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Higher Ed Board committee approves new Masters programs at UO, approves WOU revised mission

Contact: Di Saunders, Office: 503-725-5714; Cell: 971-219-6869

PORTLAND, April 28, 2011 – The State Board of Higher Education’s Academic Strategies Committee met today to review proposed new academic programs, WOU’s mission statement approval, and the equity action plan, among other items they considered.

Program Approval     The University of Oregon presented its two proposed new academic programs, effective in fall 2011: an M.A./M.S. in Multimedia Journalism; and Master in Nonprofit Management. After some discussion, the Board Committee approved both programs.

WOU Mission     Western Oregon University recently examined its mission statement and created Core Themes as part of the review process necessitated by the new Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities accreditation standards. The Committee reviewed the revised institutional preamble, mission statement and Core Themes, and approved Western’s proposed changes.

Mission Alignment/Metrics     In response to Board goals and to Senate Bill 442, the OUS institutions have defined their missions, student access, academic program array, and research, which are outlined in the docket materials showing matrices with accompanying metrics. The universities and the System over all will use this information to ensure the Board’s goals are met and that resources are effectively managed. The Committee discussed the overall Board goals and alignment with the campus missions and performance metrics.

Equity Action Plan     Sona Andrews, OUS vice chancellor for academic strategies, reported on the OUS Action/Work Plan for Equity Initiatives. Committee members discussed the plan, commenting that the issue of equity should be highlighted in the Board’s/System goals and other work more prominently. Members noted that this could be stated that the Board will improve its ethic on accountability and diversity, so that it is discussing it, making it a living commitment, and determining the right metrics to measure it. The Committee discussed various ways to increase diversity and the focus it takes to do this effectively. Andrews noted that there are best practices nationally regarding concerted efforts to increase diversity to reflect the citizens of the state, but that it does have to be approached proactively. Jim Francesconi, Committee chair, also noted how important it is to increase faculty diversity to reflect the student body and state population. The Committee endorsed the plan for equity initiatives, asking that priority be placed on faculty diversity, diversity as a prominent Board agenda and action item, and for inclusion in annual reviews of OUS presidents and the chancellor.

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 twelve members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Oregon State Senate. For additional information, go to www.ous.edu; and for today’s Board Docket materials go to: http://www.ous.edu/state_board/meeting/dockets

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