In his annual address Thursday, UW President Michael Young detailed his priorities for his second year in the position.
Specifically, he addressed fair compensation for employees and disparity between economic classes.
Looking back at his first year at the UW, Young said the UW maintained a 75 percent graduation rate, which is one of the highest in the nation among public colleges.
For the upcoming year, Young said he hopes to address the issue of faculty retention at the UW. Over the past few years, the university has struggled to retain key faculty members due to a salary freeze.
“Our top priority this year, with no uncertain terms, is the retention and the fair compensation for the people at the university,” Young said.
The UW is the third largest employer in Washington State, with more than 70,000 employees.
Young said access to technology could help maintain such faculty and help narrow the gap between economic classes.
“It’s not just about where people are; it’s about whether they can move up,” Young said. “The root cause is opportunity. Education opportunity is absolutely essential to that.”
With educational opportunity in mind, Young spoke about how students from the UW have been working in 100 Washington schools, helping young students in math and science. UW students are active in local, national, and global projects.
A video during Young’s address highlighted the idea of turning the university “inside out” by showcasing how UW community members can positively impact global society through improving the education system. Specifically, Young spoke about taking discoveries from UW researchers and bringing them to the broader community.
“A great deal of this has been going on for 150 years,” Young said. “This is really woven into the fabric of the university.”
Another video highlighted projects such as WWAMI, a 40-year program that promotes regional medical education throughout Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho.
“It is clearly in the direction we have to move, want to move,” Robert Stacey, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said about the “inside out” ideas. “That’s the sort of community engagement we do here.”
Stacey said he was impressed with the information Young addressed in his hour-long speech. He said the ideas were not revolutionarily new but they expanded on what has been going on already.
“It was not a speech that segmented the University, [but it was a] vision of the university as a whole,” Stacey said.
Young said he wants the UW to lead the change in the use of and access to technology in public and higher education, and to provide opportunities for real-world experience.
“We are trying to make the university of the future, but we’re trying to do it right now,” Young said.
Reach reporter Deanna Isaacs at email@example.com. Twitter: @DeeLiteraryOne
Please read our Comment policy.