Dear Alumni and Friends,
Do you remember the first time you stepped foot on campus? The excitement, the nerves and the uncertainty of beginning such a big chapter in your life? This fall, nearly 1,500 freshmen will begin their Eastern journey. As we embark on another academic year, they will be part of student body of more than 12,500.
And I am quite certain this will be one of the best years for all of our students. After several years of double-digit tuition increases during the economic downturn, the university this fall is not increasing tuition for our in state students. This is possible because of our careful budgeting decisions, an improving economy and a decision by state lawmakers to reinvest in higher education. While rates are surely higher than when you went to Eastern, I am still proud to say EWU’s tuition remains the most affordable among the state’s public institutions.
To make sure our students are getting their money’s worth, one of my goals has been to ensure Eastern retains and recruits high quality faculty. Due to past budget constraints this wasn’t always easy. But I am thrilled to be able to tell you the university recently reached a new three-year contract agreement with our faculty. The compensation package will bring their salaries up to market averages so they are more in line with faculty salaries at peer institutions. As the president of the faculty union stated, “This agreement comes with a renewed sense of teamwork and shared goals” between the union and the administration.
I couldn’t agree more. The faculty increases and tuition freeze combined should inject some fresh energy into our educational environment, and this will help us achieve our number one goal of student success.
But there is so much more to be excited about right now.
Renovation on the main academic building, Patterson Hall, will be completed by winter quarter. The state-of-the art facility will only enhance the teaching and learning experience. And of course, the brand new residence hall will be home to more than 350 students this fall, and will serve as the hub of the residential district. Both of these improvements should also infuse new energy into our thriving campus.
So here’s to a great year! I pledge to continue to encourage the state to keep reinvesting in higher education so we can maintain an affordable tuition rate and guarantee Eastern remains accessible for all students.
Rodolfo Arévalo, PhD