Oregon University System logo

Oregon State Board of Higher Education
System Strategic Planning Committee
Rooms 111 A/B, CH2M Hill Alumni Center
Oregon State University
February 16, 2001


Committee members present: Herb Aschkenasy, Shawn Hempel, Leslie Lehmann, Jim Lussier, Phyllis Wustenberg, Jim Willis

Chancellor's Office staff: Bob Bruce, Andy Clark (arrived at 8:15), Shirley Clark, Joseph Cox, Vicki Falsgraf, David McDonald, Ben Rawlins, Lynda Rose, Diane Sawyer, Diane Vines

Others: Betsy Boyd (UO), Neil Kunze (SOU) Duncan McDonald (UO), John Minahan (WOU), Michael Redding (UO), Paul Risser (OSU), Wendy Robinson (DOJ), Bruce Shepard (EOU), Mary Kay Tetreault (PSU)

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 7:35 a.m. by Chair Willis.

Proposed Board Policy on Business Practices

OUS Director of Legal Services Ben Rawlins reviewed the proposed policy. He explained that it was written in an effort to underscore existing relations into one unified policy. He noted that the System has made a commitment to free and open flow of competition. The proposed policy was shared with other bodies, including the Presidents' and Administrative Councils, where it received unanimous support. Institutions would be required to report their compliance of internal codes no later than December 31, 2001. Mr. Willis asked if any campuses expressed concern over not being able to meet the December 31 deadline. Mr. Rawlins said that none had indicated it would be a problem.

Responding to a question by Dr. Aschkenasy about possible risks, Mr. Rawlins indicated that, while there were attempts by his office to analyze any possible negative effects of the proposed policy, none were identified.

Ms. Wustenberg moved and Mr. Lussier seconded the motion to approve the policy as submitted and refer it to the Board for a final vote. The motion unanimously passed.

Following is the text of the policy:

Consistent with OUS's commitment to the free flow of commerce and efficient business practices, OUS institutions shall not adopt limits on eligibility to enter business agreements or otherwise conduct business unless based on the ability to perform, evidence of illegal activities or other criteria required or allowed by statute or Board rule.

Undergraduate Admission Policy for the 2002-03 Academic Year

Vice Chancellor Clark indicated that no changes were made from the previous year's policy. She further explained that the reasoning behind the continuation of the same policy for the last several years was due in part to the imminence of the full implementation of the Proficiency-based Admissions Standards System (PASS). However, Dr. Clark said that OUS has adjusted its schedule on two occasions to ensure alignment with the K-12 schedule on implementation of the Certificate of Initial Mastery, or CIM. Beginning in fall 2001 to 2004, OUS intends to transition to optional use of PASS, with full implementation planned for 2005.

Ms. Wustenberg asked about the significance between a 3.0 GPA and 2.0 GPA in terms of admission. Dr. Clark explained that the lower GPA threshold set for transfer students as compared to students entering from high school is a more accurate reflection of student performance at the college level. Ms. Wustenberg followed with a question about a C- grade and the eligibility for entrance with that mark. Dr. Clark indicated that it was a passing grade, but it was as low as a student could go and still be accepted. It was emphasized that the C- grade is acceptable only for an individual course, not for a student's overall GPA.

"How do we explain why the minimum GPAs differ among universities?" asked Mr. Lussier. Indicating that the difference was primarily historical and related to institutional mission, Dr. Clark said that regional institutions and PSU have generally been more accessible from the standpoint of a lower GPA. "I believe it was a deliberate strategy of the Board so that qualified students could find a place," she observed.

Ms. Lehmann, referring to the Board's interest in raising quality, asked if there was an actual goal for what the standards should be and how those relate to PASS. Overall, the general goal, replied Dr. Clark, is to develop a better-prepared student. PASS standards, she added, have been carefully aligned with the CIM, but they go beyond it. Ms. Lehmann asked if that would translate to higher GPAs for entering freshmen. While indicating that it should, Dr. Clark said that it is still too early to tell since PASS is in the early stages of implementation, and that staff are beginning to gather data.

Several Committee members still expressed some concern over low grades (i.e., C-) being allowed for entrance. In response, Dr. Clark said that the news from the campuses was very encouraging in terms of the average GPAs of entering students, since each institution's entering class in fall 2000 had an average GPA above 3.0. President Risser added that the average entering GPA at OSU is actually 3.45.

OUS Director of Enrollment Services David McDonald explained that a C- does fall below OUS's floor for GPAs, but it is allowed as part of admission for individual courses. However, if numerous C- grades were noted, the student would not be admitted. Provost Shepard noted that not all systems use both plus and minus grades, therefore a straight "C" would be used. Staff at PSU, reported Provost Tetreault, are looking at enrollment management issues, with admissions requirements being one of the considerations. The current average entering GPA in an OUS institution is 3.34, added Mr. McDonald.

