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Board of Higher Education appoints Mark Weiss as WOU president, SOU president Mary Cullinan reappointed

Contact: Di Saunders, Cell: 971-219-6869; Office: 503-725-5714

PORTLAND, June 15, 2012 – The State Board of Higher Education (the “Board”) today voted unanimously to appoint Mark Weiss as president of Western Oregon University from his current position as interim president; and to reappoint Dr. Mary Cullinan, president of Southern Oregon University, to another two-year term; among other items approved by the Board today during a telephone meeting.

President Weiss

 Oregon University System chancellor George Pernsteiner said that the Board had appointed Mark Weiss as interim president of Western Oregon University for a period that extends through June 30, 2013, when president John Minahan retired in 2011. Weiss has been at WOU since 2005 where he previously served as executive vice president for finance and administration prior to his appointment as interim president. At the time of Weiss’ appointment, the chancellor had discussed with the WOU community that he would consult with them in the spring of 2012 about a search for a president. Pernsteiner said that he had met last month with a large number of faculty, staff, students and university supporters and concluded that there was considerable support for extending Mr. Weiss’ interim presidency for an additional year. Upon discussion with interim president Weiss about this matter, Pernsteiner concluded that the University might be served better if the term “interim” were deleted from Mr. Weiss’ title, to help convey a sense of stability and to assist in fundraising. Pernsteiner recognized president Weiss’ wise and pragmatic leadership since he was appointed interim president last July, and his universal support on campus.

The Chancellor recommended and the Board approved that Mark Weiss be named president of WOU through June 30, 2014, and that the Chancellor be authorized to negotiate the terms and conditions of president Weiss’ employment.

President Cullinan Reappointment   

Chancellor Pernsteiner said that Southern Oregon University president Mary Cullinan has led the university through challenging budget cuts and a campus reorganization, and increased enrollment to an all time high. Academic partnerships have grown, most notably the SOU-Rogue Community College center in Medford which has enabled more access to four-year degrees in the region, and has improved transfer rates and student success. More challenges are ahead, Pernsteiner noted, which will require even more diligence with regards to campus budgets and stabilizing the university’s finances. Pernsteiner recommended and the Board approved Dr. Cullinan’s reappointment as president of SOU through June 30, 2014.

Presidential Salary Increases    

Chancellor Pernsteiner said that since 2008, OUS presidents have seen no increases in pay despite record performance by Oregon’s public universities in terms of enrollment, student retention and graduation, degree production, and externally-funded research. In fact, presidents actually saw their pay reduced in part of the 2009-2011 biennium. Faculty and staff at all the campuses have seen increases during this same period, either as the result of collective bargaining agreements or as the consequence of campus decisions to improve salaries. Pernsteiner said that later this year he will be recommending salary adjustments for OUS presidents for 2012-13. However, the Chancellor is proposing now to adjust the pay for the two longest serving OUS presidents for the 2011-12 period, with a $10,000 increase for SOU president Mary Cullinan, and a $15,000 increase for Oregon State University president Edward Ray. Cullinan and Ray have served their universities for six and nine years, respectively, and the performance of the universities and the presidents has been effective in moving toward the achievement of the Board’s and state’s goals. In addition, the foundations of SOU and OSU are proposing to increase their contributions toward the total compensation of their respective presidents. In the case of President Cullinan, the SOU Foundation wishes to provide a $10,000 payment for deferred compensation. In the case of President Ray, the OSU Foundation wishes to increase its payment of a salary supplement and deferred compensation for 2011-12 by $32,705.

In addition, the Chancellor recommended that the Board accept for 2011-12 the contributions from the foundations for Oregon State University and Portland State University in the same amounts as were authorized for acceptance for 2010-11. The Board approved all of the salary and compensation increases as noted above.

In other action and discussion at the meeting, the Board:

  • Approved the Rogue Community College Dual Credit Program.
  • Approved the Advanced Placement and Statewide International Baccalaureate Course Credit Policy.
  • Approved the Associate of Science Oregon Transfer Degree in Business (ASOT-Business) Revision Proposals.

The Oregon University System comprises seven distinguished public universities and one branch campus, reaching more than one million people each year through on-campus classes, statewide public services and lifelong learning. The Oregon State Board of Higher Education, the statutory governing board of OUS, is composed of twelve members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Oregon State Senate. For additional information, go to www.ous.edu