UPRC discusses state support, competing universities at April 18 meeting
Chair Jeff Newcomer called the University Planning and Resources Council to order at 4:01 p.m. April 18 in Old Main Room 340. Twenty-four people are present.
The UPRC meeting minutes of April 4 were approved with one edit and one deletion.
2012-2013 Operating Budget Update – Paula Gilman, executive director of University Planning and Budgeting
Paula Gilman distributed several charts, the first of which reviewed all budget plans for the 2012-13 operating budget that were proposed for Washington four-year and two-year higher education institutions by the governor, the house and the senate. The final compromise budget included no new cuts to higher education.
The second chart described the change in the percent shares of the operating budget of state appropriations vs. net tuition operating fees on a yearly basis since 1993. Western's state support has dropped from 72 percent in 1993 to 33 percent in 2012-13, so that tuition operating fees will account for 67 percent of the annual operating budget in 2012-13.
The third and final chart showed tuition increases per annum since 1998. In 1998-1999, resident undergraduate tuition was $2,298. In 2012-13, resident undergraduate tuition will be $7,503, an increase of $1,037 over this year. Council members predicted that there is not much to be expected from the state in the future at all, and various revenue-raising efforts may have to be pursued. Council members discussed if the tuition level now meant that Western should be increasing its enrollment without a corresponding increase in state support for new students in order to be able to hire more faculty and staff and address other concerns caused by budget reductions. The issue needs to be studied.
Council members asked about the clause in the budget requiring the transfer of $606,000 for access to STEM classes. WWU Provost Catherine Riordan responded that she believes that money already transferred to the colleges this year to address access issues will count, since it is the same biennial budget.
Board of Trustees Response to proposed Decision Packages – Karen Stout, Faculty Senate President
Karen Stout reported on response from Board of Trustees members who had a chance for a preliminary review of the decision packages, which will be presented formally by WWU President Bruce Shepard in August. Stout reported the board was excited about the energy and engineering proposals and offered a great deal of support for the math/science teaching proposal for Washington state. The board suggested reviewing some of the wording in the engineering proposal to make sure that the cost effectiveness is appropriately highlighted and that the wrong figure does not attract attention because of how it is presented.
Some of the board members had suggested that the key to the success of these proposals is the way they are packaged and particularly appreciated that these proposals support our mission to serve the people of the state. They proposed that the packaging could be enhanced by connections to local industry and others who supported the proposals strongly, such as seeking out people whose businesses are affected by the health of Puget Sound to support CREW.
WWU and WA in the larger Higher Ed. context: Trends, Opportunities and Risks – Provost Catherine Riordan
Provost Riordan began the conversation with big questions for the UPRC to consider for long-range planning considerations at a “high 20,000 feet level”:
- Given planning we’ve just completed, are we responding sufficiently/appropriately to WA needs?
- Are any of the forces at play creating opportunities or threats for WWU now?
- Do these forces suggest any responses we should/could make? When? What? Why?
Riordan also reminded council members of the forces at play in competition, in the broader sphere of higher education, and even among legislators:
- Lack of appreciation for our core mission - "It's in Apple's DNA that technology alone is not enough. It's technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our hear sing." -Steve Jobs
- New higher education offerings
- National universities
- For-profit institutions
- Increasing cost to students
- Increasing number first generation college-goers
- Technology-enabled expansion
Riordan explained that Governor Gregoire had chaired a national governor’s commission and helped set some expectations for higher education nationally and these include:
- Set clear expectations for higher education's role in economic development;
- Emphasize rigorous use of labor market data and other sources to define goals and priorities;
- Encourage employers' input in higher education;
- Require public higher education institutions to collect and publicly report impacts;
- Emphasize performance as an essential factor in funding.
Newcomer asked if “performance” had been defined in this fifth item. Riordan responded that all of the public universities in Washington have determined their performance metrics and goals.
Council members discussed Western’s challenge to respond to state and student requests to provide more access to STEM fields with declining state support and increased reliance on tuition, and the effects and consequences on Western’s ability to provide a broad liberal arts education. Members reported that prospective students in the sciences come here because they know they will have access to other disciplines and will receive a general education in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.
Council reviewed a proposal from Northeastern University, a private non-profit institution based in Boston, to offer programs in the Seattle area. Among these are several science masters degrees, a doctor of nursing practice and a doctor of education. Some will be offered in part in a Seattle location, others entirely via distance learning.
Council also reviewed an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education that reports that "students are flocking to Western Governors University" and describes a start-up company, UniversityNow, that offers students $199/month tuition for as many classes as the student can take. Council members commented that established, high quality programs like those from Northeastern are more of a concern than for-profit schools, which do not compete with Western in terms of quality.
Council viewed a website for "Coursera" at https://www.coursera.org/, which is provided by schools such as Princeton, Stanford, University of Michigan, and University of Pennsylvania. Classes are free and students can join a global community of thousands of students "learning alongside you. At any time, you’ll be able to ask questions, make suggestions, and get feedback on course topics from both peers and experts in the field." (from the Coursera website).
Council members responded with a variety of comments that suggested that hybrid online courses were possible for Western to do well, and could provide some space for additional student growth without significant compromise to the on-campus experience. Western’s majority student population is the 18-22 age group and comes right out of high school, although among these are students who are dependent on the time availability of certain courses because of jobs or family pressures. Some have found required courses in a certain major prohibitive merely because the time at which they were offered interfered with job or family needs. These students and students at a distance would do well if served with online or hybrid offerings. Since online courses can be extremely expensive to create and maintain with current information in a field, the best time to offer them may be in the summer.
Council recognized that flexibility is a key component of future success in the eyes of the legislature and will continue to discuss, review and propose both funding and delivery of Western programs. The Council continued to emphasize that Western has no shortage of enrollment, due in large part to the high quality of what it offers in its on campus experience and close collaboration with faculty, especially in the majors.
Future Agendas – Capital Plan process review planned for April 25
ADJOURNMENT. UPRC adjourned at 5:36 p.m. – Rose Marie Norton-Nader, Recorder, 4/18/2012
UNIVERSITY PLANNING AND RESOURCES COUNCIL 2012 – ROSTER
- Jeff Newcomer, CHAIR
- Catherine Riordan, Provost, VP Academic Affairs
- Barbara Mathers-Schmidt, CSD, CHSS
- Mark Brovak, CCO, University Advancement
- Brad Johnson, Physics/Astron, CST, Vice Chair
- VP Eileen Coughlin, StudAffairs’ & Enrollment Svcs
- Hart Hodges, Economics, CBE
- VP Steve Swan, University Relations
- Lesley Sommer, Music
- VP Rich Van Den Hul, Bus&Financial Affairs
- Dan Larner, Fairhaven
- Paula Gilman, ExecDirector-Planning&Budget, nv
- Paul Stangl, Environ Studies, Huxley
- Rose Marie Norton-Nader, Senate Recorder, nv
- Keith Hyatt, Special Ed., Woodring,
- Bob Thomas, Libraries
- Karen Stout, Communication, SenPresident 11-12
- Roger Anderson, Biology, ACC Rep
- Bernie Housen, Geology, (CST 2)
- Ira Hyman, Psychology, (CHSS 2)
- Victor Celis, AS, replacing Fabiola Arvizu Spr Qtr
- Brian Toews, AS representative
- April Markiewicz, PSO Rep
- Susan Banton, Pres PSE, Classified Staff BargUnit
- Deb Jusak, VPrv Faculty Resources
- John Furman, Director, Facilities Management
- Earl Gibbons, VPrv Extended Education
- Kathleen Kitto, VPrv /Dean Grad/Spec Asst Provost