Ray says OSU looking to curb growth in future
In his annual State of the University speech, Ed Ray announced pay raise for faculty
Published: Friday, October 14, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 21:07
Yesterday Ed Ray, president of Oregon State University, in his annual state of the university address to the faculty senate, laid out his vision for OSU over the coming years as well as addressing the challenges currently facing the university.
In his address, Ray spoke about OSU's continued financial stability, curbing growth to a more manageable amount and a 4 percent raise for faculty that will take effect January 2012.
"Going forward, we plan to moderate enrollment growth on this campus to 2 to 3 percent each year," Ray said. "A toll has been taken on the social fabric of this community from growth."
Last year, enrollment at OSU increased 8 percent for the second year in a row and this year's growth is projected to be close to 5 percent. The ongoing growth of the student body has put strain on the university, resulting in larger class sizes and a 0 percent vacancy rate of rentals in the city of Corvallis.
"I want us to get back on the path of investing in excellence," Ray said. "We need to do a better job of recruiting and retaining high achieving students here in Oregon and elsewhere."
In spite of the 14.4 percent cut in the state general fund, OSU is on sound financial footing according to Ray. Diversifying funds has been key to maintaining this, such as increasing the enrollment of non-resident and international students, the ongoing success of the campaign for OSU and record amounts of research grant and licensing fee money.
The campaign for OSU, which increased its goal last fall from $625 million to $850 million last fall, has raised $112 million this year. As of October, the campaign total had exceeded $750 million.
The new contracts the PAC-12 athletic conference made with ESPN and Fox are expected to also help with OSU's financial situation, with Ray projecting the self-sufficiency of the athletic program.
"[It] will move athletics to financial self-sufficiency and eliminate debts to the university and the OSU Foundation in the coming years," Ray said. "In fact, media contracts will provide additional funding for central fund initiatives to invest in academic excellence."
In the next few years, Ray said the university would be looking to increase industry and university collaboration, through sponsored research, new business development and commercialization of research.
Increasing retention and graduation rates for all sub-groups to a much-higher six-year graduation rate and continuing to reach the goals of the Campaign for OSU were also high priorities.
The university is also looking to make sure various capital projects that were not approved by the legislature during the spring session will be approved in February, such as the Student Experience Center, a new classroom building and a new residence hall.
In spite of the bad economic times and the challenges of growth, Ray remained upbeat on the future of Oregon State.
"While we build upon the remarkable efforts of those who came before us to create this very special place," Ray said. "I know our very best efforts will prove exceptional."
Don Iler, managing editor