February Announcement

Dear Colleagues,

In recent days there have been several news articles in which faculty concerns have been raised about WSU’s trajectory and leadership. The text of these concerns have been posted to the faculty senate forum website here, along with responses made by the president (PDF) and Board of Regents (PDF). I hope these resources will promote a better understanding and discussion of the issues.

Several constituent concerns have also been posted over the past months regarding the process of reviews of administrative personnel. I appreciate the efforts of both the president and provost’s offices for creating websites to address the review process for administrators responsible to them and hope this will incentivize similar efforts at the chancellor’s levels.

Finally, many faculty have raised questions about the fiscal health of the institution and the manner in which funds are allocated. I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that our next faculty senate speaker (2/29/2024 Agenda) will be Leslie Brunelli, Executive VP for finance and administration. Please consider submitting questions for Leslie to faculty.senate@wsu.edu ahead of time.

Eric Shelden, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Molecular Biosciences
Chair, Faculty Senate Academic Editor, PLoS One
Washington State University
Email: eshelden@wsu.edu
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1 comments on "February Announcement"
  1. I won’t pretend to understand all the issues that have been presented, but I’ve been at WSU 35 years now, and although I have three degrees from the University of Washington ;), I bleed crimson and gray. I’ve given my blood, sweat, and tears to this place and want to see it thrive. I’ve served as a faculty member under Sam Smith, V. Lane Rawlins, Elson Floyd, and Kirk Schultz. I can’t really comment on the contributions of Sam Smith, but I know at the end of his tenure, faculty were demoralized. I served on the search committee that helped to hire Lane Rawlins, and he was the perfect president to get our academy back on track; he made faculty feel valued again, but he wasn’t going to push us forward. Then along came Elson Floyd who was fantastic. He broke a lot of eggs, and he broke the bank, but he got things done–yay medical school! Thankfully, he was followed by an engineer, Kirk Schultz. In general, engineers are fiscally conservative, and Schultz wouldn’t have come to WSU if he had known what a fiscal mess we were in. Thank goodness he didn’t know! Setting aside sports (I’m a huge fan of Pat Chun and think we are extremely lucky to have him) because I don’t want to open that can of worms, Schultz was doing a great job of getting our fiscal house in order, but then along came the pandemic. There was nothing he could do about that, and we rode out the storm along with every other university. Regarding college enrollments, they’ve been decreasing nationwide since 2010 for complex reasons (https://www.bestcolleges.com/research/college-enrollment-decline/). My guess is that this is one reason why we’ve promoted our Global Campus so much. We could probably argue about how we would make strategic cuts, but do you want to volunteer your unit or your position? Note, BTW, that during the pandemic, faculty weren’t furloughed or had to take pay cuts (please correct me if I’m wrong). This wasn’t the case at many other institutions because the administration did its best to protect us. But I digress. As for ONE WSU, well, Schultz and his predecessors inherited a mess that I think was started by Smith. I know it’s created extra financial overhead, but I think it’s a good approach to a tough situation. I’d like to see more collaboration among campuses, and Pullman faculty need to broaden their minds about their sister campuses. Based on some of the people I’ve met from these campuses, in a couple of decades, they may well be leading the charge. Suffice it to say that I’m not one of the faculty members who wants to see a change in the administration at this time. Instead, I want to thank President Schultz for his dedicated work and request that he stay until we’re healthy and hearty and ready for the next step. I want him to know that it’s not a completely thankless job. There’s at least one faculty member who thanks him for his effort and for caring about the future of WSU.

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