October 20, 2000

Contact: Bob Bruce, 503-725-5714

Board Adopts Path for Doubling Grads, Building Top Tier Engineering

ASHLAND -- The Oregon State Board of Higher Education Friday adopted a plan that aims to double the number of engineering graduates in the state and build toward nationally recognized, top tier engineering programs.

Under the plan, the Oregon University System will make strategic investments in faculty, staff, sponsored research, scholarships and facilities at all of Oregon's public universities, and encourage its campuses - particularly Oregon State -- to aim toward top tier recognition in engineering.

The plan seeks a sustained investment of $85 million per biennium to enhance engineering education. Funding is projected to come equally from both state and non-state sources over an eight-year period beginning in 2001-2003. It will require a state commitment of $10.63 million per biennium matched by an equal amount from increased research grants and contracts, student tuition and fees, and private gifts.

"We are responding in a very positive and thoughtful way to needs of Oregon and in the process we're fashioning a path that puts OSU on a top tier track," said Tom Imeson, former state board president.

The plan, Imeson said, helps all of Oregon's public universities "achieve the aspirational goals they have identified" on each campus.

PSU is also aiming for top tier recognition in engineering, while both the Oregon Institute of Technology and the University of Oregon gain support under the plan for computer science and engineering technology improvement. The three other Oregon regional universities - Western, Eastern and Southern Oregon universities - also have identified priority to enhance computer science education.

The new initiative becomes part of the OUS 2001-2003 biennial request budget to the Governor.

In other action Friday the board:

  • Approved Portland State University's acquisition of the Westfall Apartments at $2.8 million. The acquisition will help the university provide additional student housing. The complex contains 58 rental units.

  • Authorized PSU and the University of Oregon to move ahead with scheduled campus renovation projects. PSU will renovate the first two floors of its Fourth Avenue engineering building at a cost of $7.2 million. UO will extensively remodel and build an addition to Gilbert Hall and add a small addition to Straub Hall to house new magnetic resonance imaging equipment. The $33 million Gilbert project is funded entirely with private funds.

  • Acknowledged the naming of two new facilities which are part of Southern Oregon University's new Visual Arts Center. The three-story Siskiyou Commons Building will be named for Marion Ady, SOU's first art professor, and the new art-sculpture building will be named for Walter DeBoer, an Ashland community leader.

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