Skip to main content Skip to navigation
WSU Government Relations Newsbeat

Senate committee updated on WSU’s marijuana research

WSU provided a briefing on its marijuana research activities to the Senate Commerce, Labor & Sports committee yesterday afternoon.

Nick Lovrich, Regents Professor Emeritus and chair of an internal WSU committee overseeing university cannabis research efforts, highlighted five WSU research projects including tests on cannabis as a substitute for opioid medications and the psychological effects of long term use.

Lovrich also explains the difficulties of acquiring research marijuana at the federal level and the impact this research has on the state of Washington, particularly with regards to law enforcement policies and practices.

Video of WSU’s testimony can be viewed below.

WSU testifies on governor’s capital budget plan

The governor’s proposed capital budget received hearings this week in the Senate and the House and WSU testimony zeroed in on the university’s top two priorities — its $58.9 million request to build the Plant Sciences Building and its $38.1 million request for construction on the first stage of the Global Animal Health Phase II project, both in Pullman.

The governor’s proposal funded the former, but not the latter.

The proposal funded the university’s $3 million request to design a new academic building at WSU Tri-Cities, its $4.9 million request to renovate STEM teaching labs in Pullman, and its $500,000 request for pre-design of a new life sciences building in Vancouver.

You can view this morning’s testimony from the House Capital Budget Committee below.

WSU testifies on Governor’s operating budget proposal

The first week of this year’s legislative session has featured budget committee hearings in both chambers on the governor’s proposed operating budget submitted to the Legislature last month.  The Governor’s proposal includes a fully-funded tuition freeze, new funding for the State Need Grant and $10 million of WSU’s $10.8 million request to support 60 first year and 60 second year students for the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine.

It did not fund WSUs $5 million request to bring new STEM programming to Everett, Vancouver and Bremerton and its compensation package calling for three 2 percent salary increases over the 17-19 biennium was only half-funded.

Video of WSU’s testimony can be viewed below.

Medical school, ag buildings top WSU legislative agenda

Gavels fell at noon today to usher in the 2017 legislative session, scheduled to run 105 days and adjourn on April 23.

WSU is pursuing a series of priorities in the Legislature this year, topped by operating funding for the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine and construction funding for two agriculture research buildings in Pullman. You can find WSU’s legislative agenda here.

The university is seeking $10.8 million to support 60 first year and 60 second year students for its recently accredited medical school. Some 700 prospective students applied for the 60 available slots and interviews began on Friday. Classes start in August.

WSU also is seeking $97 million to construct the Plant Sciences Building and the Global Animal Health phase II project, both on the Pullman campus. The Plant Sciences Building will replace half-century old facilities to facilitate modern plant research and develop new varieties that enhance competitiveness and ward off disease. The Global Animal Health phase II project will be the new home of the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, which accreditors have repeatedly warned needs a new facility. The lab monitors for animal diseases such as BSE, salmonella, avian influenza, West Nile Virus, pandemic flu, Foot and Mouth Disease and others.

The university is also supporting the Washington Competes agenda produced by the public baccalaureate sector and supported by the Independent Colleges of Washington and the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. The agenda promotes new investments for high demand degrees in health sciences, STEM and teacher preparation, student success and compensation. Key items include better funding for the State Need Grant. And it also includes WSU’s request for new enrollments in Everett and Vancouver to support advanced manufacturing.

WSU also is supporting legislation to promote better use of open educational resources. The university has been a leader in this space to reduce textbook costs for students.

What the governor’s budget means for WSU

Governor Jay Inslee unveiled his 2017-19 operating budget proposal today, providing $10 million of WSU’s $10.8 million request to support 60 first year and 60 second year students for the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine.

The college gained preliminary accreditation this fall and is on track to welcome its inaugural class in the fall. Some 700 prospective students applied for the 60 available slots and that field is being narrowed.

The governor’s proposal also called for a two-year freeze on tuition, adds funding to expand access to the State Need Grant for needy students and fund three 2 percent salary increases over the course of the two year budget cycle.

The governor’s proposed capital budget fully funds WSU’s $58.9 million request to build the Plant Sciences Building on the Pullman campus. However, it did not include funding for the university’s other top capital budget priority – $38.1 million for WSU’s Global Animal Health Phase II facility. WSU will continue to seek funding for this project in the upcoming legislative session.

The proposal funded the university’s $3 million request to design a new academic building at WSU Tri-Cities, its $4.9 million request to renovate STEM teaching labs in Pullman, and its $500,000 request for pre-design of a new life sciences building in Vancouver.

The release of the governor’s budget proposals is only the beginning of the budget writing process. The House and Senate will begin crafting their proposals when they convene their 2017 session Jan. 9 before negotiating compromises to send to the governor. You can click here for more information on WSU’s 2017-19 biennial budget requests.

