Apr 19, 2024  
2021-2022 Catalog 
2021-2022 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


History of the University

Heritage University is unique in its origins. It is both old and new. It is a successor institution to Spokane’s Fort Wright College (formerly Holy Names College), founded in 1907 by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM). A new institution was born in 1981 through a change in name, relocation of administrative offices, ownership, and sponsorship. Under the impetus of two Yakama Nation women, and leaders from business, religious and education communities in the Yakima Valley Heritage College was incorporated to acquire the outreach programs that Fort Wright College operated in Omak and Toppenish.

On July 1, 1982, the transition to Heritage College became official. The new institution began offering undergraduate and graduate degrees as a separate, private, independent, nonprofit college, with its main campus near Toppenish and satellite campuses in Spokane and Omak. In 1987, the Spokane campus was closed, and the students moved to the Toppenish campus. In 2008, Omak courses were consolidated with classes offered in collaboration with Wenatchee Valley College. In 2009, the college site was placed under the Heritage University office at Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake.

In 1993, through a cooperative agreement with Big Bend, upper-division courses began, leading to a Heritage College four-year degree. A similar program began at Columbia Basin Community College in Pasco in 2003 and at South Seattle Community College in 2006. All these outreach sites are included in Heritage’s accreditation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Numerous school district sites throughout the state of Washington are also used to deliver Heritage’s master’s degree programs. These sites are monitored and approved by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

In 2004, Heritage College was designated Heritage University to reflect its substantial master’s degree programs and to more accurately reflect, for students from Central and South America, the baccalaureate level of education provided at Heritage.

The University was founded as a nonsectarian institution, not affiliated with any church or religious group; however, Heritage’s educational values have been influenced by the sponsoring religious order of Fort Wright College. The SNJM was founded in rural Quebec in 1843 to start schools in isolated towns where the poor had no educational opportunities. They emphasized high academic standards and enkindling the life of the mind in a personalized learning environment. They envisioned education as the full human development of each student — intellectually, professionally, spiritually, and morally — while creating community and inspiring service to others. Over the following years, they embedded these values in educational ventures pursued worldwide, with great respect for various cultures. This is the educational lineage of today’s Heritage University.


Heritage University empowers a multi-cultural and inclusive student body to overcome the social, cultural, economic, and geographic barriers that limit access to higher education. Rooted in the homeland of the Yakama Nation, the University embraces transformational student-centered education that cultivates leadership and a commitment to the promotion of a more just society. 


From its founding days, Heritage has been inspired by a vision of education that embraces issues of national and international significance. These issues revolve around the realization that cooperation across cultural boundaries — whether they are geographic, ethnic, racial, religious, or economic — will be vital to human survival. Heritage recognizes a basic principle rooted in all the world’s great religions and moral traditions: Each person is endowed with inalienable dignity and gifted with unique potential.

To translate this vision into everyday reality, the Heritage learning community requires a highly qualified and unusually dedicated faculty and staff, coupled with a low student-to-faculty ratio. These employees’ dedication to the University’s mission leads them to create and sustain unique educational programs specifically tailored to multicultural and rural or isolated constituencies’ special needs. The Heritage community attempts to live its motto, “Knowledge brings us together,” by placing great importance on each student’s dignity and potential and by considering diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds as assets to the educational process.

Heritage has a student body with substantial diversity, which creates an effective learning community where each cultural group is valued. To develop community and concern for the common good, the University seeks to provide leadership in supporting cultural pluralism within our own and other communities; cultural pluralism creates a climate of respect and appreciation by fostering “learning about us” in an interdependent and connected world. Heritage acts to make its curriculum, staffing, teaching, and other collegiate activities reflect this learning.

Underlying the vision are three key values: 1.) honoring each person’s human dignity and potential, 2.) seeking intellectual growth and challenges, and 3.) celebrating the shared spiritual roots of all humankind.

The Heritage vision is embodied in these eight operating principles:



for the healing circle of life we live together;



for excellence in teaching and in learning;



for responsiveness to student needs: intellectual, family and personal;



for inclusivity and cultural pluralism;



for teamwork in building community;



for awareness, leading to continuous improvement;



for grassroots community involvement; and



for effectiveness in managing limited resources to achieve Heritage’s goals.

National and Regional Recognitions

In June 1986, Heritage University received recognition as an accredited institution of higher education from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, the regional accrediting body responsible for verifying compliance with nationally recognized norms. This accreditation was retroactive to Sept. 1, 1985. From July 1, 1982, until September 1985, Heritage had candidacy status with the accrediting association. The most recent re-accreditation visit by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities was in May 2011, after which the university’s accreditation was reaffirmed.

