Community Classroom Series

Washington State University Tri-Cities will host several presentations on the concept of climate justice during its “Community Classroom” series. The concept of “climate justice” involves the ways in which climate change can have differing social, economic, public health, and other impacts on underprivileged populations and communities. Goals of climate justice include just division, fair sharing and equitable distribution of impact and the need to ensure that our responses don’t repeat and reinforce existing systemic injustice. 

Climate Justice: Future Plans for Clean Energy in Our Region

February 8 | 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Learn about the plans for WSU Tri-Cities Institute for Northwest Energy Futures (INEF) and the future of nuclear and renewable energy generation in our region/state, specifically small modular reactor development.



Dr. Sandra Haynes


Dr. Sandra Haynes is the 7th Chancellor of Washington State University Tri-Cities and brings more than 20 years of successful, high-level administrative experience, stemming from leadership at both a doctoral granting university with very high research activities (R1) and a regional comprehensive institution offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Dr. Haynes holds a faculty appointment as professor in the Department of Psychology. As a first-generation student, she recognizes the transformative power of higher education and its ability to be a true equalizer for individuals, regardless of life circumstance.

Dr. Haynes maintains a clear focus on excellence in academics, exceptional student support, and service to the community and industry, which in–turn enhances diversity, equity, and inclusion. She uses innovative, data–driven strategies to best fulfill the campus’ land-grant mission to serve regional industry needs through excellent education, research, and service.

Jason Herbert


Jason is the senior director for External Strategy at Energy Northwest. He advises EN and project partners on external affairs strategy and consults with entities across the country on energy, climate and environmental policy. Jason is co-founder of Clean Future Northwest, co-chair of the Mid-Columbia Energy Initiative Nuclear Energy Subcommittee, and is a member of the Nuclear Innovation Alliance Advisory Committee and Nuclear Matters Steering Committee. Prior to joining EN, Jason spent a decade working in the U.S. House of Representatives, consulting on energy and environmental policy, and advising political campaigns. In Congress, he advised members on numerous policy issues and held several senior staff positions.

Previous Recorded Speakers Series 

Race, Equity and Engaged Citizenship | Fall 2020 Community Classroom Series

History of Civil Rights in the Tri-Cities: Past and Present

Robert Bauman and Robert Franklin, both History faculty at Washington State University, Tri-Cities, will give a presentation on the history of African-American activism in the Tri-Cities from the 1940s-1970s. The presentation will highlight efforts to end racial segregation in the Tri-Cities, including civil rights marches in Kennewick and Pasco in the 1960s and 1970s. The presentation is based on material from their forthcoming book, Echoes of Exclusion and Resistance: Voices from the Hanford Region, to be published by WSU Press in November. This event will also welcome the following panelists: life coach and radio personality Reka Robinson, Daishaundra Loving-Hearne, co-CEO of the Urban Poets Society and organizer with the Black Lives Matter Coalition: Tri-Cities, and Naima Chambers Smith, CEO of the Tri-Cities Diversity and Inclusion Council. They will talk about the advocacy efforts they are spearheading within our local community around racial justice and how others can be a part of supporting the work.

Digital Dissensus: Discovering Truth in an Era of Misinformation

Mike Caulfield, director of blended and networked learning at WSU Vancouver and nationally recognized digital literacy expert will discuss the roots of our current “digital dissensus” and explain how our approach to education may be making the problem worse. How do we design education for a world where information is plentiful, and attention is the scarcity? How do we encourage analysis and engagement in our students without having those same impulses gamed by bad actors? What epistemic stances and heuristics serve the public in a world where expertise is niche and very little is directly verifiable, and where facts are atomized, separated from analysis, and reassembled in bizarre and dangerous ways?

Incarceration, Education & Local Partnerships | Spring 2021 Community Classroom Series

Washington State University Tri-Cities hosted several presentations on potential solutions for the school-to-prison pipeline, as well as barriers for individuals’ successful re-entry into society from prison, as part of its latest “Community Classroom” series that begins this month.

Presenters will provided perspectives and strategies for how communities can proactively change statistics and pathways for successful rehabilitation. Attendees will be invited to explore the current state of affairs in the regional Tri-Cities area and investigate opportunities for stronger partnerships for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated members locally

Join us in learning from esteemed friends of the university including social service workers, educators, elected officials, prison leadership and WSU alumni as we go back to school to be better neighbors, leaders, and citizens and invest in developing a more inclusive Tri-Cities. 

This panel  discusses the role of the community and schools, in particular, in reducing the number of individuals entering the prison system. Speaking from respective areas of expertise, the moderated panel will discuss the possibilities and challenges of this work, as well as share ideas about how communities can come together to support members most vulnerable to incarceration.

Speakers: Dr. Ericka Walters, Harry B. Grant Jr., Emnanuel “Manny” Garcia

This panel discussion on the affordances of rehabilitative programs for incarcerated people. Each panelist will present on programs they oversaw or currently work with, as well as the role of the community in advocating for and providing resources and opportunities within local and state facilities.
Stephan Sinclair, Secretary of the Washington State Department of Corrections
Robert Jackson, Associate Superintendent of the Washington State Penitentiary
Carol Hinds, Family Advocate
Loretta Taylor, Educational Services Administrator

Noel Vest, a formerly incarcerated scholar and WSU Tri-Cities alumnus, will discusses principles and strategies for building a pathway out of incarceration and into higher education with moderator Anna Plemons, WSU Tri-Cities assistant vice chancellor of academic affairs. Drawing on his expertise as a post-doctoral research fellow in the Systems Neuroscience and Pain Lab at Stanford, Vest speaks to the ways addiction and recovery impact reentry.