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UW president Michael Young comments on Charlie Earl’s retirement

“I’ve had the privilege of getting to know Charlie Earl only since I arrived in Washington in July. It is clear to me what an important role he has played in our state’s community college system, and it became immediately apparent what an exceptional collaborative partner the four-year institutions had in him. He has been a strong advocate for the community colleges and for smooth articulation between them and the four-year universities. He’s been great to work with. We wish him a very joyful retirement.”

News from Olympia

Dear Members of the University Community:

Those among you who watch what transpires in Olympia know that early this morning, the Legislature completed its work and adopted a supplemental budget for the second year of the current biennium. The very good news is that for the first time in three years, funding for higher education and the University of Washington has not been further reduced. For far too long, part of the equation of balancing the state budget in times of fiscal duress has been the erosion of state support for higher education. The hemorrhaging has stopped, thanks to a great many people, including key leadership on both sides of the aisle in the Legislature, the Governor, editorial voices from our state’s newspapers — led prominently by The Seattle Times and its Greater good Campaign — and thousands of alumni, friends, students, faculty, staff, and citizens. We have to keep in mind that our fiscal challenges remain, and we are still dealing with the reductions of the past three years. This budget does not make additional cuts to our funding, but “additional” is the operative word. No money has been added back into our budget to make up for the significant reductions sustained in the original biennial budget. But, nevertheless, this is an important first step on the way to stabilizing our situation and welcome news for our University community and the citizens of Washington.

Other vital pieces of legislation were also adopted during the session that give the University additional flexibility in the areas of procurement, purchasing, human resources, and investment that will ultimately save the University money and generate more resources to support students and our academic mission. It takes a great deal of effort and leadership to see legislation like these bills become law, and we are very grateful to all those who helped shepherd these bills through the grinding process of making law in a democracy.

All of this effort went toward adjusting the 2011–13 biennial budget to deal with further projected revenue shortfalls in the second year of this biennium. We will be at this all over again as we prepare our 2013–15 budget request and resume the hard work of securing stable funding for the future, including funding for salary increases. So while this is a moment to celebrate, I am fully cognizant that there is much heavy lifting to do as we look toward the future.


Michael K. Young's signature
Michael K. Young

Statement from UW President Michael Young on Rep. Norm Dicks’ retirement

On behalf of generations of students, faculty and staff at the University of Washington, I want to express our deep gratitude to Congressman Dicks for his lifetime of service to the citizens of Washington and especially for his unwavering support over the many years he served in Congress for higher education and his alma mater. His service to his constituents and his knowledgeable commitment to education have benefited countless numbers of people in the Northwest and beyond, especially his staunch support for protecting the environment and conducting research to understand it better. He also was one of the early supporters of establishing the University of Washington in Tacoma. He has been a great friend to this university and a special alumnus in whose accomplishments as a public servant we take great pride. It is hard to imagine Washington’s Congressional delegation without him. If ever the phrase ‘well-deserved’ applies to a retirement announcement, this is certainly one of them.

Statement from UW President Michael Young on Senate budget proposal

The Senate budget proposal released today puts a halt to four years of public disinvestment in higher education. The Senate is to be commended for taking this bold stance. Investing in students and their futures charts a course towards sustainable economic recovery and is the best possible form of securing our economic future. Higher education sets people on a path that provides a lifetime of benefits for themselves, their families, and our communities. The Legislature needs to adopt this budget for higher education.

UW president comments on Obama 2013 budget

University of Washington President Michael K. Young issued a statement today about President Barack Obama’s budget, saying:

“The president’s commitment to expanding research funding in his 2013 budget to spur our nation’s innovation is a critical investment in our nation’s future and one we at the University of Washington fully support. The partnership between the federal government and our nation’s research universities in funding and conducting basic and applied research has fueled innovation for 60 years and propelled the U.S. to the forefront of the world’s economies. It is crucial, especially at this point in time, that this partnership remain vital and productive. We warmly applaud the president’s initiatives in this regard.

“We are also very pleased that the president is maintaining support for federal student financial aid through Pell grants and federal work-study programs. This aid is crucial to helping students afford a college education, particularly when states have been struggling to support higher education, forcing tuition to rise. It is important for states to reinvest in their colleges and universities, as well as for universities to continue to operate as efficiently as possible. College affordability remains one of the hallmarks of American higher education and one of the chief paths to opportunity and success. We are grateful for the president’s recognition of this reality and his support of students, especially in these difficult times.”

