Bradford presents College's legislative priorities
Bradford was present during the 2008 Road to Richmond. By Stephen Salpukas.
News feature: Road to Richmond: Students lobby legislature.
Fran Bradford, associate vice president for government relations, discusses William and Mary’s priorities for the 2008 session of the Virginia General Assembly. —Ed.
Q: What are William and Mary’s priorities for the upcoming session?
Bradford: The College’s highest priorities remain the full funding for the School of Education, faculty and staff salaries, student financial aid, continued focus on research—both student research and faculty research—and taking care of the other important operating and capital needs of the institution.
Q: What is the good news about the governor’s budget proposals?
Bradford: The governor was exceedingly helpful in two regards. One, by giving the School of Education project a place in the VCBA (Virginia College Building Authority) bond package. And the governor was very helpful to higher education by proposing a general obligation bond bill, which includes a number of projects for the College, such as initial funding for the third phase of the Integrated Science Center and a couple of smaller but critical projects, including funds to upgrade the College’s aging infrastructure.
Q: What is missing in the budget proposals?
Bradford: The piece that is not there is the issue of faculty and staff salaries. While we all recognize that this is a difficult time financially for Virginia, President Nichol has been very clear on his desire to ensure that the College continues its progress in providing competitive salaries. We will be asking the legislature to either move that date up or add additional money to the salary increases.
Q: How can a lack of salary increases impact William and Mary?
Bradford: We compete nationally for faculty, as do several institutions in the Commonwealth. If additional increases are not forthcoming, the faculty salaries at the College will slip down to about the 37th percentile of its peer institutions, and the state goal is the 60th percentile. So while we have made some progress in recent years, this will be a step back in that process. It’s just critically important to bring the best faculty to this campus. And I think the best faculty makes the best university.
Q: How important is the future Integrated Science Center to this overall effort?
Bradford: A fully realized Integrated Science Center is critical to the institution’s continued strides in research. You can bring in the best research faculty in an area, but if they don’t have access to the necessary facilities and equipment, it will be a wasted opportunity. With new state-of-the-art facilities, the College will also be able to play an important role in the economic development of the Commonwealth. By bringing new discoveries and transferable intellectual property to the fore, Virginia will be the beneficiary of new businesses and jobs.