President Elson S. Floyd presented his plans for the future of WSU to the Board of Regents at their meeting on Friday in the CUB. Attaining budget stability, making the institution a leading land grant university and obtaining the Association of American Universities (AAU) recognition for research and are among his goals.
Floyd is also focused on making the university a top choice for prospective students.
“Student engagement is essential,” he said. “We must do what we can do to engage and nurture students.”
At the meeting, Ted Baseler, the chair of the board, discussed the WSU budget and potential cuts the university is facing.
Members of the board have been talking to leaders in Olympia about reducing budget cuts, he said.
“The tuition issue is on our minds,” Regent Connie Niva said. “We understand the burden on students and their family.”
Floyd plans on setting aside $1 million for faculty members to apply for research studies.
“It’s all about the faculty, not the money,” he said. “If you don’t have the best faculty, you won’t be able to compete.”
Research and grants
Dan Bernardo, dean of the College of Agriculture, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, spoke to the Board of Regents about the research money he obtained from the Washington Tree Fruit Association.
“The funding will allow us to be a world leader in the industry,” he said. “It’s a game-changer for us.”
The $27 million grant, which is the largest single gift the institution has received, will be used to recruit world class experts to help with research in the tree fruit industry.
Floyd commended Bernardo on his efforts in receiving the grant.
“We have turned significant corners (with this grant),” Floyd said.
Regent Laura Jennings discussed a meeting she had with Athletic Director Bill Moos.
WSU athletes, she said, rank second in the conference for graduation rates at 73 percent, right behind Stanford.
Jennings also updated the board on the immediate impact to WSU Athletics following the hiring of Football Coach Mike Leach.
“There was a huge momentum shift in just 10 days (after hiring Leach),” she said.
All club seats were sold out after the hiring and the athletic department gained $1.8 million in revenue.
Jennings also noted that construction on Martin Stadium is continuing on budget and on schedule.
The Board of Regents plans to meet again in May. All meetings are open to the public.