WSU updates Senate Higher Education committee on federal financial aid changes

Brian Dixon, Assistant Vice President of Student Financial Services, provided an update to the Senate Higher Education Committee this morning regarding federal financial aid changes and the impact these changes will have on four-year universities.

The Senate is in Olympia for two days of meetings in advance of the 2017 legislative session, scheduled to begin Jan. 9. The House of Representatives has scheduled its own Committee Days events for Dec. 1 and 2.

In today’s presentation, Dixon discussed how these changes will affect student loans, lower and middle class students, and state-funded resources. Dixon also notes the impact of the 15% tuition reduction, which was approved by the Legislature in 2015.

Dixon’s PowerPoint presentation is available here. Video of his testimony can be viewed below.

Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine receives preliminary accreditation

Washington State University’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine received preliminary accreditation today, completing a major milestone that will keep the university on track to enroll its inaugural class of students in August 2017.

The announcement was made by founding dean, John Tomkowiak during a news conference earlier today, in which the dean noted the impact this step will have in educating future physicians for underserved regions across Washington. The dean also thanked legislative members, community leaders across the state, and the late WSU President Elson S. Floyd for all of their work in getting the college to reach this point.

The accreditation comes 19 months after lawmakers passed legislation in April 2015 allowing the university to pursue medicine as an academic discipline. The university continues to move on schedule through the accreditation process. The next step will be membership approval from the American Association of Medical Colleges.

You can watch Dean Tomkowiak’s announcement below:

WSU submits budget requests for 2017-19 biennium

Washington State University recently submitted its operating and capital budget requests to the state’s budget office for the upcoming 2017-19 biennium, prioritizing support for the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine and capital requests to promote food safety and food security.

In the operating budget, WSU seeks $10.8 million in funding from the Legislature to support the implementation of the medical education program at the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine. Receipt of preliminary accreditation in October 2016 would allow the college to begin accepting its first class of 60 students for the fall of 2017. This is the university’s next step in its continuing commitment to address Washington’s critical shortage of primary care physicians and the uneven distribution of physicians across the state.

The university’s top capital budget priority is to secure $58.9 million to construct the Plant Sciences Building and $38.1 million to construct the Global Animal Health Building Phase II facility, both in Pullman. Washington’s agriculture industries are challenged by evolving diseases and pests, unpredictable weather patterns, and ever-changing state, national, and international markets. Research at WSU plays a key role in developing new agricultural products to enhance competitiveness and to guard against these threats to protect crop, animal and human health. To do this critical work, the university needs modern facilities capable of state-of-the-art research and student training.

Additionally for the operating budget, WSU requests $37 million for merit-based retention and compensation increases of four percent in both years of the biennium to ease a chronic recruitment and retention problem among the university’s faculty and staff; and requests $5 million to expand capacity for high-demand engineering instruction at WSU locations in Vancouver and Everett, deliver new Bremerton-based engineering electives to support the maritime industry, and establish a new Center for Engineering and Science in Advanced Manufacturing Materials to meet the workforce needs of industries critical to the Washington state economy.

The first day of the regular 105-day state legislative session is scheduled for Monday, January 9 in Olympia.

WSU Professor Carolyn Long awarded Distinguished Professorship

Three of Washington’s Secretaries of State joined together recently to award WSU Professor Carolyn Long the inaugural Sam Reed Distinguished Professorship in Civic Education and Public Civility. The ceremony was conducted in the current Secretary of State Kim Wyman’s office and was attended by former Secretaries of State Ralph Munro and Sam Reed.

Reed, a WSU alum, served 12 years as Secretary of State, using his tenure to encourage younger generations to engage in political involvement. In honor of his commitment, WSU created the Sam Reed Distinguished Professorship award to support research and teaching efforts that advance civility, moderation and bipartisanship in politics.

Long is a political science professor at WSU’s Vancouver campus and has an extensive history of research within the field of civics. Long will receive $12,000 in funding to continue her work in civility and says she intends to use this professorship towards the expansion of her work on the Initiative for Public Deliberation.

You can read more about the ceremony on the Secretary of State’s blog and watch video of the ceremony below.

WSDOT, WSU to host online forum, discuss US 195 and SR 26

The Washington State Department of Transportation and Washington State University will jointly host an interactive town-hall meeting over YouTube on Tuesday in an effort to address public concerns about U.S. Highway 195 and State Route 26 near Pullman. A panel that includes representatives from WSDOT, WSU and the Washington State Patrol will discuss safety concerns and provide updates on improvement efforts being made to both highways.

The April 5 forum will start at 6:00 p.m. and is open to the public. Participants will be able to livestream the video footage online and submit questions for the panel to address.

Details on how to view the forum and submit remarks can be found here.