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News and Updates

Session news: President Cauce advocates in Olympia; Regent Lee testifies in confirmation hearing

President Cauce champions the UW’s legislative agenda in Olympia

Yesterday, President Ana Mari Cauce traveled to Olympia to champion the UW’s legislative priorities. In her meetings with legislators, she highlighted the importance of competitive compensation for the University’s faculty and staff, as well as the need to expand high demand programs and students support services. She also emphasized the additional support needed for the UW’s hospitals to ensure they can continue to serve as the state’s safety-net and health care workforce training hospitals. With capital budget leaders, she reviewed the University’s capital project priorities.

During her visit, she also ran into current UW students who are working as legislative staff for session. She was thrilled to see the students and learn about the hands-on experience they’re getting as communication interns.

Her visit concluded with the Council of Presidents legislative reception where she connected with Washington’s other university presidents, elected officials, and higher education leaders and advocates.

Regent Lee’s participates in Senate confirmation hearing

The members of the UW Board of Regents are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate after a public hearing and floor vote.

Last Friday, Regent Elizabeth Lee took the first step to confirming her term by participating in a public hearing in the Senate Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee. At the hearing, she provided testimony about her background and commitment to service to the UW.

After the public hearing, the committee voted unanimously to advance her confirmation to the Senate floor for consideration and a vote. The floor vote is likely to take place in the next few weeks.

The UW is fortunate to have the leadership of Regent Lee!

Session news: Legislative session begins with testimony on the Governor’s budget proposals

The 2023 legislative session began on Monday and for the first time in two years, it is being held in-person. This session is unique because 29 new legislators have joined the ranks of the House and Senate and most of the sophomore legislators have never worked an in-person session. During this long 105-day session, legislators will decide the 2023-35 biennial operating, capital, and transportation budgets.

Throughout the week, the House and Senate fiscal committees heard the Governor’s operating and capital budget proposals, which included a majority of the University of Washington’s 2023 legislative priorities. The Office of State Relations Director Joe Dacca and Associate Director Morgan Hickel testified in support of both of the Governor’s budget proposals. In their remarks on the operating budget, they emphasized the importance of competitive compensation for faculty and staff with the state covering at least two-thirds of the costs, as well as the expansion of high demand programs. On the capital budget, they thanked the Governor for investing in the UW’s priority projects, including Magnuson Health Sciences Center, Anderson Hall, wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House, and Chemical Sciences. They also asked the legislature to consider funding for UW Tacoma to acquire land within their campus footprint that is important to future growth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The UW is also monitoring and supporting policy bills, including:

  • SB 5048 – Eliminates College in the High School student fees.
  • SB 5079 – Changes the date that tuition is set so financial aid packages can be provided to prospective students earlier.
  • HB 1156 – Extends eligibility for the Washington College Grant from five to six years to align with Pell.

Visit leg.wa.gov to learn more about specific pieces of legislation and track the legislature’s progress.

If you have any questions about the UW’s legislative agenda or bills being introduced, please contact the Office of State Relations at staterel@uw.edu.

Governor releases 2023-25 biennial budget proposals with substantial UW investments

The 2023 legislative session begins Jan. 9 and for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, legislators will meet in person in Olympia to decide the state’s biennial budget and policy. This week, Gov. Jay Inslee unveiled his 2023-25 operating and capital budget proposals, as the first step in the state budget process.

The Governor’s proposed operating budget prioritizes addressing the state’s homelessness and housing crisis, improvements to the behavioral health system, and climate action. His proposal dedicates $4 billion over the next six years to increase the supply of affordable housing across the state, including higher density development along transportation corridors. To expand access to behavioral health care, the Governor proposes increasing treatment bed capacity, providing additional services for children and youth, growing the workforce, and improving provider rates. Finally, his climate package devotes funding to improving siting and permitting for clean energy and transmission, helping the salmon recover and thrive, and mobilizing a future clean energy workforce.

