Spending cuts workable for Global Campus

Dept adapts to hiring freeze by delegating to physical campuses

CODY COTTIER, Evergreen reporter

Meeting a 2.5 percent spending cut should be achievable for WSU’s Academic Outreach and Innovation department, which manages Global Campus, but it will have to hold off on more ambitious projects for the time being.

Academic Outreach and Innovation, is holding about 20 positions open to cut its spending by $64,000, the amount required by the university-wide 2.5-percent spending reductions.

Global Campus enrolls about 3,000 online-only students and more than 2,000 students who take online classes while enrolled at one of WSU’s physical campuses. Global uses faculty from other campuses for its courses, so it does not need to make any cuts to academics.

Dave Cillay, vice president of AOI, said barring necessary unforeseen expenses, the department should reach its required spending reductions.

“We’re in a good place right now,” he said. “We’re on target to meet our expectations.”

Cillay said they employ about 100 people. He said they have partnered with other university units to offset some of the vacant positions.

For example, he said, they used to have employees who handled desktop support, but that responsibility has transferred to WSU’s central Information Technology Services. Similarly, AOI did its own graphic design until WSU Marketing and Communications took over this work.

He said that because of these kinds of partnerships, their lower staffing level is manageable for now.

“[But] at some point as we continue to grow,” he said, “we’re going to need to fill positions.”

Cillay said he expects the campus will not have to cut any staff.

He has also asked department leaders to be thoughtful about purchases, Cillay said, and to consider what they need immediately and what can wait.

One major expense AOI planned for was a technology research center to test academic technology they developed. However, they decided to postpone the project.

“That was an exciting opportunity that … we’re on hold on,” Cillay said.

They plan to defer some maintenance and equipment updating as well, he said, such as the device they use to capture lectures. It is aging, but they will wait for a more financially stable time to replace it.

AOI aims to increase revenue as well. For example, Cillay said, their conferencing unit, which runs non-credit education programs — in which students can earn certificates and professional qualifications — online and in person throughout the state, is self-sustaining and brings in money.

“We’re looking at different ways of evolving that,” he said.