President Elson S. Floyd

Perspectives

Elson S. Floyd, Ph.D. - 2/17/11

The APAC Survey

Late last year, the Administrative Professionals Advisory Council (APAC) emailed a survey to staff members around the university, seeking input on job satisfaction, workplace climate, and other issues.

I greatly appreciate the time that more than 260 of our colleagues took to fill out the survey and share their opinions.

The results, which APAC Chair Leslie Little shared with our regents last month, capture the very real concerns that our staff members feel as a result of ongoing budget pressure. At the same time, the results reflect, yet again, the deep and shared commitment that so many feel to the success of our university.

I know how difficult it is to work under the shadow of possible budget reductions. I understand the stresses, expressed by some survey respondents, that result from picking up added duties when jobs go unfilled. I agree that open communication—within departments and around the university—is particularly important in a time of budget uncertainty.

For my part, I was pleased to be able to speak at an APAC meeting in January and to answer questions.

The extraordinary efforts that WSU faculty and staff make every day are the reason why our university has been able to survive these historic budget cuts as well as we have.

You are working smarter; you are being efficient; you are controlling costs. You are helping make sure that our students get the best possible return on the dollars they spend on tuition.

I know that there is a general perception that the cost of higher education is soaring. And it is true that the price—i.e., tuition—is doing exactly that. However, tuition is rising not because universities are spending more; it is rising because the state is spending less.

According to figures from the Legislature's independent agency for budgetary information, the cost per student at Washington's baccalaureate institutions is actually slightly less today, when measured in constant dollars, than it was 20 years ago.

When you look at the expenses that the university has taken on in the past two decades—rising health and energy costs are two that come quickly to mind—I believe that record of cost control is remarkable. It is a tribute to everyone's collaborative effort.

Again, I thank those who took the time to respond to this survey and to those who do so much to keep WSU on track every day.

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