CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State University Board of Trustees today approved a $1.17 billion operating revenue budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year that provides funds for growing the OSU-Cascades campus in Bend and new investments guided by the university’s strategic plan.
Trustees also discussed Oregon State’s commitment to equity, inclusion and social justice, and recognized Provost and Executive Vice President Sabah Randhawa, who will leave the university this summer to become president at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. The board also recognized out-going Trustee Brenda McComb, who resigned her seat on the board representing OSU faculty when she was promoted to Oregon State’s senior vice provost for academic affairs.
Oregon State initiatives supported by next year’s budget include:
- Expanding the Division of Undergraduate Studies to address student retention and graduation rates;
- Funding the Office of Institutional Diversity and other initiatives to help all students and staff succeed;
- Opening Johnson Hall, a new facility to support growth in the professional program of the College of Engineering;
- Completing staff and program development for statewide public services; and,
- Increasing academic support in key areas.
The $1.17 billion in budgeted revenues provides for $604 million in educational and general funds expenditures that support instruction, research and outreach; $224 million for expenditures for self-supporting programs, including housing and dining, athletics and student centers; and $334 million in restricted funds expenditures provided from externally-funded grants, contracts and gifts.
The trustees also reflected on the funding request for the 2017-19 biennium that includes a significant increase in state support following the 2015 Oregon Legislature’s approval for increased funding for Oregon’s seven public universities. But trustees also discussed some future financial uncertainties. These include a trend in slower growth in the population of traditional college-age students; increases in the state of Oregon minimum wage; and significant changes in federal overtime policies for salaried employees that will go into effect later this year.
“The fiscal year 2017 budget will allow investments in the success of our students and the diversity of our community, while providing support for high quality learning experiences and global impacts through our graduates and research discoveries,” said OSU President Ed Ray.
The board also supported an amendment to the 2015-17 capital plan. This will allow important project scope improvements that have increased the cost of the Oregon Forest Science Complex project by $8 million to be funded by gifts; and $10 million for construction of a Complex for Resilient Infrastructure and Safety. This complex will be supported by $5 million in philanthropic gifts.
The board heard a presentation on issues of inclusion, equity and social justice at Oregon State and what steps OSU is taking and has planned to provide a more safe, diverse and inclusive community.
These steps include increased communication to the OSU community; establishing a bias incident reporting process; supporting efforts to diversify faculty and staff; developing student learning modules; enhancing faculty and staff education, training and awareness; and expanding efforts and outreach to the larger community.
Trustees recognized Randhawa with a Board resolution and presentation of a framed plaque. Randhawa served as OSU’s provost and executive vice president from 2005 and worked at the university for more than 30 years as a faculty member and administrator.
As provost, he served as the university’s chief academic officer and second-ranking administrator providing overall leadership for Oregon State’s academic affairs, faculty and student services, information technology, research and graduate programs, the OSU Extension Service and Ecampus.
“Sabah has been my closest partner,” said Ray. “Oregon State University is a better place than Sabah found it when he arrived here. We will never forget how blessed we have been with his friendship, leadership, compassion and wisdom.”
Trustees also recognized McComb with a Board resolution and framed plaque. Trustees applauded McComb’s contributions, particularly her service on the Academic Strategies Committee, where she helped the Committee understand university processes to consider new academic degrees.
The board approved a new bachelor of science degree in biochemistry and molecular biology in the College of Science, pending approval of the Higher Education Coordinating Commission. This program will help address increased interest in a wide range of new careers and a scientific revolution in molecular biology in the past 40 years.
Trustees heard testimony from six students, a Corvallis community resident, and an OSU faculty instructor, regarding social justice, the affordability of an OSU higher education, including housing and administrative costs and representation of students and faculty on the board.
Trustees also approved a 2017 meeting schedule.