SEATTLE, Wash.–Washington State University regents approved a biennial operating budget request of $492.3 million, 7 percent above current funding, during a meeting today on the Seattle Central Community College campus, the location of WSU’s Seattle Center for Hotel and Restaurant Administration.
Budget priorities for the 1999-2001 biennium include 4.5 percent annual salary increases for employees and additional funds for faculty retention, improving instructional quality through technology, funds for higher enrollments and for new university initiatives to advance technology and safe food programs.
In a presentation detailing elements of the budget proposal, Provost Gretchen M. Bataille said the university will seek $28.6 million above current funding levels for new programs under the theme “Teaching and Learning through Technology for the 21st Century.”
The request includes $6.2 million for improving the quality of instruction through applications of technology; $7 million for 500 new students enrolled on the Pullman campus and through the statewide Extended Degree Program and 150 at WSU Vancouver; $7.5 million for an initiative to ensure the quality of food supplies; and $3 million to support research and economic development in the fields of reproductive biology, precision agriculture and semiconductor systems.
Bataille said the proposal also seeks $2.6 million to increase access to educational programs though new partnerships with other colleges, enhancing WSU offerings over the state K-20 telecommunications network, and expanding the regional Learning Centers program. She added the university also is asking for a $2.3 million retention pool to use to keep top faculty and staff.
WSU’s capital budget requests include $29.5 million to construct a Teaching and Learning Center, $12 million for a new shock physics building, $4.9 million to renovate White Hall to house the Honors College, and for construction of a $39 million health sciences building in Spokane and a $29.6 million engineering and life sciences building in Vancouver.
In other action, the board approved the merger of academic programs to form the School of Accounting, Information Systems and Business Law. Establishment of a Bachelor of Science in Manufacturing Engineering at WSU Vancouver and a Bachelor of Arts in Human Development to be offered through distance education formats also received regents approval.