PORTLAND, January 10, 2014 – The State Board of Higher Education (the “Board”) met today to continue work on the transition of the Oregon University System (OUS) to its reformed structure; and discussed the proposed list of capital projects to be presented during the upcoming 2014 Legislative Session.

Shared Services Report     Eastern Oregon University president Bob Davies provided a preliminary report on the Work Group on Shared Services to the Board, on behalf of all of the OUS presidents. He described the recommendations on Shared Services, which include the appropriate entity to facilitate sharing of services among the OUS universities after universities with governing boards are established, and how it will be managed. Presidents agree that the shared services would likely be employee benefits (mandatory); risk management (mandatory); collective bargaining (mandatory); accounting and reporting; Fifth Site computer operations; payroll processing, and treasury operations (cash management, investment and debt financing). Student and academic services are still to be determined. Oregon State University would be the host institution for most of these services, except for University of Oregon hosting employee benefits services.

Recommendations from the Work Group included: (1) Determine financial impact that will be caused, cumulatively and individually, for each university that establishes a governing board and leaves the Oregon University System; and (2) recommend a mechanism to mitigate or eliminate negative financial impact caused by universities establishing governing boards; or require universities establishing governing boards and leaving OUS to remain in each shared service.

Davies said that next steps include determining the need for statutory technical adjustments to SB 270 in the February Session for the efficient operation of the enterprise; contracting with a search firm to recruit an executive director of Shared Services, to be in place by July 1, 2014 (to be an OSU employee); drafting legal agreements needed to establish contractual relationships among the parties; working with host campuses to transfer outside contracts and prepare them to accept operational responsibilities; and preparing to transition current Chancellor’s Office employees performing these services to the host universities, and establishing a consistent and transparent budgeting and accounting structure to account for the costs and revenues.  After a robust discussion about costs and benefits, Board chair Donegan thanked president Davies, and praised the presidents and the Chancellor’s Office staff for the progress made in the development of a Shared Services enterprise.

HECC Transition     Board director Orcilia Forbes and OUS staff members summarized the work of the Board group focused on transitioning functions from the Chancellor’s Office to the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC).  Forbes provided an interim draft report to the Board outlining the details of the transition, noting that activities are moving forward very well, with determinations on the budget development and academic program review processes the major focus of the transition activities.  She noted the major category of responsibilities include academic affairs, budgeting and finance, and capital requests. Forbes said that due to the incredible work of the OUS and HECC staff she was confident that OUS will be able to outline all of the areas of responsibility that will transfer to HECC on July 1, 2014 prior to that deadline.

Capital Request     OUS acting vice chancellor for finance and administration, Jan Lewis, summarized the capital request submitted by six of the OUS campuses. The Legislature will preview the projects during their January 15-17 Legislative Days. OUS will present the projects to Ways and Means as an informational list, and once approval is obtained from the Board’s Finance and Administration Committee on January 17, a final prioritized list will be provided to the Ways and Means Committee during the February Legislative Session where they will seek authorization for the projects.

Priority projects are focused on life safety concerns, critical deferred maintenance concerns and include: Oregon Tech–Utility Tunnel Failure and Repair; Southern Oregon University–McNeal Hall Seismic/Deferred Maintenance Upgrade; and UO–Utility Tunnel Failure and Repair. After some discussion, the Board voted to delegate to the Finance and Administration Committee authority to review capital project requests being proposed for the February 2014 Legislative Session and to approved and prioritize these requests for submission to the legislature.

In other action and discussion at today’s and previous meetings, the Board and/or its Committees:

  • Heard reports from the Board committee chairs, the Interinstitutional Faculty Senate and from the Oregon Student Association.
  • Approved Fiscal Year 2014 Incentive Funding.
  • Approved new academic programs: OSU, Ph.D. in Business Administration, and M.S./Ph.D. in Comparative Health Sciences; PSU, Ph.D. in Health Systems and Policy, and Ph.D. in Community Health; and OHSU, Ph.D. in Epidemiology.
  • Approved year-end 2013 and first quarter 2013-14 reports (financial management, investments, risk management, and internal audit progress reports).
  • Approved resolution for the sale of Article XI-F(1) bonds.
  • Approved year-end 2013 and first quarter 2013-14 reports (financial management, investments, risk management, and internal audit progress reports).
  • Approved resolution for the sale of Article XI-F(1) bonds.
  • Approved Oregon State’s request for ground lease with Samaritan Health Systems, Inc.
  • Approved Oregon State’s request for authorization of a special procurement method enabling OSU-Cascades to contract with INTO University Partnerships Limited for the development of certain programs and facilities at the new OSU-Cascades campus in Bend.
  • Approved the proposed amendments to OAR 580-021-0030, Vacations, and forwarded to Full Board for approval.
  • Approved Chancellor’s Office FY2014-15 organizational recommendation.

The Oregon University System (OUS) makes college a reality for Oregonians statewide by keeping higher education accessible, affordable and high quality. We integrate Oregon’s public universities with the entire PreK-20 education system to ensure student success. OUS’ higher education offerings meet the needs of Oregon’s economy today and in the future, contributing to the vitality of the state and the success of more than 20,000 graduates a year. For additional information, go to www.ous.edu.