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UW FACULTY AND STAFF PERSPECTIVES ON THE
UNIVERSITY INITIATIVES FUND

Report on a survey and open meeting
regarding the UIF and its impacts on the University of Washington

 

Jointly sponsored by the Faculty Senate (Chair Mary B. Coney)
and

President Richard L. McCormick

March 21, 2001

Table of Contents
UW Faculty and Staff Perspectives on the University Initiatives Fund

I. Executive Summary

A. Issues raised at the Open meeting
B. Survey Results
C. Conclusions

II. Report on UW Faculty and Staff Perspectives on the UIF

A. Introduction
B. Open Meeting
C. Survey Results
1. Summary of Methodology and Survey Design
2. Quantitative Findings
- Section One: Respondent characteristics
- Section Two. UIF in General
- Section Three: Implementation of the UIF
- Section Four: The UIF and Colleges, Schools and Administrative Units
3. Qualitative Findings
- Themes Emerging from the answers to the Open-Ended Questions
- Sub-themes

III. Methodology

IV. Sample Survey: UW Faculty and Staff Perspectives on the University Initiatives Fund

 

Table of Tables

Table 1. General Opinion of the UIF, by familiar respondents.
Table 2. Respondents’ Position, Tenure and Administrative duties
Table 3. Respondents’ familiarity with aspects of the UIF
Table 4. Respondents’ participation in UIF proposal or funded projects.
Table 5. Respondents participation in decision making and/or strategic planning for the budget reductions.
Table 6. General Opinion of the UIF, by all respondents and familiar respondents
Table 7. The amount of the budget reduction, for all respondents and familiar respondents.
Table 8. The timing of the budget reduction, for all respondents and familiar respondents.
Table 9. The split between interdisciplinary and unit-specific awards, for all respondents and familiar respondents.
Table 10. The duration of the UIF, for all respondents and familiar respondents.
Table 11. The impacts of a hypothetical state-mandate budget cut on the UIF, for all respondents and familiar respondents.
Table 12. General Opinion of the UIF, by Position (Collapsed into Staff, Librarian, Faculty)
Table 13. General Opinion of the UIF, by Administrative Duties
Table 14. General Opinion on the UIF, by level of involvement in decision making.
Table 15. General Opinion of the UIF, by Participation in a UIF proposal, or UIF Funded Project
Table 16. Opinions on the Implementation of the UIF, All Respondents
Table 17. Opinions on the Implementation of the UIF, Familiar Respondents
Table 18. Comparison of General Opinion of the UIF, with and without the inclusion of respondents from the School of Medicine.
Table 19. Collapsed Impacts of the UIF on respondent’s college/school/administrative unit, order in terms of negative impact, and positive impact.

Table of Figures

Figure 1. Comparison of General Opinion of the UIF, by All Respondents, and Familiar Respondents
Figure 2. General Opinion of the UIF, by Position

I. Executive Summary

The Faculty Senate, Chair Mary B. Coney, and President McCormick are jointly sponsoring a University-wide evaluation of the University Initiatives Fund (UIF). The University Initiatives Fund (UIF) is a mechanism to reallocate University of Washington (UW) resources, supported by a 1-percent assessment on UW operating budgets every two years between 1997 and 2007. There are multiple components to this evaluation. A review committee composed of seven members will be visiting the UW April 5-6, 2001, to gather information and make recommendations regarding the UIF to President McCormick. The Senate Committee on Planning and Budgeting will be presenting an assessment of the units’ strategic planning and decision-making regarding the UIF budget reductions. Evaluations of the first round of UIF awardees have been completed. This report presents the findings from two more components of the evaluation.

The first of the two components was an open meeting, Campus Perspectives on the UIF, held February 22, 2001, on the Seattle campus. Open to faculty, staff, and students, this forum afforded the opportunity for the university community to express their experiences, questions, and concerns about the UIF.

The second of the two evaluation components presented in this report is a survey of UW faculty and staff perspectives on the UIF. The purpose of this survey was specifically to provide the review committee with feedback about the UIF based on the experiences and perspectives of UW faculty and staff.

 

A. Issues raised at the Open Meeting

The open meeting, Campus Perspectives on the UIF, was held February 22, 2001, on the Seattle campus. Open to faculty, staff, and students, this forum allowed approximately twenty-five people to communicate their experiences, questions, and concerns about the UIF. The major themes emerging from speakers’ comments could be categorized into roughly three over-lapping groupings:

  1. Participants of UIF awards who were supportive of the UIF based on the innovative, interdisciplinary efforts which encompassed elements of undergraduate and graduate education and research. The ability of the UIF to create and fund these programs, and the subsequent effects of these programs on education and research were the prevailing benefits mentioned.
  2. Those who discussed the difficult tradeoffs that were associated with the UIF. A prevalent theme among the speakers was the need for balance in weighing the benefits and costs of the UIF, and making a decision about its future.
  3. Members of the UW community who were opposed to the UIF, based on its inequitable structure, or the redistributional nature of the initiative. Speakers in this category presented objections to the UIF, based on what they felt was a flawed program, with serious negative impacts for the University.

The majority of speakers at this forum were either faculty or students, with fewer contributions from staff. The students largely provided testimonials of the benefits that had accrued to themselves and others from the opportunities made available by the existence of UIF funded projects with which they were associated. Several of the faculty members speaking were directly involved with UIF funded projects and provided similar testimony to the benefits of these initiatives. Participants in UIF funded projects also emphasized that the centralized nature of the UIF funding source was a critical element to allowing these interdisciplinary initiatives to develop.

The speakers’ comments were transcribed and then coded based on repeated themes. For each of the three major groupings described above, the text of an exemplary comment is provided. These three comments capture the breadth of opinions voiced at the meeting. Due to the similarity of the comments with those provided by respondents to the survey, we will keep our discussion of the comments brief. A more detailed analysis of the survey responses appears in the qualitative findings. The themes which emerge there are similar, though slightly expanded, and there is a review of the sub-themes that were apparent in the responses. That analysis is largely representative of the voices heard at the campus meeting.

B. Survey Results

The survey was distributed via an email notification to approximately 26,902 faculty and staff at the University of Washington. We had 2,089 respondents to the survey within the approximately three week period that the survey was available. This number represents a response rate of approximately 7.8 percent of the survey population. The survey attempted to elicit opinions on (1) the structure of the UIF, (2) the implementation of the UIF, and (3) the impact of the UIF on colleges, schools and administrative units.

Based on the general opinions of the UIF for respondents who indicated familiarity with the UIF in the quantitative portion of the survey, the responses are relatively evenly distributed, on a scale from very negative to very positive. Of the respondents, 45 percent reported a positive or very positive attitude, while 38 percent report a negative or very negative view.

 

Table 1. General Opinion of the UIF, by familiar respondents.

General Opinion of the UIF

Just familiar respondents

Frequency

Percent

Very Negative

165

16%

Negative

233

22%

Neutral

191

18%

Positive

304

29%

Very Positive

166

16%

Total

1059

100%

No answer

4

0%

Total

1063

100%

 

The levels of support for the UIF were slightly higher than opposition throughout the quantitative portion of the survey. Of our respondents, those who report familiarity with the UIF are less favorable towards the UIF than those who were unfamiliar with the UIF. The obvious exception to this were participants in UIF funded projects, who were generally supportive of the UIF.

Trends in the questions on implementation of the UIF largely reflected trends in the questions on the structural components associated with the UIF concept. Yet, in the qualitative analysis of the responses to the open-ended question, it was clear that a significant portion of the respondents distinguished between the concept of the UIF and its implementation.

The most overwhelming conclusion is that when we consider the familiarity of the respondents with the UIF, the levels of support for the UIF are generally very mixed. This conclusion is supported by the remainder of the analysis based on both the survey and the open meeting.

The quantitative portion of the survey was greatly augmented by the inclusion of open-ended questions to which approximately half of the survey respondents provided some comment or answer. The responses to these open-ended questions ranged considerably in length, eloquence, intensity, and complexity. Definite themes nonetheless emerged.

The themes that emerged from analysis of these responses could be organized roughly into four major overlapping categories :

  1. those who supported the UIF;
  2. those who supported the concept of the UIF, but disagreed with either its implementation, or particular elements of its structure (i.e., the split between interdisciplinary and unit-specific awards, or its duration for 5 biennia);
  3. those who supported the concept of a means to foster innovation and capitalize on opportunities, but disagreed with the basic structure of the UIF (i.e., the across-the-board, 1-percent budget reduction or the centralized decision making regarding the awards distribution); and
  4. those who opposed both the concept and its implementation. This group includes those who were critical of the effects that the UIF is having on the UW and who did not indicate support for the concept itself, as well as those who were explicitly opposed to the concept.

 

In contrast with the quantitative portion of the survey, the trend in the comments was towards a negative or critical view of the UIF. The criticism of the UIF centered around the costs to existing units and the perceived inequities in the structure and/or implementation of the program. The benefits that were associated with the UIF included the new, innovative and interdisciplinary programs that had emerged from awards, the publicity which these new programs brought to the UW, the ability of the UW to capitalize on "cutting-edge" research, and the potential for the awards to act as seed money. Costs inventoried included loss of faculty and staff, negative effects on morale, reduced quality in undergraduate education, increased workload, lost flexibility, reduced computing, equipment and physical facilities, and reduced student services. Much like in the open meeting, a common theme among the responses was the benefits and costs associated with the UIF.

 

C. Conclusions

The analysis of the comments at the open meeting, and the quantitative and qualitative sections of the survey indicate that there is a great diversity of opinion on the UIF. There are definitely negative and definitely positive opinions about the UIF, its structure, its implementation, and its effects on colleges, school, and administrative units. And while there are differences in the levels of support for various aspects of the UIF and among various groups of members of the UW community, it cannot be said, based on the results of these analyses, that positive or negative opinions dominate.

There are essentially four types of opinions regarding the UIF. The first is held by those who support the UIF. Many, though not all, of the faculty and staff who indicated support for the UIF also indicated that they were participants in UIF funded projects. The second type comes from those who oppose the UIF without qualification. The third type is voiced by those who support the UIF in concept, but are critical of its implementation, or continued viability. The fourth type is supportive of a means for encouraging innovative and/or interdisciplinary efforts at the UW, but is critical of the essential structure of the UIF. No one position dominates the results. In the qualitative portions of the survey responses, negative opinions of either the concept or implementation of the UIF, definitely outnumber those with positive opinions. Yet, in the quantitative portions of the survey responses, those with positive opinions outnumber those with negative opinions.

There is no doubt that there are benefits as well as costs associated with the UIF. What can be elicited from these survey responses is that a limited portion of the UW community is informed about the UIF. Of those who are informed, some but not all of those who have participated in UIF funded projects support the UIF conceptually and in its current implementation. Those who have not participated in UIF funded projects are much less supportive of the UIF, both conceptually and in its implementation.

 

II. Report on UW Faculty and Staff Perspectives on the UIF

 

A. Introduction

The discussion and themes that emerged at the open meeting are discussed, followed by the results of the survey, which are grouped by the sections of the survey instrument: respondent characteristics, the structure of the UIF, the implementation of the UIF, and the impact of the UIF on colleges, schools and administrative units. The quantitative analysis of the survey results is followed by the qualitative analysis of the survey respondents’ comments. These analyses are followed by the methodological aspects of the survey, and finally the survey instrument itself.

 

B. Open Meeting

The open meeting, Campus Perspectives on the UIF, was held February 22, 2001, on the Seattle campus. Open to faculty, staff, and students, this forum afforded the opportunity for allowed approximately twenty-five people to communicate their experiences, questions, and concerns about the UIF. The major themes emerging from speakers’ comments can be categorized into roughly three over-lapping groupings:

    1. Participants of UIF awards who were supportive of the UIF based on the innovative, interdisciplinary efforts which encompassed elements of undergraduate and graduate education and research. The ability of the UIF to create and fund these programs, and the subsequent effects of these programs on education and research were the prevailing benefits mentioned.
    2. Those who discussed the difficult tradeoffs in terms of benefits and costs which were associated with the UIF.
    3. Members of the UW community who were opposed to the UIF, based on its inequitable structure, or the redistributional nature of the initiative.

The majority of speakers at this forum were faculty and/or students, with fewer contributions from staff. The students largely provided testimonials of the benefits that had accrued to themselves and others from the opportunities made available by the existence of UIF funded projects with which they were associated. Several of the faculty members speaking were directly involved with UIF funded projects and provided similar testimony to the benefits of these initiatives. Participants in UIF funded projects also emphasized that the centralized nature of the UIF funding source was a critical element in allowing these interdisciplinary initiatives to develop.

The speakers’ comments were transcribed and then coded based on repeated themes. For each of the three major groupings described above, the text of an exemplary comment is provided. These three comments capture the breadth of opinions voiced at the meeting. Due to the similarity of the comments with those provided by respondents to the survey, we will keep our discussion of the comments brief. A more detailed analysis of the survey responses appears in the qualitative findings. The themes which emerge are similar, though slightly expanded, and there is a review of the sub-themes which were apparent in the responses. That analysis is largely representative of the voices heard at the campus meeting.

 

1. Participants of UIF awards who were supportive of the UIF based on the innovative, interdisciplinary efforts that encompassed elements of undergraduate and graduate education and research.

Viola Vogel:

I’m a faculty member in Bioengineering and I’m a recipient of one of the first UIFs [Nanotechnology]. I thought I would briefly summarize for you today what we have accomplished in the last four years with an investment of $500,000 per year. It was very important to group all the courses that are offered in this field on this campus across the disciplines--we are now nine participating departments with altogether 40 faculty members. And all the courses are now listed on a joint WEB page and students are informed and it has greatly enhanced the interdisciplinary nature of our courses and student body in those classes. And so the idea came up to create a Ph.D. program in Nanotechnology and last year we got funding from NSF for a new IGERT Program of 2.7 million dollars to create the first Ph.D. program in Nanotech, not only in the U.S. but, to our knowledge, even in the world. The centerpiece of the infrastructure that we built is a Nanotech user facility, which gives students access to state of the art equipment in nanoscale science and technology. And since its opening in 1999, we have trained more than 50 graduate students in the usage of this equipment. And so the availability and the access have a huge impact on all of our research activities right now.

In terms of dollar amounts, we have received now, and that was only possible through the existence of the UIF, 2.7 million dollars for our Ph.D. program in Nanotechnology. Then we got data back from 20 of our 40 Nanotech faculty and they raised since then 43 million dollars in research funding. Our graduate student fellowship program directly seeded grants of 4 million at this point. Essentially 10 of these awards provided the necessary research data for us to compete successfully. . . . we have built a community on campus; we can have major impact on the national an international scale and we feel very grateful for the possibility of getting this support from the University.

 

2. Those who discussed the difficult tradeoffs in terms of benefits and costs that were associated with the UIF. A prevalent theme among the speakers was the need for balance in weighing the benefits and cost of the UIF, and making a decision about its future.

Chair, Aeronautics and Astronautics:

I also wear two other hats, one is as a beneficiary and one is as a victim of the UIF. Maybe that’s too strong a word. But let me address the beneficiary part. We’ve heard this afternoon some very good things about the UIF and what’s exciting about it is all the possibilities that can grow out of this new program. The Astrobiology is a wonderful example. This is a group of people from many different departments, Arts & Sciences, Medical School, College of Engineering, Oceanography, etc., and the UIF made possible two new faculty slots, an undergraduate research program, and the organization of annual summer institute that will draw Astrobiologists from throughout the nation.

Unfortunately, we all have to pay for this. And I have now finished the third cycle of cuts. One percent doesn’t sound like a lot, and indeed, in the two previous biennia the College of Engineering did much to help shield each department in the College from the cuts, but we’ve gotten to the point now where this third round of cuts has really begun to hurt our program. And my particular department--I’m working very hard to build up the department--we’ve got faculty retirements, we’re trying to hire 5 new people; all the candidates who come and interview--one of the things they ask about is what is the support that we get from the state and the university. What is the infrastructure like? And so on. And we have to be honest with them about the situation. And I’m concerned that with more and more cuts . . . the cuts that we have to do now, we have zero operating funds left, we’ve cut TA positions, the next biennium in 03-05 we’re going to have to cut faculty or staff. And at a time when we’re trying to grow, at a time when we're doing well, we’re on the road, our department is now ranked No. 9 in the country in the undergraduate program among Aerospace departments, we want to get our graduate program up there. We don’t know how we’re going to do it if we are going to keep having to pay this tax every two years. So, let me just summarize by saying that the UIF is wonderful; we need something like this, it’s just the source of the revenue that causes the pain. And I would like to see the University, in its campaign for private funds, to emphasize the UIF and perhaps bring money in from private donors to support this very worthwhile exercise.

 

3. Members of the UW community who were opposed to the UIF, based on its inequitable structure or the inherent redistributional nature of the initiative. Speakers in this category presented objections to the UIF, based on what they felt was a flawed program, with serious negative impacts for the University.

 Faculty, Mechanical Engineering:

So obviously we’ve heard from some of the stars of the UIF program and of course they have great things to say, and I give them lots of credit for what they do. But that doesn’t change the fact that the UIF is based on a fundamentally flawed assumption, which is the fact that you have to create these new programs in order to have innovations and take advantage of opportunities. In fact, that happens within departments all the time. The fact that you are here is that the poster children for life-long learning constantly reinvent themselves, come up with new things in their research programs and in their educational programs. And the reward for that is you get cut every year. And we’ve already heard that the net effect of these things, because all the money is tied up in salaries, is we effectively lose faculty. In our department, where I believe we are already number 1 in the country on Bachelor’s degrees per faculty member in Research I Mechanical Engineering departments. We don’t need to get any better at that. We can’t afford to lose those additional faculty members and that’s what’s happening now. And as a result of that, not only do we lose faculty members, but the people who are here are systematically demoralized as a result of this program. Everybody is just miserable at this point because there is no upside potential right now. And it’s really sad and we’re making it worse than it needs to be by this very program.

[T]he other problem is speaking of tight resources, we’re wasting effort by doing these internal proposals. We have had some byproducts where there were some secondary effects were we got outside funding. But if we put this same effort directly into seeking outside funding, we all come out ahead. And speaking of all coming out ahead, this has been alluded to, the funding source----it does not make sense for people to play this as a zero sum game. If we’re going to do this, there has to be at the very least be matching funds from outside. If all these other groups, regions, industry, the legislature, love this program so much, they must be willing to put their money where their mouth is and match the cuts we’re taking. If the pie got bigger for everybody, this would be a much more palatable program but we don’t have that going on right now. And even though the Nanotechnology people have wonderful numbers for the grant money that they’ve generated, you can’t just look at those numbers, you have to look at the difference between that and what they would have done anyway, without the UIF program. We can’t just look at those things as if that was all generated by the UIF.

 

C. Survey Results

1. Summary of Methodology and Survey Design

The survey was distributed via an email notification to approximately 26,902 faculty and staff of the University Washington. The survey could be taken by one of three methods: on the web, via email, or by printing out and sending a competed survey via campus mail to the Faculty Senate. We had 2,089 respondents to the survey within the approximately three week period that the survey was available. This represents a response rate of approximately 7.8 percent of the survey population.

The survey instrument was comprised of four sections: (1) respondent characteristics, (2) the structure of the UIF, (3) the implementation of the UIF, and (4) the impact of the UIF on colleges, schools and administrative units. There were 44 questions in total, with four of the questions being open-ended questions with space for comments, and the remaining forty questions being closed-ended questions in which respondents selected from provided options. The majority of the closed-ended questions were either: (a) asking respondents for information about themselves, (b) asking yes/no questions about their experience and familiarity with the UIF, or (c) asking for their opinions about elements or effects of the UIF with either a four or five point answer scale.

 

2. Quantitative Findings

Section One: Respondent characteristics

In the first section of the survey, respondents were asked to answer questions about themselves in relation to their duties at the University, and their levels of familiarity, experience, and involvement with the UIF.

 

Position, Tenure, and Administrative Duties

Approximately 57 percent of respondents identified themselves as staff, 38 percent as faculty, and 1.6 percent as librarians. Respondents were asked whether they were (1) classified or professional staff or (2) research faculty or faculty. Because there were not significant differences among either of these two sub-categories in terms of the results, those categories were collapsed into staff and faculty for the analysis presented here (Table 2).

Almost 13 percent of the respondents identified themselves as part-time employees, and while there were differences between part-time and full-time employees, they were largely captured by the respondents’ levels of familiarity with the UIF. For this reason, part-time and full-time employees were not distinguished for the analysis presented here. A third question related to the respondents’ administrative capacity. Twenty-five percent of the respondents indicated that their positions had involved administrative duties in the last 4 years.

Table 2. Respondents’ Position, Tenure and Administrative duties

Number

Percentage

Classified Staff

544

26.0%

Professional Staff

664

31.7%

Librarian

33

1.6%

Research Faculty

76

3.6%

Faculty

725

34.7%

Other

44

2.1%

Part-time

265

12.7%

Full-time

1813

86.7%

Had administrative duties in the last 3 years

523

25.0%

Familiarity

Of our respondents, 51 percent indicated at least some level of familiarity with the UIF (Table 3). Based on further questions to establish the extent of their knowledge, though, it became apparent that they were most familiar with the 1 percent budget reduction (68.5%), and split fairly evenly on familiarity with the timing (50.9%), the permanent nature of the funding source (54.5%) and the awards decision-making process (52.1%). Respondents reported a significantly lower familiarity (32.8%) with the split between funding for interdisciplinary awards and the unit-specific awards, a change that was introduced in the second of the five biennia (1999-2000).

 

Table 3. Respondents’ familiarity with aspects of the UIF

 

Level of involvement

Of our respondents, 20 percent said they had participated in a pre-proposal for a UIF award, 9.8 percent had participated in a full proposal for an UIF award, and 13 percent of the survey respondents answered that they have participated in a UIF funded project (Table 4).

 

Table 4. Respondents’ participation in UIF proposal or funded projects.

Number

Percentage

Participants in pre-proposal for UIF award

422

20.3%

Participants in full proposal for UIF award

204

9.8%

Participant in a UIF proposal that received funding.

