CORVALLIS, Ore. - The Oregon State University Board of Trustees on Friday adopted a 10-year business forecast to serve as a framework for the university's long-term planning and operational management.

The forecast includes strategic cost management and revenue initiatives, a capital forecast and a projection of the university's key financial ratios. Strategic opportunities for revenue growth include a variety of new, non-traditional programs. These include offering expanded professional degrees and certificates; non-credit courses; and courses or credential programs offered online.

Trustees learned Oregon State's enrollment and revenue projections are closely tied to the build-out of the OSU-Cascades campus in Bend, as well as the continued growth of OSU's online Ecampus program. The Bend campus is forecasted to serve approximately 4,000 students by 2027, while Ecampus is expected to double its full-time enrollment to 12,500 students over the same period.

"The long-term forecast is a dynamic tool that the university will use to identify areas of opportunity, priority and concern that may lie ahead," said OSU President Ed Ray. "This framework will help effectively inform the Board of Trustees and university administrators to guide OSU moving ahead over the long term."

Trustees also approved a framework to guide the board when considering policy changes in how university funds are invested. The evaluation framework requires that a request for an investment policy change aligns with the university's mission and core values, and includes:

  • The rationale for the proposed request;
  • Consideration of financial impacts;
  • Consideration of any legal constraints;
  • Consideration of sustained and broad concern from a variety of university communities over a significant period of time; and
  • Demonstrate that stakeholders, who have generated the resources being invested, have been engaged in developing the request.

Trustees voted 11-0 - with two members recusing themselves - to approve an amendment to the Public University Fund Investment Policy that calls on the fund to divest its current intermediate and long-term assets in fossil fuel-related investment securities and restrict future investment of Public University Fund assets in fossil fuel-related securities. The Oregon Treasurer's Office manages the Public University Fund on behalf of OSU and five other state public universities. About 1.7 percent of the fund presently is invested in fossil fuel-related securities. This amendment will be communicated to the other five universities that make up the Public University Fund.

Trustees voted to amend the university's capital plan to approve a $12.75 million renovation of Hewlett-Packard Building 11 on the company's Corvallis campus.  Building 11, which Oregon State leases, houses OSU's Advanced Technology & Manufacturing Institute, a collaboration among OSU researchers and private industry plus startup companies driven by OSU research. The Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI), a multi-university and private sector collaboration funded by Business Oregon, the state's economic development agency, also has its main office in the building. Nearly 27,000 square feet of the building is unimproved and available for build-out and increased economic impact.

The investment in renovating the building will allow Oregon State's College of Engineering to accept a five-year, $15-million grant from the National Network for Manufacturing Initiative.

The board heard a report from Becky Johnson, vice president for OSU-Cascades, on options to expand the Bend campus to meet the university's goals to enroll 3,000 to 5,000 students.

One option is to develop a 56-acre campus, which includes OSU-Cascades' existing 10-acre campus and an adjoining 46-acre site that the university owns. The second option incorporates these two parcels and an adjacent 72 acres owned by Deschutes County that has been used for decades as a demolition landfill.

Johnson told board members that acquiring this property and remediating the landfill would provide space for surface parking, athletic fields, and solar power arrays while also creating an opportunity for an innovation district.  The university would utilize recycled and remediated material from the landfill in developing the campus, and offer experiential learning opportunities for students.

The board also approved a 6 percent increase in compensation for the university president, effective Jan. 1. The increase reflected the results of an annual review and 360-degree evaluation of Ray by the board.

"In Ed Ray, we have a leader who has propelled this university forward," said Pat Reser, chair of the Board of Trustees. "The sage wisdom that comes from this university president is sought out over and over again - even nationally. Leadership matters, and it needs to be recognized and rewarded."

Ray said he would continue to contribute any raises that he receives to student scholarships, academic programs and student success initiatives.

The board's Academic Strategies Committee approved a new undergraduate program in geography and geospatial science in the College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science. Sponsors of this academic proposal said employment in the geospatial workforce is the second-fastest growing job sector in the U.S. economy. The state's Higher Education Coordinating Commission must approve this new academic program.

Board members heard presentations on the university's budget for fiscal years 2017-18; the Legislature's budget-setting process; and the process that the university is undertaking to evaluate and recommend a 2018 budget and tuition levels for the next academic year. Budget Director Sherm Bloomer outlined the ongoing, multi-month process that includes the University Budget Committee, a Student Budget Advisory Council, the OSU Provost's Council, Faculty Senate and other groups. The board will consider final budget and tuition proposals at its March meeting.

During two and a half days of meetings, trustees heard presentations on:

  • OSU's research enterprise, including four research programs, centers and institutes;
  • The university's collaboration with the city of Corvallis on initiatives related to livability; high-risk student behaviors; transportation; and parking;
  • Efforts to advance equity, inclusion and social justice initiatives at Oregon State;
  • Plans to update OSU's strategic plan and vision statement;
  • A 2017 legislative session update;
  • The university's freedom of expression principles and protest philosophy; and
  • A status report on academic programs and accreditations in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

During public comment on Wednesday and Friday, the board heard from a number of students on tuition; divestment of OSU assets in fossil fuel-related securities; and the location of the Marine Studies Building in Newport.

The board held an executive session pursuant to Oregon law to conduct deliberations with those designated by the governing body to negotiate real property transactions and to consider information exempt by law from public inspection.

Story By: 

Steve Lundeberg, 541-737-4039


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