Remarks by Kirk Schulz, President
The president began his presentation by thanking the faculty and staff for the exceptional job they have done moving in such a short timeframe to an online experience for our students.
Provost Search Update
- Seven semi-finalist candidates interviewed via Zoom
- Four finalist candidates (3 external, 1 internal; all with experience at Public Land Grant Research Universities)
- Credentials (CVs, etc.) will be posted 48 hours in advance
- Each will visit via Zoom with various groups and members of the campus community
- Candidates will answer questions from the WSU community via streamed presentations – On April 13, 14, 15, and 20; all during 1:00-2:00 pm
- Updates, information, and feedback forms at https://provostsearch.wsu.edu. Please submit questions for the Provost candidates to address.
- The goal is to narrow down to one or two individuals to visit several campus locations in-person in mid-May.
WSU System Strategic Plan
- Work started in Spring 2019 to develop the first WSU System Strategic Plan
- SPIEC formulated in Fall of 2019 to guide planning process, analyze data and information, and draft the plan for presenting to the WSU Regents in Spring 2020
- “No Process is Perfect”
- We must find ways to engage larger numbers of faculty to participate in the planning process.
- Thank you to the Faculty Senate for providing a critique of the process and the draft system plan.
- Craig Parks is leading the development of the WSU-Pullman Strategic Plan in alignment with the System Strategic Plan.
- The System-Level Plan must include –
- Restructuring the multi-campus system to eliminate administrative redundancy and free up resources to invest in the knowledge enterprise (Progress: Start of discussion during 2020-21 academic year)
- Developing a transparent system-wide budget model that supports our strategic priorities, is informed by the Fiscal Health Advisory Committee, and is based on accurate cost of instruction. (Progress: Initial work in College of Nursing budget – will be a major initiative in 2020-21 academic year)
- Hiring an experienced leader in enrollment management into the provost’s office (Progress: In process currently)
- Creating a capital needs a ranking system across WSU that supports the priorities as identified in the strategic plan. (Progress: Developed and communicated to WSU community by VPFA)
- Possible System-level Projects (on-going and new)
- Developing system-level planning to support centers and institutes
- Communicating our $2B campaign’s goals and objectives to our stakeholders, including alumni and the broader community
- Improving government relations in terms of establishing budget priorities, Extension funding, and legislation that impacts WSU
- Modernizing our human resources, finance, and grants systems via Enterprise Resource Planning with Workday
- Developing a system environmental scan process
- Developing a common process that helps campuses connect with their communities
- Developing a system-level approach to growing and managing core facilities and reducing deferred maintenance
- Developing a model that defines common and fair HRS practices across all campuses and colleges
- Selection of appropriate projects and initiatives would be part of the annual planning process
- Specific feedback on the draft plan
- Lacks specifics and “how-to” (Draft plan is a framework for campus and unit plans to use to fit their goals. These plans will provide the how-to’s.)
