CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State University Board of Trustees on Friday heard a report outlining extensive efforts by the university to improve success for students while in school and following graduation.
Susie Brubaker-Cole, vice provost for student affairs, told the board that OSU is an increasingly diverse university and that pressures on students today require a vast array of programs focused on the “whole of student life: cultural, social intellectual, physical and emotional.”
Brubaker-Cole said Oregon State is emphasizing student learning and programs in and outside of traditional classrooms with the goal of providing students skills and knowledge to succeed in school, life and career.
Oregon State has expanded such efforts with programs such as a first-year experience initiative that requires freshmen students to live on campus and participate in expanded advising, community building and orientation programs. Brubaker-Cole said OSU is also increasing its efforts within student health and wellness; experiential learning; diversity training, student cultural resource centers; involvement in clubs and organizations; and community relations within the neighborhoods near OSU’s Corvallis campus.
Brubaker-Cole also outlined OSU policies and programs associated with student housing, conduct and student life assistance.
The board of trustees also heard a report on Title IX and the increased focus on addressing sexual misconduct at Oregon State – and learned that OSU is not immune to this growing national concern.
Angelo Gomez, executive director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion, outlined a suite of university resources and expanding initiatives, including specialized training for responders and investigators, mandatory education programs for new students, training for employees, the hiring of new investigative and other staff and others.
Reports of sexual misconduct and harassment to the university rose significantly during the 2013-14 academic year. Part of the increase stems from educational programs that encourage students and faculty to report incidents – and makes it easier for them to do so, Gomez pointed out. He said the number of incidents is troublesome and mirrors national trends.
An estimated 19 percent of women nationwide report being the victims of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault while in college.
“Every case will be addressed,” Gomez said. “All incoming students and new employees will receive sexual violence and alcohol awareness and prevention education. Our prevention and education efforts will be enhanced and intensified, and we will dedicate more resources to response and prevention.”
The board also approved OSU President Edward J. Ray’s agenda for 2014-15, priorities which he said are based on a recent update of the university’s strategic plan. Ray pointed to three university-wide goals in that plan:
- Provide a transformative educational experience for all learners;
- Demonstrate leadership in research, scholarship, and creativity, while enhancing pre-eminence in the three signature areas of distinction – advancing the science of sustainable Earth ecosystems; improving human health and wellness; and promoting economic growth and social progress;
- Strengthen OSU’s impact and reach throughout the state and beyond.
Ray said other priorities for the upcoming year include working toward raising first-year retention and graduation rates; diversifying faculty, staff and student populations; advancing the development of the four-year campus at OSU-Cascades and the Marine Studies Campus in Newport; and developing a proposal for deferred maintenance on campus, including disability access.
The board also approved a new compensation package for Ray, which includes a 9 percent raise in total salary from $485,082 to $528,739 annually. Approximately 56 percent of Ray’s salary is paid by the university and the balance by the OSU Foundation, a private non-profit organization that raises funds to support the university’s mission.
The board approved a resolution to accept on behalf of the university a gift of five parcels of timber property located in Washington County outside of Forest Grove. The property, which is a gift from the estate of Marion Matteson in memory of his mother, Rubie P. Matteson, was valued at $2.12 million during a December 2013 appraisal.
Board members also heard an overview report by Vice President of Research Ron Adams on the university’s research enterprise and participated with a number of university faculty and researchers in a tour of agricultural research facilities and the university’s Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing.