CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State University Board of Trustees on Friday approved the university’s operating budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year, and also approved new master and doctoral degree programs in robotics and bachelor degree programs in religious studies.
This was the first meeting of the board after it officially took over oversight responsibility for the university on July 1 from the State Board of Higher Education. This change occurred as part of legislation adopted by the 2013 Oregon Legislature and the university’s decision to have its own independent board of directors appointed by the governor.
The board unanimously voted to adopt a $1.023 billion operating budget for the 2015 fiscal year, which covers OSU revenues and expenditures from July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015. The revenue stream includes:
- Educational and program funding authorized by the state legislature;
- Projected tuition and fees paid by students;
- Auxiliary revenues from OSU service centers, including University Housing and Dining Services and OSU’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics;
- External funds for teaching, research and outreach from private giving through the OSU Foundation, and from grants funded by state, federal or non-profit agencies or private industry.
The university’s budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year was $986.3 million.
The interdisciplinary robotics degree programs, which will begin in 2014-15, will be located within the School of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering in OSU’s College of Engineering. During its first five years, the program is expected to graduate as many as 10 Ph.D. students and 30 master degree students and provide students expertise in the fields of robot design, control, manufacturing and operation that are rapidly growing worldwide. As many as 70 OSU students already are engaged in robotics studies.
The new bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degree programs in religious studies will be housed within OSU’s School of History, Philosophy and Religion in the College of Liberal Arts. The program will be initiated in fall 2015 and after five years would serve as many as 60 students. The decision restores religious study degree programs that were eliminated in the early 1990’s following budget cuts at Oregon State prompted by the adoption of state constitutional limits on property taxes.
The board also adopted a contract for the employment of OSU President Edward J. Ray through June 30, 2016, including terms of his compensation and his duties, responsibilities and annual performance evaluation.
The board also approved resolutions related to:
- How the university manages safeguards of U.S. Department of Defense classified information related to research contracts that may be awarded Oregon State;
- Reporting known or suspected fraud, waste and abuse within the university;
- Establishing a university code of ethics;
- Amending the charter of the OSU Board of Trustees’ executive and audit committee related to how external and internal university financial audits will be reviewed and approved by the board.
The board heard presentations from university finance and administration administrators related to public capital financing tools available for use by Oregon State; the university’s current and forecasted bonded indebtedness; and capital and facility improvement plans and procedures used by the university.