BEND - Oregon State University officials today announced details of their preliminary plan for a new branch campus in Central Oregon, giving residents of that region an extended period to consider the plan, provide input and make changes before a final proposal is submitted in early December.
The plan includes a wide variety of degree programs, a partnership with Central Oregon Community College, local guidance of the new campus, "seamless"student services and a commitment to the same level of educational quality that has gained international recognition for OSU.
"In every respect this plan is grounded in what the residents of Central Oregon have told us they want and need," said OSU President Paul Risser, who unveiled the plan today at a meeting of the Central Oregon Advisory Council. "This is a blueprint for higher education in Central Oregon in the 21st century. "We think the plan is both innovative and exciting," Risser said. "OSU has decades of experience in providing educational services to Central Oregonians, and now we're going to take that to the next level with their own campus, their own programs and a new educational future for Central Oregon."
OSU already offers undergraduate degrees in liberal studies, natural resources, agricultural science and environmental science at Central Oregon, plus minors in computer science, communication and environmental science. Those programs will be retained, officials say.
But if OSU is successful in being designated as the provider of a new branch campus for this region, the university will also provide, by itself or in collaboration with its partners, at least six new undergraduate degree programs: business; allied health; biological science; engineering and computer science; education; and recreation and tourism. Some graduate degrees may also be available.
Other features of the new campus would include:
- Student services would feature an automatic, dual enrollment at COCC and OSU, so with a single application students could move easily from one institution to the other.
- Coordinated advising, registration, tuition and fee payment, and financial aid services.
- Partnerships with other universities, such as those already being arranged with Eastern Oregon University and the Oregon Institute of Technology, would provide degrees or programs that OSU is unable to deliver.
- Educational quality guaranteed by OSU's accreditation, and backed up by an interdisciplinary, on-site faculty.
- Courses delivered both by resident faculty and state-of-the-art distance learning technologies to provide a broad range of courses and degrees.
- The combined resources of OSU, COCC and other educational partners would ensure that students can get the courses they need and those that are consistent with the needs of the Central Oregon community.
- Art exhibits, musical events, prominent lecturers and other community outreach activities to enhance the social and cultural opportunities in the region would be continued and expanded.
Officials envision about 1,200 students on this campus within five years, getting most of their OSU courses in the new 30,000-square-foot building being built to provide higher educational services on the COCC campus. By its completion in 2002 that facility will provide both classroom, laboratory and office space.
"The theme that guides this plan is Central Oregonians deciding what is best for their region, their communities and their educational needs," Risser said. "OSU has already been working in Central Oregon for years and we're very excited about the opportunity to build on that existing relationship. And we want to stress that what we're presenting here is a preliminary plan - the whole idea is to see what people think and make any changes necessary before we have to finalize the proposal."