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Board of Trustees meeting summary

Board orientation continues to bring EOU’s future into focus

News contacts:
Tim Seydel | Vice President for University Advancement | 541-962-3740 or tseydel@eou.edu
Laura Hancock | University Advancement | 541-962-3585 or lhancock@eou.edu

April 6, 2015

LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – The Eastern Oregon University Board of Trustees held a special meeting Friday to continue orientation with EOU administration on the structure, roles and responsibilities related to the Oregon University System transition, the new statewide structure and EOU’s internal organization.

“We have a lot of work to do, but the opportunities are very exciting,” said Tom Insko, an EOU trustee from La Grande. “This is a great group of people and the university staff have done a fantastic job of bringing us up to speed and establishing priorities for the board to be successful.”

Structure, roles and responsibilities – Tim Seydel, vice president for University Advancement and Chris Burford, general counsel and board secretary, provided background information on the statewide system of public higher education prior to 2013.

The passage of Senate Bill 270 and House Bill 4018 in 2014 precipitated current changes, enabling the state’s larger institutions to implement their own boards and the subsequent “unbundling” of the Oregon University System on June 30, 2015. Boards for the state’s technical and regional universities, (TRU’s), including EOU, were later approved and all legal rights and responsibilities of the State Board of Higher Education will shift to individual institutions on July 1, 2015.

Under the new statewide structure, the control of EOU’s local board will only be limited by the governor and legislature with the Oregon Education Investment Board (OEIB) and Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) providing oversight.

Burford provided further information on shared governance at EOU and the 10 foundational committees comprising it. He also discussed the role of student government and the university’s two unions, the AAP local faculty union and SEIU classified statewide union.

Lara Moore, vice president for Finance and Administration, provided a snapshot of EOU’s employee base and the number of teaching faculty, administrative faculty, classified staff and student employees.

Jay Kenton, interim EOU president, clarified the board’s role in contract negotiations with AAP and SEIU, stating trustees may be tangentially involved with bargaining but the responsibility of reaching agreement will ultimately rest with management at each institution – a role previously filled by the Chancellor’s Office.

Overview of standards of measurements for success – Sarah Witte, interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, explained the Achievement Compact developed by OEIB. The compact sets standards for each university to be evaluated on including degree completion, quality outcomes, connections, local priorities (optional) and state investment. In response to the local priorities measure, EOU is taking the opportunity to develop niche programming and collaborative partnerships to meet specific regional needs including STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and dual language/bilingual education programs for example.

Witte explained EOU’s accreditation, describing it as the “framework for an institution to tell its story, which is the story of students’ success.” The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities grants EOU regional accreditation, which encompasses the entire university. The next comprehensive accreditation review will be done in September 2018.

EOU’s College of Business and Education receives specialized accreditation from the International Assembly of Collegiate Business Education and the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission. These specialized accreditations build on the assessments of regional accreditation.

Board conditions and deliverables – Kenton provided an update on the conditions pertaining to the formation of EOU’s board as defined by the State Board of Higher Education. Both EOU and Southern Oregon University have until Dec. 30, 2017 to meet certain requirements or changes to their governing structures may be implemented. Regular reviews will be conducted by HECC and EOU’s initial update will be given June 30, 2015.

“This institution will be on track to report progress on every measure,” Kenton said, adding that the review will focus on long-term fiscal stability. A second review is due Dec. 31, 2015 and the third and final review will be conducted Dec. 30, 2017.

Financial resource management – Moore explained the overarching principals of the new Outcomes Based Funding Model (OBF) expected to be approved by the HECC April 9. Once adopted, universities will receive funding based primarily on the number of degrees awarded with a portion of the model also funding student credit hour production. A rolling, three-year enrollment average determines the number of degrees awarded and student credit hours produced.

The funding formula takes into account the cost to deliver different programs, as well as various “weighting” factors for types of degrees and student sub-populations including underrepresented, rural, low-income and veteran – many of which EOU serves. Funding is also based on students’ status as Oregon residents, so EOU will receive a fixed $2 million allocation with a base inflationary increase annually for serving out-of-state students.

Finally, Moore said a stop loss/stop gain model will provide “brackets” to prevent funding disparity between institutions but will eventually be phased out by the fiscal year 2020.

Enrollment challenges and initiatives – Xavier Romano, vice president for Student Services, addressed ways EOU is responding to the demographic shifts in eastern Oregon and the tri-state region with the primary goal of building on campus enrollment to 2,500 students.

Latino and Native American outreach in addition to Micronesian and international markets are being revisited, as well as strategic out-of-state recruitment capitalizing on EOU’s location, access to the outdoors, quality facilities and instruction and affordability. Other focused recruitment efforts are occurring outside of the region, with plans to have an admissions counselor housed on the west side of the state.

Romano said EOU has applied for a federal TRIO grant that if awarded has the potential to revolutionize recruitment and retention. He expects to know in the next few months if the application is approved.

Shared services – Moore explained the function of the University Shared Services Enterprise (USSE), which encompasses many of the services previously provided by the Oregon University System and Chancellor’s Office. A committee comprised of vice presidents from the seven institutions provides oversight. The total net cost to EOU for these services is $1,489,522. EOU and the other TRU’s will receive funding to offset the cost of shared services, as well as the cost of other services formerly provided by the State Board of Higher Education.  

Committee meetings – Following the full board meeting, the board’s two committees, the Finance and Administration Committee and the Academic and Student Affairs Committee, convened and reviewed their draft charters and proposed work plans for the coming year. This was the first time either committee had met.

The agenda and related documents for the board meeting and committee meetings, as well as an archived live stream of the board meeting, are available at www.eou.edu/governance.