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OSU Board of Trustees OKs profile document to guide search for next president


CORVALLIS, Ore. (KTVZ) – The Oregon State University Board of Trustees on Friday approved a presidential profile that will guide the university’s search for its next president. The board also heard an update on the national search that is underway and anticipates the selection of a new president to occur in late May.

The presidential profile articulates qualities and qualifications OSU is looking for in its next president and opportunities and expectations for the president.

“The profile calls upon the university’s next president to advance OSU’s momentum in research, teaching, and public engagement while remaining true to a model of inclusive excellence,” said Board Chair Kirk Schueler. “The profile will be key to recruiting and evaluating candidates as the board of trustees engages with the search advisory committee and university community members and stakeholders in an inclusive and transparent search process.”

The profile reflects information gathered from an online survey and input provided during 15 listening sessions involving OSU community members and stakeholders that the board of trustees held in January.

The search process calls for nominations to be solicited and candidates to be recruited during February. A search firm and the presidential search advisory committee, made up of faculty, staff, students, OSU stakeholders, alumni and three trustees, will then evaluate applicants.

In late May, finalists for the position will visit OSU’s Corvallis campus; engage in public forums and meetings with university community members and stakeholders, including search committee members; and be interviewed by the board. The board will gather and review community and stakeholder input on candidates. The board is expected to select a new president in a late May public meeting and the new president is anticipated to take office in July.

At its meeting, the board also received an update on the university’s Strategic Plan 4.0: Transformation, Excellence and Impact. This is the start of the fourth of five years under the plan, which encompasses 20 action items. As of November 2021, average completion progress across the 20 actions is 60%, which is where the university generally expects to be at this point, Ed Feser, OSU provost and executive vice president, told trustees.

“The university’s strategic plan sets the framework to support the aspirations and innovation of colleges, divisions, and units throughout the university, which develop their own strategic plans consistent with OSU’s overall mission, vision and goals,” Feser said. “It’s the creativity of OSU faculty and students that drive innovation and impact, not university administration from the top down.”

Fourteen of the 20 actions are at least halfway finished, reported Feser and Rick Settersten, vice provost for faculty affairs. They highlighted successes in three areas: student pathways and learning experiences; faculty success in research and teaching; and inclusion, care and interconnectedness.

The board also heard a report from Feser and Dan Larson, vice provost for student affairs and OSU COVID-19 response coordinator, on the university’s ongoing response to the pandemic, including the continuation of on-site instruction, research and work. Feser and Larson emphasized that while the university’s response and operations are going well, the duration of the pandemic and its impacts continue to take a toll on students and employees.

Interim President Becky Johnson acknowledged the many pressures felt by OSU community members.

“We are having important discussions on how we can extend an impactful culture of care for OSU employees and students and lessen the impacts of what they are experiencing,” Johnson said.

The board heard a briefing about work underway to convert the Elliott State Forest into a research forest managed by OSU. Following direction provided by the State Land Board in late 2019, OSU and the Department of State Lands began exploring how to create and manage the Elliott as a research forest. Since then, OSU college and university leaders have been working with Department of State Lands and stakeholders to create a framework for a research forest.

The planning includes the proposal of a legislative concept to create an independent state entity that would own and have fiscal responsibility of the forest while contracting with OSU to conduct research and manage the forest. The legislative concept will be considered in the February legislative session.

The board also heard details of a financial analysis of the forest that shows it will be financially sustainable.

The board will be updated on the Elliott State Research Forest further and may be asked to consider approval of the university’s engagement in the forest in future meetings, depending on the outcome of legislative process.

