Posted: Thursday, January 07, 2010 10:00 AM
Colleges would work more closely together under plan
By MITCH LIES
A changing demographic, more students and changes in how universities are funded are behind a proposal to realign operations at Oregon State University.
The realignment, which was started by OSU President Ed Ray, aims to position the university to handle 50 percent more enrollment by 2025.
The realignment includes dividing the university's 11 colleges into four divisions, including the Division of Earth Systems Science, which includes the College of Agricultural Sciences, College of Forestry and College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences.
In his annual "state of the university" address to faculty, Ray said the divisional structure will be designed to better focus the university's resources and foster better collaboration inside and outside the university.
Ray's "2025 vision" includes higher student enrollment, a higher percentage of graduate students (an increase from the current rate of 15 percent of enrollment to 25 percent), more out-of-state enrollment (also increasing from the current 15 percent to 25 percent by 2025) and higher entry standards to attract more high achievers.
College of Forestry Dean Hal Salwasser, one of four deans chosen as division leaders, said he doesn't expect the colleges of agriculture and forestry to be combined under the realignment.
But, he said, the colleges could share some administrative functions.
"To some degree, and maybe to a large degree, we won't know what the outcomes are going to look like until we get through the process," Salwasser said.
Among circumstances behind the realignment, he said, are a demographic that has become more urban and a change in how the university is funded.
Thirty years ago, he said, 60 to 70 percent of the university budget was funded by state dollars. That's now 17 percent. And if Oregon voters shoot down measures 66 and 67 on Jan. 26, that could fall to 13 percent.
Student enrollment, meanwhile, has increased from 19,000 to 22,000 in the past few years. Administrators are preparing to handle upwards of 24,000 in the next few years, he said.
Ray in his state of the university address said the university could grow to 30,000 to 35,000 students by 2025.