271

13.2%

 

Decision making

Almost 85 percent of the survey respondents reported having no involvement in decision making or strategic planning regarding the budget reduction. Only 6.4 percent reported involvement in decision making in the first, second or third round of budget reductions, while only 1.6 percent reported involvement in strategic planning for the budget reductions in the fourth or fifth rounds of budget reductions.

 

Table 5. Respondents participation in decision making and/or strategic planning for the budget reductions.

 

Section Two. UIF in General

General Opinion of the UIF

Respondents were asked to indicate their general opinion of the UIF, based on their level of knowledge and participation (Table 6). The majority indicated that they were neutral (44.1 percent), unsurprising given the 50 percent level of familiarity. Positive opinions of the UIF were reported by 30.8 percent , with 9.2 percent of those being very positive. Negative opinions of the UIF were reported by 22.5 percent, with 8.9 percent of those being very negative.

 

Table 6. General Opinion of the UIF, by all respondents and familiar respondents

General Opinion of the UIF

All respondents

Just familiar respondents

Frequency

Percent

Frequency

Percent

Very Negative

186

9%

165

16%

Negative

284

14%

233

22%

Neutral

921

44%

191

18%

Positive

452

22%

304

29%

Very Positive

192

9%

166

16%

Total

2035

97%

1059

100%

No answer

54

3%

4

0%

Total

2089

100%

1063

100%

A pattern became evident that a portion of respondents unfamiliar with the UIF still indicated a positive opinion of the UIF, somewhat weakening the credibility of the basis for their opinion. Figure 1 shows a comparison of general opinion of the UIF, by all respondents, and familiar respondents. The gap between the two lines shows that the majority of the unfamiliar responses fell into the neutral position, with a smaller, but still significant number falling into the positive position. Among unfamiliar respondents, 71.7 percent had a neutral opinion of the UIF, while 14.4 percent had a positive opinion of the UIF, with the remaining three answers (very positive, negative, and very negative) all receiving less than 4.5 percent. This trend was evident to varying degrees throughout the data. General opinions of the UIF for only those respondents who indicated familiarity with the UIF, are generally more positive (45 percent) than negative (38 percent). Familiarity breeds diversity of opinion (see Figure 1). What we can conclude from this broad question is that, when we consider the familiarity of the respondents, the levels of support for the UIF are generally mixed. This conclusion is generally supported by the remainder of the analysis based on both this survey and the open meeting.

 

Figure 1. Comparison of General Opinion of the UIF, by All Respondents, and Familiar Respondents

 

Opinions on structural characteristics of the UIF

We asked the respondents general questions about their opinions regarding the university-wide impacts of the UIF. These questions were an attempt to ascertain opinions related to the UIF as a strategy for funding reallocation, as opposed to its implementation or impact on particular units. The survey asked five questions about particular elements of the UIF structure: the amount of the budget reduction (currently 1%), the timing of the budget reduction (currently every two years for ten years), the funding split between interdisciplinary awards and unit-specific awards (60 percent interdisciplinary, 40 percent unit-specific as of the second cycle of the UIF), the duration of the UIF (currently ten years, with five years remaining), and the effect of a hypothetical state-mandated budget reduction at the UW on the UIF 1 percent budget reduction.

Of our respondents, 32.6 percent thought that the amount of the UIF budget reallocation should be either lower than 1 percent or not at all, while 41.7 percent thought it should be remain at 1 percent, and 11.8 percent thought it should be higher than 1 percent (Table 7). When familiarity is used as a filter for the respondents, 42 percent of familiar respondents thought that the amount should be either lower than 1 percent (22%) or not at all (30%), while 45 percent thought it should be 1 percent or higher.

 

Table 7. The amount of the budget reduction, for all respondents and familiar respondents.

 

All Respondents

Familiar Respondents

Frequency

Percent

Frequency

Percent

The amount of the UIF budget reduction should be:

Nothing

377

18%

316

30%

Lower than 1%

306

15%

234

22%

1%

872

42%

399

38%

Higher than 1%

247

12%

76

7%

Total

1802

86%

1025

96%

Total

2089

100%

1063

100%

 

Of our respondents, 29.1 percent thought that the UIF budget reallocation should occur either not at all or less frequently, while 7.1 percent thought it should occur more frequently (Table 8). A larger number of respondents (49.4 percent) supported the current timing of every biennia. Again, considering only familiar respondents, we found 46 percent thought the timing should be less frequent or not at all, and 50 percent thought it should remain every two years or occur more frequently.

 

Table 8. The timing of the budget reduction, for all respondents and familiar respondents.

 

All Respondents

Familiar Respondents

Frequency

Percent

Frequency

Percent

The timing of the UIF budget reduction should be:

Not at all

362

17%

300

28%

Less Frequent

248

12%

194

18%

Current timing

1031

49%

480

45%

More Frequent

149

7%

50

5%

Total

1790

86%

1024

96%

Total

2089

100%

1063

100%

 

In an attempt to ascertain the support for the emphasis of the UIF on funding interdisciplinary programs, we asked respondents to select among five alternatives for how funding should be split between interdisciplinary and unit-specific awards. The majority supported the current 60%/40% split, with relatively equal amounts opting for either less emphasis on interdisciplinary awards or more emphasis on unit-specific awards (Table 9). When familiarity is considered, the same general pattern holds true.

Table 9. The split between interdisciplinary and unit-specific awards, for all respondents and familiar respondents.

 

All Respondents

Familiar Respondents

Frequency

Percent

Frequency

Percent

The split between interdisciplinary and unit-specific UIF awards funding should be:

100% Interdisciplinary

82

4%

57

5%

80 % Interdisciplinary; 20% Unit-specific

239

11%

157

15%

60 % Interdisciplinary; 40% Unit-specific

974

47%

462

44%

20 % Interdisciplinary; 80% Unit-specific

250

12%

170

16%

100% Unit specific

56

3%

48

5%

Total

1601

77%

894

84%

Total

2089

100%

1063

100%

 

A significant percentage (28.7%) supported ending the UIF now, or after the current cycle (3 round of 5) of budget cuts and awards (Table 10), while 30 percent supported the original plan to continue the UIF for five years more. And 23.6 percent of respondents supported the renewal of the program for another 10 years after the conclusion of the initial 10-year cycle. When familiarity is introduced, the percentage who support ending the UIF now or after the current cycle jumps to 44 percent, with 29 percent supporting the original 10-year plan, and 22 percent supporting the renewal of the program for another ten-year cycle.

 

Table 10. The duration of the UIF, for all respondents and familiar respondents.

 

All Respondents

Familiar Respondents

Frequency

Percent

Frequency

Percent

The UIF should continue for how much longer?

End it now

384

18%

313

29%

1 year

216

10%

156

15%

5 years

626

30%

304

29%

15 years

493

24%

229

22%

Total

1719

82%

1002

94%

Total

2089

100%

1063

100%

 

Given the recent discussions of potential impending budget cuts at the University of Washington, we asked what effect a state-mandated budget cut should have, if any, on the UIF budget reductions. Responses fell fairly equally among the four categories of ending (25%) , suspending (21%), reducing (18%), or not changing (23%) the UIF 1 percent budget reduction (Table 11).

 

Table 11. The impacts of a hypothetical state-mandate budget cut on the UIF, for all respondents and familiar respondents.

 

All Respondents

Familiar Respondents

Frequency

Percent

Frequency

Percent

If the UW were to face a state-mandated budget cut, the UIF 1% budget reduction should:

Not be changed

474

23%

232

22%

Be reduced

370

18%

167

16%

Be suspended

443

21%

224

21%

Be ended

518

25%

409

39%

Be increased

23

1%

8

1%

Total

1828

88%

1040

98%

Total

2089

100%

1063

100%

 

When familiarity is introduced, the significant difference is that a greater percentage of respondents (39%) support ending the UIF in the face of a state-mandated budget reduction.

There were differences among the various groups of respondents in their general opinions about the UIF, though they were generally as might be expected. Likewise, those differences extended with fair consistency to responses on the basic structural elements of the UIF.

 

Table 12. General Opinion of the UIF, by Position (Collapsed into Staff, Librarian, Faculty)

 

Table 12 and Figure 2 illustrate the differences in general opinion on the UIF among faculty, librarians, and staff. Faculty is decidedly more negative than staff, and librarians are more negative than either. Positive response were relatively more balanced, with faculty being slightly more positive than either staff or librarians. 

Figure 2. General Opinion of the UIF, by Position

 

As previously mentioned, those with greater levels of familiarity with the UIF were less neutral in their responses. Also, the more familiar respondents were less supportive of the UIF as indicated by their responses to questions about the UIF’s structure. With increased familiarity came more support for ending or reducing the rate or timing of the budget reduction, more support for ending the UIF now or after this current round of funding, and more support for ending the UIF in the face of a state-mandated budget cut.

In general, there was consistency among the opinions on these four structural components of the UIF, among the groups. The same trends were visible among respondents who identified themselves as having administrative duties (Table 13).  

Table 13. General Opinion of the UIF, by Administrative Duties

 

The same phenomenon was apparent in those respondents involved in decision making in the first three rounds or strategic planning for the final two rounds (Table 14).

 

Table 14. General Opinion on the UIF, by level of involvement in decision making.

 

And furthermore, the same patterns were apparent in respondents who identified themselves as participants in pre-proposals, or full proposals for UIF awards (Table 15).

Unsurprisingly, respondents who identified themselves as participants in UIF funded projects were markedly different than the previously described groups in their general opinions and opinions on the structural elements of the UIF. They were much more supportive in their general opinions of the UIF (Table 15), and more supportive of the current operational structure. They were more supportive of retaining the UIF budget reduction in the face of a state-mandated budget cut, and more supportive of the renewal of the program for another 10-year cycle .

 

Table 15. General Opinion of the UIF, by Participation in a UIF proposal, or UIF Funded Project

 

Interdisciplinary/Unit specific split

The responses to the question about the split between interdisciplinary and unit-specific awards did not vary according to familiarity and experience as consistently as the other responses on the UIF structure. As might be expected, with increased familiarity or experience with the UIF came more distribution along the five choices, rather than clumping on the current 60/40 percent split. With increased familiarity and/or experience with the UIF, the support for the 60/40 split declined, while in most cases, levels of support for all of the other options rose. There was limited support for the extreme positions that allocated all of the awards to either interdisciplinary or unit-specific awards.

 

Section Three: Implementation of the UIF

These questions attempted to ascertain opinions of the UIF based on its implementation so far, as opposed to the basic structural components of the program. The trends in the responses in this section, though, largely reflected the trends in the responses to the structural components of the UIF. The questions were prefaced by a list of the titles of the recipient of interdisciplinary awards in order to provide respondents with at least a minimum of information about how the UIF awards had been allocated so far.

 

The UIF as a Good use of funds and critical to success

Of our respondents, 42.2 percent agreed that the UIF, as it has been implemented so far, is a good use of UW funds, while on 18.7 disagreed. A lesser number of the respondents, 38.4 percent, agreed the UIF is a critical element to the success of the UW, while 27.2 percent disagreed with that idea.

 

Direction the UIF is moving the UW

Of our respondents, 42.6 percent believed that the reductions and awards moved the UW in a positive direction, while 20.2 percent of the respondents believed that the UIF has moved the UW in a negative direction.

