University Budget Committee

Budget Announcement 6/16/09

2009-11 budget announcement

June 16, 2009

Dear Colleagues, Students, Alumni, and Community Members:

The State of Washington and the nation are currently facing the worst economic circumstance since the Great Depression. The impact on Washington State University has been devastating, and it has been felt—in a very personal way—by all of us. The massive budget cut we must endure will result in reductions in jobs, programs, services, enrollments, and degree offerings. Virtually every aspect of WSU has been touched by this fiscal crisis.

It is now time for us to renew our commitment to building a stronger Washington State University deeply rooted in our obligation and responsibility to serve effectively our state as its exclusive land-grant research university. But, before we can devote full-time attention to this imperative, we must finalize our official response to the deepest cut to higher education in more than a generation.

The process we used was highly collaborative and exceedingly transparent. Over a dozen public forums were held, extensive meetings conducted with constituency groups, testimony provided to the various committees of the House and Senate, and presentations made to the Faculty Senate, Associated Students of Washington State University, Administrative Professional Advisory Council, and the Board of Regents. Additionally, regular meetings were held with the senior leadership of WSU—Deans, Chancellors, and Vice Presidents—to develop approaches, identify budget targets, review area proposals, and receive general feedback. The university’s Web site was used extensively throughout the process to provide regular updates and to receive broader university and community feedback. Over 10,000 comments have been offered on different phases of the budget proposals under consideration. The number of articles written and reported by the print and electronic media are too numerous to recount at this time. The Deans, Chancellors, Vice Presidents, other senior university officials, and the two of us met with virtually every student, legislator, faculty or staff member, alumnus/a, and community member who requested a meeting. Thousands of electronic messages received individual responses. In fact, the senior leadership devoted vast amounts of time, energy, and effort to address thoughtfully these types of questions and inquiries. The newly established University Budget Committee was invaluable in providing focus and perspective on the broader institutional impacts of budgetary decisions.

The following provides the progression of events leading up to our final budget:

The First Cut is Received

Washington State University was required to return $10.5 million of the 2007-2009 biennial appropriation to the Office of Financial Management (the Governor’s Office) by June 30, 2009. These funds were returned through the following means:

Academic instruction, the libraries, the regional campuses, and the new Murrow College were protected from the full brunt of this reduction. In total, the academic areas, including the regional campuses, hold about 67% of the university’s permanent funds. However, the academic areas and the regional campuses were assessed only 42% of the total cut. The academic-support areas, which hold about 33% of the permanent funds, were assessed with 58% of the reduction. The following is an excerpt from a message sent to university leaders on October 23, 2008:

“As a result of our efforts, begun in April, to slow down administrative hiring and reduce other expenses, we are currently on track to save $3 million by the end of the fiscal year. These savings are largely attributable to reduced central expenses and savings from the four-month accrual policy. We are hopeful that efforts to reduce expenses within your respective areas will have led to similar savings that can help cover your portion of the budget reduction.

Since arriving at WSU, President Floyd has emphasized that we cannot afford to continue the practice of making across the board budget adjustments. Accordingly, we are specifically targeting our estimated central savings to protect instructional faculty, graduate students, the libraries and branch campuses. This action will reduce their respective share of the cut from $4.3 million under an across the board approach to $1.3 million. This approach will help minimize the impact of the cut on our students and faculty. At the same time, we must remember that the non-instructional activities we perform on a daily basis, which will be the hardest hit by this reduction, are critical in assisting students and faculty in achieving their goals.”

