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Higher Ed Board reviews positive impact of university research collaborations on OR’s economy, jobs & student workforce training
Contact: Di Saunders, Office: 503-725-5714; Cell: 971-219-6869
PORTLAND, April 5, 2013 – The State Board of Higher Education today heard about current and proposed research collaborations and new efforts between Oregon University System institutions, the Oregon Health and Science University, Oregon Innovation Council and several other entities that are working to extend innovation in order to grow enterprises, jobs, and provide essential services to Oregonians. The Board also reviewed how a shared services enterprise in the OUS might be constructed and operated as a way to optimize efficiency and create cost savings.
Karen Marrongelle, OUS acting vice chancellor for academic strategies, noted how research is an essential part of reaching the Board’s goals. This includes OUS’ ability to reach Oregon’s 40-40-20 education attainment goal because of the essential role that research plays in educating students, contributing to knowledge and providing essential service to Oregonians. Dr. Marrongelle noted that research also involves service to Oregonians, such as providing professional development to Oregon teachers, made possible through research grants, which incorporates teaching and curricular innovations that improve student success. Marrongelle noted that Oregon’s public university faculty members are among the most successful in the country, with Oregon (OUS and OHSU together) ranking 7th in the nation for federal grants per faculty member.
Lynda Ciuffetti, Board director and professor of Botany and Plant Sciences at Oregon State University, discussed the importance of research on student learning, workforce preparation, and economic development in the state. Research drives quality at OUS institutions at all levels: undergraduate and graduate students, and in terms of attracting and retaining the very best faculty. Dr. Ciuffetti gave examples of students’ epiphanies when they engage in research, and how this improved learning and success in the research lab or in field work. Research is a high impact practice that prepares students for internships, for graduate school, medical school, and the workforce, providing them with the analytical and problem solving skills they need to be successful in their careers. Dr. Ciuffetti noted some concern that research is not included in the current achievement compacts. Ciuffetti said, “If we don’t appear to value our research and the training of our students in Oregon, and if we don’t view it as integrated in our education process, we will lose our best faculty, will lose our young students who will go to other states for college, and will lose those educated here to other states after their education as well.”
Sue Safford, Manager of the Renewable Energy Program at Oregon Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies Center, or Oregon BEST, noted that more than 200 faculty members in Oregon are involved in clean technology research that has generated $87 million in grants since 2008, as well as providing research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. Oregon BEST works with faculty in many ways, including having a grant proposal matching fund, through which they have provided $1 million. They provide incentives for campuses to collaborate, provide professional development, and act as a convener, making Oregon stronger and enabling us to compete with other states and university systems. Jennifer Fox, executive director of the Oregon Translational Research and Development Institute (OTRADI) described their mission to fuel development in the bioscience industry, including drug discovery, diagnostics, and new products for human health. They have been integral in helping startup companies, and currently work with 30 bioscience companies and 130 researchers. OTRADI provides hands on help, including writing grants, mentoring, equipment, help getting venture capital, and providing incubation space so that startups have the services that they need to move forward. They have the only bioscience-specific incubator in the state and can accommodate up to eight companies.
Dan Dorsa, senior vice president of research at OHSU, and Scott Nelson, Jobs and Economic Policy Advisor in the Governor’s Office, talked about the research components in the Governor’s Balanced Budget. The Research Collaboratory would enable all of the universities to manage and extend research that is now prohibited by the crush by data and IT infrastructure that is inadequate to meet research needs. Dorsa noted the need to analyze, merge, store and retrieve data that is frequently sensitive and confidential. The universities have common, very large grants from the National Science Foundation and other organizations, and thus have the need to transfer large amounts of information, but do not have the infrastructure to do this as effectively as needed in order to take advantage of opportunities that will benefit the state. Dorsa also discussed the Oregon Metals Initiative proposal which involves collaborations between universities and companies, including Boeing, IBM, Intel and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, with the goal to improve metals manufacturing. Scott Nelson spoke about the need to build a chain of innovation from idea to market, and how the Governor’s Office has made recommendations for increases in research investments, including Oregon Inc’s budget.
