By Joan King, Associate Vice President and Chief Budget Officer

We asked for your suggestions and you’re delivering.

Last month, the University launched the Fiscal Health website as part of President Kirk Schulz’s commitment to transparency as WSU addresses budgetary challenges.

The site includes helpful information about how strategic investments over the past four years in the University’s growth have drawn down its financial reserves, outlines the three-year goal of rebuilding those reserves through careful spending reductions, and extends an invitation to the WSU community to share suggestions, ask questions and voice concerns.

More than four dozen comments have already been received.

Some are very specific, others more general. All reflect a passion for WSU’s continued growth and commitment to helping the University emerge stronger than before. Common themes also have begun to emerge, including thoughts about the University’s administrative costs, employee wages, the athletics department and the role of academics.

President Schulz values the thought and consideration that are obvious in these messages. He and the President’s Cabinet will review this material and discuss the challenges and opportunities presented. In the months ahead, he will post our progress with regard to the financial improvement in general as well as some of the specific items in the feedback.

That’s why it’s important to keep those comments coming as we work toward the goal of reducing Fiscal Year 2018 expenditures by $10 million.

It’s also important to note that 2018 already has brought a couple of bright spots.

On. Jan. 18, for example, the Washington Legislature approved and Gov. Jay Inslee signed a capital budget plan that includes $113.9 million for WSU construction and renovation projects throughout the University system. It’s a welcome reminder that we are fortunate to operate in a state where public support of higher education remains strong.

Also this month, all faculty, along with administrative professionals and graduate assistants received the first of two planned 1 percent across-the-board salary increases. It’s an important step in increasing salaries to more competitive levels, which will be one of the priorities as the Drive to 25 advances.