Heritage is a member of the All Nations Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (AMP) for Native American-Serving Institutions of the National Science Foundation (NSF), and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as both a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI).

The university is officially recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as eligible for federal student aid and institutional grant programs.

Heritage offers teacher education programs at the initial and continuing certification levels that have been approved by the Professional Educator Standards Board of Washington state. The university’s principal credential, program administrator credential, and school counselor credential are also approved by the state of Washington.

The Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.) degree was accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), effective with the class of 1997. The next major review by CSWE occurred on schedule and re-accreditation was given in 2010.

The Higher Education Coordinating Board of Washington state officially recognizes Heritage and has granted it participation in the state student aid and the state work-study programs, both on and off campus, and has made it eligible for certain competitive grant opportunities offered by the Higher Education Coordinating Board.

The university is an institutional member of the following organizations:

  • Association of Governing Boards (AGB) of Higher Education
  • Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU)
  • American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) for Liberal Arts
  • National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU)
  • Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)
  • Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)
  • American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE)
  • American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES)
  • Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) (national organization)
  • Independent Colleges of Washington (ICW)
  • Northwest Association of Private College and University Libraries (NAPCU)
  • Washington Council for High School-College Relations
  • American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO)
  • Pacific Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (PACRAO)
  • Private Registrars of Washington (PROW)
  • Oregon Private Academic Library Link (OPALL)
  • American Indian Graduate Center
  • Council of Independent Colleges (CIC)
  • National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO)
  • Western Association of College and University Business Officers (WACUBO)
  • Online Consortium of Independent Colleges and Universities (OCICU)
  • Campus Compact (service learning and civic engagement)
  • EDUCAUSE (intelligent use of information technology)
  • Education Conservancy
  • Global Learning Goals for Higher Education: Washington state
  • Larson Art Gallery
  • Allied Arts of Yakima County
  • Yakima Ready by Five (early learning organization)

Individual faculty members and administrators hold memberships in numerous other regional and professional associations.

Partnerships and Collaborations

Heritage University has concluded a formal memorandum of understanding for partnership activities with each of the following entities: Battelle Memorial Institute’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the Department of Energy at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, the University of Washington, Eastern Washington University, Central Washington University, Big Bend Community College, Columbia Basin College, Wenatchee Valley College, South Seattle Community College, Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital, Yakima Regional Medical, and Cardiac Center, Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic, Tri-Cities Laboratory, Lourdes Health Network, Kadlec Medical Center, and Kennewick General Hospital.

The University also collaborates with many school districts throughout the state of Washington. It has agreements for internships, practicum sites, and clinical learning sites with numerous regional health care organizations, businesses, social service agencies, and educational entities.

Heritage was designated in 1997 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a National Center of Excellence for rural community development activities and was one of two universities nationally to receive this designation for the eight consecutive years in which it was awarded.

The University is located within the Yakama Indian Reservation, less than three miles from the tribal headquarters. Numerous working relationships with tribal programs enhance both the University and the Yakama Nation’s goals, including projects with the Yakama Tribal School, the Yakama Nation Natural Resources Division, the Yakama Nation Museum and Cultural Center, the Office of Economic Development, and other programs.

The University of Washington’s strong partnership with Heritage is enhanced by having UW offices on the Toppenish campus. UW personnel facilitate joint projects in the Yakima Valley for such efforts as tourism development, increased community access to technology, and rural health research from these offices.

Core Themes

  1. Access and Equity:  Heritage University strives to identify, recruit, enroll and retain students from a wide range of different types of backgrounds.
  2. Academic Excellence: Academic excellence includes all aspects of a high quality liberal arts and career-preparatory educational experience for all students, from the individual course level through completion of their goals.  It includes student satisfaction with courses and student services, employer satisfaction with Heritage students, the percentage of courses taught by full-time faculty, and student outcomes (graduation rates, placement rates, and course success)
  3. Community Engagement : Community engagement includes partnerships with various organizations across the regions that Heritage University serves.  It embraces an outreach mentality leading to immersion in local communities to understand their educational needs and adapt to meet them, and to lead students and graduates to give back to their communities.
  4. Institutional Vitality:  Vitality relates to the health of the institution itself, such as its financial sustainability.

Student Body and Faculty

From an initial enrollment of 85 students on the Toppenish Campus in 1981, the main campus grew to more than 900 students by 2010. When combined with enrollment at the satellite sites, the total number of students enrolled in Heritage University programs is over 1,200.

About two-thirds of the undergraduates are of typical college age, 18-23, and undergraduates’ overall average age is 23. There is a good mix of traditional-age students and students returning to school for the first time in several or many years. Approximately 75 percent of the students work at least part-time.

