Gov. Inslee selects Ph.D. student as new student regent

Kiana Scott

Kiana Scott -

Graduate Student Kiana Scott was selected as the 2013-14 student regent on the UW Board of Regents.

Photo by Joshua Bessex

Gov. Jay Inslee has selected graduate student Kiana Scott as the 2013-14 student regent on the UW Board of Regents effective July 2.

Scott, who will replace previous student regent Christopher Jordan, is only the second doctoral candidate to be selected as the student regent since 2000. She holds a master’s degree in public administration from the Evans School of Public Affairs and is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in political communication. She also works as a graduate teaching assistant in the communications department.

As the new student regent, Scott plans to improve communication between students from all three UW campuses and the administration. She aims to be accessible to students, serving as an effective channel through whom students can communicate their concerns to administrators. She added it will be an interesting situation this year after the state passed a budget June 28 that would keep undergraduate in-state tuition rates from increasing.

“That’s a great start, but there’s a lot more to do to make sure that education is affordable and accessible to students,” Scott said.

Scott’s experience is “unique,” according to Adam Sherman, the 2012-2013 president of the Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS), who co-chaired the student regent selection committee alongside outgoing ASUW President Evan Smith.

Sherman said Scott has an understanding of graduate students from her experience in pursuing her master’s degree, as well as an undergraduate student point of view from her position as a teaching assistant. Due to her experience pursuing her doctoral degree, she also understands the research mission of the UW as a major public research institution, Sherman said.

“Those are characteristics that are rare to find,” he said. “I’m really excited to see somebody who understands [those issues] not just conceptually, but also pragmatically through experience.”

Scott was selected as a finalist for the position by a student-regent selection committee made up of student representatives from various entities across the UW campuses such as the GPSS, the ASUW Board of Directors, the Residence Hall Student Association, and the ASUW Student Senate. The selected finalists were forwarded for consideration to Inslee’s office, where the final decision was made.

“UW students who serve as board members provide the Board of Regents with important information and perspective,” 2012-2013 board chair Joanne Harrell said in a statement. “We know that Kiana will help in our deliberations in the coming year.”

Jordan said the student regent holds equal voting power on the board and votes on all issues except for matters involving the hiring, discipline, and tenure of faculty members and personnel. He added that it can be intimidating to be the only student member of a group of community leaders and being the only voice for student perspectives.

“It’s kind of a daunting task,” Jordan said. “I’ve worked with Kiana, and I know that she already has the personality to ask the right questions, to be willing to listen, to really work hard to be present for students, and to know background policy issues.”

Unlike the other regents, who hold six-year terms, the student regent only serves a one-year term. Even though student regents have shorter terms, Scott said, they face the same policy issues that other regents face, which typically take longer than one year to address. She hopes to work closely with Jordan to maintain programs that he pursued during his term.

“[The one-year term] means that I need to be ready to hit the ground running,” Scott said. “There’s a lot to accomplish and of course it can’t all be done in a year … but making sure that we continue to make progress and to push forward, to grow, and to reach toward our goals will be a great accomplishment.”

Reach Science Editor Imana Gunawan at news@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @imanafg

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