CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University’s board of trustees approved a fiscal year 2020 budget on Friday, calling on university leaders to prioritize funding for several key initiatives including retaining excellent faculty, emphasizing student recruitment and retention, and supporting initiatives to promote diversity and inclusivity at OSU.
Other key funding priorities for the coming year are to support fundraising efforts, improve facilities and research labs, and advance the construction of the OSU-Cascades’ campus.
Balancing the university’s $1.351 billion budget remains uncertain as the Oregon Legislature has not yet decided how much funding it will provide OSU and Oregon’s other six public universities. State funding will determine the level of expense reductions that OSU will enact in campus operations in Corvallis and Bend, and in OSU’s Statewide Public Services to balance a budget that is constrained by large increases in benefits costs, tuition increases under 5%, and slowing enrollment growth. University expenses are rising due to increases in state-mandated benefits and insurance premiums as well as other expenses.
“Any cuts that we will make will affect the efforts that OSU engages in to provide all students with a quality education and all Oregonians with impactful teaching, research and engagement services,” said OSU President Ed Ray. “Expenditure reductions involve more than just budgets. They affect real people, including our faculty, staff, and students, as well as the Oregonians that the university serves.”
Earlier this year, the university announced budget cuts of 1.8% to 2.7% for central administrative functions and 1.1% to 1.7% for colleges and academic units. Further expense controls are expected in the coming fiscal year despite trustees’ approval of increased tuition for the next academic year.
In approving the budget, trustees unanimously favored an emphasis on the university’s educational mission and enrolling more diverse students.
“We are in the education business,” said Rani Borkar, board chair. “And we provide access to a meaningful and affordable high-quality OSU degree.”
Trustees also approved a profile of the qualifications and attributes that will help recruit and select OSU’s next president as the board conducts a national search to replace OSU President Ed Ray as he prepares to step down in June 2020.
The profile calls upon the university’s next president to advance OSU’s momentum in key areas including student access and success, faculty excellence, research preeminence, and equity and inclusion.
Trustees also are looking for a candidate who can advance existing collaborative relationships and build new ones on and off campus; lead the university to achieve the goals outlined in its 2019-23 strategic plan; secure the university’s future financial growth and sustainability; and support and preserve OSU’s land grant mission of access to a high-quality education.
Development of the profile partly stemmed from information gathered from 292 surveys and comments submitted online and during 11 listening sessions the board of trustees held in April and May throughout Oregon.
Recruitment of candidates for OSU’s next president will continue through the summer and early fall. Interviews are expected to take place in the fall and early winter with selection of the next president expected in early 2020.
Trustees also approved spending $13.4 million for work to reclaim a former pumice mine and a landfill adjacent to the OSU-Cascades campus in Bend. The board previously approved buying the property, which will be used to expand the 10-acre campus. The reclamation project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2020. The budget also will be used to construct a site for construction of OSU-Cascades’ next academic building, as well as preparation for a campus entrance, roads and parking required for the building. The reclamation plan is in keeping with the OSU-Cascades campus master approved by the city of Bend.
The board approved resolutions of approval for three retiring trustees: member Mark Baldwin, who has represented OSU classified employees since being appointed to the board in 2013; Laura Naumes of Medford, who has represented the board, since being appointed in 2013; and Angel Mandujano-Guevara, who has represented Oregon State students since 2017.
During Thursday board committee meetings, trustees:
About Oregon State University: As one of only two universities in the nation designated as a land, sea, space and sun grant, Oregon State serves Oregon and the world by working on today’s most pressing issues. Our more than 31,000 students come from across the globe, and our programs operate in every Oregon county. Oregon State receives more research funding than all of the state’s comprehensive public universities combined. At our campuses in Corvallis and Bend, marine research center in Newport and award-winning Ecampus, we excel at shaping today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders.