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Fiscal Health | Washington State University

Carson College of Business response

Dear Carson Colleagues,

Last week, WSU President Kirk Schulz sent all of us an email outlining in broad strokes the plans to bring financial stability to WSU.

I write to tell you how the Carson College will participate in these plans, and how the plans will affect us. Each WSU college is working under the direction of the Provost to contribute to overall financial stability for WSU’s academic units. My message here is aimed primarily at our Pullman, Everett, and online colleagues and programs (Tri-Cities and Vancouver colleagues will also receive communication on their local campuses and budgets).

The Carson College will not eliminate any programs, services, or positions in order to meet WSU budget goals. Unlike many other colleges and other campus units, the Carson College has had positive margins (revenues > expenses) in prior years. Thanks to all of you for the diligence, innovation, and fiscal stewardship that produced this result. Your hard work in generating revenues via our programs and fund-raising activities has allowed us to make great progress toward our goals over the last two years, including increasing our faculty and staff numbers strategically and responsibly, and we will not reverse ourselves.

The Provost’s Office will require us to continue to run modest surpluses overall for 2017-18. Our original 2017-18 forecast was to run a balanced budget. Our best forecasts today suggest that with continued diligence, we can meet the Provost’s expectation of positive margins without changing these planned activities significantly. This year we will focus on implementing our planned budget in a way that is consistent with the University’s fiscal goals, and we will accomplish this by controlling spending and by increasing revenues. In this process, no funds will be taken away from our college. While our reserve funds will help WSU manage its financial position, the dollars that we save by containing spending will remain with us and we will be able to direct these funds strategically in future years.

We will not be going backwards in our drive to build the model business school for tomorrow’s land grant university. You may learn of other units across the university reducing travel and operational expenses; discontinuing or consolidating units, programs, and services; or leaving vacant positions open. Our college has already made a number of difficult decisions that enabled us to run responsibly (for example, eliminating our Pullman MBA program). To reiterate: the current situation will not require us to eliminate programs, services, or positions in the Carson College. We will continue to support travel that is important to your job. We will carefully consider any additions to new staff positions and the timing of filling vacant jobs: even where replacements or additions have been planned and budgeted we will discuss implementation with unit leaders. I also ask that all of us, as good citizens, be respectful of the challenges faced by other colleges and units across WSU when discussing the budget and associated decisions outside our college.

We must monitor our progress carefully through 2017-18. I realize that managing our activities – and our margins – to this level of detail during the course of the year is new, and that we must communicate more extensively in order to do this effectively. We intend to hit our budget targets while continuing to make progress toward our strategic goals, and while supporting the 1% raises that are planned at mid-year for faculty, administrative and professional staff, and graduate students. To accomplish this, we will expect all college leaders to be accountable for their unit budgets. Active cooperation from all of us to minimize unplanned expenditures, and to economize on planned expenditures where possible, will also be helpful. We will continue to share information on a monthly basis with all our unit leaders, and I will update all of you in January on our mid-year progress.

Please consult with your department chair, or the leader of your administrative unit, if you want more information about your unit’s planned budget. For questions about broader college or campus matters, you can write to Lisa Hall, our Chief Financial Officer, at Lisa.Hall@wsu.edu or to me at Chip.Hunter@wsu.edu. I also invite Pullman colleagues to bring questions live to our first “Donuts with the Dean” open forum, Thursday Nov. 2nd from 7:45 – 8:30am in Todd 409.

Chip

Chip Hunter, Dean
Carson College of Business