History of the University
Heritage University is unique in its origins. 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, location of administrative offices, ownership and sponsorship. Under the impetus of two Yakama Nation women, leaders from business, religious and education communities in the Yakima Valley incorporated as Heritage College so they could 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 courses 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 scholastic 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 around the globe, with great respect for various cultures. This is the educational heritage of today’s Heritage University.
Heritage is a nonprofit, independent, non-denominational, accredited institution of higher education offering undergraduate and graduate education. Its mission is to provide quality, accessible baccalaureate and master’s degrees to populations that, for reasons of location, poverty or cultural background, have been denied these opportunities in the past. Within its liberal arts curriculum, Heritage offers strong professional and career-oriented programs designed to enrich the quality of life for students and their communities.
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 mission leads them to create and sustain unique educational programs specifically tailored to the special needs of multicultural and rural or isolated constituencies. The Heritage community attempts to live its motto, “Knowledge brings us together,” by placing great importance on the dignity and potential of each student, 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) and a Native American-Serving Non-Tribal Institution (NASNTI).
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 a large number of school districts throughout the state of Washington and 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 the goals of both the university and the Yakama Nation, 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. From these offices, UW personnel facilitate joint projects in the Yakima Valley for such efforts as tourism development, increased community access to technology and rural health research.
- Access and Equity: Heritage University strives to identify, recruit, enroll and retain students from a wide range of different types of backgrounds.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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 1,300.
About one-third of the undergraduates are of typical college age, 18-23, and the overall average age of undergraduates is 28. 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. Half of the university’s course work is offered after 4:30 p.m. or on weekends, to accommodate work and family responsibilities.
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 2010, a total of more than 7,000 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; in fact, the most recent survey of baccalaureate degree recipients revealed that 96 percent of them were employed.
Heritage’s faculty is composed of 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 50 of these scholars are employed full time by the university, and the remainder is adjunct faculty. Many faculty, in addition to their doctoral or master’s degrees, 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 with commitment to the mission of the university. 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
Beginning with a small four-room cottage and three leased classrooms at the McKinley School site in 1981, Heritage University has expanded to a fully owned and well-equipped campus.
In 1983, Heritage purchased from the Toppenish School District the 11.5 acres of land and buildings comprising the McKinley School. The main building was renamed Petrie Hall in honor of Lorene M. Petrie, a local resident whose charitable trust made the property acquisition possible. This 13,000-square-foot building was renovated in 1994 and again in 1999, and houses classrooms, Information Technology Services, the Heritage Bookstore, and the Helen Jewett Student Center, which includes the Heritage Café.
The Annex, an early 20th century Grange Hall, was acquired in 1990 through the generosity of Dr. and Mrs. Richard Twiss to provide five additional classrooms and expand the total campus to almost 18 acres. In 2009, the university’s architecture firm determined that the Annex could not be satisfactorily upgraded, so it was demolished; moreover, on its former site, a new building to expand the Heritage University Early Learning Center was completed in 2010.
In 1993, a new 17,000-square-foot library and learning center opened, housing the large Academic Skills Center, a computerized writing lab, four fully equipped computer labs, executive offices and a spacious, inviting library. The building was renamed the Kathleen A. Ross, SNJM Center in 2010 in honor of Heritage’s founding president.
The Cedars Complex that opened in 1998 was renamed the Sister Elizabeth Simkins Center in December 2003 to honor the memory of one of the 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. It comprises four modular units, donated by Battelle Memorial Institute, and houses the College of Education and Psychology as well as the Student Activity 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 technology hardware and software, as well as videoconferencing, are available to students in the campus Community Business and Training Center, which was completed with HUD funds as a joint project with the University of Washington in 2005.
The Student Service Center, an innovative building designed to function as a one-stop shop for, opened in May 2001. It provides students with services for admissions, financial aid, the Advising Center, registration, student billing, career planning and placement, work-study jobs, counseling, and student body activities and clubs; and is immediately accessible from the main parking lot on campus.
In 2006, ten additional acres were purchased, bringing the total campus site to approximately 28 acres.
In 2008, the largest building on campus, the Arts and Sciences Center, was completed as the result of a $25 million comprehensive campaign. The 34,000-square-foot building includes four large science labs, science project rooms, science preparation and storage areas, the Advanced Nursing Skills Lab, additional high-tech classrooms, a reception area, small study nooks for students, 22 faculty offices, conference rooms and Smith Family Hall (a large meeting space that accommodates 450). Many classes now use this Arts and Sciences Center for both day and evening courses. Outdoor graduation exercises are held each May on the front portico and the expansive lawn at the front of the building.
In 2010, the university opened the Alder Building. This 2,950 square-foot structure houses the offices for graduate and online education.
Twelve additional modular buildings around the campus serve as faculty offices, a high school equivalency/GED center, student activity facilities, and advancement, communication and business offices.
