A meeting of the Executive Committee of the Oregon State Board of Higher Education was called to order at 8:40 a.m. The following Board members were present:
Ms. Diane Christopher
Mr. Tom Imeson
Ms. Gail McAllister
Ms. Esther Puentes
Mr. Les Swanson
Dr. Herb Aschkenasy
President Aschkenasy stated that he called this meeting to discuss two major subjects that would probably require Board action sometime in the future: System guidelines for gifts made to the institutions and/or the State System, and guidelines for delivering advanced education around the state.
Chancellor Cox reported that Oregon public higher education is in a better position within the state legislature than it has been in the last three biennia. Rather than starting the legislative session with major cutbacks and then attempting to retrieve some of those funds that were cut, the Governor's budget was closely aligned with the budget submitted by the State System. Both Chancellor Cox and President Aschkenasy have met with legislators and editorial boards to discuss OSSHE's goals for the next biennium. In addition, industry representatives have been lobbying on behalf of higher education. Currently, higher education is scheduled to appear before Ways and Means beginning March 31.
Oregon International Internship Program
Dr. Cox reported that the Oregon International Internship Program is in its second year. The program's goal is to build a relationship for senior students with Oregon companies. The internship is comprised of three parts: one, intern with the company in Oregon; two, work in that company's facilities overseas; and, three, return to Oregon to complete the internship. Approximately 115 students from six OSSHE campuses have participated in the program to date -- 32 in Europe, 22 in Asia, 49 in the Americas, and 12 in Africa.
IFS and AOF Report
Dr. Gary Tiedeman, president of the Association of Oregon Faculties (AOF), addressed the Board regarding faculty concerns about the state's disinvestment in higher education. Dr. Tiedeman urged the Board to continue to press for increased funding from the legislature. Dr. Simonds, president of the Interinstitutional Faculty Senate (IFS), commended Dr. Aschkenasy for his work with legislators on behalf of OSSHE and faculty.
Dr. Aschkenasy cautioned that the earlier funding environment would not be returning, "no matter how persuasive we are, and I would be less than candid with you if I gave you some hope that it would. The legislature is mandated to provide certain funds to K-12. That is not the case with us. Also, K-12 has no real competition." Dr. Aschkenasy continued that higher education does have competition in many forms -- community colleges, private institutions, out-of-state providers. So, while the Board will continue to work to secure adequate funding for higher education, no one yet knows how that will play out.
Dr. Tiedeman stated that he agrees with that assessment, adding that the emphasis is on making sure we are not "too quiet."
Dr. Aschkenasy concluded by saying that he asks legislators to provide the money, promising that it will be used effectively.
Dr. Aschkenasy introduced the topic of endowments to institutions by pointing out that the Board must be sensitive to the views and opinions of the external environment as it relates to receiving outside resources. "These are items of great interest and concern to the broader community -- it really matters. My hope is that we will develop some policy statements and guidelines around these things before something occurs for which we were not prepared." Dr. Aschkenasy pointed out there are a number of facets to the discussion: equity, what is morally right, and the fiscal impact of gifts and endowments.
Continuing, Chancellor Cox underscored that the central question under discussion was, "What is the Board's role with respect to the purposes for endowment gifts and what are the guidelines that might cause the Board to advise a president or an institution that there are concerns about accepting them?"
Melinda Grier, Legal Services Director for the Chancellor's Office, reminded the Board that it has authority to accept gifts and has delegated to institutions the authority to accept gifts with certain exceptions. Would it:
Ms. Grier pointed out that the underlying idea is that institutions can't accept gifts that create commitments the Board believes are inappropriate or that bind the Board into the future. In Board rules related to foundations, the Board has retained authority to determine employee salaries and benefits:
One question to be considered is whether acceptance of a gift or endowment would interfere with a person's allegiance to institution/System.
Ms. Christopher asked if the salaries paid to institution presidents had always been equal. Chancellor Cox indicated that the base salary and allowance for expenses incident to position have been the same for the three universities and the four colleges. There are exceptions in that presidents have the flexibility to serve on boards of directors (with reimbursement) or are offered memberships in particular organizations. These are never the same from one institution to the other.
The Chancellor reminded the Board that there are ethical issues involved in the considerations of financial rewards or benefits that are controlled by the state ethics statute that requires presidents every year to report the source of honoraria and benefits. Ms. Christopher remarked that a part of the issue of endowments relates to the dollar amount under consideration and Dr. Aschkenasy concurred. Mr. Imeson also clarified that the concept of an endowment for presidents was not the issue -- the amount of money was. Continuing, he added, "If one of the major problems we face is lack of funds (for presidential salaries), it seems to me appropriate to figure out ways to augment the System and to do it in a way that doesn't alienate others in the System."
Dr. Cox added that the key is that the Board retain its power to review and approve in the earliest stages of discussion.
Mr. Swanson suggested that the Board already has a process for handling these kinds of situations. "We have a policy where a faculty member must get approval from the president and the president must get approval from the Chancellor and the Board in order to receive money from a foundation or to receive income from some outside source. That in itself is a process. It is a little hard for me to imagine what a policy or guidelines would be other than a process of approval through the appropriate lines of authority so that whatever is approved is available to the public for examination and the people who have approved it are responsible for the decision. The most important thing to me is to have a process where there is public accountability and where the people who make the decisions are the appropriate people under the statutes and that these people are held accountable for the decisions they make."
