SEATTLE — The Board of Regents of Washington State University approved the university’s 2003-2005 budget during the board’s meeting Friday (Nov. 21) at the Westin Hotel in Seattle.

The budget includes a general salary increase of 2 percent for faculty, administrative and professional staff, and graduate assistants, which will go into effect Jan. 1, 2004. This will be the first general salary increase for faculty and professional staff in more than two years.

The budget will also fund initiatives aimed at improving undergraduate education, encouraging research and enhancing health insurance benefits for graduate assistants.

The various units of the university were each asked to impose a 3 percent budget cut at the beginning of the fiscal year in July as a result of a $10.34 million state funding reduction to WSU for the 2003-2004 fiscal year. University budget officials held a series of meetings throughout the fall with each of the administrative units. By reducing central reserves, reducing tuition waivers and using increased revenue from grants, the administration was able to identify money to target toward priority areas.

“I am pleased that by carefully managing our resources, we have been able to put more funds toward important strategic areas,” said WSU President V. Lane Rawlins. “This budget plan will allow us to continue to move the university forward.”

 

Highlights of the budget include:

  • Increased allocations earmarked for the general salary increase, for faculty and professional staff recruitment and retention and for faculty promotions.
  • A pool of $1.3 million to be allocated by the provost on an annual basis to programs that attract high enrollment. Additional funding aimed at improving undergraduate education will pay for teaching and learning grants, student recruiting, the president’s teaching academy and international university partnerships.
  • $3.4 million in each fiscal year to pay for increased energy costs.
  • Several research initiatives in areas including biotechnology, bioinformatics and bioengineering.
  •  An additional $367,000 fiscal year 2005 for graduate assistant health insurance, to take effect during the insurance plan year that begins Aug. 16, 2004.

Complete details of the budget proposal are available at http://www.ir.wsu.edu/budget/docs/AllocationsWeb.pdf.

In other action, the Board of Regents: 

  • Approved name changes for two WSU units. The College of Agriculture and Home Economics will become the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences, and Cooperative Extension will become WSU Extension.
  • Authorized the university to select a consulting firm to provide planning and design services for the renovation of the current Pullman Memorial Hospital into administrative workspaces. The hospital is scheduled to move to its new facility on Bishop Boulevard in Pullman in the fall of 2004.
  • Approved an increase in the project cost for the renovation of the Bailey Brayton Baseball Field, which is now underway. Increased site work and the need to replace a transformer to meet code and increase electrical capacity has raised the overall cost of the project from $1.55 million to $1.9 million. All of the project costs will be paid for with donated funds.
  • Authorized the university to begin the process of selecting a general contractor/construction manager for a new building to house the Intercollegiate College of Nursing/WSU College of Nursing on the Riverpoint Higher Education campus in Spokane.
  • Approved design documents and granted authority to proceed on Phase II of the improvement project for Library Road on the Pullman campus.