February 16, 2001

Contact: Bob Bruce, 503-725-5714

Board Names OSU Branch Manager, Mandates Collaboration

CORVALLIS - The state's first branch university campus will be managed by Oregon State University and will offer degrees and programs offered by all of Oregon's public universities.

The State Board of Higher Education Friday, by a vote of 10 to 1, selected OSU to serve as the manager for the new Central Oregon branch, but mandated that the Chancellor of the Oregon University and the presidents of the state's two largest schools "forge a statement of collaboration" to "maximize the value of higher education services in Central Oregon as part of the implementation plan."

The collaborative plan will enable students currently enrolled to complete programs and earn their degrees from the campus at which they are enrolled. It also will allow the new branch to capitalize upon the respective academic strengths of all OUS campuses.

The direction to embrace offerings from all OUS campuses came following more than three hours of discussion during which board members contrasted proposals submitted earlier by OSU and the University of Oregon.

Higher officials are expected to meet soon with officials at Central Oregon Community College to begin transition planning for the new branch while they await final legislative support. OUS officials have asked the legislature to appropriate $7.2 million to implement the transition and establish the branch. The funding request is pending as lawmakers weigh higher education appropriations as part of the state's 2001-2003 biennial budget.

Pending by the Legislature, the new branch campus will begin operation in the fall. It will be housed in a separate building on the COCC campus, replacing the OUS Central Oregon University Center that has brokered upper-division courses and programs for the region.

In other action Friday, the board:

- Assigned a long-term ground lease of property at Southern Oregon University to the Kirlin Foundation that will permit development of the Southern Oregon Science Center. The Center, to be established in the former Pacific Northwest Museum of Natural History building, will be a hands-on, interactive science learning laboratory. It will house rotating exhibits, including exhibits from the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland

- Approved the reorganization of an undergraduate natural science major into a new B.A./B.S. degree in earth science at Western Oregon University. The change becomes effective immediately.

- Continued its general admission policy through the 2002-2003 academic year. Meanwhile, staff will continue to work with campus, Oregon schools and the Oregon Department of Education to transition from the traditional admissions process to a proficiency-based admission standards system.

- Adopted a new policy on business practices for all of Oregon's public universities. The policy states a commitment to "free flow of commerce and efficient business practices." It prohibits OUS campuses from adopting restrictive limits on business agreements and practices unless they are based on evidence of illegal activity, ability to perform or other criteria required or allowed by statute or board rule.

- And affirmed were a series requests for federal appropriations during the 2002 federal fiscal year. Projects requested for funds include: a new science center at Eastern Oregon University, La Grande; an Oregon Renewable Energy Center and two training programs at Oregon Institute of Technology, Klamath Falls; funds for the Pacific Northwest Institute for Sustainable Resources, wildland fire science and early childhood leadership at Oregon State University, Corvallis; support for the Engineering and Science Center, Portland Metropolitan Partnership for Secondary School Learning and the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University; a Southern Oregon Watershed Learning Center, Native American performing arts project and special education teaching training program at Southern Oregon University, Ashland; and brain biology and the Museum of Natural Science at the University of Oregon, Eugene.

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