In summarizing the discussion, the Chancellor indicated that there was general agreement on the part of the Board that, regarding presidents, the amount of money under consideration does matter. He suggested that he would work with Bill Anslow, Melinda Grier, Les Swanson, and a vice president for development from one of the universities to suggest guidelines. Areas to be considered based on the discussion were:
Mr. Imeson suggested that at the appropriate time, the guidelines and specific gifts/endowments and their implications should be discussed with key legislators.
Chancellor Cox suggested that he have either a policy or guidelines developed for Board review and possible acceptance at the April Board meeting.
Chancellor Cox announced the membership of the Engineering and Technology Industry Council. (A list was provided to the Board.) Two people will be added to the Council: a representative from the metallurgics industry and perhaps an Intel representative. Currently, the Council is developing an open RFP process that welcomes proposals from public, private, and even out-of-state providers regarding offering programs in graduate and professional continuing education in engineering.
Referring to the December 20, 1996, minutes of the Board meeting, Dr. Aschkenasy pointed out that the language related to the reporting structure of the Engineering and Technology Industry Council was ambiguous. Therefore, he asked for a motion to add the statement: "The Oregon College of Engineering and Computer Science will be guided and advised by an Engineering and Technology Industry Council that reports to the Chancellor."
Mr. Swanson moved to approve the clarifying language as presented. Those voting in favor: Directors Christopher, Imeson, McAllister, Puentes, Swanson, and Aschkenasy. Those voting no: none. The item will be placed on the consent agenda at the regular Board meeting in April for action by the full Board.
The Board discussed the philosophy, history, economics, quality, capacity, and mechanics of statewide education delivery. Vice Chancellor Clark pointed out that whether it is referred to as distance education, continuing education, or extended education, it is intended to expand access to learning by providing instruction on other campuses, at work sites, at centers in communities, and even at home through Web-based courses. She underlined that the goal of meeting immediate and lifelong educational needs is growing in importance. Currently, institutions attempt to respond to market demands in a loosely coordinated fashion. Some employ the brokering model described by Provost Shepard in his recent AAHE Bulletin article about interinstitutional webs. "But that hasn't been the only model our institutions have used," continued Dr. Clark. "There's a focus on having centers, focus on televised instruction using ED-NET. Other campuses see the future more in terms of a computer-to-computer arrangement for extended education. There are many potential models."
Vice Chancellor Clark reminded the Board that exploring distance delivery was in keeping with the findings of the 2010 Panel, looking to new educational strategies to serve students. Work of the planning task forces and solution teams also supports this thinking to one extent or another. In addition, through the Joint Boards of Education, the Oregon Virtual University is in the process of being established through the Oregon Network for Education (ONE). Through this work, OSSHE and the community colleges hope to electronically display all the catalogues, thus providing information useful to all students. The work extends further. For example, the Interinstitutional Educational Technology Council (IETC), which is composed of faculty and academic administrators, addresses issues such as faculty intellectual property rights with respect to new electronic modes of instruction. Other issues addressed by IETC include:
When considering providing education through centers, issues of management and partnership arise. Should there be a lead partner? What kinds of administrative and student services are needed?
Another issue for distance education in general is cost, and the challenge is to make extension of education either a break-even or profitable investment for campuses. Dr. Aschkenasy offered the idea of "bringing postsecondary education to the student" -- that that's the way to maintain quality without increasing cost. He stated that he believes that we will serve students who, to date, have not been served by higher education because of time and distance constraints.
In closing, Vice Chancellor Clark indicated that there is a great deal of work being done beyond policy development. Campuses provide a lot of information electronically using the World Wide Web. Still to be addressed are institution missions and how the term "region" is defined. "The tension is between the definition of region and the mechanisms by which we can deliver programs statewide, nationwide, or even worldwide."
Dr. Cox added that some of the institutional mission statements contain very specific references to region (e.g., EOSC refers to "ten counties of eastern Oregon"). Consequently, the Chancellor asked the Board to carefully consider the implications when mission statements are presented to the Board for discussion and approval. He noted that at the last Council of Presidents meeting, he said, "I hope we're not developing a 20th century answer to a 21st century situation where it won't be relevant."
The Board members and staff discussed how "region" may best be defined, such as the whole state that is educated using a matrix organization approach or a specific geographic area.
Dr. Cox concluded his remarks by noting that the University Center, Stage II is not a response to the Cascadia Concept; it has been in progress for a couple of years. Both UO Provost Moseley and Dr. John Owen have made visits to Bend in the past couple of years to discuss providing additional programs.
Dr. Aschkenasy indicated that he hoped the Board would hear more information "about the 'how-to' part -- who's going to do what and when and what it might cost," adding that he wasn't thinking just with respect to the University Center, but all the OSSHE institutions. Dr. Cox agreed to provide that information.
The Executive Committee meeting was adjourned at 10:55 a.m.
Virginia L. Thompson, Secretary of the Board
Herbert Aschkenasy, President of the Board