The Governor’s proposal also funded a majority of the University of Washington’s legislative priorities and a few additional items including:

  • $26.9M for salary increases of 4% in FY24 and 3% in FY25 nonrepresented faculty and staff with additional funds provided to improve the fund split to two-thirds state funding.
  • $6.4M for state approved CBAs for represented employees, including one-time payments for retention and COVID-19 boosters.
  • $100M in one-time funding in FY23 for UW Medicine to alleviate significant labor costs and sustain clinical operations at UWMC and Harborview so they can continue to serve as the state’s safety-net and health care workforce training hospitals.
  • $6.6M in one-time funding for the Behavioral Health Teaching Facility for physician and faculty support.
  • $10.6M to grow a local, more diverse STEM workforce pipeline at all three UW campuses:
    • $6M for the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering to add 100 annual graduates by FY27.
    • $1.7M for the UW Bothell School of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics to develop a program modeled after STARS to support 75 pre-major students in accessing and graduating with computer science degrees.
    • $2.85M for the UW Tacoma School of Engineering & Technology to add 55 graduates in computer science and engineering by FY27.
  • $4.3M to expand the UW School of Dentistry RIDE program, which is located in Spokane and trains dentists to meet the needs of rural and underserved populations.
  • $10.3M in maintenance and operations (M&O) for UW Bothell’s STEM4 building, the UW Interdisciplinary Engineering Building, and the Behavioral Health Teaching Facility at UW Medical Center-Northwest.
  • Shifts M&O funds back to the state operating budget from the UW Building Account, allowing the UW to invest in critical building renewal and deferred maintenance.
  • $3M to develop a clean energy transformation strategy that transitions the Seattle campus energy infrastructure to 100 percent clean energy. Modernizes the energy infrastructure and better align UW’s sustainability values to develop a clean energy strategy for the Seattle campus
  • $520,000 for the Washington Ocean Acidification Center to advance high-priority science to better understand the relationships between marine organisms and ocean acidification.

The Governor’s capital budget also included significant support for the UW:

  • $58M for phase 2 of the Magnuson Health Sciences Center renovation and replacement. The Center is the primary teaching space for the UW’s six health science schools and new facilities will promote innovative, multidisciplinary learning.
  • $28.7M to design and renovate Anderson Hall, which was constructed in 1925 and has an antiquated learning environment that lacks adequate classroom and collaborative spaces for the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences.
  • $9M to design and construct phase 2 of wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House. wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ is a learning and gathering place for the UW’s American Indian and Alaskan Native students, faculty, and staff and a center for sharing the knowledge of Northwest Indigenous peoples.
  • $5M to design the modernization of chemical sciences in Seattle. Built in 1937 and 1957, current facilities for chemistry, materials science, and chemical engineering do not meet the requirements for interdisciplinary, modern science education and research.
  • $13M for the behavioral health renovation of UW Medical Center-Northwest. This project provides an additional 25 90/180-day long term civil-commitment beds to help meet the state’s behavioral health care needs.

The Office of State Relations is thrilled to see the investments the Governor proposed for the University, which will help recruit and retain faculty and staff, provide immediate support to UW Medicine’s hospitals and staff, and expand opportunities and support services for students.

For additional details, see the Washington State Office of Financial Management’s budget highlights and the brief prepared by the UW Office of Planning & Budgeting on their Briefs page.

Legislators tour Behavioral Health Teaching Facility at UW Medical Center-Northwest

Yesterday, legislators and legislative and gubernatorial staff toured the under-construction Behavioral Health Teaching Facility (BHTF) at UW Medical Center-Northwest. Scheduled to open in early 2025, the one-of-a-kind facility will provide high quality, fully integrated behavioral health care to Washington patients, as well as serve as an interdisciplinary training facility for current and future healthcare professionals.

During their tour, the group was able to see the building’s innovative layout and hear about the cutting-edge methods and technologies that will be used to provide care for patients with a wide range of behavioral health needs. The BHTF will also serve people and local communities across the state through 24/7 telehealth services and patient-coordinated care with local providers. Legislators were impressed by the facility’s emphasis on patient-centered care and the multidisciplinary, clinical educational opportunities for current and future providers, which will help the state’s critical healthcare workforce needs.

The tour attendees also had the opportunity to speak with UW Medicine leaders and healthcare professionals, who shared their excitement about the improved access Washington residents will have to needed behavioral health services and their belief that the facility will bring the best and brightest future behavioral healthcare providers to the state. They also highlighted the work UW Medicine is doing as the state’s safety-net health care provider and the resources needed to continue to serve the state’s most vulnerable populations.

Overall, legislators were excited about the potential for the facility to serve as a model for other behavioral health facilities in the state and the positive impact it will make for Washington residents.

Thank you to Reps. Frank Chopp, Steve Tharinger, Nicole Macri, Gerry Pollet, and Javier Valdez, Sen. June Robinson, and the legislative and gubernatorial staff members for participating in the tour. We appreciate your continued support of the UW!

UW Tacoma celebrates the completion of Milgard Hall

Last week, legislators, Puyallup Tribal members, and friends of the UW Tacoma joined faculty and staff to celebrate the completion of Milgard Hall. Opening for winter quarter, the 55,000-square-foot building will house the Milgard School of Business and the School of Engineering & Technology, as well as expanded space for the Global Innovation and Design Lab.

