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CAHNRS News – June 17

Posted by | June 17, 2011

Budget Update

Colleagues:

I am certain that all of you have read the news from the popular press and/or WSU web sites concerning the budget outcome from Olympia. Of course, the question on everyone’s mind is, “How does this impact CAHNRS/Extension or my unit?” At this time, many outcomes are indeterminate, as some time will be needed for the university to digest the complete budget bill and develop its response. While the reduction was significant, WSU probably fared better than expected, as the net reduction amount was less than all three budget proposals (Governor’s, Senate, and House). Despite large reductions to our state allocation, we remain optimistic that the impact on unit-level budgets will be negligible.

Operating Budget:

  • WSU took a 26% reduction to its biennial operating budget, amounting to about $108 million. This reduction means that WSU’s state operating budget has been reduced 52 percent over the last two biennia.
  • Tuition, if increased at 16% per annum for resident undergraduates over the next two years, will make up a significant portion of the cut, resulting in a net cut of approximately $39 million or 5.2%.
  • Approval for a 16% tuition increase for academic year 2011-12 will be sought from the Regents in a special meeting next week.
  • Over the next couple of months, the university will be developing a plan to address the budget shortfall which will likely include program eliminations, restructuring, enrollment growth, and revenue enhancement (fees, tuition, etc.).

What does this mean for CAHNRS/Extension?

  • The Provost remains committed to a strategy of vertical cuts and reorganization and not passing reductions down to colleges (and ultimately to academic units).
  • So, ironically, if this is accomplished, most of our programs/units will likely see no operating budget reductions for FY-12.

Capital Budget:

  • The total capital budget was only $77 million (as compared to a typical level of $180-220 million).
  • WSU received $2.5 million of a $5.8 million request for the Clean Technology Laboratory, a facility to be built on the Pullman campus, which will benefit various engineering programs, including CAHNRS Biological Systems Engineering.

What does this mean for CAHNRS/Extension?

  • None of CAHNRS’s requests for facility improvement in Pullman or our four research and extension centers were funded.
  • The small capital allocation will likely slow down the time frame required to fund and build our college priorities, as several projects that would have been funded in a typical year remain in the queue.
  • No funds were allocated for Minor Capital Improvement. This is an important pool of funds that the college typically accesses for start-ups and equipment replacement.

Salaries:

  • A 3 percent reduction in salaries is included as part of the $108 million budget reduction. However, the Administration is working on covering this expense in the overall budget reduction plan, so no salary reductions would occur.
  • The budget legislation did not renew the hiring and travel freeze that is currently in place. So, these restrictions will be lifted on July 1, 2011. While we will still need to be judicious with respect to hiring and travel, at least decisions will rest in our hands.

Please refer to the Budget Office’s website (http://bit.ly/mSPWG8)  for more budget details.  If you have questions, you can contact me directly (bernardo@wsu.edu). Thank you for your cooperation.

Best regards,
Dan Bernardo

Mount Vernon Grad Students Hang Out with Wendell Berry

Farmer and poet Wendell Berry and his wife Tanya spent May 23 with graduate students at the WSU Mount Vernon Research Center. They toured local farms and a small artisan Bakery in Skagit Valley. Lunch was prepared by the students and took place at the Olson House (graduate student house) with five local farmers, the students, and a few WSU researchers. Berry was in western Washington for a poetry reading in Seattle.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to Fund WSU Mount Vernon Graduate Students on Short-term Work Orders

WSU Mount Vernon has entered into an agreement with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to fund graduate students on short-term work orders. The idea is to give students experience in short-term directed literature research projects while supplying the Foundation with important current findings in topics relevant to their funding priorities.

The Write Side

Tip 29: Viewpoints

In a social science sense, the point of view you write from is inevitably personal. But in the world of grammar, you get to choose an angle for your expression that can significantly impact how your readers take in your message. For technical writing purposes (which suits Extension educators), that perspective is usually either second or third person—terms you may recall from grade—or perhaps I should say “grammar”—school. (See http://www.themfactor.com.au/Articles/Writing-Style-First-Second-Third-Person.htm and http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/first-second-and-third-person.aspx for some concise and helpful reminders.)

Now that you write for part of your living, you probably don’t pay much attention to what grammatical person you embody. But I’m sticking to that affect it has on your audience that I mentioned earlier. Notice I left out “positive” or “negative” to keep you reading. And as I also alluded, it’s a bit like role playing, while a lot focused on who you’re addressing. If you care to achieve a positive effect, that is.

I primarily use grammatical first and second person in these writing tips. I figure that first person helps convey the most congenial tone, which is also amenable to relaying my own writing struggles, while I need to use second person to deliver the advice component. And both are more direct and simple than wrestling with “he,” “she,” or “it.” But each of these pronouns has their place. It’s up to you to determine if that place fits your context and clients, or as is commonly referred to in the writing recommendations arena (including back in Tip 14), audience. Beware, however, that haphazardly mixing the point of view you use to convey information to your audience gives the impression you don’t know who you’re communicating with. And remember the risk of confusion that you create from using ambiguously identified pronouns (Tip 17).

Dora Rollins is a publications editor in Marketing, News, and Educational Communications. Her column, the Write Side, is archived at http://bit.ly/ahrBTZ.

Kudos

Brandon Hopkins, a Ph.D. student in entomology, won first place for Outstanding Pre-doctoral Scientific Presentation at the 15th Annual Center for Reproductive Biology Retreat on May 19. Hopkins received a $750 travel award from the CRB that will be used to help support his travel to the Caucasus Mountains later this summer for his research on honeybee cryopreservation and conservation genetics. Brandon’s Ph.D. advisor is Dr. Steve Sheppard.

Cooper Lighting, a division of Cooper Industries, has announced the winners of the 34th Annual SOURCE Awards national lighting design competition. The winners were recognized at Lightfair International 2011 in Philadelphia at the keynote speaker luncheon on May 16 in front of an audience of 500 design professionals. Six professional awards and four student awards were presented. In the Student category, students in the design, architectural, lighting and engineering disciplines entered conceptual lighting design installations. Hiroki Usui picked up the winning honor for his conceptual lighting design project titled FUEL Convenience Store/Gas Station. Weng Hei Au was awarded an Honorable Mention, Sustainable Design Award for his project involving a community store and cafe called The Spot. Usui and Au were under the direction of Judy Theodorson, assistant professor of interior design at Washington State University’s Interdisciplinary Design Institute. For more info, check out the SOURCE Awards web site at http://bit.ly/lCfupQ.

The American Society for Enology and Viticulture recently awarded horticulture graduate students Matt Halldorson and Yun Zhang scholarships for the coming year. Halldorson and Zhang are both working with Chateau Ste. Michelle Distinguished Professor Markus Keller at the WSU Irrigated Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Prosser.

Two members of the Marketing, News, and Educational Communications teams won gold awards from their professional organization, ACE. Videographer Darrell Kilgore won a gold ACE for his educational production, “The Pesticide Broadcasting Network: Your decontamination station.” Brian Clark won a gold ACE for an article he wrote for Voice of the Vine, WSU’s wine science monthly, entitled “The Business of Hedonism” (http://bit.ly/cVhulR).

Archives

CAHNRS News is archived at http://cahnrsnews.wsu.edu/category/cnews/.