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LA GRANDE, Ore. April 26, 2017 – Eastern Oregon University’s Board of Trustees covered considerable ground during its April 20 meeting on campus, including approving tuition and mandatory fees for 2017-18, strategic planning and a discussion with the executive director of Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission.
Richard Chaves, chair of the board’s Finance and Administration Committee, and Lara Moore, vice president for Finance and Administration, presented the proposal and outlined the process by which the university evaluated its resources, engaged with students during multiple open forums, and emphasized the desire to maintain Eastern’s value position as an affordable and accessible university.
Undergraduate resident tuition and fees combined are increasing a total of 4.99 percent, keeping EOU as Oregon’s lowest-cost public university. Mandatory fees will remain flat and looking at undergraduate, resident tuition alone, the increase is 5.4 percent.
EOU is not proposing any cuts or reductions in services as part of the tuition plan.
“We feel strongly about maintaining our position as Oregon’s most cost-effective university,” said Tom Insko, EOU president. “We have worked to increase efficiencies and capacity throughout the university to ensure our students continue to have access to an affordable, quality education.”
Base tuition increases over 2016-17 rates approved by the board in all categories are as follows:
Additionally, the board approved a room and board rate increase of 2.5 percent, again with the intent of holding cost increases to a minimum.
Other board action items discussed during Thursday’s meeting were related to future university direction and policy.
Jessi Gordon, an education and workforce development consultant with Gallup Education, shared key findings of the Gallup-Purdue Index used to help determine what factors result in a ”great job” and a “great life” for college graduates. Just 2.6 percent of the graduates polled from schools nationwide experienced all six critical elements of engaged and experiential learning.
Insko urged the board to consider how these factors can help shape the university’s strategic plan and vision.
“I think a challenge in higher education, which I see as an opportunity for EOU, is to scale up these efforts significantly,” Insko said. “As we continue to work on our strategic plan and look to the future, I view this as a tremendous opportunity that EOU could leverage, and it represents a data-based approach we could measure and inform ourselves going forward.”
Higher Education Coordinating Commission Discussion:
Additional opportunities for collaboration were also the focus of a discussion with Ben Cannon, executive director of the Higher Education Coordinating Commission.
Cannon, former education policy advisor to Governor Kitzhaber, has witnessed a complete overhaul of the state system in recent years. He engaged with trustees in a discussion of statewide higher education policy and strategy, and development of the relationship between the board and the commission.
“My view was, and is, that having local institutional boards will be good for the state of Oregon,” Cannon said. “I believe in the value of local governance and state coordination. I see us as partners and collaborators.”
Strategic Planning Update:
MJ Heather, University Council chair, and Holly Chason, director of Institutional Research and Planning, provided an update on EOU’s ongoing strategic planning efforts. Feedback solicited from across campus culminated with a campus-wide presentation in March, and copies of the current draft plan outlining the specific goals refined during this process were provided to the board for review.
Next steps for the plan include capturing feedback from trustees and working with the president’s cabinet to further refine the objectives and goals for final presentation to the board in May. Identified key performance indicators will follow a timeline for completion by 2025.
Other Action Items:
Trustees considered and approved statements of the university’s values and principles, an increase to the university president’s compensation of 3.5 percent, changes to various board policy statements, and the reappointment of David Nelson as board chair and Roberta Conner as board vice chair.
A motion to approve an amendment to the board statement establishing hierarchical structure of authoritative documents was withdrawn and tabled following an in-depth discussion of shared governance and EOU’s constitution.
Tim Seydel, vice president for University Advancement, updated the board on legislative outreach and advocacy efforts including EOU’s student, staff and trustee representation at multiple recent budget hearings at the state capitol.
EOU and the other technical and regional universities (TRU’s) in Oregon are collaborating on an event at the capitol May 16, and EOU will also testify before the House Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee in Salem next month.
An archived stream of the meeting is available at livestream.com/eou/governance.
The full board will convene again during EOU’s Spring Symposium Wednesday, May 24.
For more information visit www.eou.edu/governance.
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