Junior Ballroom, at WSU Pullman. This program will feature panelists who identify as Black, Indigenous, or Person of Color (BIPOC), and they will offer students valuable industry insights regarding their chosen career paths and how they cultivated their professional and cultural identities on that journey. This event is hosted by the ASCC and the Office of Outreach and Education.
  • Oct. 5: ASCC’s WSU Academic Advising Fall Forum, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., will be both in-person in Chinook 150 on the WSU Pullman campus and virtually on Zoom. Registration is open on Percipio. The forum’s focus will be on information and updates from the Office of Financial and Scholarship Services, the Office of the Registrar, and DAESA.
  • Oct. 20: TEACHxWSU 2023, hosted by the WSU Teaching Academy, will feature a keynote presentation by the editors of the book Equity and Inclusion in Higher Education: Strategies for Teaching. They are University of Cincinnati Blue Ash professors Rita Kumar and Brenda Refaei. Registration details will be provided on the website. The event will be in person at the Elson S. Floyd Cultural Center in WSU Pullman and virtually on Zoom.
  • Oct. 27: The annual Distinguished Scholars Celebration will recognize students and alumni who received prestigious, nationally competitive awards in the past year to advance their education and student success at WSU or overseas. The event is set for 3:00-5:00 p.m. in the Distinguished Scholars Gallery in the CUB at WSU Pullman, and guests are welcome. The event is hosted by the Distinguished Scholarships Program.

DAESA Happenings

  • Aug. 22, 2023 through Mar. 9, 2024: “Here in a Homemade Forest: Common Reading Connections” at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at WSU Pullman features an exhibit based around important themes found in the 2022-24 common reading book, Braiding Sweetgrass. Guests are invited to contemplate—through the lens of art—how to prioritize a reciprocal relationship with the land, each other, and other living beings. The exhibit features a diverse selection of artworks and cultural objects created by Native and non-Native artists. An opening event Sept. 12 will officially kick off the special exhibit (see above).

News Briefs

In addition to programming noted in DAESA Happenings, the following recent news for 2023 is worthy of note:


  • National Udall Undergraduate Scholarship awards were presented to WSU Pullman students Katy Ayers and Jessalyn Swanson. Ayers is WSU’s first Udall recipient in the environment category, and Swanson is the fifth in the Native American health care category. They bring the total number of WSU recipients of Udall distinguished scholarship awards to 12 since 2015, announced the Distinguished Scholarships Program.



  • The Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium, organized by the Office of Undergraduate Research, on Aug. 4 in the CUE Atrium featured posters from 81 students from more than 50 universities across the U.S.  The poster showcase was the culminating event of about 10 weeks of summer research students’ faculty-mentored work on several STEM projects across many disciplines, including several Research Experience for Undergraduates programs funded by the National Science Foundation.
  • The summer Bridge Program for the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) was held Aug. 13-15 and organized by LSAMP Director Nora Rye. LSAMP-eligible students engaged in activities and began to build key networks.
  • The Week of Welcome Student Employment Fair from 1:00-3:00 p.m. Aug. 15 on Glenn Terrell Mall at WSU Pullman was hosted by the Academic Success and Career Center (ASCC).
  • TCI’s system-wide ELEVATE Conference for faculty and teaching graduate students focused on the theme of “Timely Topics to ELEVATE Your Teaching” on Aug. 16. A keynote address by Elizabeth Canning, of the Department of Psychology at WSU Pullman, two presentations, and a panel discussion were offered from 10:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. The event was co-hosted by TCI, the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President, and Learning Innovations.

Invest in DAESA Programing

There are many ways to promote student success. The Cougar Closet in the Academic Success and Career Center (ASCC) helps to provide professional clothing to students who need to dress for success for many occasions. Clothing can be donated—a recent large donation from Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) made a tremendous difference. Or, you can support the effort by contributing to the fund to purchase apparel. Contact Crystal Orr in ASCC for more information and a helpful wish list of clothing needs. Either way, students will appreciate the support.