Mr. Lussier expressed some concern over making criteria too specific, noting that it may jeopardize some students' ability for entrance who may ultimately excel in the higher education environment. Pointing out the challenge when working within multiple systems, Mr. Willis said OUS should weigh how much it is able to influence statewide activities, noting the recent work to engage high schools in relationships and development processes. Provost Shepard said that all institutions work hard to diversify the student body; that sometimes means bringing in students who are not as well prepared and then providing support on campus. Echoing Provost Shepard's comments, Provost Minahan said that WOU prefers to allow some latitude and maintain access, as students oftentimes excel in college where they might not in high school.

Ms. Lehmann indicated that she would like to gain a better strategic sense of where OUS would like to be, realizing that it differs from institution to institution. Ms. Wustenberg observed that standards are imperative to determine a student's eligibility for higher education, while Mr. Lussier said that the clearer the standards, the higher the aspirations. Based on comments by audience members, Dr. Aschkenasy observed some ambivalence by campuses in terms of how standards may ultimately affect people. Provost Minahan indicated there was actually a remarkable level of consistency and high expectations by a student's junior year.

Concluding the discussion, Dr. Clark said that the ultimate goal is to raise standards via PASS-both to set high standards and also to work with other sectors and students to bring them along. Standards-based admissions is going well across the country, indicated Dr. Clark, adding that Oregon's PASS project has been at the forefront of the movement. Mr. McDonald said that, based on preliminary data, the Board will be pleased that students are entering college with greater skills and greater depth.

Mr. Lussier moved and Mr. Hempel seconded the motion to approve the 2002-03 undergraduate admission policy as submitted and refer it to the Board for final approval. The motion unanimously passed.

OUS Fiscal Year 2002 Federal Appropriations

Board Secretary Vines reviewed the top three federal appropriations proposals as submitted by campuses. She explained that Chancellor Cox and Mr. Clark were scheduled to meet with Oregon's Congressional Delegation the following week, and hoped to receive a Board endorsement of the requests.

Mr. Hempel asked why the submissions were limited to the top three. Dr. Vines explained that campuses are free to pursue other items on their own but the Board decided several years ago it wanted three priorities from institutions to submit to Congress as a System.

Ms. Wustenberg asked for the total of all requests. OUS Associate Director of Governmental Affairs Andy Clark indicated that the submissions amounted to approximately $30 million. He explained that approximately 10-15 percent of requests are awarded, noting that some requests have more "legislative wheels" than others. Mr. Clark pointed out successes from the last budget cycle, adding that both Senators Smith and Wyden have expressed interest in doing more for the regional universities.

Given the emphasis on campus autonomy, yet understanding the benefit of a collective agenda, Ms. Lehmann questioned the Board's role in the process. By officially approving the submissions, explained Dr. Vines, it gives the Chancellor and Mr. Clark the ability to present the priorities to the Congressional Delegation. Mr. Willis added that the System model was created as a result of the request from the Delegation to create a single package, although campuses are left to determine what their submissions will be.

Dr. Aschkenasy moved and Ms. Lehmann seconded the motion to approve the campus requests as submitted, and refer them to the Board for final approval. The motion unanimously passed.

B.A./B.S., Earth Science, WOU

Vice Chancellor Clark reviewed the program proposal. She explained that it was a degree reorganization of existing content such as natural science, geology, and related topical matters. The curriculum will offer students preparation for K-12 teaching and working in the geotechnical industry, as well as prepare them for graduate study. Ms. Wustenberg moved and Ms. Lehmann seconded the motion to approve the program proposal as submitted and refer it to the Board for consideration on its consent agenda. The motion unanimously passed.

Update on Proficiency-based Admission Standards System (PASS) Project

Vice Chancellor Clark reviewed the report on PASS. The past year, much work has focused on integrating enrollment services with PASS, forging new partnerships with schools and teachers, and working with counselors and administrators in high schools. Materials are now being disseminated by the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators (COSA), saving a great deal of staff time, she said. Further, work continues with the Oregon School Boards Association (OSBA), and the Oregon Education Association (OEA), both of which are cooperative in terms of wanting to work with PASS. Dr. Clark indicated that PASS is now planning for the end of grant funding, as it transitions out of the research and development phase and into implementation.

OUS Major Accomplishments of the 106th Congress: Fiscal Year 2001 Recap

Mr. Clark highlighted outcomes of the 106th Congress. He noted that the final Consolidated Appropriations Act was signed on December 21, 2000, pushing back numerous timelines. However, he said that the Department of Education received an 18 percent increase over last year, one of best budgets ever. Pell grant awards, while receiving a boost in the 106th Congress, may possibly go higher in the 107th, said Mr. Clark. Higher education received a permanent exemption on H1V visas, allowing foreign-born nationals to teach in the universities, which is considered a major victory.

Other notable outcomes included a 13.6 percent increase for the National Science Foundation, an increase to the NASA budget (a probable benefit to OSU), a $2.7 billion increase to the National Institutes of Health, the third installment of a five-year plan, and a 13 percent increase to the Department of Energy.

Mr. Lussier asked if the focus on education by the new administration might make education funding more of a priority. Mr. Clark said he felt most attention would be paid to K-12, but it would intersect with higher education in the areas of teacher training and development.


The Committee meeting adjourned at 8:32 a.m.