Dear friends,

This month, the Carson College of Business marks a significant milestone. Students who were freshmen when we launched The Next Carson Coug curriculum are beginning their senior year.

The curriculum represents a major shift in how we teach business. While we continue to focus on the academics that produce graduates with strong core competencies, students also start taking part in career development activities as freshmen, opening doors to internships and better job placement after graduation. The Next Carson Coug curriculum also sets expectations for students to be involved in activities outside the classroom. Being active in student clubs and professional organizations helps them develop skills in leadership, communication, global awareness, and teamwork—traits you’ll see exemplified in the students featured in this issue of eDividend.

We’ve implemented The Next Carson Coug curriculum while staying true to WSU’s mission as a land-grant institution. As the Carson College dean, I embrace the ideal of a top-quality business education available to anyone willing and able to do the required work. We’ve increased expectations for students without becoming elitist, and we continue to provide resources and support to first-generation students, who make up about 31 percent of our student body.

As our first class of graduating Next Carson Cougs moves into the home stretch, we’ll continue to support them in academics and career readiness. These students’ college experience was disrupted by the pandemic, but they continued to work toward their degrees through distance delivery. During their online learning, many worked even harder to develop the habits expected of them, especially in the areas of leadership and professionalism. This in itself demonstrates our students’ tenacity and ability to adjust to different conditions.

In addition to benefiting students, we believe the curriculum will ultimately enrich our state with dependable, flexible job candidates who will bring innovation, ethical decision-making, collaboration, and leadership to the Pacific Northwest business environment.

The roll out of the Next Carson Coug curriculum represents a tremendous effort by our alumni, faculty, and college staff. Alumni support has enhanced this work in so many ways. To all of you who helped with the curriculum development and supported it financially, please know you have my gratitude and the gratitude of the entire college.

Your contributions are making a difference in the lives of our students. In this issue of eDividend, Sean Russell, 32, shares his story about returning to WSU after a maritime career. At WSU Vancouver, he serves as a student representative on the college advisory board, gaining access to local business professionals and networking representative of the Next Carson Coug program.

Several finance majors talk about how a peer financial coaching program has increased their public speaking ability and interpersonal skills, competencies emphasized in the curriculum. You’ll also hear from alumna Keri Rhodes, who describes how fellow Cougs influenced her career, motivating her to volunteer with the Carson College, where she helps students establish real-world connections to industry.

This issue also celebrates achievements in our graduate and online programs. Cheryl Oliver, associate dean for professional programs, discusses how the Carson College has become the first choice for working students seeking an affordable, quality, online business education from a Pacific Northwest university.

In the months ahead, I am excited to see how opportunities will open up for our graduates as a result of The Next Carson Coug curriculum. And I look forward to a school year that makes the most of the flexibility we gained during COVID plus our ability to gather in person and interact in meaningful ways.

Go Cougs!

Chip Hunter, Dean