The Board of Regents of Washington State University met pursuant to call in Open Meeting at 9:00 a.m., on Friday, January 29, 2010, at the Firstenburg Student Commons, Rooms 101-103, Vancouver, Washington.
Present: Regent Michael Worthy, Chair; Regents Theodor Baseler, Scott Carson, Harold Cochran, Elizabeth Cowles, Francois X. Forgette, Laura Jennings, Connie Niva, V. Rafael Stone, and Kasey Webster; President Elson S. Floyd, and Executive Assistant to the President and Board of Regents Christine Hoyt.
1. Report from the Chair of the Board of Regents. Regent Worthy welcomed everyone to the meeting. He indicated that the last time the Board met was in November for a Joint Meeting with the University of Washington Board of Regents and Governor Gregoire. He said that they discussed a range of issues, but the primary topic was the financial and fiscal problems facing the State. He added that the Governor continues to encourage us to be strident advocates for higher education and to continue to address and attack the challenges. He also mentioned that a group of representatives of each of the Governing Boards 4-year institutions has met to talk about the fiscal challenges that higher education faces in Washington and that they are very much tuned in to the activities in the legislature over the next month and a half.
2. Report from the President of the University. President Elson S. Floyd thanked the Regents for the opportunity to report and for their leadership. He also commented on the outstanding team at Washington State University Vancouver, and he thanked Chancellor Dengerink for his leadership and for hosting the Board.
President Floyd reported that Spring semester has been underway for about three weeks and stated that enrollment throughout the WSU system is up by approximately 600 students. He said that one of the strategic priorities was to stabilize enrollment, and he feels that has been accomplished. He added that next year’s numbers continue to look strong and that we are right on pace where we were last year at this time with the second largest complete class. He said that other institutions in the state are about 5 percent behind and that one surprising anomaly associated with WSU’s anticipated enrollment is that we are about 50 percent ahead of where we were last year relative to deposits.
President Floyd further reported that the most important priority right now is to stabilize the appropriations that WSU receives as an institution. He said that we recognize that the Governor and the Legislature are dealing with the largest budget deficit in recent times, and that the number which has been publicized widely is a shortfall of $2.6 billion dollars. He said that as a consequence, WSU will continue to refine and change its response to the challenges impacting the university and will make sure that access, affordability, and opportunity for the students to have a world class education are never compromised. He said that the Provost, Deans and his internal leadership team are focused and will advance any plan of further reductions for the Regents’ review and consideration. He added that they are deeply committed to transparency and will make sure that whatever they promulgate, they will continue to have very thoughtful conversations with the University.
President Floyd also stated that the students are a very much engaged and that this has been very helpful, because they understand the importance of the investment in higher education, which has not been as well understood by others in the state. He said that he wants to make it very clear that the budget cannot be balanced on the backs of the students in the form of tuition. He indicated, however, that institutions should be able to control the pricing of products and that he is a strong supporter that tuition setting authority to be delegated to the Board of Regents. He said he believes the Regents are close to the issues, and they know what the institutional priorities are. He said it is also in step with notions of shared university governance in which the leadership consults with the students and other key stakeholders regarding major decisions before they are advanced to the Regents. He said there is no doubt that the students will have much more direct contact with the Regents than they would with members of the legislature who should have higher priorities. Nonetheless, he said, this is an active conversational debate and it is difficult to know where this will go within the legislative environment. He noted that, at some point, we must accept the reality that it cannot be “business as usual” in this state, that we must and should do some things fundamentally different, and that we are going to have to come up with bolder and creative solutions associated with the financing of education. He said we must also make sure the quality of the educational product in which we deliver is never compromised, and that Washingtonians have made too much of an investment in its public universities and colleges to allow that to occur.
President Floyd said that the University leadership will spend a lot of time over the next several weeks in Olympia talking about the legislative agenda. He said that he has encouraged our faculty, students, alumni, chancellors, and other leadership to contact their legislators as they deem appropriate. He said that he does not want any employees doing that on state time or using university resources, but on the other hand, they have a citizen right to comment on these types of matters.
3. Minutes. It was moved and seconded that the Board of Regents approve the minutes of November 19, 2009, and November 28, 2009. Carried.
4. Reports from University Groups. Representatives from each of the university groups—Faculty Senate, Administrative and Professional Advisory Council, Associated Students of Washington State University, Graduate and Professional Student
Association, Foundation Board of Governors, and the WSU Alumni Association— reviewed their reports as submitted. (Individual written reports may be found on-line at the Board of Regents website or requested from the President’s Office.)
5. Report from WSU Vancouver Chancellor. Chancellor Dengerink reported on WSU Vancouver’s Budget for 2010 and 2011. He indicated that the Vancouver campus absorbed a net cut of 1.8 million dollars in 2010. He also spoke on the anticipated cut in 2011 of approximately $999,000 and what the cuts mean to the Vancouver Campus. He added that the cuts will mean that they will forego opportunities in strategic program growth in areas of electrical engineering, doctor of nursing practice, master in digital technology and culture and neuroscience and service areas. He also indicated that they will forego opportunities in the strategic and service areas include investments in student services to achieve strategic-targeted goals and investments in a broad range of academic and administrative departments.