Governor/Legislature Agree on 2009-2011 Budget Reduction for WSU

After months of testimony and intense deliberations, the biennial operating budget for WSU was decided in the final days of the regular legislative session. The net operating budget reduction is $54.2 million or 10.38% in 2009-2011. This budget was developed using both federal stimulus dollars, which are not expected to be available beyond the 2009-11 biennium, and a 14% increase in tuition for resident undergraduate students for each of the two years. With tremendous concerns expressed regarding the need for enhanced financial aid, the Board of Regents reluctantly approved the tuition increase at its meeting on May 8, 2009. Thus, the final operating budget was built accordingly: 

2009–11 Biennial Budget Reduction

State appropriations maintenance level (in millions)


State General Funds


Education Legacy Funds


Total State Appropriations




Reduction in state funds, compromise budget


Percentage cut of state funds




Federal stimulus offset


Net reduction after federal offset


Percentage cut after federal offset




Tuition increase offset (approved rates, same mix/# students)


Net overall reduction after federal stimulus and tuition increase


Net overall percentage reduction after stimulus and tuition


Balancing the Budget for WSU

The new operating budget for WSU will become effective on July 1, 2009. While we generally think of budget reductions as “cuts,” they are actually reductions in quarterly allocations from the state. In this regard, WSU’s allocations will be reduced by $32 million in 2009-2010 and by the balance, $22 million, in 2010-2011. This is an extremely difficult accounting problem because of fund flows and disbursements. As a consequence, the institutional decision has been made to engage in a process called smoothing of funds, which will allow WSU to administer the budget reduction more evenly—$27 million each year.

The Final Budget Decisions

There were a number of principles that guided the ultimate decisions made to balance the budget. These principles may be found at . It is important to note that none of the options were popular and none of the budgetary responses were entered into easily. Difficult and seemingly impossible choices were made in the final analysis. Despite seeking every avenue to avoid this consequence, we sincerely regret that individuals will be separated from WSU as a result of the budget reduction. The alternatives were daunting since approximately 83% of the institution’s budget is associated with personnel, which is typical of colleges and universities across the nation. As a result, it was virtually impossible to achieve a reduction of this magnitude without impacting people. Ultimately, we estimate 192 faculty and staff positions will be impacted, including retirements, reduced appointments, and various forms of separation agreements. Due to individual retirement decisions, this number might change. In addition, 167 vacant positions will be cut. Forty-seven employees took advantage of the WSU Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive (VERI): 30 faculty, 16 administrative professional, and one civil service.

Several academic programs have received considerable attention over the past several weeks. The status of each is outlined below:

Sport Management – WSU will maintain and continue the program and major. The department will remain in the College of Education while a review is conducted regarding its permanent academic home.

Theater and Dance – The department and both the major and minor will be phased out beginning immediately. The department will officially close July 2011. All students currently certified in Theater and Dance will complete their course of study.

Community and Rural Sociology
– The department will be phased out effective immediately with the official close July 2010. (There are no students or majors within this department.)

German – The major will be eliminated July 2011. All students currently certified in German will complete their course of study.

The budget will be balanced through the following means:

The president voluntarily reduced his salary by $100,000, effective January 1, 2009. That salary reduction has already been implemented and will be used towards the overall response to the budget.

The Deans, Chancellors, Vice Presidents, and the two of us have voluntarily agreed to participate in and contribute to WSU excellence funds at an aggregate level of 5% of base salary. (For the president, this is in addition to the voluntary salary reduction of $100,000 referenced above.) This action will yield funds totaling nearly $330,000. Participation in this initiative will either occur through salary reductions or individual contributions. The payment method is at the discretion of each individual. As a result of this action, approximately 10 positions have been saved, which otherwise would have been eliminated. WSU faculty and staff are welcome to participate in this initiative; however, their participation will not be used to balance the budget at this time.

The process to balance our budget has been painful and difficult for all concerned. The following is a summary of final changes and further clarifications of the budget-reduction scenarios contained on the Web site

Budget Actions by Area

College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences

  • Abolish vacant positions in College administration.

  • Decrease the number of courses taught in Horticulture, and Crop and Soil Sciences by consolidating three existing BS degrees (Horticulture, Crop Science and Soil Science) into a new BS in Integrated Plant Sciences.

  • Reduce the Bachelors in Landscape Architecture from a five-year program to a four-year program.

  • Phase out the IMPACT (International Marketing Program for Agricultural Commodities and Trade) Center.

  • Phase out Community and Rural Sociology.

