Setting our course

President Ed Ray

President Ed Ray

President Ed Ray outlined  a new vision for OSU’s future on Thursday when he gave his annual State of the University address to Faculty Senate. He described a university that in 2025 will be as much as 60 percent larger, focused on signature research areas, more international in scope and built upon goals of student success and faculty achievement.

To see the full text of Ray’s speech, go to

Ray announced that the university would adopt a new divisional structure to focus its resources and foster even more collaboration – not only among faculty at OSU, but with partners at other universities, agencies and organizations in Oregon and beyond.

“If we are successful in setting and sustaining a course toward greater excellence, I believe that Oregon State University can be among the top 15 land grant universities by 2025,” Ray said. “Consequently, we will be an international research university that attracts the very best students and faculty from around the world to our education and research programs.”

Ray noted that OSU is poised to build upon its success over the last few years, including a record $252 million in external research funding in 2008-09, and private giving of $82 million – the second highest total raised in an academic year.

The OSU president also noted that The Campaign for OSU has raised more than $534 million toward its goal of $625 million, with almost two years left. This kind of fund-raising success will have to become the norm not the exception, he said.

“As great as these efforts have been, we must more than double the value of our annual awards of research grants and contracts by the year 2025,” Ray said. “And we must more than double the annual fund-raising level achieved through our campaign, which will require at least one and perhaps two additional campaigns over the next 15 years.”

Ray said that the decision to align OSU’s academic programs into divisions – an outgrowth of a year-long transparent process – would help the university focus its resources, make strategic investments for the future and better serve students. These divisions will include:

•    Division of Earth Systems Science: College of Agricultural Sciences, College of Forestry, and College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences;
•    Division of Health Sciences: College of Health and Human Sciences, College of Pharmacy, and College of Veterinary Medicine;
•    Division of Business and Engineering: College of Engineering and College of Business;
•    Division of Arts and Sciences: College of Liberal Arts, College of Science, and College of Education.

An implementation plan for the division structure is forthcoming, and it will call on deans to collaborate on a new administrative structure that will bring the divisions to life.

By 2025, OSU must be prepared to educate as many as 30,000 to 35,000 students, Ray said, and the makeup of the university’s enrollment may shift significantly. The percentage of OSU’s international student enrollment will double, one out of every four students will be enrolled in a graduate or professional program, and the university should graduate as many as 6,000 students each year. To guarantee access, OSU will continue its signature Bridge to Success program, which paid tuition and fees for 3,200 students last year and is projected to support a similar number this year.

“To realize these aspirations for 2025, we must increase the number of tenured and tenure-track faculty from 783 to between 1,300 and 1,500 in the next 15 years,” Ray said, “and we must begin now.”

Sabah Randhawa, OSU’s provost and executive vice president, is leading an effort to identify resources over the next two years that would add 25 to 30 faculty members in arts and sciences to boost the university’s capacity in its core teaching areas. Over the next three years, OSU will look to also create 10-15 new faculty positions in each of the other three divisions.

Ray acknowledged that looking to increase faculty at a time when the university is eliminating as many as 300 positions may seem confusing to some, but it’s about allocating resources more effectively to focus the university toward its strategic goals. Many of the positions eliminated will be handled through retirements and other natural attrition from the university’s employee ranks.

“We have reworked our base budgets to provide additional resources to the colleges most centrally engaged in delivering undergraduate education,” Ray added.

Ray said OSU also must increase its collaborative in-state research programs, pointing to the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI) and Oregon Built Environmental and Sustainable Technologies Center (Oregon BEST) as examples.

Ray also announced that the College of Education will move some of its programs to the OSU-Cascades Campus in Bend, while retaining the administrative structure on the OSU campus. Ray said his vision for OSU’s future growth includes the state’s first branch campus as an integral component of the university, and said it should seek an enrollment of 3,000 to 4,000 students by 2025.

“That level of success will require us to help colleagues there build signature programs that will make the Cascades Campus a destination of choice for students and faculty,” Ray said.

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