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How The Washington Public Sees the UW.

(c) SM Schwartz 2011

From a colleague who prefers to be anonymous:

related posts on governance.

I would like to respond to the concerns Steve has posted about the way the UW presents itself to the citizens of this state.

We have lost our standing in front of our fellow citizens and our legislators in Olympia. The image projected by our administrators, no matter how logical and sensible could it be, is coming from a messenger making a salary roughly  ten times the salary of a legislator, mostly from taxpayers contributions.

At times of awful economic crisis, we are building a 250M$ stadium.

Our administration has hypertrophied. At my arrival to the UW in the 1970s,  I meet with Provost Beckman at what is now Gerberding Hall.   Provost Beckman had a small office, a secretary, and a budget officer.   The current Provost has a court:   Associate Provosts, Assistant Provosts, and their corresponding cluster of secretaries, assistants of all kinds, accountants…the works! Add to this the offices courts of the President, Vice Presidents, and you have a truly impressive edifice.

After President John Hogness,  with few exceptions, our top ranking officers seem to have been recruited not based on their academic credential but on their corporate executive-type track record. Mark Emmert, the last president, would most likely not have stand examination by an appointments and tenure committee as a faculty member of our own colleges.

All of this adds up to a lost stature.  The image we project to our fellow citizens and legislators is that of a bunch of well paid executives that are asking for more taxpayers monies to build stadiums, when hundreds of Washington students will be denied admission.

This image may be unfair , but that’s the image I hear from my neighbors in a rural region of the State. Also, dismiss half of the administrative courtiers  and bring their salaries a par with the times we live. That’ll perhaps not save much monies, but it’ll bring back the image of a responsible academic institution, not a poorly run corporation.

Perhaps we need to change the messenger! Send to Olympia one of our Nobel scholars. She or he, earning a fraction of the salary of a Provost, would have ten times more standing than our former President!

A UW Professor


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