CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State University Board of Trustees on Friday accepted a 10-year university business forecast that reflects plans to invest in strategic university student initiatives, manage expenses, increase enrollment strategically and offset cost increases including employee retirement benefits.
“This forecast is an important tool that will be updated every two years to support the university’s mission to bring an affordable education to all qualified Oregonians, conduct globally important research and fulfill OSU’s outreach and engagement mission as Oregon’s statewide university,” said OSU President Ed Ray.
The forecast provides a financial framework to advance OSU’s student success initiatives, support student financial aid goals and other priorities. University officials reported to trustees that enrollment increases in Ecampus, the university’s top-ranked online education program, at OSU-Cascades in Bend, and through programming in Portland and other learner initiatives are expected to help alleviate the need for significant budget reductions due to continued increases in employee benefit costs. The plan calls for the university to maintain its commitment to increase enrollment on its main Corvallis campus slowly to 28,000 by 2025.
“The 10-year forecast provides a tool for the board and university management to consider when making decisions today,” said Mike Green, vice president for finance and administration. “This forecast provides the long-term context to help ensure that the university can achieve its mission and strategic priorities while maintaining its solid financial footing.”
In addition to accepting the 10-year forecast, the board increased the capital budget for the Oregon Forest Science Complex, which is currently under construction in Corvallis and will house the College of Forestry, by $11.5 million, to a total of $79.5 million. The additional project expense occurs as construction costs nationally and in Oregon have risen rapidly with inflation and the strong national economy. The increased costs will be covered by the College of Forestry through the sale of over-mature timber growing on lands owned by the university and College of Forestry finances.
The board also heard a report on initiatives underway throughout the university to advance equity, inclusion and social justice. The plan focuses on five goals: (1) integrating and advancing inclusive excellence; (2) improving recruitment of students and employees from underrepresented communities; (3) creating an inclusive climate to support the retention and success of students and employees; (4) providing innovative learning experiences to advance inclusive excellence among students and employees; and (5) communicating OSU’s efforts and outcomes related to inclusivity.
Trustees elected Rani Borkar chair of the board and Kirk Schueler vice chair of the board beginning July 1.
Ray announced to the board that he would donate to OSU student scholarships and student success programs a 6 percent change in his compensation that trustees approved during the meeting. Trustees approved the raise by a 10-2 vote, bringing Ray’s annual compensation, effective Jan. 1, 2018, to $764,136, of which the university pays $335,550. The balance of Ray’s compensation is paid by the OSU Foundation. The increase follows a positive review of Ray’s annual performance. The university provided merit compensation increases to faculty and professional faculty that ranged up to 6 percent and averaged 3 percent within individual university departments.
“I’m privileged to serve this university,” Ray said. “As in past years, I will give more than this increase to student scholarships and support programs that directly benefit the students of Oregon State University.”
Ray has served as Oregon State’s president since 2003 and his compensation puts him in the mid-range of compensation paid the leaders of Pac-12 universities and more than a dozen peer universities nationally.
The board also heard updates on OSU’s strategic planning efforts and legislative priorities and reports on university outreach and engagement programs, such as OSU Extension, and the teaching and research occurring within the College of Public Health and Human Sciences. Board members toured college facilities, met with faculty and students and learned about research efforts involving nutrition, healthy lifestyles and environmental toxicity, and work with handicapped children and older Oregonians.
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