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Higher Ed Board hears strategic report on OSU-Cascades Bend Campus

Contact: Di Saunders – Office, 503-725-5714; Cell, 503-807-5539

PORTLAND, March 2 – The State Board of Higher Education (the “Board”) met today at Western Oregon University in Monmouth to hear about Oregon State University Cascades’s campus’ mission, programs, and plans; and to discuss budget reduction recommendations requested by the legislature, among other items considered by the Board.

OSU-Cascades Strategic Plan
Sabah Randhawa, OSU provost, provided an overview of the OSU-Cascades’ campus mission and goals, and strategic plan; and introduced Jay Casbon, CEO of the campus. He noted that OSU-Cascades is a key component of OSU’s overall statewide mission. Established in Spring 2001, Cascades has 3 primary goals: to build academic excellence to support social and economic vitality in Central Oregon; enhance the student experience and campus environment to increase opportunities for learning, personal growth, and service; and secure resources to sustain and expand core and signature academic programs identified as regional priorities. Fall 2006 headcount enrollment is just under 500 students, with almost 85% undergraduates, 21% full time, and 73% from the tri-county area. Enrollment growth over the last 5 years is 102%, with 858 students graduating since 2002, and growth projected at 8-10% per year. Cascades’ partnership with Central Oregon Community College provides lower division curriculum, academic and student services, and campus facilities; and their partnership with the University of Oregon delivers upper division undergraduate curriculum in core disciplines.

Signature educational programs at Cascades include business, education, and outdoor recreation leadership and tourism leadership (OSU). Core educational programs include general science and psychology (UO). Cascades has 16 tenure track/tenured faculty; and research dollars per FTE is $8,500. Regarding the Cascades’ budget, in FY06 revenues totaled $5.3 million and expenditures equal $5.1 million, with 65% of total revenues coming from state funds, 35% from tuition and fees, and less than 5% from gifts, grants and contracts.

Provost Randhawa said that key initiatives for Cascades include expanding and initiating signature programs to meet student demand; increasing programs and degree offerings; ensuring the quality of existing and new academic programs; and benchmarking and evaluating progress and outcomes. Additionally, Cascades is focusing on strengthening student services and enriching engagement and experiences that complement academic work; improving student retention and graduation rates and campus diversity. Other key initiatives include developing a sustainable business model; increasing private support; strengthening marketing, recruitment, and community partnerships; and continuing to build infrastructure. Challenges for Cascades include funding to support growth and excellence; need for additional facilities, including an additional 41,500 square feet needed within the next 3 years; coordination between partners to create a seamless system for students; and balancing community expectations with a sustainable growth plan. In summary, Randhawa said that OSU-Cascades creates a unique educational model in Oregon with the partnership with COCC, and is positioned for greater contributions to the region’s economic and social growth if increased funding were available.

Budget Reduction Request
After a presentation by Neil Bryant, OUS government relations consultant, on updates on the 2007 Legislative Session and on the 1% to 4% budget cut scenarios requested by the Ways & Means co-chairs, the Board discussed the implications of any cuts to the Governor’s Recommended Budget for OUS. The Board expressed concern about making cuts to the GRB in a manner that “cherry picks” from a holistic package that was presented as a comprehensive, first step in beginning to address many years of disinvestment in higher education in Oregon. The variables within the budget are interactive, and parts cannot be cut out and still maintain a fully working System. Board members said that it is critical to ensure the financial integrity of each institution, and that any level of cuts could threaten this. The Board has worked very hard with the campuses and Chancellor’s Office to gain greater efficiencies in the System, and additional efficiencies are not possible without impacting the number of students being taught and the financial integrity of the institutions. If cuts are taken, the Board will have to reconvene on the budget and System priorities and look at a different set of options to deal with the continuing disinvestment in the OUS by the state.

In other action and discussion at the meetings, the Board and/or Committees:

  • Reviewed OUS Education & General fund issues, including revenue trends, revenue per FTE student (state appropriations and net tuition and fees), expenditure trends such as salaries, wages and benefits per FTE employee (all funds), other payroll expenses such as retirement and healthcare costs, and utility expenses. For example OUS health benefits’ costs have increased 58% since 2002, and retirement benefit costs have increased more than 43%. Student-borne costs in the form of tuition and fees have increased 41.2% per FTE since 2002, and state appropriations for OUS have decreased almost 16% per FTE in that period.
  • Approved Portland State University’s request to lease temporary classroom space to accommodate instructional needs due to multiple capital projects underway and planned on campus.
  • Approved honorary doctorates to be awarded at June 2007 commencements: From OSU, Mike Rich, acclaimed screenwriter in the motion picture industry; and Ambassador Mary Carlin Yates, political advisor to the commander, United States European Command. From PSU, Barbara Roberts, first woman governor of Oregon, from 1991 to 1995.
  • Approved the following appointments to the Forest Research Laboratory Advisory Committee: Jerry Brodies, managing director of logging operations for The Campbell Group; Ed Shepard, state director of Bureau of Land Management; Lee Miller, CEO of Miller Timber Services; Rick Brown, senior resource specialist for Defenders of Wildlife; Carol Whipple, owner/manager of Rocking C Ranch, LLC; and Catherine Mater, president of Mater Engineering.
  • Approved the following new degree programs: OSU, B.S. in Accountancy, effective Spring 2007; and PSU, Graduate Certificate in Software Engineering, effective Spring 2007.
  • Reviewed the Finance and Administration Committee Charter, and the Audit Charter.
  • Discussed 2007 proposed key initiatives of the Finance and Administration Committee; and proposed agendas and work plan for the State Board of Higher Education and its and Committees.
  • Heard updates from the Board committee and council chairs, including the Finance and Administration Committee, the Delegation to the Joint Boards Unified Education Enterprise, and the Research Council.
  • Heard reports from the Interinstitutional Faculty Senate and the Oregon Student Association.

Oregon University System comprises seven distinguished public universities, reaching more than one million people each year through on-campus classes, statewide public services and lifelong learning. For additional information, go to www.ous.edu

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