College of Business

  • Achieve budget savings through increased administrative efficiency. Four departments (i.e., Marketing, Finance, Management and Operations, and Information Systems) and one center (Entrepreneurship) are being strategically realigned into three new units. Faculty associated with former units being reassigned to the new units—the Department of Entrepreneurship and Information Systems, the Department of Marketing and Management, and the Department of Finance and Operations.

  • Reduce marketing and events-related activities.

  • Abolish vacant faculty lines.

  • Increase flexibility and potential for efficiencies through curriculum revision. BA degrees in Business Administration and Hospitality Business Management will now require fewer discipline-specific courses for areas of emphasis.

WSU Extension

  • Abolish vacant positions in Extension administration.

  • Eliminate Extension Communication and Educational Support Department; move video and broadcast staff into a self-sustaining unit.

  • Close all nine Learning Centers.

  • Reduce personnel through consolidation of administration.

Murrow College of Communication

  • Abolish vacant faculty and staff positions.

College of Education

  • Phase out undergraduate minor in Leadership Studies (June 2009).

  • Phase out School Psychology State Certificate Program (2010).

  • Phase out Masters in Secondary Education (2009).

  • Phase out Masters in Elementary Education (2009).

  • Reduce personnel in the Dean’s Office.

College of Engineering and Architecture

  • Abolish vacant faculty positions.

  • Phase out BS and MS in Architecture programs in Spokane (Masters in Architecture will continue in Spokane and Pullman).

  • Reduce state-supported salaries of chairs, associate deans, and dean.

College of Liberal Arts

  • Phase out program and degrees in Leadership and Professional Studies (July 2010).

  • Reduce personnel in Dean’s Office.

  • Instead of an “extra compensation” model, Distance Degree Program courses will be taught “on-load” in the future as part of faculty members’ regular teaching assignments. This change, and the associated consolidation of some on-campus and distance education courses and the resulting additional departmental oversight and responsibility, will result in significant savings and increased consistency in the quality of distance education courses.

  • Service centers that increase administrative efficiency are being formed to provide fiscal and administrative support to academic units. Departments are being grouped into three clusters based on physical proximity and discipline similarity, with each cluster of departments having a service center. Financial and personnel actions and activities for each department will occur in the relevant service center. Each department will retain one or two staff members in the department unit to handle tasks that are necessarily departmentally based. Existing staff will retain their current classification and pay, though many will have new work assignments.

  • Phase out the major in German (July 2011)—lower division courses will be retained.

  • Phase out the Department of Theater and Dance and the associated degrees (July 2011).

  • Consolidate the Department of Comparative Ethnic Studies, the Department of Women’s Studies and graduate degrees in American Studies.

  • Consolidate Speech and Hearing Sciences in Spokane. The undergraduate degree will be continued and there will be increased focus on the master’s degree program.


  • Eliminate two vacant positions in the Library Administration.

  • Eliminate membership in the center for Research Libraries.

College of Nursing

  • Achieve budget savings by curriculum revisions in the Masters of Nursing program, reducing the total number of courses and consolidating courses in the family nurse practitioner, community health nursing, and psychiatric nurse practitioner tracks.

  • Delay implementation of the DNP program.

  • Revise the RN-to-BSN program to eliminate either the distance delivery or the AMS track for that program.

  • Abolish assistant deans/director positions and program-support services.

College of Pharmacy

  • Phase out Chronic Illness Research Center.

  • Consolidate Pullman-based Nutrition and Dietetics, and Spokane-based Exercise Metabolism in Spokane as the Program in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology.

  • Phase out Pullman-based Coordinated Dietetics Program at Madigan Hospital near Tacoma. Madigan Hospital will continue to be a site for Spokane-based Coordinated Program.

College of Sciences

  • Phase out the Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education Center (SMEEC).

  • Phase out the Science Learning Instructional Center (SLIC).

  • Phase out state-support for the Laboratory of Biotechnology and Bioanalysis 2 (LLB2). LLB2 to be supported by user fees.

College of Veterinary Medicine

  • Reduce personnel in the Dean’s Office.