 

Table 16. Opinions on the Implementation of the UIF, All Respondents

 

Good Use of Funds

Critical to Success

Positive/Negative Direction

Count

%

Count

%

Count

%

Strongly disagree

138

7.2%

Very Negative

215

11.2%

134

7.1%

Disagree

218

11.4%

Negative

304

15.9%

252

13.3%

Neutral

749

39.2%

Neutral

662

34.5%

703

37.0%

Agree

641

33.5%

Positive

543

28.3%

670

35.3%

Strongly Agree

166

8.7%

Very Positive

193

10.1%

141

7.4%

 

Faculty were generally slightly more negative on these questions than were staff, as were those with administrative duties. Those who identified themselves as familiar with the UIF were also less in agreement with the idea that the UIF was a good use of funds, or critical to success (Table 17).

When familiarity was taken into account 45.4 percent agreed that the UIF, as it has been implemented so far, is a good use of UW funds, while on 27.2 percent disagreed. A lesser number, 38.6 percent, of the respondents agreed the UIF is a critical element to the success of the UW, while 40.3 percent disagreed with that idea. And when familiarity is accounted for in the direction in which the UIF is leading the UW, 44 percent believed that reductions and awards so far moved the UW in a positive direction, while 31.2 percent of the respondents believed that the UIF was moving the UW in a negative direction.

 

Table 17. Opinions on the Implementation of the UIF, Familiar Respondents

 

Good Use of Funds

Critical to Success

Positive/Negative Direction

Count

%

Count

%

Count

%

Strongly disagree

114

11.0%

Very Negative

182

17.6%

119

11.5%

Disagree

168

16.2%

Negative

235

22.7%

203

19.7%

Neutral

285

27.4%

Neutral

217

20.9%

257

24.9%

Agree

348

33.5%

Positive

272

26.2%

348

33.7%

Strongly Agree

124

11.9%

Very Positive

131

12.6%

106

10.3%

 

Nonetheless, the number of respondents who agreed with these statements about the UIF as a good use of funds, and critical to success outweighed those who disagreed when the responses were segmented by these criteria.

 

Section Four: The UIF and Colleges, Schools and Administrative Units

The final section of the survey provided a list of sixteen categories in which respondents could identify whether the UIF (either the budget reduction and/or the awards) had affected their college, school, or administrative unit, on a scale of very negative to very positive, with "do not know" being the neutral point on the scale. To simplify analysis, the categories were collapsed into negative and positive. This was also necessary as the number of respondents in each category varied substantially according to the size of the unit, as did the response rate for the individual units.

It should be noted that some units, in particular the larger ones, had much higher numbers of respondents than others. The School of Medicine comprised 541 of the approximately 2,089 responses, representing 25 percent of the respondents. Due to the number of respondents from the School of Medicine, and thus their potential impact on the responses, the data was examined without the inclusion of the School of Medicine to ascertain the differences that might exist, and the bias this might introduce into the results. Table 18 shows one of these analyses, indicating that while respondents from the School of Medicine as a whole are generally slightly less negative than the remainder of the respondents, the difference is not sizable enough to merit segmenting the data for all of the analyses.

The College of Arts and Sciences was segmented into four categories due to its size. Of these categories (Arts, Humanities, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences), Natural Sciences (115 respondents, 5.5%) and Social Sciences (100 respondents, 4.8%) were two of the three units with response levels above 100, or 5%. The third unit to meet this threshold was the College of Engineering (111 respondents, 5.3%).

 

Table 18. Comparison of General Opinion of the UIF, with and without the inclusion of respondents from the School of Medicine.

 

General Opinion of the UIF

General Opinion of UIF

without the School of Medicine

Frequency

Percent

Frequency

Percent

Very Negative

186

8.9

167

11

Negative

284

13.6

242

15.9

Neutral

921

44.1

611

40.2

Positive

452

21.6

324

21.3

Very Positive

192

9.2

142

9.3

Total

2035

97.4

1486

97.8

No response

54

2.6

33

2.2

Total

2089

100

1519

100

 

While these responses have the most meaning at the level of college, school and administrative units, it is still useful to examine how the categories fill out overall in terms of the perceived effects of the UIF. Table 19 has the sixteen categories ranked in terms of the number of respondents who indicated that the effect of the UIF on their college, school, or administrative unit in that category was either very positive, positive, negative or very negative (the categories have been collapsed into positive or negative). While the actual numbers are quite small, it is worthwhile to remember two things: (1) respondents were only to answer if they believed there was an effect in the particular category, and (2) this was the last section in the survey and one filled out for the most part by those familiar with the UIF (1,063 of the respondents). The largest number of responses in a category was 664, which provides a more useful benchmark for comparison.

 

Table 19. Collapsed Impacts of the UIF on respondent’s college/school/administrative unit, order in terms of negative impact, and positive impact.

Ranked by Negative Impacts

Ranked by Positive Impacts

Numbers of respondents selecting negative or very negative impact for the category

Numbers of respondents selecting positive or very positive impact for the category

1. Strategic Planning

340

1. Research

419

2. Staff Retention

318

2. Equipment & Computing Facilities

357

3. Staff Recruitment

303

3. Graduate Education

351

4. Graduate Education

286

4. Professional Development Faculty

322

5. Equipment & Computing Facilities

275

5. University Outreach

319

6. Faculty Retention

272

6. Strategic Planning

294

7. Undergraduate Education

270

7. Student Recruitment

255

8. Faculty Recruitment

265

8. Undergraduate Education

250

9. Professional Development Staff

249

9. Faculty Recruitment

247

10. Research

245

10. Community Service

244

11. Physical & Capital Facilities

227

11. Professional Development Staff

193

12. Professional Development Faculty

223

12. Faculty Retention

169

13. Student Retention

158

13. Student Retention

162

14. Student Recruitment

142

14. Staff Retention

156

15. University Outreach

127

15. Staff Recruitment

132

16. Community Service

123

16. Physical & Capital Facilities

107

 

What is surprising, though it should be expected, is the degree to which these rankings align with the comments provided by respondents in answering the open-ended questions. This relatively simple breakdown shows the perceived positive or negative impact of the UIF on the UW at the colleges, schools and administrative units. Some of the categories’ rankings on the ordered lists of positive and negative impacts can be interpreted in light of comments returned in the open-ended questions in the survey.

Strategic planning tops the list of negatively impacted categories, which is particularly noteworthy considering that one of the benefits of the UIF is supposed to be the discipline it imposes on individual units for planning, as well as the opportunity it provides to implement strategic new initiatives. Respondents to the open-ended questions commented that the UIF, in fact, hindered strategic planning in that it allowed for the creation of organizations outside of the departmental management structure, as well as the reduction funding and thereby the limiting of flexibility of units to respond to opportunities beyond their core mission.

Staff retention and recruitment’s presence toward the top of the rankings of negative impacts and the bottom of rankings of positive impacts is not surprising given the repeated opinions that staff positions were the first to be targeted to meet budget reductions, but also that the funded projects often include high-quality staff positions.

Graduate education is placed relatively high as both negatively and positively impacted by the UIF. The positive ranking, in all likelihood, reflects the fact that some UIF awards have established graduate degrees which has provided a positive impact. The relatively high ranking of graduate education in terms of negative impact may be associated with the comments that budget reductions have caused departments to cut some resources for graduate students, such as TA positions, and in turn affects the ability of departments to recruit graduate students.

Undergraduate education falls midway into lists of both positive and negative impacts.

Student recruitment ranks relatively high in terms of a positive impact by the UIF, perhaps as a reflection of the new graduate programs created, or strengthened by, UIF awards.

Equipment and computing facilities which are ranked relatively high in terms of negative and positive impacts might represent a similar phenomenon. Several of the UIF awards have specifically enabled awardees to procure additional computing and equipment facilities, while at the same time budget reductions may be limiting the extent to which units are able to upgrade or expand non-UIF related equipment and computing facilities.

Faculty retention falls in relative reversed positions in both rankings - at the bottom of the top third of negative impacts, and near the top of the bottom third of positive rankings.

Research is ranked as the top category among the positive impacts of the UIF, reflecting the new resources available to support research provided by UIF awardees, as well as the new research centers and initiatives provided by the UIF awards.

Faculty Professional Development, to a lesser degree, may be affected by this same perception, contributing to rating relatively highly in the rankings of positive impacts.

University Outreach ranks fairly high in terms of positive impact, perhaps reflecting the new, nationally unique and prominent programs funded by the UIF, bringing increased prestige to the institution.

The other part of this analysis where these categories emerge is in the sub-themes that are drawn from content analysis of the responses to the open-ended questions (see Sub-themes.

 

3. Qualitative Findings

Themes Emerging from the answers to the Open-Ended Questions

Over 1,000 of the survey respondents provided comments in response to the four open-ended questions in the survey, about (a) the structure of the UIF, (b) the effects on the UW as a whole based on the implementation to date, (c) its effects on the respondents’ college, school, or administrative unit (hereafter referred to as their home unit), and (d) any additional issues regarding the UIF. The responses to these questions ranged considerably in length, eloquence, intensity, and complexity. Themes nonetheless emerged. Generally, the comments as a whole tended to come from those familiar with the UIF, and thus perhaps with more developed opinions. An initial categorization of the substantive comments elicited five categories. The first consisted of respondents with limited familiarity with the UIF who used the comments as an opportunity to ask fairly detailed questions about the program, and/or to indicate the opinion that greater information dissemination regarding the UIF to the UW community was merited. This latter point was also made repeatedly by those who were relatively well informed about the UIF, including participants in UIF funded projects.

The remaining four major overlapping categories of comments could be organized roughly into the following:

It is important to realize that these categories are NOT mutually exclusive, but entail significant overlap and shared territory. They merely represent an initial way to organize the responses into a framework that aligns to some degree with the quantitative analysis of the survey. It is notable that the responses, when organized by the respondent (as opposed to the particular question), present considerable complexity within the responses. There is not insignificant contradiction among any individual respondent’s comments on the four potential open-ended questions (often recognized by the respondents) . Bearing that complexity in mind, it is still possible to make some broad generalizations about the comments elicited.

Unsurprisingly, those who were critical of the UIF (either in concept or implementation) outnumbered those who were clearly supportive of the UIF. This is due in some part to the tendency of those who are opposed to a particular program to be more invested in expressing their opinion, than are those who are supportive of it. A second element which contributed to the negative trend in the comments was that many respondents prefaced their comments with some level of agreement that a need exists for a program (either the UIF or another means) to foster innovation and interdisciplinarity, but then proceeded to fault the current UIF based on a variety of factors. The other factor that emerged in considerable degree was the difficult financial climate which the University of Washington, higher education in the State of Washington, or the State of Washington as a whole is perceived to be facing. Many respondents stated that while they support the UIF or a similar concept, it was no longer feasible given current and/or impending financial constraints.

Beyond these broad themes, a host of more specific themes emerged from the responses. These sub-themes are briefly described in the section following the excerpts of the comments. But, perhaps the clearest way to capture the complexity and direction of the comments is to read them directly. The text of all the respondents comments runs upward of 100 pages, so selected responses are presented as examples of common themes. The selection of these themes was based on their consistent repetition among a significant number of responses. They are organized into the four major categories, listed above.