Paul Kelly, chair of the Board’s Governance and Policy Committee, and George Pernsteiner, former OUS chancellor on assignment to the board, presented information on the effort to build a model for a shared services entity. This service would have a goal to optimize efficiency, minimize costs, maximize revenues and assure quality services that benefit university operations and assure accountability for taxpayer dollars. Currently the Chancellor’s Office and some of the campuses provide about 100 shared services across the OUS in such areas as payroll, information technology, human resources, and the like. As the state works to determine the shape of the reform efforts, the Governance and Policy Committee of the board is working with campuses to determine how a shared services entity might be formed, governed and operated. Campuses have been discussing principles that would guide development of such an entity, and the Committee has reached agreement on several of these.
The Shared Services Enterprise would exist to advance the goals of the Board to increase the number of Oregonians with degrees, to provide high quality education to students, to undertake innovative research to advance Oregon and its economic well being, and to support and sustain vibrant communities in Oregon. After a discussion, the board approved the preamble and principles of a Shared Services Enterprise.
In other action and discussion at today’s meeting, the Board and/or its Committees:
- Approved the policy on Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Statewide Course Credit.
- Approved amendments to OAR Division 60, Real Property, Facility, and Campus Planning, for submittal as temporary administrative rules to be made permanent upon completion of the rules process.
- Approved the awarding of Chancellor Emeritus to George Pernsteiner in recognition of his service to the Oregon University System and to the students of Oregon.
And at other recent meetings:
- Approved a new academic program at Southern Oregon University: B.A./B.S. in Emerging Media & Digital Arts, Effective Fall 2013 (Academic Strategies Committee).
- Approved the new undergraduate admission requirements for 2014-15 (ASC).
- Agreed to add diversity language to the board’s goal list (ASC).
- Discussed progress on: excess credits, diversity goals, 40-40-20 strategies, credit for prior learning, student loan debt management strategy, WICHE Interstate Course Exchange, and assessments including the Degree Qualifications Profile and Multistate Assessment Collaborative (ASC).
- Approved the recommendation that areas of discussion with presidents during annual evaluation reviews include multi-year financial forecasts of at least five years, with assumptions and key drivers of costs and revenues being clearly disclosed (Governance & Policy Committee).
- Accepted the Quarterly Management Report for December 31, 2012 (Finance & Administration Committee).
- Accepted the Investment Report for the second quarter of FY 2013. (F&A Committee)
- Heard a risk management update for the most recent quarter, and accepted the following: OUS Risk Management Program Policy; the Risk Fund Policy; and the Allocation Methodology for 2013-14 (F&A Committee).
- Authorized Oregon Institute of Technology to execute and enter into the Restrictive Covenant in order to obtain the necessary permits to construct the building and infrastructure for the 1.75 MW Geothermal Power Plant Project (F&A Committee).
- Heard an update on OUS capital construction project costs compared to its peers, and compared to commercial construction, in two reports, Average Total Project Cost Benchmarking Study by Sightlines; and A Component Lifecycle Cost Analysis by Skanska USA and Fortis Construction (F&A Committee).
- Heard a budget update, including the Legislative Fiscal Office’s request to all agencies to prepare budget reduction options of 5%, 10% and 15% (F&A Committee).
- Approved the Capital Budget Process Map and associated Approvals Summary (F&A Committee).
- Authorized Oregon Tech to purchase the InFocus building on or before April 19, 2013, including their ability to execute and enter into a purchase agreement (F&A Committee).
- Authorized the UO to build a Central Kitchen and Woodshop facility on its campus, funded through UO Housing reserve funds of $8.5 million (F&A Committee).
- Approved the recommendation to change the Optional Retirement Plan’s definition of Normal Retirement Date to Normal Retirement Age (F&A Committee).
- Approved amendments to OAR Division 60 (Real Property, Facility, and Campus Planning), to OAR Division 61 (OUS Procurement and Contracting Code) and 62 (Purchasing and Contracts for Personal or Professional Services and Goods) to align with Senate Bill 242 changes; clearly delineate roles and responsibilities, and; clarify language and eliminate unnecessary provisions.
The Oregon University System comprises seven distinguished public universities and one branch campus, reaching more than one million people each year through on-campus classes, statewide public services and lifelong learning. The Oregon State Board of Higher Education, the statutory governing board of OUS, is composed of fifteen members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Oregon State Senate.
For docket materials from today’s meeting, go to http://www.ous.edu/state_board/meeting/dockets