Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Woodring's Larry Marrs to retire Dec. 31 after long career at WWU

The following article appeared Dec. 7th, 2010 in Western Today, news and inforamtion for the Western Washington University community.

by:  Matthew Anderson, Western Today editor

Larry Marrs, a longtime administrator at Woodring College of Education, will retire from Western Washington University as of Dec. 31.

Marrs served as dean of Woodring for 15 years, from 1984 to 1999, and has been a Woodring professor and director of the college's Professional Development Resource Center since 2005.

From 1999 to 2005, Marrs was executive director of the North Snohomish, Island and Skagit Counties Higher Education Consortium.

Marrs also served as vice provost for University Extended Programs, from 1990 to 1991, and assistant vice president for Academic Affairs from 1989 to 1990.

"I've really enjoyed my time here," Marrs says, "both as a teacher and an administrator."

Marrs' current class, EDUC 297C, capitalizes on his experience with Communities in Schools of Whatcom County, where he co-chairs the board. Marrs helps his students understand issues in organizing and providing services to children, families and schools, the goal being that Western students would help implement systemic changes throughout schools and their surrounding communities.

"We've got really bright and exciting students in the program," Marrs says. "They just dive into anything I ask."

During his time as dean of Woodring College, Marrs oversaw the creation of the Center for Regional Services, Woodring's outreach and continuing education arm. The center provided for off-campus instruction of thousands of students annually and generated more than $4.8 million per year in external support of college faculty, staff and programs.

"We went from teaching 30 or 40 classes each year to teaching several hundred out in schools and community service centers," Marrs says. "And in doing so we generated revenue to use on campus in the college while providing access to Woodring’s programs for people who were place-bound and could not attend school in Bellingham."

But the Center for Regional Services isn't the only program Marrs had his hands in over the years. Among other programs, Marrs also created the Center for Educational Pluralism, the Center for Interactive Multimedia for Education and Training, the National Rural Development Institute, the Woodring College of Education Advancement Office, the Center for Global and Peace Education, and the Center for Family Supportive Schools and Communities.

Some of his federally funded projects and programs included: The National and Rural Small Schools Research Consortium, the National Rural Independent Living Network, and the Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to use Technology grant.

Marrs also helped establish satellite instructional centers at Everett, Port Angeles, Seattle, Olympia, Bremerton and Oak Harbor and initiated undergraduate and graduate degree programs in collaboration with community colleges and The Evergreen State College.

Marrs says he'll miss the colleagues he's gotten to know so well during two decades at WWU. Woodring faculty and staff are well respected in their fields, he says.

"We've employed some really good faculty and staff in Wooding," he says. "We were able to bring in top-notch people because of Western's reputation and geography."

In retirement, Marrs plans to stay active locally with Communities in Schools, but he'll take some time for himself, too. He plans to do a lot more hunting, fishing and riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle.

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