Chancellor Dengerink introduced Nancy Youlden, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, who provided an overview on enrollment for the past ten years. She also provided information on student demographics, entering student profiles, top academic undergraduate and graduate majors, and retention. Additionally, ASWSU Vancouver student body president, Nick Ferderer, provided insights on the consequences of budget reductions from the students’ perspectives. He also reviewed many of the ASWSU Vancouver’s accomplishments so far this year, such as improved communications with administration, faculty, and students, including the creation of a chancellor/student advisory board, a radio show, and an ASWSU leadership development director. He spoke about some additional ASWSUV endeavors, such as their sustainability initiative and projects related to this. He said that they have been very committed to growth in student government and noted, also, that for the first time ever, the ASWSUV Senate worked through the summer. Lastly, Mr. Ferderer highlighted work they will do in the future and how that will revolve around legislative priorities, including a letter-writing campaign, a student rally, and plans for Coug Day at the Capitol.
6. Executive Committee. Regent Worthy reported that the Executive Committee had discussed the 2011 Board Meeting Schedule, with action expected on this item at the March meeting.
7. Finance and Audit Committee Report. Regent Scott Carson reported that the Finance and Audit Committee received a report from Deborah Pennick from the State Auditor’s Office, and an update from the Internal Auditor, Heather Lopez. He said they received a Financial Reports on the University and Students Book Corporation for Fiscal Year 2009 from Vice President Royer. He also said that they discussed a possible future action of parking rates and fines. Lastly, he reported that the committee reviewed each of the action items before Board approval.
The Board took action on the following:
FY2011 Housing and Dining Rates. It was moved and seconded that the Board of Regents approve the FY2011 Housing and Dining Rates set forth in Exhibit A. Carried.
WSU Pullman, Veterinary Medical Research Building (REC 4), Schematic Design. It was moved and seconded that the Board of Regents approve the schematic design for the Veterinary Medical Research Building and grant authorization to proceed, provided a Maximum Allowable Construction Cost can be established within the funds available. Carried.
WSU Pullman, Recreational Playfields Improvements, Schematic Design. It was moved and seconded that the Board of Regents approve the Schematic Designs for the recreational playfields, grant authorization to proceed, and delegate authority to the President or his designee to advertise for bids and award a construction contract, provided costs are within the funds available. Carried.
WSU Pullman, Consolidated Storage Building – Addition. It was moved and seconded that the Board of Regents approve the project to construct an addition to the Consolidated Storage Building, grant authorization to proceed, and delegate authority to the President, or his designee, to award a construction contract, provided costs are within the funds available. Carried.
WSU Pullman, Bohler Gym – Exterior Restoration. It was moved and seconded that the Board of Regents approve the exterior restoration project of Bohler Gym, grant authorization to proceed, and delegate authority to the President, or his designee, to award a construction contract, provided costs are within the funds available. Carried.
WSU Pullman, Regents and Scott/Coman Halls – Refurbish Interiors and Roof Replacement. It was moved and seconded that the Board of Regents approve the project to refurbish interiors and roof replacement for the Regents and Scott Coman residence halls. The Board also granted authorization to proceed, and delegated authority to the President, or his designee, to award a construction contract, provided costs are within funds available. Carried.
Voluntary retirement incentive plan for eligible WSU employees who are members of a State of Washington administered retirement system. It was moved and seconded that the Board of Regents approve the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Plan (VRIP) for eligible WSU employees who are members of a State of Washington administered retirement system (DRS Plan), and delegate authority to the President or his designee(s) to provide the incentive to WSU employees who apply and meet the eligibility requirements of the VRIP. See Exhibit B. Carried.
8. External Affairs Committee Report. Regent Theodor Baseler reported that the External Affairs Committee received a legislative update from President Floyd. He also said that Athletic Director Jim Sterk spoke about football schedule for 2010 and beyond and noted that there will not be a Seattle game in 2010. He also reported that Vice President Wilson-Hale and Chair Bob Felton (WSU Foundation Board of Governors) provided an update on the Campaign and a year-to-date progress report.
9. Academic and Student Affairs Committee Report. Regent Harold Cochran reported that the Academic and Student Affairs Committee had met and that they received reports from Chancellors Dengerink and Pitcher. He also said that Vice President Tate reported on the many opportunities offered to our students in preparing them for a diverse society.
10. Adjournment. In closing, Chair Worthy announced that the next Regents’ Meeting would be held in Richland, March 25-26, 2010. The Board of Regents meeting adjourned at 10:15 a.m.
Approved by the Board of Regents at its meeting held March 26, 2010, at the Consolidated Information Center, Rooms 212-214, Richland, Washington.