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OSU-Cascades looks to add more degree programs, presses lawmakers to fund new Bend campus building

(Update: Adding video, comments from interim vice president, students)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- At Bend's OSU-Cascades Campus, there are plans to further expand academic programs into more fields of endeavors. But the school is also urging lawmakers to provide state funding for a new building, which was not in Gov. Tina Kotek's recently announced budget proposal.

 The school said the new degree programs are a priority as they grow from 3,000 to 5,000 students. The school said the new degree programs are a priority as they grow from three-thousand to five-thousand students. 

"We talked about the addition of some new degree programs here at OSU- Cascades that we're really excited about," Andrew Ketsdever, OSU-Cascades Interim Vice President said Tuesday.

The Bend campus as of last fall enrolled nearly 1,300 students, including more than a thousand undergraduates and about 230 graduate students.

Mike Wheeler is a second-year student at OSU-Cascades and shares why he chose the school.

"I already have a career, so basically I chose to go back to work because my company reimburses us 100%," Wheeler said. "I always wanted to get my bachelor's (degree) and figured this is the best place to do it."

Another second-year student, Stella Villada-Youel, said, "I don't think I would work well in a bigger school with like 300 students in one class. So that's kind of what brought me here." 

With fall enrollment showing an increase of nearly 2% from a year ago, plans for additional degrees are moving forward.

Ketsdever said, "A degree program in biochemistry and molecular biology, economics, political science, a new degree coming on in mechanical engineering. Our hope for a bachelor of science and nursing degree program here."

Another student, Iyad Al-Shahi said, "It's a valuable asset to be learning and applying what you learn at the same time." 

New degrees are determined through a lengthy process. 

Ketsdever said, "We go through an entire process here for determining new degrees that ranges from a market study to see what jobs are available here in Central Oregon, first and foremost, but also throughout the entire state and region."

While new degrees are being considered, a $45 million bond request to the state for a new health and recreation building (a $60 million project, with the rest coming from student fees) was not included in Kotek's budget. 

"Our health and recreation building was not recommended by the Higher Education Coordination Commission for funding, and it did not make it into Governor Kotek's budget plan," he said.

"We know that it requires additional advocacy from our campus with our state legislators to make sure that that amenity for students that we see as critical to their success continues to be part of the conversation and stays on the table," Ketsdever said.

 Ketsdever also told me degrees and programs in engineering, computer science and business administration  are very popular, and attract a high number of students to the school.

Article Topic Follows: Education

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Kelsey McGee

Kelsey McGee is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Kelsey here.


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