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CAHNRS News – March 6, 2009

Posted by | March 6, 2009

Recent Hiring/Travel Freeze

The Governor recently signed Senate Bill 5460, effective February 18, 2009. This legislation writes into state law a statewide freeze on several activities. Our understanding is that the newly signed legislation says:

The following requirements are effective for the next 12 months (from 02/18/2009 until 02/17/2010)

  • No salary or wage increases for AP or faculty positions. The legislation appears to apply to all fund types and does not provide a process to seek exemptions to this law. The provision will not apply to faculty promotions. This section does not apply to civil service or bargaining unit employees.
  • The following requirements are effective only for the remainder of FY2009 (from 02/18/2009 until July 1, 2009)
  • No creation of new positions or filling of vacant positions on state funds except for those directly involved in the delivery of academic programs.
  • No equipment purchases in excess of $5,000 on state funds.
  • No out-of-state travel or training on state funds.
  • Exception requests to the policies above must be forwarded to the Director of OFM. OFM will bundle requests for legislative review every 30 days. Legislature will have a 5 day review period before the request takes effect. In the rare case that an exception request is essential, the WSU Budget Office will facilitate the request with OFM.

CAHNRS is better positioned to handle this situation than other colleges across the university because of our portfolio of non-state funds (e.g., federal funds, grants, F&A). We will be working with chairs and unit financial officers to prioritize travel and equipment purchases to maximize the use of available federal funds and F&A.

CAHNRS Budget Forums

Two budget forums were held last week to allow CAHNRS faculty and staff to hear more about the budget situation and ask questions of the CAHNRS leadership. On Wednesday, a budget forum was held with Dean Dan Bernardo and Associate Dean Kim Kidwell. The Research and Extension centers had the opportunity to participate in a forum via WECN on Thursday. The forums were well attended and the questions were excellent.

In response to calls from the state legislature and WSU central administration, CAHNRS has prepared a 20% budget reduction scenario. At this time, it is unlikely that CAHNRS will have to absorb the full 18-20%. In general terms, the CAHNRS 20% scenario looks like this:

  • 1% from college administration
  • 1% from state proviso funds (funds for specific state projects like biofuels, WA commission on pesticide registration, etc.) [cumulative 2%]
  • 2% from open faculty positions [cumulative 4%]
  • 5% from unit reductions (each department/center developed a 5% reduction scenario and submitted to CAHNRS Administration) [cumulative 9%]
  • 7% from program eliminations in CAHNRS (this could include departments, defined programs within departments, subject matter centers, and/or facilities) [cumulative 16%]
  • 2% from competitive internal grant funds [cumulative 18%]
  • additional operating, technical, and staff support at department level [cumulative 20%]

There were many good questions asked. Some responses (the questions should be obvious) are:

  • Promotion/tenure raises are protected at this time.
  • The VERI early retirement option has been approved for faculty and for AP staff if they have been on the TIAA-CREF retirement program for 10+ years. There is some opportunity for negotiating a cash supplement to the VERI program at the college level. If you are interested I encourage you to contact me and/or Becky Priebe to begin that discussion.
  • There may be a VERI-type program for classified staff but the details have not been worked out and will require approval.
  • Extension faculty on the federal retirement system do not qualify for the VERI program but other options are available and coming.
  • The details of the full university budget reduction will be made public in early April.
  • The university’s motivation for a disproportionate cut to “public service” is clearly motivated by a desire to protect academic programs and research to every extent possible.
  • For purposes of defining a “program,” faculty at R&E centers are defined by their academic unit (which is where there budget line and tenure resides); staff are defined by the R&E center.

(Thanks to R. Koenig for providing the majority of this summary)

WSU Extension Symposium Filling Up Fast

Nearly 600 members of the WSU, University of Idaho and general community have registered to attend “WSU Extension Symposium: Relentless Pursuit of a Healthier World” at seven different locations around the state on March 11. There is still an opportunity for you to join them.

The WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center site is full; the number that can attend at the Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center at Mt. Vernon has been expanded. However, remaining spaces there are very limited. There is still plenty of room at the five other locations; registration closes end of day today. If you haven’t registered, please do so at http://ext.wsu.edu/aec. Students and others are welcome as walk-ins the day of the symposium at every site as long as there is room.

Don’t miss what promises to be a day of information, inspiration and exploration! And come to your local site prepared to listen, learn and converse with your colleagues and community.

White Wine Tasting Panel

Would you like to participate in a trained white wine tasting panel?

This trained panel will involve several training sessions, followed by formal evaluations. There will be a required time commitment of 3 hours per week (3 one-hour sessions) over the course of 3 weeks, at a time agreed upon by the participants. Each participant will be rewarded with a small, non-monetary incentive after each training session and a small gift upon completion of the formal wine evaluations.

We would greatly appreciate your involvement, but please consider the time commitment. It is important that you attend each training session in order to gain the expertise required for the final evaluations. All of the training and evaluations will be completed by the end of the semester.

Please let us know if you would like to participate. Just send an email to Laura Hill (hill6@wsu.edu) with your available times.

All A’Twitter over Facebook

Kate McIlraith, CAHNRS recruiter, has started a Facebook group for CAHNRS Academic Programs. All faculty, staff, students and friends of CAHNRS are invited to join the group. On the WSUCAHNRS Facebook page, you’ll find people you know, event announcements, links to stories about our students and much more. Stay connected and stay current by paying a visit to
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=65092035849#/group.php?gid=65092035849.

Meanwhile, CAHNRS Marketing, News, and Educational Communications is microblogging the latest news on Twitter. If you’ve got a Twitter account, you can follow us by searching for WSUCAHNRS.

Surf News

New stories on various CAHNRS websites include

Kudos

Dr. Lori Carris, associate professor of plant pathology, has been selected to receive WSU’s 2009 Woman of Distinction Award. The award recognizes Dr. Carris’ accomplishments in academic work, career, leadership and service, and her contributions to the personal growth and success of others, especially women, through education, research, and public or volunteer service above and beyond her expected job responsibilities.

Dr. Debbie Inglis, associate professor of plant pathology, has been selected to receive the 2009 CAHNRS Women’s History Recognition Award for Professional and Academic Leadership.
Besides having research and extension responsibilities, Dr. Inglis served as the interim director and associate dean of NWREC, Mt. Vernon for four years during which she oversaw the expansion of the laboratory facilities at the center. She has been a great ambassador in representing the department and CAHNRS in her role as the interim director. Her leadership and people skills, along with her forward-looking and progressive vision for the NWREC’s future were admired and applauded by all.

Dr. Lindsey du Toit, associate professor of plant pathology located at the Mt. Vernon NWREC, gave an invited presentation at the International Seed Health Initiative – Vegetable Technical Group meeting in Paris, February 3-5. Dr. du Toit, an internationally recognized expert on seed health, spoke on “Selected Seedborne Pathogens of Spinach and Carrot.” The meeting was attended by about 50 vegetable pathologists and seed pathologists from France, Israel, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Spain and the U.S.

Barbara Smith, administrative manager in the department of entomology, and Jeanne Burritt, administrative manager at the WSU Mount Vernon NW R&E Center, are recipients of the 2008 WSU President’s Prize. The prize, given annually to three classified or administrative professional staff members, serves to recognize excellent in service to the university.

WSU Interior Design students took home three of six awards at the Cooper Lighting Source national student competition. Emily Myers won the competition, Rebecca Scott received an Honorable Mention, and Stephanie Ploof received an Award of Recognition. The winners will be recognized at Lightfair International 2009 in New York at the Keynote Speaker luncheon on May 4 in front of an audience of approximately 500 design professionals.