The Storm of 2012

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

The weather last week made a normally challenging quarter even harder. Losing three days from a total of 47 instructional days in the quarter has a real impact. Unlike K–12 schools, we do not have the luxury of adding make-up days at the end of the quarter. We know there is an effect upon all of our programs, especially our instructional ones, and we understand those lost days will be difficult to recover. We know that some faculty have been placing lecture PowerPoint presentations or classnotes on websites and/or engaging in online discussions with students (at least during times that power was available). More than a few mentoring sessions have happened over the phone or on Skype. We appreciate your dedication, especially under tough conditions, and are confident you will all continue to find creative ways to minimize the impact on student learning. We will be talking with students and instructors in the days ahead to assess which efforts worked best so that we can disseminate and facilitate best practices along these lines in the future.

Deciding to suspend operations is, of course, a decision not taken lightly. We weigh the effect upon the academic program against the risk to public safety of traveling in dangerous weather conditions, and as you might expect, we come down on the side of safety. Many of you live in close proximity and walk to and from your classes and places of work. Many commute from long distances. We gather as much information as we can about road conditions, public transportation capabilities, weather forecasts, as well as the condition of our campuses before arriving at a decision to suspend activities. As each day went by, we wanted not to have to suspend, but the weather just did not cooperate. Our local topography makes the challenge even harder. People who grew up in winter climes in the Midwest, for instance, gain a fuller appreciation of our hills and valleys, and how even relatively small amounts of snow and ice can turn a winter wonderland into a winter nightmare.

Many in jobs that are considered “essential” made their way into work to keep the University functional. These include all the staff in our medical centers, which do not have the ability to pause for the weather, to staff in our residence halls who regardless of the weather must provide meals for our 6,000 students living there, to those in our facilities divisions who kept the power on and who worked to near-exhaustion to get the campuses ready for our return. To all of them and many others who braved the weather, thank you for your service.

Let’s hope our adventure with nature this winter is over, and we’ve seen the last of disruptive storms. A little meteorological calm in our lives would be wonderful.


President Michael Young's Signature Image of Ana Mari Cauce's signature
Michael K. Young Ana Mari Cauce
President Provost & Executive Vice President

Renewing our pledge of integrity

Dear Members of the University Community:

At the half-way point of my first year at the UW, there are still daily revelations of how great this University is and what that greatness is built upon. The more I look inside the campus, the more I see extraordinary, energized students and faculty applying their talents to expand and share human knowledge. The more I venture outside, the more I find alumni, donors, legislators, and private citizens who treasure the contributions the UW makes to their lives and to the good of the world.

As part of my discovery, I am increasingly impressed to see that the remarkable drive, inquisitiveness, and ambition of our faculty, staff, and students are tempered by a deep, pervasive respect for the rules and societal standards that define the right way to conduct our work. Such steadfast adherence to ethical principles is far from universal, nor can we take it for granted. Indeed, the news of the past year left us with far too many examples of the lasting harm done by malicious and careless individuals, whose acts were sometimes extended by the inaction of those who might have spoken up or intervened. For that matter, our protracted economic slump is rooted in a widespread, unchecked disregard for responsible financial practices. We have seen prominent public officials caught behaving unethically and recklessly. Persons entrusted with academic, administrative, and athletic responsibilities at institutions of higher education have been found to have actively betrayed that trust — or to have stood by passively allowing the destructive behavior to continue.

In contrast, it is clear to me that the University of Washington’s century and a half of success has been built on a strong foundation of integrity. When problems have been discovered, they have been dealt with promptly and appropriately, as one would hope. Overall, the UW has nurtured a culture of responsible conduct, which has sustained our perennial success in attracting scholars and administrators who share a visceral inclination to act honorably. This institutional legacy is certainly one of the reasons I am proud to be among you.

Having inherited such values, one of our duties is to periodically renew our commitment to maintain these high expectations of ourselves and of one another. To that end, I hope you will join me in resolving to make 2012 another year of hard work in the service of education, research, and public service, carried out with the highest standards of integrity. This is the one certain path to continued pride in our individual and collective accomplishments.

Best wishes for a New Year filled with discovery and prosperity.


Michael K. Young's signature
Michael K. Young