- Need for unit level planning (Provost Slinker has initiated with Deans)
- Excess of assumptions which are not necessarily based in empirical data
- Trendy language used too often (Much has been edited out)
- Need for increased emphasis on the importance of equity, diversity, and inclusion throughout the draft. (Language has been updated throughout)
- Write the Pullman plan to focus on CAHNRS, CAS, Carson, Murrow, Education, Voiland, Vet-Med, and Honors. The Spokane plan would include Nursing, Medicine, and Pharmacy. (Response – Have Craig Parks and Daryll DeWald ensure coordination on plan development and format)
- Extension was mentioned often in feedback. Extension faculty relayed that our system is often stymied by an outdated structure and constrained by county, state, and federal contracts. (Response – We will work with incoming WSU Extension Director and the new Provost on this)
- Empower faculty to participate in a new authentic system plan that outlines our accomplishments and is honest about our challenges (One WSU). Senate could provide a platform for faculty participation apart from surveys and all-day conferences. (Response – We welcome discussion on ways to include higher faculty participation)
Fiscal Challenges – COVID-19
WSU continues to address challenges with our fiscal situation due to COVID-19
- Executive salaries frozen until July 2021. President and other highly compensated individuals taking a 5% voluntary salary reduction until July 2021
- Faculty and staff hiring freeze in place with procedures developed to move forward with mission-critical hires
- Student Affairs expected to return $12-14M to students requesting a partial refund/credit for Spring 2020 housing and dining fees
- Governor’s veto of several budget items in FY20 Supplemental Budget could effect salary adjustments, ESFCOM expansion funds, and soil health initiative
- Summer 2020 impacts affecting quality of the WSU Pullman undergraduate experience
- Moving Summer 2020 to online instruction will result in additional revenue loss
- Summer undergraduate research programs cancelled by federal agencies
- Faculty-led study abroad programs cancelled
- Student recruitment and retention programs (e.g. tribal, STEM, Summer Advantage) are being cancelled
- There are opportunities to secure additional “one-time” emergency support funds from the State of Washington to utilize WSU faculty research expertise in areas of significant need due to COVID-19
- There are some federal funds from the $2T stimulus to come to WSU; timing is uncertain. These funds will be targeted and focused on emergency student aid/direct support and are not stimulus funds like ARRA. These funds cannot support intercollegiate athletics
- A task force is modeling potential impacts on enrollments, tuition revenue, and state funding adjustments
- All auxiliaries, including Athletics, are estimating impacts on revenues and expenses for the remainder of FY2020 based on cancellation of events and Stay Home Stay Safe requirements
Roles and Responsibilities Working Group
This group has been meeting since December 2019. Members include Chip Hunter, Theresa Elliot-Cheslek, Laura Griner-Hill, Sandra Haynes, and A.G. Rud.
A report should be complete by mid-May 2020 to be broadly distributed to the WSU community. Preliminary highlights:
- One WSU and One Degree will continue to be core principles for WSU System
- Innovative organization structure can be a strength and not a weakness if we execute it well
- Recommendation for a matrix model for academic issues
- Each campus, including Pullman, will need a clear mission
- Vice Presidents’ “system” vs. “Pullman” roles and responsibilities need clarification
- A different set of working groups are suggested (based on 2004 suggestions)
Question and Answer Session
Q. You’ve said the stimulus funds won’t be used for athletics. Can you say the same for the University’s reserve accounts?
A. I don’t know what we’re going to wind up doing. We don’t know what the Athletics budget’s going to look like. We don’t know, for example, what the PAC-12 distribution is going to be. If the comment is, ‘are we going to take reserve funds from whomever and give some of those moneys to Athletics to help balance their budget,’ the answer is ‘no, we’re not going to do that.’
Q. The Chronicle reported today that WSU would get $21M from the COVID funding. Will this be used for students as you discussed?
A. I don’t know. We don’t have the guidelines yet on how those dollars can be used. $21M is a substantial dollar figure to assist our students in need and the university in delivering the education to those particular students. As we have more details exactly how those dollars are to be used, we will put those out. We’ll make sure the university community sees those and sees exactly how those dollars will be spent.
Q. You have an executive committee making day-to-day decisions due to the crisis. Would you consider adding a rep from faculty leadership to this group?
A. It’s a crisis management team that’s actually pretty defined in scope and structure. That group was put in place not to be a permanent group. What I’m talking to the cabinet over the next two weeks of doing is putting together some small work groups on very specific types of things moving ahead that are not just policy but online education, what sort of things have we learned, how are we going to deal with some of the budget issues and what we want to do is at that particular case on those working groups we hope to put together in May, we will ask the Faculty Senate specifically for representation on each of those particular groups so that there is a clear faculty voice. I will ensure that there is an appropriate faculty voice on decisions moving forward.
Q. Can you comment on the level of diversity there is in the four provost candidates?
A. We have one candidate of color, two women candidates, and one white male candidate.
Q. Will WSU Vancouver still be required to build reserves in the fall due to financial problems caused by COVID?
A. I don’t know that. That’s an appropriately detailed question that we’ll make sure we take up with the Chancellor, Stacy, and others.