 

Format of the comments

With some exceptions, the entirety of the respondents’ unedited comments on the four open-ended questions are included since only in that format does the complexity of the responses emerge. Thus, any given response might address multiple themes, but is associated with the theme for which it provides a good example.

Each theme is followed by several quotes which exemplify the responses obtained. The quotes are largely unedited, and represent the answers of up to four questions. The position (staff, faculty, librarian), and the college, school, or academic unit that was selected by the respondent is included for the purposes of context. Similarly, whether the respondents identified themselves as having administrative duties or as having some participation with the UIF is noted. "Pre-proposal" indicates that they participated in a pre-proposal, "full proposal" that they participated in a full proposal, and "funded project" that they have participated in a funded UIF project. In the selection of these quotes, emphasis was placed on the representative nature of the comments relative to the larger body of responses, as opposed to representation of particular units, or perspectives (participants in UIF funded projects, for example).

Faculty and Staff comments on the UIF

1. Supportive of the UIF

Faculty
College of Arts and Sciences: Social Sciences; Funded Project

The UIF program seems to be very useful for the University as a whole. However there are natural concerns about it because it is reallocating restricted resources. To me, an essential point is that the UIF process is essential to the university both academically and also as a symbol to the faculty, alumni and funding agencies that the UW is committed to innovation. The other point that does not get heard enough is that the attention focused on the UIFs for resources should be focused on the overall funding level of the University - it does not receive a lot of resources from the State given its responsibilities to the State. If this energy was focused on raising the level of State support 1% most of the concerns about the UIF would be alleviated. An important issue that needs to be addressed is the relationship between UIF units and departments. This leads to units within the university that are not departments, and hence friction with the traditional departmental system. Creative ways of reducing this friction and strengthening the departments is very important for the success of the UIF process. Both the writing and implementation of the UIF proposals have led to a galvanization of the faculty to think positively about the activities of the department. It has also led to more meaningful discussions within the department of direction and, overall, a very positive effect on the morale of the faculty.

Librarian
Libraries; Pre-proposal

No one can argue that the UIF budget reductions are not painful. However, it is pain with a purpose. Even in an organization that willingly embraces change and growth in new directions, it is often nearly impossible to discontinue historic responsibilities in order to free up time to successfully pursue new opportunities. The UIF cuts push us all to examine what we can stop doing in order to remain focused on the moving target of what we should be doing.

Faculty; Administrative duties
College of Arts and Sciences: Humanities; Funded Project

From my position I cannot evaluate the EFFECTS of the UIF as a whole, but I strongly endorse the spirit and goals of the UIF. Effecting change in a large bureaucratic institution is exceedingly difficult, and the UIF is designed precisely to allow change to occur and to move forward on the leading edge of research, teaching, and engagement with the community. The UIF funding for the humanities, broadly speaking, in the form of support to what is now called the Simpson Center for the Humanities has made possible a myriad of opportunities for faculty--support for research, support for interdisciplinary courses in the humanities, and support for projects that explicitly engage members of the larger community through the lens of the humanities--and the arts. Moreover, the UIF support signaled in an importantly tangible way that the University is committed to the humanities and thus sparked strong confidence that in turn resulted in a gift of five million dollars that will be reserved for endowment at what is now, in honor of the gift, called the Simpson Center. Taken together the UIF and the major gift have moved the Center for the Humanities at the University of Washington into the top tier of humanities centers in the country.

Faculty; Administrative duties
College of Arts and Sciences: Social Sciences; Funded Project

The UIF program has generated quite a bit of excitement and activity. Although the individual UIFs vary in how well they have gotten off the ground, those that have succeeded have made a very big mark on the university -- and particularly the university culture. This structure has the potential of moving to the cutting edge of academia, which includes emphasizing interdisciplinary research centers in cutting-edge areas of research, bringing otherwise isolated individuals and groups together to work on joint projects. The UW has had a glaring weakness in its paucity of research institutes and centers -- outside of the natural and health sciences -- which has hindered extramural grantsmanship in many units. The UIF structure has the potential of jumpstarting such center activity by providing an immediate infrastructure in innovative and fundable areas. Our department (Sociology) has been very positively affected by the UIF process. This is due primarily to CSSS [Center for Statistics and Social Sciences], which has had a huge positive impact on the department. Our department has succeeded in recruiting two stars (Morris and Handcock) and retaining a superstar (Raftery) due in large part to CSSS. Many faculty have been involved in CSSS,…[while] graduate students have been benefiting tremendously from CSSS courses and seminars. The seed grant program has helped several faculty develop interdisciplinary research projects that they never would have conceived of pursuing. Several are extending those projects by submitting extramural grants. Sociology has tried to keep CSSS in mind when recruiting new graduate students (it is very helpful), and in recruiting new faculty (it is again a draw). At the national level, leading social science methodologists of all disciplines are aware of CSSS, and regard it as the emerging leader in the field -- indeed, as a model for other universities. The structure of the UIF, and in particular the tax system, can clearly succeed in stimulating cutting edge research and teaching.

Staff
College of Engineering; Funded Project

The UIF program is a very important step in preparing for the 21st century way of doing business. UW operating costs are too high as a result of the traditional way of doing business. Funding UIF now should mean reduced operating costs in the future (as departments share resources better). If the UIF isn’t being administered properly with that goal in mind, or, if the UIF is just getting lip service without a strict metric for collaborative success, then a good opportunity is being wasted. I haven’t seen the piece where the reviewers do their work. That, to me, is the critical step. The reviewers have to recognize collaborative success or failure and reward/punish UIF participants appropriately.

Administrative duties
Business School

This program was started with long term objectives and should not be abandoned altogether just because the budget will potentially be lower, though a reduction to the percentage might be appropriate. The UW should remain committed to the flexibility that is gained from a regular and disciplined setting aside of funding for strategic investments in units and cross-disciplinary programs.

Staff
School of Public Health & Community Medicine; Funded Project

I think that the greatest benefit of the UIF program is the encouragement of interdisciplinary collaboration, which results in some extremely creative thinking. This is a great program and should be protected and extended. It has been the source of the possibility of concrete interdisciplinary programs - bringing the campus educational community together in real ways. It has helped to reduce the issue of competition for funding BETWEEN programs because the funding is available ACROSS programs.

Faculty
College of Ocean & Fishery Sciences; Funded Project

Let me first say that I am a UIF-1 P.I. I have participated in the process *not* because it is 'easy money' (it is not, and it is less than my research awards), but because I believe that is a viable way for the UW to be a leader. To succeed into the 21st Century the University really must respond to the challenges and realities of that world. And this is a way to do it. Not only are innovative programs seeded (is there any other way to do it?), but the competitive bar is raised for everyone. The UIF projects have been selected through a very competitive and fair process. Awards have been made through review by peers, not through media popularity. That said, not all projects are 'successful.' But that is to be expected, if you aim high enough. I remain convinced that the UIFs represent a bold opportunity for the UW to make itself a stronger and more exciting and compelling institution. It is up to the UW community to take advantage of that opportunity.

2. Supportive of the concept of the UIF, but in disagreement with either its implementation, or particular elements of its structure (i.e., the split between interdisciplinary and unit-specific awards, or its duration for 5 biennia)

Faculty
College of Arts and Sciences: Natural Sciences

I have a major concern that the successful UIFs actually create elite programs that serve only a tiny fraction of our students. The neurobiology program is an example. As a result, resources are reallocated away from the majority of students to a small, specially selected subset. This reallocation makes it even more difficult to adequately provide quality education for the majority. On the other hand, I support the concept of creating new programs and don't see a better way to do it than the UIF. Perhaps the selection process could speak to global effects of the program and the selection process could be weighted toward programs that will have a broad constituency.

Librarian
Libraries

Since the Libraries is a service unit for all of the rest of the UW, I think that it should be exempted from the UIF reductions, but should still be eligible to compete for unit-specific awards. The UW Libraries has been forced to eliminate positions while the amount of work that some units must do has not changed or has increased. The ability of the Libraries to purchase materials has also been compromised and it is likely that more cancellations of journals are in the works because of mandated reductions from the UIF. This is a detriment to keeping the UW Libraries one of the best collections in the region and nation.

Faculty
School of Dentistry

Clearly, the UIF is a great idea, IN CONCEPT. However, the main problem is that most units are not operating foolishly... and in the current fiscal environment of thinner and thinner budgets yet more and more demands, another cut imposed upon us is adding straws to the overburdened camel's back... at what point will the poor beast collapse? If the Legislature was more supportive of the University, we could support the UIF much more. Right now, we are struggling to stay solvent. Time to circle the wagons and save the core elements. We have survived thus far, but additional cuts as proposed are going to be really hard to manage... we're at that critical line where additional squeeze is difficult to endure without significant damage… to our ability to meet the goals of the institution.

Staff
Evans School of Public Affairs

I believe the implementation is poorly monitored and budget reductions are damaging core departments. Units are suffering cutbacks that reduce the number of staff who do the daily tasks of keeping the units operating. Those of us who are left have workloads that are almost impossible to maintain. Why should the core units be crippled while special programs are allowed to buy new furniture and hire a full staff? What good will it do to have 'special projects' while central units are being weakened? Funds have been cut from staff lines of the state budget in the research unit. Future cuts will have to be taken from the faculty lines in the teaching area.

Faculty; Administrative duties
College of Engineering; Full proposal

The UIF is a great idea, but the cumulative effects of the cuts are now unacceptable for many units. This type of activity is an ideal focus for the capital campaign, or other external sources of gift monies and endowments. After the new UIF round, future funding should be based upon new money that is externally raised.

Faculty; Administrative duties
College of Arts and Sciences: Arts; Funded Project

This is a good idea, but the question is how long dept. budgets can afford to be skimmed to fund it. Some of these awards also result in increased administrative costs/levels, creating duplication and overlaps. It has funded initiatives that meet current needs and are oriented towards the future. These most likely would not have received the necessary funding otherwise. As it continues, however, there is the possibility that the results may not justify the cuts in already established programs. It has provided new opportunities for faculty and graduate students to develop interdisciplinary programs and further such research. Again, I'm concerned about the sustainability of the method and the negative impact on good ongoing programs. There seems to be a limit as to how many skimming cuts depts. can withstand without compromising quality and flexibility.

Faculty
School of Nursing; Full proposal

The structure is fine as far as it goes. Interdisciplinary is preferred, but that means that even less can get back to units--and units are hurting! 1% makes sense, but by now, we are losing muscle and bone--and have been all along. Most of the university was underfunded in the first place. The problem is that I love the concept and we do need ways of moving forward, but it is too dangerous to cut the core of the university. I have seen nothing but losses in my unit. That is even though we are closely connected to two funded projects. One of these (interdisciplinary health science education) has funded part of a faculty member to do something with virtually no benefit to any program I am associated with. And, we limp along with too few staff and the real and present threat of losing faculty. The other UIF, information systems, funds a person who has been helpful, but I think he would have been anyway. I think the concept is great and did not start worrying about it until I saw no benefits in any of the areas in which I work. In fact, in teaching I saw losses. I continue to believe that we need to have ways to innovate, but this one is too harsh.