Most of the undergraduate students at Heritage are enrolled for at least 12 semester hours (full-time), but a significant number are part-time. Most students are pursuing a baccalaureate degree program. As of May 2020, a total of more than 10,000 certificates, baccalaureate diplomas, and master’s diplomas have been awarded by the University. More than half of Heritage baccalaureate graduates go on to earn a graduate degree;  the most recent survey of baccalaureate degree recipients revealed that 96 percent of them were employed.

Heritage’s faculty comprises over 200 well-qualified members holding master’s and doctoral degrees from more than 60 different colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and abroad. Approximately 70 of these scholars are employed full-time by the University, and the remainder is adjunct faculty. In addition to their doctoral or master’s degrees, many faculty have practical perspectives gained from full-time professional jobs as accountants, school administrators, lawyers, scientific researchers, musicians and artists, journalists, business managers, social workers, counselors, and teachers.

All of Heritage’s faculty members are carefully chosen to blend excellent academic competency and commit to the University’s mission. The average class size is approximately 12 to 15 students. Following lengthy research and study, the faculty adopted a statement of “Key characteristics of highly effective faculty at Heritage University” in 1997 and updated it in 2005. It serves as the basis for faculty performance assessment processes. Outstanding dedication by individual instructors to helping students reach high standards is a hallmark of Heritage’s faculty.

Facilities and Resources

In its 1981 humble beginnings, Heritage College began as a small four-room cottage and three leased classrooms at the McKinley School site.  Heritage University (HU) has since expanded to a modern, well-equipped university campus, with state-of-the-art classrooms, teaching laboratories, and technology infrastructure.

The Kathleen A. Ross, SNJM Center - Constructed in 1993, The Kathleen A. Ross, SNJM Center houses the HU Library, President’s Office, Academic Skills Center, testing center, and four fully operational classrooms.  In 2010 the building was renamed in honor of Heritage’s founding president, Sister Kathleen A. Ross, who expanded the campus, programs, and outreach to create a higher education institution responsive to its community’s needs and provides opportunities that otherwise would not have been possible. Giving Tree (not sure what this means)

Petrie Hall - Rebuilt in 2014, Petrie Hall houses the Provost & Vice President of Academic Affairs Office, four fully-equipped technical classrooms, and an innovative Art  Studio and Gallery. The main building was entitled Petrie Hall in honor of Lorene M. Petrie, a local resident whose charitable trust made the 11.5-acre Heritage College land and buildings property acquisition possible in 1983 - existing previously as the site of the McKinley School.  This original 13,000-square-foot building was renovated in 1994 and again in 1999. But in 2012, HU experienced a disastrous fire, destroying the building. This tragedy was turned into a blessing, allowing for its full replacement and contribution to HU expansion through the construction of two other campus facilities, the  Gaye & Jim Piggott Commons and Rick & Myra Gagnier Hall.

Sister Elizabeth Simkins Building - Previously named Alder Hall, the 6,000 square-foot Sister Elizabeth Simkins Building stretches along the western edge of campus and includes faculty offices for the College of Education. It was named for Sister Elizabeth Simkins, one of HU’s founding faculty members, a professor of early childhood education who embodied the Heritage ideal of service by giving generously of her time, talent and humor to university students from 1982 to 2002.

Hitchcock Building - The Business Office is located in the Hitchcock Building,  one of the original buildings acquired by Sister Ross through the generosity of community leaders.

Rick and Myra Gagnier Hall - The Rick and Myra Gagnier Hall was erected following Heritage University’s fire in 2012, providing a new and energized space for the Information Technology department. This building reflects the spirit and contributions of Rick Gagnier, who served as Heritage’s CFO and Vice President for eleven years.

Gaye & Jim Piggott Commons - This beautifully designed building houses an uncluttered dining common serviced by the Eagle’s Café – Heritage University’s full-service, restaurant-quality cafeteria. The Student Lounge and mailroom are found on the North end of the building, while the Barnhill Fireside Room, a quiet student space, and the Patricia Wade Temple Room, a conference facility, are on the South end.  This facility provides staff & students with essential features that have contributed to creating community on the campus.

Arts and Sciences Center - The Arts and Sciences Center, built-in 2008, contains four large science labs, project rooms, preparation and storage areas, the Advanced Nursing Skills Lab, additional high-tech classrooms, a reception area, small study nooks for students, and faculty offices.  It also includes Smith Family Hall, the largest conference room available on campus, accommodating up to 450 people. The center contains a host of significant artworks donated to the University and a selection of historic photos from the University archives.

