President Gaudino accepted a $500,000 retention initiative offered by the CWU Board of Trustees during the fall of 2010. This offer and the immediate responses can be found in the following newspaper articles:
More recently, the following has occurred:
The Academic Mission:
Restoring funding: Our shared goal is to restorefunding and reverse negative trends related to budget cuts. Remember, cuts to academics translate directly impact the quality of education CWU students receive.
- CWU is having problems recruiting and retaining quality faculty, as salaries are low (40-50th percentile compared to peer institutions).
- The number of tenure/tenure track faculty has declined over the past two years, overloading the remaining faculty with CWU's advising, service, and research responsibilities.
- Between the 1999-2000 academic year and the 2010-2011 academic year, student numbers (as fulltime equivalent) have increased by 23%. Over the same period, administrative exempt numbers have risen by 43% and staff numbers by 57%. Tenure/tenure track faculty numbers rose by a mere 3%, while total faculty numbers have risen by 21% (non-tenure track faculty are hired primarily to teach classes).
- The percentage of the CWU budget going to academics has been in decline over the past decade.
- Operating budgets have been swept, leaving departments fewer resources for equipment, research, and teaching.
- Class sizes have increased, reducing the faculty time available for each student.
- Summer and other revenue is being "taxed" by the administration - again reducing the funds available for academics.
Academic reputation: Another shared goal is to enhance CWU's academic reputation, as demonstrated by:
- Moving CWU from a Top-50 (currently 44) to a Top-25 regional university (West region) in the US News and World Report university rankings
- Moving CWU from a Top-400 (currently 358) to a Top-300 Master's University according to the Washington Monthly College Guide. Note that this may be more feasible, as one important criteria matches a CWU strength - ROTC rank.
- Current academic planning is not linked to any Strategic Initiatives listed in CWU's new Strategic Plan. These should be integrally linked and focused on improving the quality of education at CWU.
Working in Olympia
- For the past few years, the State Legislature has significantly cut funding to CWU. President Gaudino is the face of CWU in Olympia, and we expect that he will be a reputable and effective advocate for CWU and higher education.
- Washington's University Presidents Discuss Higher Ed Funding Cuts on NPR. The presidents all spoke forcefully about the level of hurt the universities have sustained from faculty members lured away by higher-paying jobs (President Gaudino talked about faculty value and importance of retention) to students who are struggling to pay rapidly increasing tuition.
- Some statewide data can be found in this powerpoint presentation.
Efficiency, Transparency, and Accountability
- Many CWU processes and procedures are decades old and reflect different technologies, state regulations, collective bargaining agreements, and numbers of students/faculty/staff. These need to be reviewed and new, more streamlined processes put into place. Examples include purchasing, travel, and sick leave reporting - all of which require far more time than should be necessary.
- Changes to processes and procedures (and costs) should be made public.
- Make the evaluation of administrators (managed by the Faculty Senate) as meaningful as the ongoing evaluation of faculty.
- The cuts to academics have not only reduced the options for students, but they reduce the ability to do the long-term planning the institution claims to value.
In summary, should President Gaudino's performance rise to the high standards lauded by the Board of Trustees and enunciated here, the United Faculty of Central will be the first to praise his efforts. We commit to that.
However, if not, a CWU alumnus and Kittitas County resident said it best "Anyone who doesn't care enough about the University to share in the sacrifice doesn't care enough about the University to be president."
Finally, some grafitti found on campus: