UW President Mark Emmert discusses financial planning for the future, exciting news about research over the summer and the dedication of a new memorial to honor UW’s eight Medal of Honor recipients. Watch the video »
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:
As we approach the start of the new academic year, we are beginning to experience a resurgence of the novel H1N1 influenza virus, much as was expected. As has been reported in the news, colleges and universities across the country have had outbreaks of the virus as classes began. While the virus appears to be easily transmitted from person to person, the good news is that it also seems to be relatively mild as an influenza illness and most people not in high-risk populations recover fully within a week.
The Universityâ€™s Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases (ACCD), chaired by Vice President for Student Life Eric Godfrey, has been monitoring information related to the H1N1 influenza since last spring and preparing for its arrival at the University this fall. From everything we know at this point, we can expect a substantial fraction of our community to become ill with H1N1 influenza. A vaccine against H1N1 is expected to be widely available by mid-October, and when it is, we are planning for a mass inoculation program to get it to people as quickly as possible.
Dear Members of the University of Washington Community:
The news today from Olympia about the further decline in state revenues is another sign that the economic recovery will be difficult and slow. While todayâ€™s revenue forecast will not mean further cuts at this time — a scenario hard to imagine, given what we are going through — we do need to be mindful that the economic situation has yet to stabilize and we need to act accordingly. The next revenue forecast will come in September, and we hope that will show more encouraging signs that an economic recovery is taking hold.
In the meantime, we are about to start the new biennium, and the economic environment in which we do so is very fragile. We have worked hard over the past few months to do everything we could to protect core instructional activities and programs, and we remain committed to maintaining the highest possible quality instructional programs for our students. Governor Gregoire has asked state agencies to continue to conserve spending. I am urging the deans and chancellors, vice presidents, and others as we start the new biennium to keep the current economic climate clearly in view and to proceed cautiously and prudently in committing resources as we await the next revenue forecast in September.
The continued decline in state revenues underscores the importance of the University continuing to look for ways to increase efficiencies and creatively seek opportunities to cultivate new sources of revenue, a subject we will all be discussing and engaging more intensively in the weeks and months ahead.
Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:
Over the last several months, people from across our campuses have submitted many valuable cost-saving suggestions to help our University weather the economic downturn. I am deeply appreciative of all those who have taken the time to share their thoughts and ideas. I write now to update you on the actions we have taken in response to these thoughtful suggestions.
I received many suggestions related to energy savings, ranging from turning off unneeded lights to converting campus buildings into energy sources by adding solar or green rooftops. All of these ideas are now with our Finance and Facilities offices undergoing feasibility study and cost-benefit analysis. Those that we can implement — in addition to our already robust energy savings program — we will. Not only will we save money, we will help the planet.
Dear students, faculty and staff:
Over the weekend, the Legislature completed the unenviable task of writing and passing a biennial budget during the worst economic period in decades. Any budget that must bridge a biennial shortfall of $9 billion is bound to please no one and to result in serious consequences for the state.
For the University of Washington, the resulting budget decisions are dramatic. The bad news is that the Legislature decided to reduce state funding to the six public four-year college and universities more than any other sector in state government. The University of Washington received the highest percentage cut in all of higher education-26 percent. This is a stark and sobering number.
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:
By now most of you have heard about the potential need to increase tuition because of the severe cuts in our state support. I am writing to clarify why this may need to happen and to explain the potential impacts.
Nobody, certainly not me, likes to raise tuition. We support a significant increase only because of the extraordinary circumstances in which we find ourselves. The proposed cuts to higher education in our state are enormous, ranging from 23 percent in the Senateâ€™s proposal to 31 percent in the Houseâ€™s. Reductions of this magnitude would eliminate 10,000 student openings across higher education in the state, while at the same time significantly increasing the time it takes for students to receive their degrees. Instead of graduating on time, students would have to stayâ€”and pay tuition forâ€”an extra quarter or two to get the classes they need to graduate. Moreover, without some partial relief, these cuts would greatly diminish the quality of the educational experience at the UW. There would be larger classes, fewer courses offered, and fewer support services available to students, including advising.
Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:
All members of the University of Washington Bothell community are invited to join me on Tuesday, April 14, for a town hall meeting on the University’s current budget situation. This meeting is an opportunity to discuss where we are in the state budget process, the implications of pending budget cuts, and our priorities and strategies as we move into the next biennium.
The meeting begins at 10:30 a.m. and will include a question-and-answer session. For those of you unable to attend, you may submit your questions in advance.
• When: Tuesday, April 14, 2009
• Where: North Creek Events Center
• Time: 10:30 a.m.
I hope you will join me and participate in this important conversation.
Mark A. Emmert
UW President Mark Emmert talks about the 2009 Legislative session and challenges the state and higher education face in this time of economic turmoil. Watch the video »
For nearly 30 years before returning to my home state, I took great pride in watching Washington emerge as a leader in technology, global trade and innovation. I often bragged about the way our state had jumped on the opportunities of the knowledge economy and about how progressive it was in providing its people with the chance to get ahead, especially through higher education, just as I had. I was an unabashed promoter of my home state’s ethos and culture of opportunity.
Fast-forward five years and I find it hard to recognize those same values and culture in the budget proposals in our state Legislature right now, especially regarding their treatment of higher education.
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:
As you have likely heard, the Washington State Senate and House of Representatives earlier this week released their operating budget proposals for the 2009-2011 biennium. While we expected significant new cuts, the Legislative budget reductions are dramatic and disturbing. All of higher education will be severely impacted should these proposals pass. For the University of Washington, the Senate has proposed a state budget cut of nearly 23 percent, or $189 million, while the House has proposed even deeper cuts of 31 percent, or $260 million. These cuts are worse than we had anticipated, and although they could be mitigated somewhat with federal stimulus funds and tuition increases, they still represent a serious challenge to our ability to serve our state.
If the Senate and House proposals were passed in their present forms, we would see severe impacts across our University community. We would have to significantly reduce the number of students admitted to the University just when we have the highest demand in history. Likewise, because there would be fewer course offerings and fewer staff to provide students services, it would take students longer to complete their degrees. On the research front, our longstanding success in competing for research dollars would be jeopardized, resulting in further losses of jobs and the ensuing detrimental effect on the state’s economy. Also, the only way to manage such large budget cuts would be to eliminate jobs across the University. Notably, these are all consequences that would not just be felt now, but would reverberate long into our state’s future. This makes our efforts to preserve higher education funding all the more important.