Heritage White House – Newly renovated in 2020, the White House, as it is affectionately known, now houses a Nursing Simulation Lab wherein nursing students can simulate patient care in a home environment.

Student Services Center - The Student Service Center provides facilities for departments in admissions, financial aid, the Registrar, and student accounts. This building is the one most immediately accessible from the main entrance to campus. This building opened in May 2001 to function as a one-stop-shop and welcome center for new students.

Community Business & Training Center - Beginning in 1999, technology resources from the University of Washington and the Washington State K-20 Network have served Heritage students and faculty as part of the comprehensive University of Washington-Heritage University partnership. Additional hardware and software and videoconferencing are available to students in the campus Community Business and Training Center, completed with HUD funds as a joint project with the University of Washington in 2005.

Harry Kent Building - The Harry Kent Center houses classrooms, offices, and meeting spaces, emphasizing Native American Heritage and programs. An outside mural, painted by former Heritage student Laurie Housman, visually represents some key values of the Yakama Nation and the Valley’s environment.

Heritage University Early Learning Center - The Heritage University Early Learning Center, located on Fort Road directly across from Petrie Hall, houses a pre-school program for children ages 1 to 5 and serves as an Early Childhood Education & Assistance Program for preschool-aged children.  Students, employees, and local families enroll their children in this all-day child learning center. The Annex, an early 20th century Grange Hall and its land, was acquired in 1990 through a generous donation by Dr. and Mrs. Richard Twiss.  This acquisition helped support a new building for the Heritage University Early Learning Center in 2010 and expanded the entire campus to almost 18 acres.

The Violet Lumley Rau Center – One of the most recent additions to the campus, the Violet Lumley Rau Center was dedicated in 2017 to honor one of the University’s three founding mothers, Violet Lumley Rau. The Rau center hosts Student Services, Student Life, Advising, ADA services, TriO Student Support Services, and the C.A.M.P program offices.  Additionally, the center hosts the university Advancement and Marketing and Communications offices.  The Rau Center also contains the largest classroom on campus, Jack and Connie Bloxom Hall.

Martha Yallup Health Sciences Center – Also opened in 2017, this facility was dedicated in honor of another of the founding mothers of the University, Martha Yallup.  The center hosts the University’s Physician Assistant Program, including faculty offices and the Dr. and Mrs. Richard Twiss Lecture Hall.

Library and Information Resources and Services

Located in the Kathleen A. Ross, snjm Center, The Donald K. C. North Library is an open and welcoming place for all members of Heritage University and the greater community.  The 8,736 square foot facility is modeled after the traditional long house.  The fourteen timber columns supporting the roof represent each of the bands and tribes of the Yakama Confederated Tribes.  As the center for intellectual endeavor, the Library works with all Heritage University stakeholders to establish a nurturing environment that fosters learning, creativity, scholarship, synergy, and the quest for knowledge and wisdom.


The Library has three noise-level zones, one for open conversation, another for moderate conversation, and the third for silent study. The Library offers comfortable seating in each area, as well as group study rooms.  WiFi is available throughout the building, along with a networked color printer and a B&W one.

The Library is also a destination for readings, discussions, and other events which enhance the academic community.

Services Provided

The Facility

The Library has three noise-level zones, one for open conversation, another for moderate conversation, and the third for silent study. The Library offers comfortable seating in each area, as well as group study rooms.  WiFi is available throughout the building, along with a networked color printer and a B&W one.

The Library is also a destination for readings, discussions, and other events which enhance the academic community.


Comprehensive access to resources is available through Eagle Search (the ExLibris Primo search interface) found on the Library’s homepage.

Physical and electronic collections support and enhance the University’s academic programs.  The North Library collection has over 28,000 print and 333,000 electronic volumes. The library has access to nearly 100,000 serial publications, including newspapers, magazines, trade publications, scholarly journals, and annuals.

In addition to books, the Library also has laptops and tablets for check out.  See the front desk for details.

Checking Things Out

Your Heritage University ID doubles as your library card.  Anything checked out by students at the Toppenish campus is also available to students at the TriCities campus, as well as those studying remotely, by requesting through Eagle Search.

To find out how long items can be checked out for visit the Heritage University Library Policies page.

If the Library does not have a book or article you are looking for, the staff will do their best to get if for you at no cost from another library in the US through its Inter-Library Loan (ILL) Service.


Professional librarians and library support staff are available to assist whenever the library is open.  The staff are here to help you, but they can better assist you if you ask for help.