Faculty
College of Arts and Sciences: Social Sciences; Full proposal

Almost by definition, the UIF seems to say that all the normal things that get done around campus are less important than innovative initiatives. This is dangerous and can be demoralizing. The vast majority of faculty and staff in the vast majority of programs work hard--generally in a climate of static or shrinking resources. By taxing these programs 1% every biennium, the UW is saying that their work is not good enough. Having said that, I recognize that the institution wishes to reallocate resources and encourage innovation. Maybe it could reduce the 1% tax, get other money from royalties and other unallocated income, and do the UIF that way. I also think that, having stated the UIF would run for 10 years, we ought to give it that amount of time. I just worry about the corrosive effects it has on folks' morale. Finally, I don't think you need to prescribe separate percentages of UIF money for interdisciplinary and non-interdisciplinary proposals. Just fund the best ideas, period. It is clear that the UIF has supported some impressive programs. It is much harder to measure what it has depleted. My sense is that proposals from the sciences, social sciences, and technical service areas have a better chance for funding than do those from the humanities.

Faculty
School of Medicine; Funded Project

I believe the UIF program was conceptually a good idea, motivated by good intentions. However, in my view it has not been a success, either at the level of choice of programs or in the operation of the programs themselves. The results have not justified the amount withdrawn from other programs, or the amount of time spent writing proposals by groups that were not funded, or even the amount of time the recipients spend trying to keep the funded programs from falling apart.

3. Supportive of the concept of a means to foster innovation and capitalize on opportunities, but in disagreement with the basic structure of the UIF (i.e., the across the board one percent budget reduction or the centralized decision making regarding the awards distribution)

Staff; Administrative duties
School of Library & Information Science

I believe the UIF is a positive program; however I am also concerned about the across-the-board nature. Many units that do not receive UIF funding are still doing valuable work but will have lost 5% of their budget over the 10 year timeline. This is most likely taken in staff positions and operations which puts an even greater than 5% cut burden on the support functions of a unit. The problem is similar for central administrative units. A targeted reallocation would be preferable - stop doing something that we are failing at to start new UIF initiatives rather than having everyone contribute to the UIF - both successful and unsuccessful programs.

Staff; Administrative duties
Health Sciences Administration; Full proposal

I support the general idea that the University should be able to reallocate a portion of its operating budget each biennium. What I object to is the mechanism currently used to allocate the centrally held funds. We are asking ad hoc committees to make judgments about interdisciplinary UIF proposals that are often beyond the competence of the committee members' expertise. In effect, we remove funds from programs where department and school faculty and administrators would normally have the capability to make allocation decisions, and then ask what is essentially a lay committee to make allocation recommendations to the Provost and President.

Faculty; Administrative duties
College of Arts and Sciences: Natural Sciences; Pre proposal

It is founded on the flawed assumption that a committee representing a broad range of fields can make an intelligent recommendation for funding proposals in specialized areas. It has greatly reduced the possibility of responding to new opportunities within academic departments.

Faculty
School of Medicine; Pre-proposal

The UIF concept is fine but it should be funded exclusively via outside donations. While the administration can certainly point to 'NEW' programs, what it has chosen not to identify is the gradual attrition of existing programs. Loss of a faculty position here and there may not seem very important, but in 10 or so years, each department will have lost a position. The net effect of this is greater teaching loads on the remaining faculty, therefore less time to do research, less ability to attract grant funding and high quality graduate students, and to remain at the cutting edge that the UW prides itself on. Basically, the UIF is something of an intellectual shell game in which the UW is attempting to create new, albeit important programs, using the already insufficient resources of existing programs. The wake-up call will come when it discovers that the Depts. of Chemistry, Physiology, and Biochemistry (my home Dept.) have deteriorated; because, in order to maintain funding, most faculty attention has become devoted to UIF programs such as Nanotechnology and Neurobiology. So the UW then has great programs in these fields and poor programs in a number of previous excellent departments. Is this a net gain in quality?…[t]he eventual effect will be negative because essential existing programs will be cut to the point where their quality is reduced. Once this downward spiral begins, it will be very difficult to reverse.

Faculty
College of Engineering

I have no quarrel with the intentions of the UIF program - the UW needs some mechanism to fund new initiatives and/or to react to new opportunities. However, the 1% budget reduction is draining the life out of the CORE constituents of the university. I have been here for 16 years, and our operating budget has never been extravagant. Thus far the cumulative effect of the 1% reduction has led to changes such as our recent decision to begin charging 'course fees', to cover the cost of items that have in the past been paid for out of the department operating budget. In effect, we are making decisions on increased student tuition 'locally', and in an ad hoc manner.

Faculty; School of Medicine

I have no objection to initiatives, but strongly feel that it should NOT be funded by reductions from academic programs. This is particularly bad when there are already shortfalls. 'Innovators' should go outside for funding from private or federal sources. If the projects are truly worthy, they can get these outside resources like most of us have had to do for years. Having served on a Senate Committee dealing with closure and reductions for an academic program I know what damage these reductions can create.

4. Opposed to either the concept and/or its implementation or critical of the effects that the UIF is having on the UW and did not indicate support for the concept itself, as well as explicitly opposed to the concept.

Faculty; Administrative duties
College of Forest Resources; Full proposal

The idea that UIF should be a response to innovative ideas on campus has not been realized. Awards are the result of political decisions by the university administration. The awards have reduced the amount of money that Colleges/Departments can spend. Faculty initiatives, and PARTICULARLY interdisciplinary ones, have suffered. Decisions about how the university can respond to change has been taken FROM the faculty and given to administrators. Money has been taken away and programs have been affected. My College has not been very bright in planning for the future. But the UIF 1% reductions have absolutely stopped any assistance that the College could give to faculty initiatives. It should be stopped because it is ineffective.

Faculty
College of Arts and Sciences: Humanities

The 1% reduction of the budget every 2 years results in faculty lines being discontinued while the instructional and service responsibilities of the remaining faculty are not reduced. This puts increased pressure on faculty in programs that have not received UIF funds, it reduces morale, and by making existing programs smaller, it reduces the prestige of these units in the academic community, making it harder to recruit graduate students to our programs. In addition to reducing the number of faculty lines, I think that the UIF has resulted in a decision to rarely if ever hire at the senior level. So if a faculty member retires and a department is lucky enough to get approval to conduct a search to fill that line, it is almost always a search at the entry level. As a result, we are not able to hire the best person possible for a job (which an open search would allow). As a department comes to rely more and more on junior faculty, graduate student recruitment becomes more difficult, and increased departmental service burdens are put on junior faculty who should be spending more time developing their research programs. It is a continual drain on the already stretched resources of existing units. If there is a unit or a new program that deserves an influx of funding, it should be able to find that funding through external sources. This constant slow bleeding of existing units that are doing their job, and doing it well, is a burden that weakens the university as a whole.

Staff; Administrative duties
The Graduate School; Funded Project

Because we already operate on a fairly lean budget, the UIF penalizes us for being efficient. With no 'fat' to cut, we can only reduce the budget by eliminating staff, which has greatly reduced our productivity and slowed our responses to departmental requests. Developing new programs by pulling the rug out from under existing ones does not seem like a good long-term strategy. So far I haven't seen any assessments of UIF-funded programs. Many seem fairly high profile, but most I have seen have only broadly stated goals (if any) and no explicit criteria for assessment of progress or success. It has reduced morale and motivated highly competent people to leave. It has limited both our current work and future plans because we are being asked to do more with a steadily shrinking staff.

Staff; Administrative duties
Student Affairs; Full proposal

Small departments have been decimated, and computing resources and support for all of us have been reduced to such an extent that it is nearly impossible to function. My staff are voting with their feet and leaving; I cannot replace them with comparably skilled people. The UIF has decimated my department. It has directly impacted (and reduced) service to students, both undergraduate and graduate. It has decimated morale among staff and caused infinite problems in recruitment. Please strongly consider discontinuing this program. It has done nothing but significantly harm my department and reduced our ability to provide needed service to our students.

Faculty
College of Architecture & Urban Planning

The UIF tends to favor certain types of programs already rich in the traditional forms of external funding, at the expense of programs that are trying to maintain a sound undergraduate and graduate teaching program. We are still struggling from budget cuts from the past decade and have very little left to give. If the idea is to weaken some programs in order to increase the wealth for a few favored programs, then this is a great system. I can see some departments down the line being whittled away sufficiently so that the University will ask for their termination and reallocate the resources to its prized programs.

Faculty; Administrative duties
School of Nursing; Funded Project

Giving up 1% of the unit's budget times five (for the 10 years) is giving up at least 2 faculty position equivalents who could be generating revenue through grants and other extramural funding sources. The 1% reduction is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. The UW doesn't get ahead! While interdisciplinary projects are admirable, these projects end up being 'orphans' and not owned or incorporated by either unit. Plus the 'permanence' of the money is highly questionable. It has a negative effect on the UW in that some units feel 'robbed' and the UW does not get ahead financially. Instead of the unit having that 1% to put into research and revenue generating faculty, it goes to the UIF. It is very discouraging for units to keep giving up 1% and then having to compete to get some of it back when we could be recruiting faculty to move our mission and strategic plan forward.

Faculty; Administrative duties
College of Forest Resources; Pre proposal

The overarching assumption is that current activities can best be viewed as inefficient, absolute, or funding rich and therefore should be subject to a budget reduction. If the current activity was initiated relatively recently, but before the UIF process, it is still subject to the same standards as something deemed strategically obsolete. [The] UIF process whether within unit or external to unit makes the assumption that new and creative packaging is a worthwhile investment -- there is never an appropriate way for the University to evaluate whether some existing packages are already creative and innovative. The second weakness to the UIF process is that small is weak. Relatively small units do not have a competitively equal footing to larger units. In contrast to UIF process, the TFT process is much more positive. There is also a morale component. When I write a NSF grant, I know I have between a 6 and 22% chance of funding. The only cost to me is time. With the UIF, the chances are equally low, time is also involved, but I (or my unit) will also lose money. If UIF is coupled with a state-mandated budget reduction (very likely), my goal, as an administrator, will be to end belt tightening and go for a major cut that will be strategically decided, but will also impact the University negatively. Let's just say that if NSF decided to have a single panel decide all of its program proposals, Congress would provide some instant feedback to the head of NSF. We are a unit that does a tremendous amount of outreach and public service; we also co-manage the Washington Park Arboretum. Cuts have (and will continue to have) impact our ability to provide this relatively cheap, very positive image to the external community.

Faculty
College of Engineering

The UIF (in terms of the budget cuts) no longer has value in terms of strategic planning. The strategic plans should address the transfer of revenue from one unit/program to another or a new program The UIF represents a net transfer of funds from undergraduate to graduate programs and from teaching to research.

Faculty; Administrative duties
College of Architecture & Urban Planning; Pre-proposal

When I first came to the UW in 1998, I thought the UIF would be a great mechanism for promoting innovation. However, my observation of the reality is that money is being stripped from small arts and humanities units to fund glitzy hard science projects. While innovation is greatly needed, the administration has to find a way to protect the great diversity of knowledge that is essential [to] a university. Another issue that I did not foresee is that the UIF structure makes it difficult for units to do strategic planning since awardees can establish programs and hire faculty in areas that don't necessarily fit with a department's view of itself.

