Dear Members of the University of Washington Community:
Welcome to those of you who are new to the University this fall, and welcome back to those who are returning for another academic year. I hope all of you have had productive and rewarding summers and are ready to continue the work that makes the University such a special place.
The start of a new academic year in many ways represents a fresh beginning. We have new classmates, new professors, new colleagues, and new subjects and ideas to engage and explore. We also have a number of new facilities opening this fall, including a newly renovated HUB, a new molecular engineering and sciences building, a new wing of the UW Medical Center, a new library addition in Tacoma, and two new student residence halls in Seattle’s west campus. These wonderful facilities will add immeasurably to the academic and student experiences at the University and provide much needed research, study, and living spaces for many years to come.
Students in particular I hope will also notice some new resources devoted to their instructional programs. Thanks to many in our University and alumni community and beyond, the state Legislature passed a supplemental budget in the spring that halted the erosion of the University’s state appropriation. This meant that we could begin the arduous task of restoring some of the resources that we had lost in previous years. We increased faculty and teaching assistant positions to add more sections of critical courses students need to progress in a timely way through their programs. We also were able to shore up advising positions so that students can better access the guidance they need as they navigate their way through their academic programs. And we were able to provide additional financial aid funding so that students could better afford the increased tuition that resulted from the past several years’ cuts in our state budget. Virtually all of the new expenditures were targeted to enhance our students’ learning experience.
Students will also see this fall an increased use of technology in their courses. More faculty are experimenting with ways to incorporate the use of new technologies in their classrooms to intensify the learning experience and broaden their ability to interact with students in even more meaningful ways. In some cases, students will be asked to do more advance work online before coming to class, all in an effort to make better use of class time and squeeze even more learning into the course. We expect these innovations to continue as we become more adept at exploring ways to take advantage of the rapid changes in technology.
There is much to look forward to this year and much to accomplish. I intend to describe some of what I hope we can accomplish as an institution at my annual address to the University community on Thursday, October 18, at 3 p.m. in Meany Hall. I hope you will be able to join me. In the meantime, explore and enjoy this exceptional university.
Michael K. Young