BEND - Although it's still awaiting funding approval from the Oregon legislature, the branch campus in Central Oregon now has a new name, a developing administrative structure, evolving programs, and the first of hundreds of applications for admission are beginning to roll in.
The branch officially became "Oregon State University - Cascades Campus" with a decision last week by the Oregon State Board of Higher Education. The board also designated the title "campus executive officer" for the top executive, and an implementation plan that was submitted to the board has been approved. An upcoming open house in May will help recruit new students.
Earlier this week, the first meeting was held of the Board of Advisors for the OSU Cascades Campus, and a groundbreaking ceremony has been held for the new $5.4 million building that will house most operations of the new campus.
"We're really getting ready to go," said Linda Johnson, the OSU Director for Central Oregon Programs. "Transition teams from OSU and COCC have been working closely on such tasks as student and enrollment service programs, improving infrastructure, identifying new faculty and deciding on the use of office space."
But most encouraging, Johnson said, has been the early response of prospective students.
"So far, we've already mailed out more than 700 applications to interested students, and we're quite optimistic that we'll be able to meet our first-year enrollment goals of about 250 FTE students," Johnson said. "Despite the short time that we have to get programs up and running and start the new institution, so far everything seems to be moving along quite well."
Leadership and administrative guidance for the OSU Cascades Campus is taking shape, officials say. A search should begin in May for the new campus executive officer, with that position expected to be filled by early fall. And two implementation groups are already at work.
An "implementation steering committee" will make administrative decisions until the new CEO is in place, with a group composed of the presidents of OSU, COCC, Eastern Oregon University and the Oregon Institute of Technology. An "implementation council" will consult with and advise the OSU Cascades Campus leadership, and that group is composed of leading administrators of all Oregon University System universities that provide Central Oregon educational programs, as well as representatives of the State Board of Higher Education.
Other steps that have been taken in recent weeks to develop the new campus include:
- A "dual enrollment agreement" was signed in March between OSU and COCC, so that students now have the option of enrolling in both institutions in a single step. Dual enrollment applications for qualified students are available at COCC, at OSU or by calling (800) 291-4192.
- The OSU Foundation and COCC Foundation are working together to determine procedures for managing and using the $3.5 million fund that has been pledged towards OSU scholarships at the OSU Cascades Campus.
- A full course schedule for fall, 2001, is now being finalized and about 110 courses will be offered by OSU and its partner institutions of higher education.
- A new "memorandum of understanding" will soon be negotiated between OSU and other participating educational institutions at the OSU Cascades Campus.
- OSU and COCC information technology staffs are working together to allow COCC to route their email, Internet and other technology infrastructure through OSU, an advance that should significantly improve COCC's capabilities in this area.
- A structure has been created to allow each participating university to provide advice and input on new academic programs.
- A commitment has been made to continue all existing programs at the University Center, but in the interests of organizational efficiency no new degree programs will be authorized by OSU during the first year of operation of the OSU Cascades Campus.
According to Johnson, any courses and degree programs that Central Oregon students are already pursuing will continue to be available, regardless of what other changes may occur as the OSU Cascades Campus grows and evolves in coming years.
An open house has also been scheduled for May 14, at which prospective students will be able to meet some of the new OSU Cascades Campus faculty, admissions personnel and other officials. More details about that event will be released later.
The newest information about registration, enrollment, campus developments and other news will be posted at the web site for the OSU Cascades Campus, which can be linked through the OSU home page at http://oregonstate.edu. Information can also be obtained by calling (800) 291-4192.