Reference Services

Librarians are happy to help in enabling you to become a savvy information seeker.  They will assist in helping you to develop effective search strategies, determine quality resources, and critically evaluate information.  Librarians can save you considerable research time and effort.  But to tap into their expertise, it is important to ask. 


For students not in the building, library assistance is available via telephone, fax, e-mail, text, chat, and video conference.  Tutorials and LibGuide subject and class guides provide further support after hours.

Information Literacy

The Library seeks to develop information seekers into knowledge producers. Teaching students to become intelligent consumers of information will serve you not only in their undergraduate and graduate education, but in their professional lives.  Studies by the National Association of Colleges and Employers and the Project Information Literacy program at the University of Washington, indicate top skills employers look for in new hires is how to critically think, solve problems, and use information effectively.  

Ask your professor to invite a librarian to class to help you and your classmates learn how to best research a question.

As a responsible steward of resources, the North Library is a member in good standing of the Washington Idaho Network (WIN) a consortium of private university libraries in Washington, Idaho, and Oregon.  Membership provides discounted prices for online resources and shared participation in managing the ALMA and Primo integrated Library System. The Library has also negotiated with the Orbis Cascade Alliance to acquire other databases at discounted group rates.

Hours of Operation

Please consult the library Web page at https://libguides.heritage.edu for hours of operation. Contact the library with further inquiries at (509) 865-8522 or email: library@heritage.edu.

Computer and Information Technology Resources

The Information Technology department is committed to providing innovative technology and services to fulfill the University mission and strategic goals. 

Our department provides support for student printing, classroom technology, institutional software, and hardware. We offer more than 300 computers for student use in computer labs across campus.  Students are provided unlimited access to high-speed Wi-Fi and free access to Microsoft Office 365 applications.

The IT Help Desk provides free software support and consulting for students’ personal computers. Students can find technology assistance in person at the Help Desk in Rick and Myra Gagnier Hall, by phone at (509) 865-8579, or email us at ITHelpDesk@heritage.edu.

Academic Support

The Academic Skills Center (ASC) at Heritage University is a learning community committed to academic excellence and provides services that are accessible to all students. The ASC provides safe and welcoming spaces, both physical and virtual, where students can access study resources and tools to support their learning. Tutoring, both online and face-to-face, is provided for all major subjects including writing, mathematics, science, history, social science, and critical thinking.

The ASC is located in the Kathleen Ross Building. There, students can find a study space to work, study in small groups with tutor support, receive one-on-one tutoring, and use computers. These services are available by drop-in or appointment.

To view our schedule, make an appointment, drop-in for tutoring with an HU tutor, visit the ASC page at https://myheritage.heritage.edu/ICS/Student_Services/Academic_Skills_Center/. To learn more about any of these services, call the ASC at (509) 865-8517 or email us ASC@heritage.edu

Ownership and Administration

The university is incorporated and registered as a nonprofit corporation in the state of Washington. It is owned and governed by a self-perpetuating board of directors of up to 24 members, who represent a broad cross-section of communities and professions and is multicultural and multi-denominational. The president serves at the discretion of the board and is responsible for operating the university with the assistance of administrative officers and their staff members.

Information Disclaimer

At the time of publication (August 2011) the programs of Heritage University are offered as indicated in this catalog. However, the administration reserves the right to make necessary changes to programs, requirements and fees during the life of this catalog. Such changes will be published by Academic Affairs or Student Services. Prospective students are advised to check with the registrar for the latest information.


Heritage University subscribes to the principles and laws of the federal government and the state of Washington pertaining to civil rights and equal opportunity, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1973. The university has a policy of equal educational opportunity, equal employment opportunity, and nondiscrimination in the provision of educational and other services to the public. Heritage does not discriminate in admission or access to its educational facilities or in its treatment of students or employees in its programs and activities on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, veteran status, or disabling conditions, in violation of federal or state law.

The current law of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, states the following: “A disability can be a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of an individual.” The ADA law prohibits discrimination and ensures that individuals with disabilities have “the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life - to enjoy employment opportunities, education, to purchase goods and services, to participate in State and local government programs and services.” As an institution of higher education, Heritage University commits to make reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities. If you believe you have a disability which may warrant you an accommodation, the first step is to contact the Office of Ability Services to schedule an appointment at: 509-865-8515 or e-mail OfficeofAbilityServices@heritage.edu.

Diversity and Equity

The objectives of the Heritage University Equal Opportunity Program are to eliminate discrimination and, in conformity with state and federal laws and in keeping with the university’s mission, to develop and maintain a workforce and a student body that reflect the communities of the regions that the university serves. Applications for employment and student admission are especially solicited from groups underrepresented in various levels of the workforce and/or in the region’s higher education student bodies.