Milgard Hall will promote interdisciplinary learning that leverages the campus’ existing industry partnerships and engages the Tacoma community. It will also allow for the expansion of academic programs, which will further access to high-demand degrees for students in the South Puget Sound and beyond and provide the region’s businesses with local talent.

Additionally, the new building celebrates Tacoma’s rich history of timber and prioritizes sustainability through the incorporation of mass timber. Mass timber is seen throughout the building to remind the University community of our commitment to environmental responsibility and innovation.

Milgard Hall would not have been possible without support from the state. Legislators in attendance at the event included Speaker Laurie Jinkins, House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox, Reps. Steve Tharinger, Jake Fey, Mari Leavitt, and Davina Duerr. Jinkins, Wilcox, and Tharinger spoke about the important role Milgard Hall will serve in educating future business, engineering, and technology leaders and in furthering the economic growth of the South Puget Sound.

Thank you to all the elected officials who attended the celebration and provided support!

Washington state’s 2022 midterm election results

The 2022 General Election was held yesterday with initial vote counts posted on the Secretary of State’s website at 8 p.m. Washington state has voted entirely by mail since 2011 so additional time is required to tabulate votes. Ballots dropped in official drop boxes or postmarked by Nov. 8 will continue to be tallied until final election results are certified by the Secretary of State on or before Dec. 8.

Washington state is divided into 49 legislative districts, with one state Senator and two state Representatives elected in each district. This election cycle, all 98 House seats and 25 Senate seats were up for election. Representatives are elected in even-numbered years and serve two-year terms, while Senators are elected every four years with half of the Senate up for election every two years.

Democrats currently control the state House and Senate by clear majorities and early election results indicate they will maintain control. However, some races remain too close to call with an estimated 721,000 ballots on hand to be processed. To date, almost 1.9 million ballots have been counted.

The Secretary of State position was also on the ballot with incumbent Steve Hobbs (D) narrowly leading challenger Julie Anderson (nonpartisan).

To view Washington’s election results, click here.

Legislators tour the Power Plant and learn about the UW’s decarbonization strategy

This week, Reps. Davina Duerr and Alex Ramel and Anna Lising, Senior Climate Advisor to Gov. Jay Inslee, visited the UW Seattle campus and took a behind-the-scenes tour of the Power Plant. The tour showcased the Seattle campus’ existing energy infrastructure and unveiled the University’s innovative clean energy transformation strategy.

The UW Seattle energy system has served the campus for well over 100 years, but its age makes it costly to maintain and its dependence on steam and fossil fuels no longer aligns with the University’s sustainability values. To address these challenges, the University has put together a five-part strategy that prioritizes energy efficiency, transforms heating and cooling, and finds alternatives to steam for medical and research equipment sterilization. The plan also focuses on innovative opportunities such as sewer heat recovery, deep lake cooling and heating, and thermal energy storage.

To learn more about the team leading the University’s efforts to being 100 percent carbon neutral and the strategy, see this article.

Thank you, Reps. Duerr and Ramel and Anna, for touring the Power Plant and learning about the University’s decarbonization strategy!

Grand opening ceremony held for UW Health Sciences Education Building

The grand opening of the UW’s new Health Sciences Education Building (HSEB) took place yesterday with legislators and community supporters in attendance. The HSEB serves the University’s six health science schools (Dentistry, Nursing, Medicine, Pharmacy, Public Health, and Social Work), which are ranked among the top in the nation and are widely recognized as leaders in professional education, research innovation, and public service.

Local communities across Washington state desperately need qualified healthcare professionals and the HSEB will improve pathways to healthcare degrees and jobs for local students, as well as support continuing education for current providers. The 4-story building fosters multidisciplinary learning with its innovative learning environments and state-of-the-art equipment. It also better supports the University’s important research mission, which will ultimately lead to discoveries that will benefit the state and world.

The HSEB would not have come to fruition without generous support from the state. In attendance at the grand opening were Senators David Frockt, Mark Mullet, and Jamie Pedersen and Representatives My-Linh Thai and Gerry Pollet. Sens. Frockt and Mullet, Senate capital budget leads and legislative champions of the HSEB, spoke about the important public service missions of the UW’s six health science schools and highlighted the critical role they have played throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. They also emphasized how the building will support local communities with qualified healthcare professionals and through advances in research and technology.

