Learning all the time

Two round loaves of sourdough bread
Loaves of rustic sourdough, from the WSU Bread Lab website. Scientists at the Bread Lab study grain varieties that help sustain soil and farming, and work with bakers and farmers to create healthier food through whole grains.

It was a learning weekend. I learned how to make laminated dough and croissants. While I don’t see a future in it for me, it was fun to hang out with friends from around the country. While I was at the King Arthur Baking School in Burlington, Wash., Steve Jones and Janine Sanguine from the WSU Breadlab next door stopped in to say hello. I can’t believe Janine remembered me saying last fall that I was attending a class in February! It was thoughtful of Steve and Janine to save me a loaf of bread from the pop-up sale the WSU Breadlab had held earlier in the day. Given my croissant success, the prepared loaf will come in handy. The WSU Breadlab sold out of more than 200 loaves in under an hour!

Word got out to the class about my role at WSU, and a fellow student shared with me that she is a Master Gardener volunteer from Lacey, Wash. Sunday, we visited Chihuly Garden and Glass before the rest of the group boarded late evening and red-eye flights. Maybe I will try my hand at glassblowing next.

Back at work, we continue conversations with chairs and directors about how to address the upcoming budget year. CAHNRS is fortunate to have strong partners and stakeholders who are eager to see WSU and CAHNRS grow and expand the critical support CAHNRS provides to Washingtonians and the state as a whole.

I am still playing catchup, trying to get a handle on numbers before determining how to move forward. What is clear is that we have several vacant positions that will go a long way toward achieving the 6% reduction to our core funding. Those vacancies represent important positions — to us, and to our partners and stakeholders who are vocal in their support. The plan to fill the positions won’t be tossed aside, but slowed while we identify other ways to fund some positions, complete the work differently, or build back the enrollment that increases our core funding base. The vacancies are not evenly distributed across the Land Grant mission areas (discovery, learning, and engagement) or across CAHNRS units.

On one hand, leaving current positions open does not convey a strong strategy. On the other hand, what choice do we have when there is little buffer, little time for implementation, and most of our core funds are tied to positions? I continue to learn what funds are where, and why. Like croissants, there are many layers and many steps that take time to complete.

Interviews for the William D. Ruckelshaus Center director take place this week and next. I will attend the public presentations and the search committee meetings. Interviews in a couple of departments continue this week as well. Those meetings will make for a welcome distraction from thinking about numbers.