No doubt you have heard about or have been reading about the significant funding cuts facing higher education in Washington State. We do not yet know the specifics of how this will affect the University of Washington and the School of Art, but we do know the outcome will be the greatest budget cut the University has ever experienced. The students will more than likely absorb the impact of these cuts, which is most unfortunate. That said, the School of Art’s faculty and staff are committed to excellence and efficiency, and they will continue to deal with the tough challenges we are facing in the coming years. We will have to do more with less, meaning we will have to increase the size of our classes without additional TAs and faculty, and we will have to embrace and focus on the best of what we have to offer. Regrettably, this also means we will not be able to offer the full range of programming and classes we have had for decades, but we are dedicated to offering the best opportunities for our students, alumni, and the general public that we can manage with reduced resources.
Not all our news is bad. Attendance has increased at the Jacob Lawrence Gallery, and we awarded over 40 student scholarships in the past year, totaling more than one quarter of a million dollars. Additionally, many of our students have been identified as leaders in their fields, and I recently received word that two of our past graduate students and one current graduate student have been short-listed for Fulbright grants. A number of our faculty also have been recognized for excellence in their respective fields with prestigious research residencies and national awards.
This eBlast newsletter, our second, is one of our best ways to communicate with you. There are terrific articles and links that will inform you about School of Art events and news. If someone forwarded this eBlast newsletter to you, be sure to sign up so you can receive the next one directly. You also should periodically check the news and events links on our website since that information is updated regularly between newsletters. We post further alumni news on Twitter, and that, along with our other news, is automatically posted on our Facebook page.
In addition to interacting with us through the internet, I ask that you become involved with us in other ways: through contributions, attending at least one of our functions a quarter, and by talking with others in the community about the need for supporting higher education. Feel free to write and let us know your thoughts about how we can work together to get through these challenging years. Also, the University of Washington Alumni Association recently created UW Impact, an interactive civic advocacy resource. It provides easily accessible information on issues affecting the University and opportunities for alumni and friends to take action to support the University. They are partnering with proactive groups associated with Washington State University, Western Washington University, and two-year colleges across the state.
There are a great number of you who have supported us over the years, and I thank you. I would like to request that you not only continue your support but recruit at least one other alumni or friend of the arts to become a contributor so that we can increase our funding base, which will allow us to continue our engagement with the local arts community. The provost has challenged every academic unit in the University to identify where they will be not only in two years but in two decades. With your help and support, we can maintain the School of Art as a strong and integral member of the University community. Thank you again for all you do for us.
Director, School of Art
Alison and Glen Milliman Endowed Chair in Art