The board also approved:

  • Spending $6.2 million to expand the West Greenhouse complex on the Corvallis campus that supports plant science research and provides a location for instruction, experiential learning and research involving undergraduate and graduate students. The new greenhouses will replace the East Greenhouse space, which was built in 1929.
  • Increasing the budget for the total renovation of Cordley Hall in response to pandemic-driven labor and supply chain cost increases. Cordley Hall serves the colleges of Agricultural Sciences and Science. The $12.8 million increase is due to increased labor costs and supply chain disruptions. The total cost of the renovation is now $171.6 million and is supported in part by more than $100 million in state paid bonds. Additional legislative funding to help address the cost escalations in this project and projects at other Oregon public universities is being sought in the February legislative session.
  • Increasing the budget for completing Reser Stadium, which will include new westside stadium seating, a welcome center for prospective new students and a wellness clinic for students, Oregon State employees and community members. The $7.5 million cost increase is in response to pandemic-driven cost escalations occurring globally. Most of the cost increase will be covered by fundraising and other existing reserves. The overall project will now cost $160.5 million.
  • Expanding the budget to broaden the renovation of Graf Hall to renovate three additional laboratories in the building, which is occupied by the College of Engineering. The work will be funded by a $2.5 million gift. The overall $8.6 million renovation of Graf Hall is expected to be completed in April.
  • Spending $8.8 million to replace the roof and heating and cooling system at The LaSells Stewart Center. The improvements are expected to keep the conference center on OSU’s Corvallis campus operational and energy efficient for the next 25 years.

At its Friday meeting, trustees recognized the contributions of Rani Borkar, who recently concluded serving as board chair and continues as a member of the board.

Early Friday, members of the board’s finance and administration, and executive and audit committees held a joint meeting to hear a report from OSU’s outside auditor regarding the university’s 2021 annual financial report, which the executive and audit committee voted to accept.

On Thursday, three board committees met:

  • The Academic Strategies Committee approved five new bachelor’s degree programs in theater arts, applied humanities and oceanography on the Corvallis campus, and in economics and political science at OSU-Cascades. Implementation of the new degree programs is pending support by the Oregon public universities’ provost council and the state Higher Education Coordinating Commission.

The committee also heard reports on new and existing academic program reviews and professional accreditation in progress.

An update on advances in the university’s many efforts and programs to engage in prevention of interpersonal and gender-based violence, and support survivors, was provided by a panel of university program leaders.

The committee also heard reports on how the university and OSU faculty and students are engaged in advancing research and innovation and commercialization of research being conducted within Oregon State.

The committee heard a report on OSU’s international and global engagement efforts, and later in the day, all trustees heard brief presentations from several faculty and a student on examples of global engagement, teaching and research occurring throughout Oregon State.

  • The Finance & Administration Committee heard a report on preliminary tuition scenarios for the 2022-23 fiscal year. Three scenarios, ranging from 2.5% to 4.5% tuition increases, were discussed. Increases in that range are in line with previous statements by the board that tuition increases would be between 2% and 5%.

The committee heard a report about a graduate student and upper division student housing building at the corner of northwest 11th Street and Madison Avenue. The $50 million “L-shaped” five-story building will serve approximately 220 students and offer a mix of two-bedroom suites with kitchens and a limited number of studio units with kitchenettes. Construction is anticipated to start in December 2022 after issuance of city permits, and the building is expected to open in June 2024.

The committee also approved a first quarter operating management report, first quarter investment report and an annual internal bank report and heard an update on the budget model at the Corvallis campus.

  • The Executive & Audit Committee approved the 2021 final progress report and 2022 annual plan from the Office of Audit, Risk and Compliance, as well as an enterprise risk management report. The committee also heard an update on public safety at OSU and the university’s progress in launching its own police department for the Corvallis campus.

On Friday, the board heard reports from Faculty Senate President Erika McCalpine; ASOSU Student Body President Dhru Patel; Associated Students of Cascades Campus Student Body President Taha Elwefati; OSU Foundation Trustee Eric Schoenstein regarding fundraising and alumni activities; and on legislative priorities for the university from Katie Fast, OSU’s executive director of government relations.

The board heard testimony from a community member regarding university student housing plans during the public comment portion of the board agenda.

Article Topic Follows: Education

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