Faculty
College of Engineering

The UIF is fundamentally flawed for several reasons: 1) The funding decisions should not be made internally. An external (out of state) review process must be instituted. This is necessary to increase the academic standard of the UIF and to avoid the appearance of politics being part of the decision making process. 2) The UIF awards should not be permanent. A maximum limit of 6 years of funding should be implemented with a review after three years. The program directors have six years to arrange for external funding. 3) The slow, never ending reduction of the departmental budgets to support programs that have not undergone strict review undermines the morale of the faculty and staff. It is well known that if cuts are needed they should be done quickly and not over an extended period of time. To drag it out over many years does not allow anybody to regroup and to optimistically plan for the future. 4) It sends the wrong message to the legislators. It is important to show them that we need additional funding to pursue emerging fields and higher faculty salaries. However, the slow 1% reduction scheme to support UIF simply proves that there is fat to cut here at UW. This is the wrong message!

Faculty; Administrative duties
College of Arts and Sciences: Humanities; Funded Project

My main concern is not simply with the structure of the UIF program, but the process of making cuts that are required to fund it. If there were a more rigorous way to insure that the reductions really were strategic, I would be less concerned than I am. As it is, the exercise of 'strategic planning' has been, at least in the three units where I have been actively and intensively involved, pretty much a charade. Because in most units, the ONLY place to get the funds required for UIF allocation is in existing faculty positions; the trade off, without a really stringent and independent appraisal of what faculty lines can and ought to be eliminated, is simply too costly. I fully recognize that the problem to which I allude is all but intractable, since it touches upon the protections of tenure and impinges on issues of academic freedom. But I think the case could (and probably should) be made that many units are in serious need of fundamental re-evaluation. Thus, the main drawback of the UIF, that it has been funded primarily by not filling vacant faculty positions, has not in general led to the revitalization of departments stuck in deep and complicated ruts, so that the net effect of the UIF is a kind of across-the-board reduction of faculty appointments--with an increase that should be easy to quantify in the use of temporary, part-time, and adjunct faculty to teach essential undergraduate courses. On balance, without a way to force thorough internal review of current programs (and the 'strategic planning' initiative surely had not and will not accomplish that) below the level of the College, i.e., at the departmental and program level, I think we would actually be better off by eliminating the UIF after the present round.

 

Sub-themes

Across -the-board reduction and the awards decision-making process. A consistent criticism of the UIF was the blunt and unspecific nature of the across-the-board, 1% reduction of operating budgets. Issues related to the UIF awards decision making process were also a prevalent subject of criticism. Among other things, the issues included : the (un)representative nature and extent of the expertise of the Provost appointed committee, the lack of criteria for the funding awards, the limited transparency of the awards process, and the centralized nature of the UIF decision making process.

Strategic planning. The relationship between strategic planning and the UIF was discussed from two major perspectives. One was that the UIF encouraged strategic planning, while the other was that it hindered it. The potential and/or need for vertical, as well as horizontal (UIF), reductions was pointed out by several respondents, who posited that the UIF was a tool too shallow and broad to accomplish real strategic planning.

Benefits and costs, evaluation, and publicity. Whether it was explicitly mentioned or not, many respondents addressed the benefits and costs associated with the UIF, frequently mentioning the inability to assess the tradeoffs with any accuracy. A significant number of respondents, both supportive and opposed to the UIF mentioned the need for evaluation of both the UIF as a whole, and the newly funded initiatives. Associated with the need for evaluation was the attendant need for public relations and/or publicity regarding the UIF among the UW community, both in order to facilitate evaluation and to further capitalize on the developments emerging from the awardees.

Benefits. The benefits that were associated with the UIF included most prominently the new, innovative and interdisciplinary programs that had emerged from (or been strengthened by) awards, the publicity which these new programs brought to the UW, the ability of the UW to capitalize on "cutting-edge" research, and the potential for the awards to act as seed money. The USER project, CSSS, the Simpson Center for the Humanities, and the Center for Nanotechology were the most commonly praised awardees of the UIF.

Costs, faculty and staff employment, and workload. Costs associated with the budget reductions, in particular at the unit or department level, were fairly thoroughly articulated. Costs inventoried ran the gamut from loss of faculty and staff, both in terms of recruitment and retention, reduced quality in undergraduate education, increased workload, lost flexibility, reduced computing, equipment and physical facilities, and reduced student services to a name a few. The effects of the UIF on faculty and staff employment was mentioned enough to serve as a theme in and of itself, since according to the respondents, so much of the University’s work is tied up in the duties, responsibilities, and salaries of its faculty and staff. Therefore, cuts impacted both faculty and staff employment to a large degree, and those cuts then reverberated throughout units in terms of workloads, and quality of administrative and/or academic service provision.

Bias and equity. The issue of bias (both intended and unintended) and (in)equity in the UIF budget reallocation came up, with the bias being posited to lie in just about every direction. The hard sciences, health sciences, and technology were all thought to benefit to a greater degree, while the professional schools, humanities, and arts were presumed to be at a disadvantage. This statement could be reversed and also remain representative of a smaller subset of the responses. The size of departments was another frequently mentioned source of advantage, with small departments at a disadvantage. The idea that the UIF might exacerbate a gap between the levels of funding for various units (between the haves and the have nots) was another perspective that emerged. The haves were either viewed as units who could raise money through grants and research or external fees; the sciences and technology units; the health sciences in general; or simply the wealthier, "favored" units at UW.

UW’s Mission and short vs. long-term. The relationship between the UW’s mission and the UIF was a related topic. Respondents viewed the potential for the UIF to shift resources as a move away from the educational and/or research mission of the UW, often focusing on either the education or research aspect. The short term and long term perspectives were also raised, particularly in terms of the idea that the UIF may indeed create important new programs, with profound impacts, but that it was doing so at the expense of other important, existing programs, with equally profound impacts. A frequent metaphor was that the UIF boiled down to "robbing Peter to pay Paul."

New vs. existing, and interdisciplinarity. A related, but distinct topic of interest was the potential conflict between new initiatives and existing (traditional) disciplines. While some respondents supported the UIF as a means to break down disciplinary boundaries, other respondents argued that the UIF was explicitly biased against existing disciplines, which some pointed out have had a significant role in interdisciplinary work without the UIF. The role of interdisciplinarity in the UIF was both celebrated and criticized. One common argument was that interdisciplinarity was much desired, but should not come at the expense of existing disciplines. The idea that the UIF was inhibiting non-UIF interdisciplinary work by reducing the flexibility of units came up repeatedly.

Exemption for the Libraries. A theme which ran throughout the responses by those associated with the Libraries was the need for the exemption of the Libraries from the budget reduction, based on existing budget constraints, the growing demand for library resources, increasing technology costs, and the role that the libraries play as a service unit to the entire campus.

The financial climate and the Washington State Legislature. The influence of the financial climate was one of most frequently repeated elements of the comments, most often in terms of the need to reduce, suspend or end the UIF in light of either the current budgetary constraints, or potential impending cuts. The financial climate of relevance was alternately located at the level of the UW, higher education in the State of Washington, or the State of Washington as a whole. The relationship between and among the UW, the UIF and the Washington State legislature was a prevalent subject of comment in particular. It was suggested that (a) the UIF sends the wrong message to the state legislature, (b) the UIF should be used as an argument for increased funding from the legislature based on proven capacity to innovate and act strategically, or (c) that the funds for the awards should be drawn from the same (but usually increased) set of funding from the legislature as the rest of the state funding. A refinement of this latter point was essentially that the UIF subverted the allocations from the state, and thus represented a misuse of public funds.

Other sources of funding. The need for sources of funding other than the reduction of operating budgets was a common refrain. Many respondents agreed with the need for a means to spark innovation at UW, but felt that existing operating budgets were not the place from which to draw those funds. Outside grants and increased state funding were the most popular alternate sources of funds.

Morale. Discussions of the costs associated with the UIF, and the perception that the UIF represented a centrally administered gradual shift in resources were repeatedly linked to issues of faculty and staff morale. At the same time, though to a much lesser degree, particular UIF awards were attributed with increasing excitement, enthusiasm, and morale among those associated with them. This was particularly true for those discussing the Center of Statistics and Social Sciences (CSSS).

 

III. Methodology

Response rates

The survey was distributed via an email notification to approximately 26,902 faculty and staff of the University Washington. This represented all those faculty and staff who had a viable University of Washington email address in the database of email addresses maintained by UW Computing and Communications. This number is estimated by Computing and Communications to represent approximately 85 to 90 percent of UW faculty and staff. There was some bias in this due to the fact that is probable that many of the faculty and staff without viable email addresses ending in "u.washington.edu" are members of departments with their own email suffixes. This was somewhat remedied, by sending of a reminder notice using a different list to all faculty, and by sending a notice to a voluntary email list of professional staff at UW.

We had 2,089 respondents to the survey within the approximately three week period that the survey was available. This represents a response rate of approximately 7.8 percent of the recipients of the email notification and approximately 7 percent of the estimated population of faculty and staff. The estimation of response rates is complicated by the discrepancy between the count of email addresses and the estimated numbers of faculty and staff. A rough estimate is that approximately 5 percent of UW staff (non-student) responded to the survey, and approximately 9 percent of UW faculty responded to the survey. The estimate of response by librarians is much more accurate as this population is much smaller, and easier to define. Approximately, 21 percent of UW librarians responded to the survey.

 

Format of the survey

The survey could be taken by one of three methods: on the web, via email, or by printing out and sending a competed survey via campus mail to the Faculty Senate.

Regarding the method of survey submission, 301 (14.4%) of the surveys were returned via email, 149 (7.1%) by campus mail, and 1639 (78.5%) were submitted on the web.

Survey design

The survey was organized to elicit information on respondent characteristics, the structure of the UIF, the implementation of the UIF, and the impact of the UIF on colleges, schools and administrative units. In the first section of the survey, respondents were asked to answer questions about themselves in relation to their duties at the University, and their levels of experience, involvement, and familiarity with the UIF. There were 44 questions in total, with four of the questions being open-ended questions with space for comments, and the remaining forty questions being closed-ended questions in which respondents selected from provided options. The majority of the closed-ended questions were either: (a) asking respondents for information about themselves, (b) yes/no questions about their experience and familiarity with the UIF, or (c) asking for their opinions about elements or effects of the UIF with either a four or five point answer scale.

 

Methodology

The surveys that were submitted by email and campus mail were entered into a Microsoft Access Form by a single researcher, this author. The quantitative portions of the email and campus mail responses to the survey were merged with the web submitted responses, which were digitally available as a function of the survey development tool, WebQ, a web based software which is part of the Catalyst group, at the UW. The quantitative analysis was done strictly using descriptive statistics. The software package for the majority of this analysis was SPSS Version 9.

The qualitative analysis was the much more challenging element of the analysis phase, particularly with regards to data management issues. The various digital formats in which the responses were in (Access, Pine email software, and WebQ) made the formatting of the data into a single, relatively intelligible format quite difficult. It involved considerable formatting in various programs, with the eventual result being to load comments into Nudist, a qualitative analysis software package. The four potential responses to the four open-ended questions were linked to a unique identifier for the respondent, and attached to information about the respondents’ position, administrative duties, college, school, or administrative unit, participation in a UIF proposal or funded project, and familiarity with the UIF. This allowed for the content analysis to take place in the context of the respondents’ pertinent information, and their responses to all four open-ended questions. Over 1,000 of the survey respondents answered at least one of the open-ended questions, making the coding process a long one, with over 100 pages of single spaced text to be coded.

