Employee compensation key to supplemental budget request approved by Board of Regents

A $15.5 million supplemental operating budget request for 2022 was approved by the Washington State University Board of Regents Friday.

The largest portion of that petition – $9.365 million – would go towards compensation and allow the university to be more competitive in attracting and retaining world-class faculty, staff and graduate students.

Another $4.448 million would be used to establish two new academic programs that’ll educate the next generation of Washington’s cybersecurity workforce. The Voiland College of Engineering would establish a new Bachelor of Science degree in Cybersecurity Operations while the Carson College of Business would add a major in Information Assurance to its existing Business Administration degree program.

Developing a one-year psychiatric pharmacy residency program alongside the University of Washington would also be possible with additional state dollars provided in a supplemental budget.

Getting approval for the supplemental budget will require regents, administrators and WSU supporters to be actively engaged in sharing why they support the university, Board of Regents Vice Chair Lisa K. Schauer said. Particularly important will be conveying how vital it is that university employees receive additional compensation to ensure WSU is able to carry out its land grant mission.

“This is our number one priority and I hope we can all come together to really ensure that we’re doing what we can to make this compensation increase happen,” she said.

The 2022 supplemental budget request was filed with the Office of Financial Management back in September and was brought to regents for their approval during Friday’s meeting in Vancouver. Both Thursday’s committee meetings and Friday’s Board of Regents meeting can be viewed on Youtube.

Between committee meetings Thursday, regents participated in groundbreaking ceremonies for WSU Vancouver’s Life Sciences Building. The facility will fill a critical need for instructional laborites for undergraduate and graduate sciences courses on the campus and bring numerous programs together under one roof. Regents are expected to vote on a proposal to set the project’s total cost at $59.8 million during their January 2022 meeting.

Regents also voted to approve their 2023 meeting schedule and revisions to the campus code of conduct during their meeting Friday.

WSU President Kirk Schulz proudly shared WSU’s vaccination rate for employees stands at 94%, with 87% of students fully vaccinated during his update to the board.

“We talk about football games, basketball games, music concerts, choral singing, people in the student unions, whatever, that’s not possible if we don’t have these high vaccination rates, period,” Schulz said.

WSU’s lead position on a new $125 million USAID project to detect and characterize emerging viruses around the world, its recent brand refresh, and strong philanthropic support so far this fiscal year were also highlighted during Schulz’s presentation. Regents and members of the public also received an update on the WSU Vancouver campus from Chancellor Mel Netzhammer and other administrators.

More information the WSU Board of Regents meetings and agendas can be found online.

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