Q. How long do you anticipate the hiring freeze will last and how will it affect faculty hires?
A. I don’t know how long the hiring freeze will last. I think hiring freezes sometimes last for multiple years. The real issue is that we just don’t know what the State of Washington’s impact due to the budget issues that this state’s going to have will have on higher ed. We’ll know more in the next couple of months. I would say it will be throughout the next academic year, but that could change, hopefully for the better.
Q. Is there a freeze on hiring administrators?
A. If we have active searches ongoing, the answer [to continuing them] is ‘yes.’ Are we going to add new administrative positions that nobody has heard about over the next academic year? The answer to that is ‘no.’ The two administrative positions that I’m aware of that are out there right now are the provost, and we’re doing finalists, and we’re hiring an enrollment management person to replace a retirement that’s really critical to our long-term success at Pullman and as a system, and that search is ongoing.
Q. What is the status of the investigation into bias and handling of former Provost Montoya? Transparency was promised. There have not been public updates for awhile. Will it be available to the candidates for provost?
A. All I know is that the attorney that was hired in conjunction with the Faculty Senate to do this is continuing their interviews and they were doing additional interviews this week. Will it be made available to the provost candidates? It will be made available when it’s done to everybody. I’m happy to explicitly make sure the provost candidates see it, but it depends on when it’s done.
Q. What have discussions about the start of the fall semester entailed? What are you anticipating? What might be happening?
A. Everybody is now appropriately asking questions about what’s going to happen in August and September. I think it’s just too preliminary for us to know. Right now, we’re planning on holding in-person classes, having residence halls with students, and returning back to something that is different than what we’re doing now and it may not completely what things looked like in December of this last year. There’s been some speculation on what fall could look like, but we need to spend the summer really working on this.
Q. Have you thought about faculty that are in vulnerable age groups and how you might handle that in the fall?
A. One of the questions that I want us to answer more broadly is, ‘what will we learn when we get to the end of this semester that could [lead to] a better way for us to do things?’ I think maybe what we learn is that we can have an educational experience, a quality one, or a quality work experience where people are not sitting physically present. Teaching doesn’t have to be all in a classroom. What may happen to come out of this is actually greater flexibility that we have with our faculty colleagues than we might have had a few weeks ago. I want us to be thinking creatively about how we can learn from this experience and maybe make our workplace and our education style a little more flexible, a little bit more different, and maybe a little more encompassing to more of our colleagues.
Q. Has there been any discussion of providing our adjunct faculty with bonuses for the incredible above-and-beyond work they have been required to do?
A. We have not discussed any sort of bonuses, additional pay, compensation-related issues for any faculty status or any staff members, administrators, anybody based on this. Does that say that we shouldn’t? Absolutely not. That has not been part of our conversation to date and I would encourage senators if they think that that is something that really should be taken into account, work through the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, and we always want to take feedback from our faculty on things that we need to be thinking about.
Call to Order
Degree Conferral Recommendations:
Motion by Becky Bitter, Registrar, for the University Faculty to recommend to the President and the Board of Regents to advance undergraduate and professional students who have completed degree requirements to their respective degrees was approved.
Motion by Lisa Gloss, Dean of the Graduate School, for the University Faculty to recommend to the President and the Board of Regents to advance graduate students who have completed degree requirements to their respective degrees was approved.
Information Item – Posthumous Degree Policy
The policy concerning posthumous degrees in the Educational Policy and Procedure Manual was updated.
Montoya Investigation Update
Greg Crouch reached out to Danielle Hess, Attorney General’s office, asking for further details. It is not known when the investigation will be completed. Interviews are ongoing. Former Provost Montoya has been interviewed twice and she has suggested to the investigator other persons to be interviewed. The investigator was provided available electronic communications (emails) that were part of active or pending FOIA requests.
Potential for Special Session
In the event of further unusual circumstances, it was requested to hold any necessary additional Faculty Senate meetings up until May 15th, the end of the semester.
All Discussion Items were moved forward as Action Items.
All Action Items were approved.
Changes to the Faculty Status Committee are in progress, balancing the composition to include career-track faculty. Additional nominees are needed to complete this process; Dave Turnbull (firstname.lastname@example.org) is soliciting additional career-track faculty nominees.
Constituent concerns will continue to be monitored during the semester and through out summer.