The development of the codes was based on the elements which informed the design of the survey instrument, as well as responsiveness to the text itself. There were essentially three ways in which the entries were coded. The first coding scheme identified whether the comments were essentially supportive of the UIF, supportive of the concept of the UIF, critical of the UIF, questions about the UIF, or none of the above. The second way identified the themes which emerged from the comments, based on multiple iterative readings. The third way in which the responses were coded was applicable to the answer to the questions 26 and 43 which asked respondents to elaborate on how they thought the UIF, as it has been implemented so far, has affected the UW as a whole (26) and how they thought the UIF has affected their college, school, or administrative unit (43). The sixteen categories provided in questions 27 through 42 were used as codes when they occurred in the responses to the open-ended questions, with an indication of the direction of the effect (positive or negative) as a modifier.

 

 

 

IV. Sample Survey: UW Faculty and Staff Perspectives on the University Initiatives Fund

The Faculty Senate and President McCormick are jointly sponsoring a University-wide evaluation of the University Initiatives Fund (UIF). The UIF is a mechanism to reallocate UW resources, supported by a 1% assessment on UW operating budgets every two years between 1997 and 2007.

One component of the evaluation of the UIF is a survey of UW faculty and staff perspectives on the UIF. The purpose of this survey is to provide a review committee with much needed feedback about the UIF based on your experiences and perspectives. Direct any questions to: faculty@u.washington.edu or call the Faculty Senate at 685-2703.

ALL RESPONSES WILL REMAIN COMPLETELY CONFIDENTIAL.

PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO RESPOND TO THIS SURVEY BY FEBRUARY 28, 2001.

SECTION ONE: ABOUT YOU AND THE UIF

Question 1. Indicate your primary position at the University of Washington.

____Classified Staff

____Professional Staff

____Librarian

____Research faculty

____Faculty (Tenure track, Tenured, WOT, Instructor, Lecturer)

____Other

Question 2. Is your position at UW Part-time or Full-time?

____Part-time

____Full-time

Question 3. Has your position involved administrative duties in the last 4 years? Administrative positions include the provost; the deans, directors and chairs of departments or equivalent units; directors of libraries, major institutes and centers; and principal administrative officers.

____Yes

____No

Question 4. Indicate which college, school or administrative unit you consider to be your primary or home unit within the University of Washington?. Please select only one.

ACADEMIC:

____College of Architecture and Urban Planning

____College of Arts and Sciences: Arts

____College of Arts and Sciences: Humanities

____College of Arts and Sciences: Natural Sciences

____College of Arts and Sciences: Social Sciences

____Educational Outreach

____Business School

____School of Dentistry

____College of Education

____College of Engineering

____College of Forest Resources

____The Graduate School

____Harborview MC Instructional Support

____Health Sciences Administration

____School of Law

____School of Library and Information Science

____School of Medicine

____School of Nursing

____College of Ocean and Fishery Sciences

____School of Pharmacy

____Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs

____School of Public Health and Community Medicine

____School of Social Work

____Undergraduate Education

____UWMC Instructional Support

ADMINISTRATION:

____Attorney General

____Computing and Communications

____Development

____Executive Vice President

____Libraries

____Minority Affairs

____Planning and Budgeting

____President

____Provost

____Research

____Student Affairs

____University Relations

Question 5. Please indicate your familiarity with the UIF.

____Unfamiliar

____Familiar

 

DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE FOLLOWING CHARACTERISTICS OF THE UIF?

Question 6. The UIF is funded through a 1% budget reduction on UW operating budgets.

____Yes

____No

Question 7. The 1% budget reduction occurs every 2 years for 10 years.

____Yes

____No

Question 8. The funds from the 1% budget reductions are used to create a source of permanent funding for new programs.

____Yes

____No

Question 9. The new program awards are based on recommendations to the President made by a Provost-appointed committee.

____Yes

____No

Question 10. Of the funds from the UIF budget reductions, 60% are used to fund interdisciplinary projects, and 40% to fund unit-specific projects.

____Yes

____No

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR LEVEL OF INVOLVEMENT IN THE UIF?

Question 11. Have you participated in a pre-proposal for a UIF award?

____Yes

____No

Question 12. Have you participated in developing a full proposal for a UIF allocation?

____Yes

____No

Question 13. Have you participated in a UIF funded project?

____Yes

____No

 

 

Question 14. How involved have you been in decision making in the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd round of UIF budget reductions?

____No Involvement

____Some Involvement

____Extensive Involvement

Question 15. How involved have you been in the strategic planning for the 4th or 5th round of UIF budget reductions?

____No Involvement

____Some Involvement

____Extensive Involvement

Question 16. Based on your level of knowledge and participation, what is your general opinion of the UIF ?

____Very Negative

____Negative

____Neutral

____Positive

____Very Positive

SECTION TWO. UIF IN GENERAL

We are interested in your opinions about the University-wide impacts of the UIF. The following section relates to the UIF as a strategy for funding reallocation.

Question 17. The amount of the UIF budget reallocation is currently 1% of UW operating budgets. The amount of the UIF budget reallocation should be:

____Nothing

____Lower Than 1%

____1%

____Higher Than 1%

Question 18. The UIF budget reallocation currently occurs every 2 years for 10 years. The UIF budget reallocation should occur:

____Not at all

____Less Frequently

____Remain at current timing (every 2 years for 10 years)

____More Frequently

Question 19. The UIF awards funding is currently organized with 60% of the funding for Interdisciplinary awards, and 40% for Unit-specific (departmental) awards. The split should be (approximately):

____100% Interdisciplinary awards; 0% Unit-specific awards

____80% Interdisciplinary awards; 20% Unit-specific awards

____60% Interdisciplinary awards; 40% Unit-specific awards

____20% Interdisciplinary awards; 80% Unit-specific awards

____0% Interdisciplinary awards; 100% Unit-specific awards

 

 

Question 20. How long do you think the UIF should continue?

____End the UIF now (with only the 1st [1997] and 2nd [1999] rounds of reductions & awards completed)

____Continue for 1 year (complete the 3rd [2001] round of reductions & awards)

____Continue for 5 years (complete the original 5 [1997-2007] rounds of reductions & awards)

____Continue for 15 years (complete the original 5 rounds of reductions & awards and renew the program for 10 more years)

Question 21. If the UW were to face a state-mandated budget cut, the UIF 1% budget reduction should:

____Not be changed

____Be reduced temporarily

____Be suspended temporarily

____Be ended

____Be increased

Question 22. Please give us your additional opinions about the structure of the UIF program. TYPE OR WRITE HERE AND THEN CONTINUE TO QUESTION 23.

 

SECTION THREE. THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE UIF.

In answering the questions in this section, you may wish to read the following list of the recipients of the interdisciplinary awards and total amounts of the allocations. For more information, please see the UIF website at http://www.washington.edu/uif/. Please continue by answering Question 23.

1997-1999 Project Awards: $7,808,500

Graduate School of Library and Information Science

Center for Nanotechnology

Research, Teaching, and Public Programs in the Humanities

Health Sciences Interdisciplinary Partnerships in Clinical Education

Undergraduate Program in Neurobiology

Public Health Genetics in the Context of Law, Ethics, and Policy

Puget Sound Regional Synthesis Model (PRISM): An Integrated Vision of Puget Sound into the 21st Century

Partnerships for a Seamless Education

USER Project: Streamlining Support Services through Web-Based Technologies

1999-2000 Project Awards: $8,316,707

Interdisciplinary Awards: $5,695,592

Center for Statistics and the Social Sciences

Graduate Program in Biomedical and Health Informatics

Grant and Contract Initiative

Program for Educational Transformation Through Technology (PETTT)

1999-2000 Unit-Specific Round of UIF Awards: $2,654,680

28 Unit-specific (Departmental) Awards

TOTAL FUNDS AWARDED 1997-2000: $16,125,207

 

STATE YOUR LEVEL OF AGREEMENT WITH THE FOLLOWING STATEMENTS ABOUT THE UIF.

Question 23. The UIF awards, as they have been distributed so far, are a good use of UW funds.

____Strongly Disagree

____Disagree

____Neutral

____Agree

____Strongly Agree

Question 24. The UIF is a critical element to the success of the UW.

____Very Negative

____Negative

____Neutral

____Positive

____Very Positive

Question 25. Given the UIF budget reductions and awards so far, do you believe that the direction in which the UIF is moving the UW is positive or negative?

____Very Negative

____Negative

____Neutral

____Positive

____Very Positive

Question 26. Please elaborate on how you think the UIF, as it has been implemented so far, has affected the UW as a whole. TYPE OR WRITE HERE AND THEN CONTINUE ON TO QUESTION 27.

 

SECTION FOUR. THE UIF AND YOUR ACADEMIC/ADMINISTRATIVE UNIT

If you believe the UIF (either the 1% reduction and/or the awards) has affected your college, school, or administrative unit in ANY of the categories listed below (questions 27 to 42), please indicate the degree of the impact, on a scale of very negative to very positive.

Question 27. Undergraduate education

____Very Negative

____Negative

____Do Not Know

____Positive

____Very Positive

Question 28. Graduate education

____Very Negative

____Negative

____Do Not Know

____Positive

____Very Positive

Question 29. Research

____Very Negative

____Negative

____Do Not Know

____Positive

____Very Positive

Question 30. Faculty recruitment

____Very Negative

____Negative

____Do Not Know

____Positive

____Very Positive

Question 31. Faculty retention

____Very Negative

____Negative

____Do Not Know

____Positive

____Very Positive

Question 32. Staff recruitment

____Very Negative

____Negative

____Do Not Know

____Positive

____Very Positive

Question 33. Staff retention

____Very Negative

____Negative

____Do Not Know

____Positive

____Very Positive

Question 34. Student recruitment

____Very Negative

____Negative

____Do Not Know

____Positive

____Very Positive

Question 35. Student retention

____Very Negative

____Negative

____Do Not Know

____Positive

____Very Positive

Question 36. University outreach

____Very Negative

____Negative

____Do Not Know

____Positive

____Very Positive

Question 37. Community service

____Very Negative

____Negative

____Do Not Know

____Positive

____Very Positive

Question 38. Professional development - Faculty

____Very Negative

____Negative

____Do Not Know

____Positive

____Very Positive

Question 39. Professional development - Staff

____Very Negative

____Negative

____Do Not Know

____Positive

____Very Positive

Question 40. Equipment and computing facilities

____Very Negative

____Negative

____Do Not Know

____Positive

____Very Positive

Question 41. Physical plant - capital facilities

____Very Negative

____Negative

____Do Not Know

____Positive

____Very Positive

Question 42. Strategic planning (within unit)

____Very Negative

____Negative

____Do Not Know

____Positive

____Very Positive

Question 43. Please elaborate on how you think the UIF has affected your college, school, or administrative unit. TYPE OR WRITE HERE AND THEN CONTINUE ON TO QUESTION 44.

 

Question 44. Are there any additional issues about the UIF you would like to express? TYPE OR WRITE HERE.

Thank you for your time.
The results will be available March 30, 2001.
Please be sure to submit this survey by February 28, 2001.