CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State University Board of Trustees on Friday approved spending nearly $277 million on seven remodeling, renovation and new construction projects on the university’s Corvallis and Bend campuses.
The projects include construction of a second academic building at OSU-Cascades; renovation of Cordley Hall, the university’s largest teaching and research building; remodeling of a recently purchased off-campus research building in Corvallis; and restoration of a major Corvallis campus research building that was damaged significantly in a fire last winter.
"We're not building for building's sake," OSU President Ed Ray said. "The university is committed to advance student success, improve retention and graduation rates, and sustain a pace of more than $400 million annually in grant-funded research. We must renovate and improve aging classrooms and research facilities – and build new classrooms and research labs – to achieve the university’s commitments to student learning, research innovation and problem solving.”
With approval by the board, the following projects will move from the design phase to construction phase:
In other actions Friday, the board heard a presentation on the university’s annual report on advancing equity, inclusion and social justice. The report, compiled by the Office of Institutional Diversity, presented findings and recommendations in the following areas: graduate and undergraduate student recruitment; undergraduate student retention; employee recruitment; and faculty retention.
“Over the last two years, Oregon State University has taken significant steps to prioritize and advance the pursuit of inclusive excellence in all that it does,” Charlene Alexander, vice president and chief diversity officer, told the board.
Alexander said the university’s strategic efforts seek to improve the recruitment and retention of students and employees from underrepresented communities, and help support their success at OSU. She said the university’s efforts have been recognized nationally and are resulting in increased admissions applications from black students and increased diversity within the university overall. But Alexander said more attention by OSU needs to occur to recruit and retain more diverse faculty and staff.
The board also approved its annual assessment of Oregon State President Ed Ray. The trustees praised the work of the university and Ray over the past year and offered support for the goals that Ray said he would focus on in this academic year: progress toward the goals of Strategic Plan 4.0; preparations for the next university-wide fundraising campaign; securing funds during the legislative session in February; creating a seamless transition to the next president; and building community, developing a faculty union contract and promoting shared governance.
The board heard an update on Oregon State’s 2020 preliminary legislative priorities. These include securing approval for state bonds to help finance the construction for three projects: a student success center at OSU-Cascades; an Arts & Education Complex on the Corvallis campus; and the second phase of the Cordley Hall renovation project. The university also is seeking funds or supporting bills related to research associated with hemp, ocean acidification and hypoxia, campus hunger and innovation districts.
The board approved a resolution honoring Jock Mills, who will retire this fall after serving as OSU’s government relations director since 2000.
The board heard reports from the OSU Foundation, faculty senate, student body leaders in Corvallis and at OSU-Cascades and the state’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission. As well, trustees leading the board’s efforts to recruit, interview and guide on-boarding of OSU’s next president gave reports. The board of trustees is engaged in a national search to replace Ray as president after he steps down on June 30, 2020, after leading OSU for 17 years.
The board received public testimony from three faculty and three members of the Corvallis community regarding faculty collective bargaining occurring and OSU’s plans to build a residence hall for upper division and graduate students on the eastside of campus.
The board conducted an executive session regarding labor negotiations at the end of its meeting on Friday.
In committee meetings held on Thursday, board committees:
The board also held a retreat on Wednesday to discuss assumptions underlying the university’s 10-year business forecast and strategic plan; consider challenges and opportunities facing higher education and OSU over the next decade; and explore possible transformational strategies to address the most pressing issues that will affect the university.
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 32,000 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.