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Fiscal Health | Washington State University

College of Arts and Sciences response

Dear CAS Colleagues,

Per the president’s directive for each unit at WSU to reduce spending by 2.5 percent for the current fiscal year and in the next two fiscal years, the College of Arts and Sciences’ leadership team has been working diligently to identify balanced, thoughtful solutions that support the continued success of our outstanding community and contribute to the overall health of the institution.

As President Schulz explained, deficits across the University have been building for several years and are the culmination of numerous actions taken at all levels. Moving forward, it is vital that all units contribute to ensuring long-term financial health of the entire institution.

The College of Arts and Sciences, with its breadth and strength in disciplinary domains across the arts, humanities, and sciences, is the foundation of the University and will play a key role in WSU’s “Drive to 25” to be recognized as a premier academic institution. Maintaining excellence across all areas and supporting quality research, creative works, and education will be a priority as we move through the budget recovery process.

The CAS recovery plan includes both revenue growth activities and spending reductions. All CAS units will have a share in shouldering the necessary financial adjustments. Note, however, that our urban campus activities are governed by local budget decisions; the college recovery plan is focused on the Pullman and Global campuses.

Revenue Growth

Tuition dollars are a significant segment of the University budget and the College of Arts and Sciences plays a central role by providing courses for all WSU students. We deliver more than half of all undergraduate student credit hours of instruction and approximately 80% of all freshman instruction. Our success, both economically and in the classroom, will be central to WSU’s financial turnaround.

The college will focus on three areas to increase revenue over the next three years:

Face-to-face enrollment
Increasing on-campus student enrollment offers one of the best avenues to achieving a balanced budget. In addition to working toward growing CAS degree enrollments, the college’s outstanding introductory and UCORE courses will continue to serve all WSU students in all degree programs.

Online programs
CAS currently provides more than 50% of the online courses offered through
WSU’s Global Campus. Our online degree programs in criminal justice, humanities, social sciences, and psychology have robust enrollments that generate substantial income for the University. We believe additional online degree programs offer opportunities for enrollment growth that will improve both CAS and WSU revenue streams. Proposals for new online undergraduate degree programs are currently under review in the Faculty Senate and we look to have significant new enrollments in each program beginning fall semester 2018.

Summer and winter sessions
CAS will endeavor to increase our Pullman-based summer and online-based winter session enrollment over the next three years.

Decreasing Expenditures

We will be focusing on three areas to decrease expenditures over the next three years:

Strategic enrollment management
While we intend to be measured in our spending and allocation of resources, we also want to inspire high faculty productivity and accomplishments that maintain educational outcomes, support diverse learning opportunities, and serve to prepare students for life after graduation.

We look to achieve these goals through an enrollment management strategy that includes:

  • Giving priority to curriculum that meets our foundational educational responsibilities to UCORE and provides excellent educational opportunities for our majors.
  • Eliminating low enrollment courses and/or revising courses to attract more students.
  • Planning course rotations to reduce student scheduling dilemmas.
  • Deploying faculty to meet core mission goals and balance responsibilities in research/scholarship/creative activities, graduate education, and teaching.

Faculty hiring
In an effort to reduce expenditures in recent years, CAS has limited hiring, especially of tenure track faculty. We have significantly fewer tenure track colleagues now than two years ago. Faculty salaries are the largest expense for CAS and reducing tenure track faculty numbers offers an avenue to limit expenditures. As mandated by the Provost’s Office, we will hire tenure track faculty only to meet critical needs.

Reduced commitments to University centers and institutes
CAS provides primary financial support for numerous centers and programs which support research excellence across the institution and undergraduate success in mathematics and pre-professional programs for all WSU students. The level of financial support provided for these entities is not sustainable under the budget reduction expectations and the college is strategically reducing its future financial commitments.

Spending reduction target for FY18

The University has established a $1.2 million reduction in spending for CAS in the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30, 2018. Given the obligations that are already in place, reducing spending will be a challenge and will require significant commitment from each of our departments, schools, programs, and centers.

The college expects to meet the reduction target for this fiscal year through four strategic decisions:

  • Slowing the hiring of tenure track faculty.
  • Extending start-up accounts for recent faculty hires by two years so start-up funds may be used as effectively as possible.
  • Limiting spending in departments, schools, programs, and centers to critical and essential needs for the core research, creative, and educational mission.
  • Encouraging faculty to not spend funds in accrual accounts. These accounts are secure and delaying spending from these funds will help with the mandated spending reduction.

The college supports the president’s vision to stabilize the University’s financial footing to ensure our next century is as successful as our first.

I appreciate your understanding in this challenging time and welcome your comments and questions.

Sincerely,

Daryll B. DeWald , Dean
College of Arts and Sciences