  • Abolish vacant faculty and staff positions.

Center for Distance and Professional Education

  • Abolish vacant positions.

  • Reduce program marketing.

  • Reduce unit operations and travel.

Provost’s Office

  • Abolish vacant position and reduce operational expenses.

  • Abolish vacant positions in the Center for Teaching and Learning Technology.

President’s Office

  • Abolish vacant positions.

  • Reduced President’s salary.

Business and Finance

  • Reduce staffing levels in most departments through the elimination of vacant positions, reassignment of personnel, or reduction of FTE.

  • General reduction in service levels, particularly in functions performed by Facilities Operations and Business Services/Controller’s Office.

Division of Student Affairs, Equity and Diversity

  • Reorganization/realignment of two units.

  • Eliminate vacant positions.

  • Reduce civic-engagement opportunities for students and eliminate the Intercultural Leadership Initiatives program.

Economic Development and Global Engagement

  • Reduce administrative expenditures.

  • Small Business Development Center (SBDC)—Eliminate most MBA internships and state support for one service center.

  • Reduce expenditures in the Office of Intellectual Property Administration.

  • Reduce personnel.

Enrollment Management

  • Eliminate one vacant position.

Information Technology

  • Eliminate vacant non-technical positions and reduce FTE percent on vacant positions.

  • Reduce number of temporary staff.

Intercollegiate Athletics

  • Although it will not receive state-fund allocations, the department will reduce its budget through cuts in personnel and operating expenses.

Office of Research and the Graduate School

  • Abolish several administrative positions within the Office of Research and the Graduate School.

  • Reduce positions and consolidate duties that will strategically maintain and align with area mission.

  • Reduce personnel in research administration, graduate school administration, and support staff.

  • Restructure research-compliance areas: Office of Research Assurances, Radiation Safety Office, and Office of Campus Veterinarian.

University Development

  • Reduce personnel.

  • Increase efficiency through streamlining organization.

University Relations

  • Eliminate vacant positions throughout area.

  • Reorganize unit to maximize output and increase efficiencies.

  • Dramatically cut institutional advertising.

  • Reduce operational funding for events and outreach.

  • Scale back production of print publications.

WSU Spokane

  • Eliminate vacant positions, hold some approved positions open, and reduce part-time employees.

  • Restructure administrative operations.

  • Reduce student recruiting and marketing and community outreach expenses/activities.

  • Reduce travel and training, and delay technology purchases.

WSU Tri-Cities

  • Reduce student, library, business, and facilities services.

  • Reduce production of marketing materials.

  • Reduce level of PBL funding for IT equipment/infrastructure.

  • Abolish vacant faculty and staff positions in several areas.

  • Reduce costs through organizational restructuring in the area of Facilities.

WSU Vancouver

  • WSU Vancouver Institute program reduction and elimination. Eliminate PBL funding to improve enrollment “pipeline” in college STEM disciplines.

  • Eliminate support to non-WSU Vancouver units (various WSU locations/departments/colleges).

  • Reduce administrative support in central administration, Education, Facilities Operations, Human Resources, Accounting, IT, Library, Marketing, and Student Affairs.

  • Reduce BA in Education by two cohorts and eliminate Teacher Pro Certification in Longview.

  • Eliminate select adjunct offerings in multiple disciplines.

  • Reduce level of PBL funding for IT equipment/infrastructure.

  • Eliminate vacant positions in several areas.

This phase of our work in confronting and responding to this budget reduction is now complete. Your comments, input, and reactions have been humbling at times, yet invaluable in our deliberations. The continued movement towards excellence in teaching, research, service, and engagement is extremely strong. As a consequence, we will remain vigilant in making WSU one of the leading land-grant research universities in the country. Our sincere appreciation and thanks are extended for all that you do on behalf of Washington State University.


Elson S. Floyd, Ph.D.                        


Warwick M. Bayly, Ph.D.
Provost and Executive Vice President


Office of the Provost, PO Box 641046, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-1046, 509-335-5581, Contact Us