The Budget, The Budget, The BudgetNehemiah Salo
Our college’s budget is something that ties all programs, staff, faculty, and students together. So it’s no surprise that so many attended our second forum on budget/reprioritization, both in-person and on the phone (event took place Fri., April 10, 2015).
Washington State University has faced budget challenges many times in its history. In the 21 years I have been here I have experienced six or seven budget reductions. Each one has its own challenges. Each one brings some level of ambiguity and personal fear. But WSU and the College of Education have always worked through them and we will do this again!
WSU has experienced remarkable success this last year. Under the leadership of President Elson Floyd, the university has met and exceeded a $1 billion capital campaign goal and won legislative approval of a medical school. These accomplishments give me pause and make me proud and pleased that I am part of the WSU drive for excellence.
The demands on the budget not only come from limited state-revenue sources but also the need to internally prioritize where limited resources should go for the health and betterment of the institution. An internal salary increase, new medical school, and push toward AAU status are top issues that are competing for WSU resources. I mentioned to those present at the forum today that there is a creative tension between what is good for an individual and for a program, an individual and the college, the college and the greater university. And so it goes.
I anticipate that all needed information for making budget changes in the college will likely not be available until fall. As I articulated today, the four criteria I will use to make budget decisions are:
Strategic. Decisions need to make sense for the overall health of the college, and fit in with our vision and mission.
Transparent. When information is available and I can share it, I will do so. I want everyone to have the most up-to-date information about the budget in order to have a clear understanding of where we stand as a college and what this could mean for a particular individual.
Sustainable. Too often, with budget issues, the “quick-fix” or “Band-Aid approach” is used. Though it may be more difficult up front I will strive to make budget decisions that won’t need to be addressed again in the next couple of years. In short, long-term solutions require long-term decision-making.
Humane. Above all, we’re in the people business. It’s where the majority of our budget is allocated. The one promise I can make is that concern for each individual will be used throughout this process.
I want to thank all in the college for their hard work in making the college a better place to work, and in helping the college improve its presence and stature at WSU. In the meantime, I encourage a solid closeout to the semester and wish everyone an enjoyable summer. I look forward to continued work on initiatives important to the college and WSU.