As an alumna of the UW School of Pharmacy, Rep. Thai also spoke–fondly reflecting on her time as a student at the UW and highlighting how the HSEB will better prepare today’s students for the healthcare jobs of the future through its cutting-edge technology and focus on interdisciplinary learning. She also underscored the essential role of UW’s health science educators in producing qualified, successful healthcare workers.

Thank you to the legislators who attended the celebration and for your support of the UW!

Capital budget leaders and staff briefed on the UW’s 2023 capital priorities

House and Senate capital budget leaders and staff visited UW Seattle last week for a briefing on the University’s 2023 capital budget priorities and a tour of facilities. During the briefing, they learned about the UW’s long-term capital plan, energy modernization initiative, and space management strategies. They also received updates on the recently completed Health Sciences Education Building (Seattle) and Milgard Hall (Tacoma), as well as current capital projects: Interdisciplinary Engineering Building (Seattle), STEM 4 (Bothell), and the Behavioral Health Teaching Facility at UW Medical Center–Northwest.

The presentation then dove into the University’s 2023 capital budget agenda, which includes:

  • $58M for phase 2 of the Magnuson Health Sciences Center (T-Wing) renovation and replacement. This is the primary teaching space for the UW’s six health sciences schools (Dentistry, Nursing, Medicine, Pharmacy, Public Health, Social Work). Current facilities were constructed in the 1970s and have mostly original infrastructure with an inflexible environment that does not promote innovative, multidisciplinary learning.
  • $28.9M to design and renovate Anderson Hall in Seattle. Constructed in 1925, Anderson Hall has antiquated learning environment that lacks adequate classroom and collaborative learning spaces for the UW School of Environmental and Forestry Sciences, which has seen undergraduate enrollment double in the last decade.
  • $9M to design and construct phase 2 of the design of wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ (Intellectual House). wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ offers a meeting place for UW Native American students, faculty, and staff and shares in the knowledge of Northwest Indigenous people. The building will bring additional support to Native American students through greater connection to their culture and community, as well as further access and retention.
  • $5M to design the modernization of Chemical Sciences in Seattle. Built in 1937 and 1957, current facilities for Chemistry, Material Science, and Chemical Engineering are overwhelmed by student demand and program constraints and do not meet the requirements for interdisciplinary, modern science education and research.
  • $7.7M for land acquisition at UW Tacoma. The UW Tacoma seeks funding to acquire strategic real estate parcels within the 46-acre campus footprint as they become available for purchase to use them to the benefit of the campus community.
  • $13M for the behavioral health renovation of UW Medical Center-Northwest. This project creates a voluntary adult behavioral health facility that will be part of the behavioral health training program for multidisciplinary care teams.

For detailed information about the UW’s 2023 capital budget requests, see our decision packages on the Washington State Office of Financial Management website. The UW Office of State Relations will also release a summary of the University’s capital and operating budget priorities prior to legislative session.

After the briefing, legislators and staff toured the UW’s new Health Sciences Education Building, the T-Wing, and Anderson Hall. They also walked by the proposed site of the future Chemical Sciences facility.

A huge thank you to Senator Mark Mullet and Representatives Steve Tharinger and David Hackney, as well as Michael Bezanson, Kristen Fraser, John Wilson-Tepeli, and Alec Osenbach, for visiting the UW and for your support!

Legislators join groundbreaking celebration for the UW’s Interdisciplinary Engineering Building

Last week, legislators and local business leaders joined the UW community for the groundbreaking of the Interdisciplinary Engineering Building (IEB). Opening in mid-2024, the 70,000-square-foot building will promote project-based learning and provide a direct link to industry to the 7,000 students it will serve. It will also house student support services and organizations, creating a one-stop-shop for UW engineering students.

Designed with student input, the IEB will prioritize collaboration, inclusivity, and adaptability. It will also help further the College of Engineering’s mission to develop and support a diverse student body and faculty where all members thrive. Joining the celebration, House College & Workforce Development Chair Vandana Slatter emphasized that students from every walk of life will have a home at the IEB where they will prepare for tomorrow’s engineering careers. She also praised the College of Engineering’s world-class educators and spoke about how the new building will better support their important teaching and research missions.

The IEB was funded by public and private dollars to improve pathways to engineering degrees and jobs for Washington residents, further cutting-edge research, and fuel economic growth. Instrumental in securing public funds for the building, House and Senate Capital Budget Chairs Steve Tharinger and David Frockt, were also in attendance and spoke about the vital role the IEB will play in helping the state develop much-needed local engineering talent.

Thank you, Sen. Frockt and Reps. Tharinger and Slatter, for attending the groundbreaking and for your support of the IEB!