The Harry Kent Center houses classrooms, offices and meeting spaces, with special emphasis on 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 environment of the Valley.
The Heritage University Early Learning Center, located on Fort Road directly across from Petrie Hall, houses a program for children ages 1 to 5 and serves as a lab school for the Early Childhood Education programs. Students and employees, as well as local families, can enroll their children in this all-day child learning center.
Library and Information Resources and Services
The Donald K. C. North Library, located in the Kathleen A. Ross, SNJM Center, provides a central focus for the scholarly and intellectual life of its students, faculty and staff, and meets the informational and educational needs of the university and local community. The library develops, augments and maintains collections of print material, electronic products and other non-print resources to support all areas of the university curriculum; to facilitate the development of research skills for students, faculty, and staff on and off campus; and to contribute to the cultural enrichment of the Heritage community.
Library users have access to 70,000 print and 104,000 electronic volumes. The library subscribes to serial publications such as magazines, journals, newspapers and newsletters. Computer terminals provide online access to Voyager, an electronic catalog, which lists the university holdings. Membership in OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) and WIN (Washington Idaho Network) provides access to millions of additional records and materials from member libraries through interlibrary loan. Internet access is available, with web-based indexes, electronic journals, electronic books and reference databases licensed for use by the university community. Audiovisual materials for instructional support are located in the circulation area. Microform materials are located in the reference area. The library archive, called the K ROSS Collection, consists of rare research materials of regional and cultural interest. Consult the library Web pages for titles and access information. Please contact the library for assistance and access to these resources and services.
Library personnel offer a wide range of opportunities for instruction and research strategies in the use of printed and electronic resources. Training includes library orientation, research strategies, library information retrieval, instruction for new students, instruction to support university courses, instruction sessions for classes or individuals and training of students who work in the library. Off-campus students and faculty have equal access to information literacy training and skills development. Additionally, students and faculty may contact the library staff via telephone, fax, e-mail and the university website.
The library Web page, http://libguides.heritage.edu/libraryhome, offers information regarding all aspects of library service and facilitates requests for such service. Links to online catalogs, licensed databases, useful Internet sites, tutorials, citation styles and other educational material address the needs of both faculty and students.
Library staff assists students, faculty and staff in the location and use of circulating and reference books as well as electronic databases.
Students, faculty and staff must have valid library accounts. Inquire at the circulation desk regarding establishment of accounts. All patrons must present a picture ID at the circulation desk to borrow materials. Books are loaned for up to four weeks, with one renewal permitted. Reference books, reserve materials and current periodicals may be used throughout the library. These items do not circulate.
The library issues a number of its own publications, including library use and research guides, subject bibliographies, newsletters, and user policies and regulations. Consult the circulation and reference areas for these handouts. Interlibrary loan of materials not held in the library is available to students, faculty and staff. Requests may be made via e-mail, telephone or forms available online. There is usually no charge for this service.
The university licenses electronic databases. These are available on and off campus via the Internet. Consult the library staff or instructors for information on how to access these databases and electronic journals off-site.
A network printer is available for printing online material. These printers are for school-related purposes only. Non-university research can be saved to a portable device or e-mailed to a private account.
The library houses a photocopy machine, microfilm reader/printer, video and audio equipment, typewriter and basic office equipment for patrons.
Numerous ready-reference books and materials are available at the main reference desk. These include guides to database use and items of local interest.
The library staff will accommodate students with special needs.
Hours of Operation
Please consult the library Web page for current hours of operation. Changes in the posted schedule may vary during intersession and summer sessions. Contact the library with further inquiries at (509) 865-8521 or check the Web page at http://libguides.heritage.edu/libraryhome .
Heritage University Computer and Information Technology Resources
Heritage is committed to providing our students with first-class, hands-on access to the latest computing technology. Students and faculty have access to more than 300 state-of-the-art computer workstations, file servers and printers. These systems, located in common areas and formal computer labs all across campus, merge the latest computing hardware and technology with a broad range of up-to-date software for every discipline.
Students attending Heritage regional campuses located at community college sites across Washington state enjoy the same access to computing technology through our joint facility use agreements.
High-speed Internet connectivity and access to a wide range of online classes and student support resources including IT HELP Center services, are provided by state-of-the-art, multi-gigabit fiber optic connections across the entire campus. Students and faculty are also provided unlimited access to high-speed wireless (Wi-Fi) services.
Academic Skills Center
The Academic Skills Center, which the campus maintains as a free service to assist students with academic needs, is designed for individual support. It is a place where students can learn new skills; refine already-acquired skills; receive tutoring support for their classes, without charge; and be assessed for their academic levels in mathematics, reading and writing. Other assessments are available on an as-needed basis. Any student or prospective student is welcome to visit the Academic Skills Center and discuss learning needs.
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.
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.
Almost all facilities on the Toppenish campus are wheelchair accessible. A plan exists for ongoing accessibility improvements.
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.