A campus discussion on Imagining America

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I wanted to update you an important discussion we have been having about the possibility of becoming the next host institution for the national organization, Imagining America. We submitted a proposal in early January and recently hosted a site team for a visit after being selected by Imagining America (IA) as one of the finalists for their consideration. 
 
We very much appreciate the engagement the campus has shown throughout this process. We received extensive feedback from the campus regarding both the proposal and the site visit. Many of you commented on the advantages of this opportunity, particularly in supporting work that is being done by faculty, staff, students, and community partners already. Also, there was much enthusiasm for the opportunity to partner with a national organization to bring greater visibility to the work that is already going on at UW Bothell. At the same time, there were significant concerns raised in the feedback, principally about two items: the budget that would need to be invested in order to support the partnership, and also the possibility that the effort it would take to move the partnership forward would detract from other priority commitments for the institution. 
 
After reviewing all of the feedback, and hearing from the proposal development committee, faculty and students, we determined that our efforts and energy need to be committed to our campus priority initiatives: moving forward with the action steps for the diversity action plan and our new community engagement plan.
 
While the Imagining America opportunity had significant value, I believe there is even more important value in the work that we have set in motion in recent years. After great effort toward applying to be the next host institution for Imagining America (IA), we have decided to withdraw our proposal from consideration.
 
I want to thank our IA proposal steering committee, spearheaded by Miriam Bartha, for putting together such an impressive proposal that made us a finalist as a potential host. I wish you all could have heard the wonderful things the IA visiting team said about UW Bothell during our exit discussion about our commitment to diversity and community engagement and why they were so excited about a potential partnership with us.
 
In support of the recommendations of the Diversity Council and the Community Engagement Council, we are providing a total of $50,000 in one-time funds toward the combined work of these Councils. The Chairs of those Councils, Wayne Au and David Allen, will develop a strategy for how best to invest those funds in our combined work. We will continue to work on developing plans for longer-term investments in these campus priorities.
 
Once again, a special thanks for all of you that were involved in this process. Your continued involvement in these priorities is key to our future conversations and efforts.