Oregon State Board of Directors Approves Building Projects and Presidential Goals

CORVALLIS, Ore. — The Oregon State University Board of Trustees on Friday approved OSU President Jayathi Murthy’s goals for fiscal year 2023 and advanced construction of several projects on the Corvallis campus and across the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.

The board heard a report on efforts to advance equity, inclusion, and social justice within OSU; received updates related to discussions with stakeholders and state leaders regarding OSU’s management of the Elliott State Research Forest and Oregon State legislative priorities ; and heard a presentation on best practices in governance by boards of directors.

Murthy’s presidential goals call for deepening relationships with OSU stakeholders, including industry partners, elected officials, community leaders, and primary and higher education officials; assess OSU’s strategies and progress in key areas such as student success, research, equity, and statewide engagement and service; and advocate for state support for higher education and OSU priority initiatives, including work to help advance the semiconductor industry.

Other presidential goals include participating in the development of OSU’s next strategic plan; deepening of ties with the OSU Foundation; assess the effectiveness of university-wide marketing and communications to amplify the impact of OSU in Oregon and beyond; and engage with OSU Athletics and PAC-12 conference leaders to contribute to strategies in the changing landscape of intercollegiate athletics.

“I’m very invested in these goals and very excited about the work ahead,” Murthy said. “I am committed to dramatically advancing student access and supporting student success, including higher graduation rates.”

Murthy said she is committed to growing Oregon State’s already large research footprint which totaled more than $471 million in grant-funded research last year.

“OSU is well positioned to address and help solve some of the most complex issues facing Oregon and the world in areas such as climate, sustainability, community economic resilience, and water resources,” said Murthy. “This work is essential for humanity and will require collaboration within OSU and with other universities, as well as support and partnership with state and federal leaders and stakeholders.”

Trustees approved a resolution of appreciation recognizing Becky Johnson for her service as Interim President of the State of Oregon from May 2021 through early September 2022, and for her service from 1984 as a member of the university faculty, academic manager and vice-president of OSU-Cascades.

Trustees learned from Scott Vignos, Acting Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, that OSU is making significant progress in advancing the university’s strategic diversity plan. Efforts include adopting an employee retention and success strategy of colors; expanded educational partnerships; launch of an action leadership consortium within OSU; increased support for Indigenous and Indigenous students, employees and communities; and expanded diversity community relations throughout Oregon.

Vignos said future priorities include expanding programs to improve recruitment and retention of faculty and staff committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, and expanding engagement and services offered. in the Portland area by OSU Extension, OSU divisions including Student Affairs and the Office of Institutional Diversity, the OSU Alumni Association, and the OSU Foundation.

A panel discussion followed with university faculty and staff committed to diversity, equity and inclusion programs.

Administrators approved several building and construction projects on Friday, including:

  • A $71 million project to renovate Withycombe Hall on the Corvallis campus that will include additional student meeting space, laboratory upgrades, renovations to the creamery and cellar, and the addition of space retail outlet to sell Beaver Classic cheese, ice cream and meat. The renovated creamery and winery will provide new learning opportunities for students to prepare them for career opportunities. The renovation will also create expanded opportunities for Oregon State researchers and help develop best practices for sustainably producing dairy and wine using less water, energy and packaging. while controlling the carbon footprint of these products.

  • A $13 million project to improve the academic research vessel dock at the Hatfield Marine Science Center. The original wharf was built in the early 1960s and expanded in the 1990s. The project is needed to accommodate the new regional class research vessel, RV Taani, which is due to arrive in Newport in 2023, as well as the vessels that the university may operate in the future. The 1960s part of the wharf will be replaced and a new support system will be installed to accommodate cranes, refueling trucks and large forklifts. The wharf will also be widened and utilities will be replaced.

  • A $5 million budget increase for improvements to the Washington Way project on the Corvallis campus. The project is now expected to cost $29 million, up from $24 million when it was originally approved by council in 2019. The project will reconstruct the Washington Way corridor, including several intersections and will include work on pedestrian safety, bicycles , roads and railways. Part of the increase will be paid for by the town of Corvallis to help replace an outdated water main in the town.

The board also approved a board work plan for 2023 and board assessment results for 2022.

They also heard reports from student leaders at the university’s Corvallis and Bend campuses, as well as updates from leaders within the OSU Faculty Senate, OSU Foundation, Presidential Transition Committee administrators and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission.

Three board committees met on Thursday:

  • The Executive and Audit Committee approved its annual work plan, an external audit report and a report from the Office of Audit, Risk and Compliance. The committee also discussed a report from the Office of the General Counsel, the annual report on the compliance and ethics program and a presentation regarding vacancies on the board of directors.

  • The Finance and Administration Committee approved its annual work plan and heard an update on the university’s fiscal year 2023 operating budget and a report from the Finance and Administration Division on the division’s efforts to advance a framework for success that promotes informed and transparent decision-making. throughout the division. Committee members heard a report on a proposed $213 million, 150,000 square foot Jen-Hsun and Lori Huang Collaborative Innovation Complex to be built on the opening of OSU’s Corvallis campus in 2026 The committee approved the project to proceed to the next phase of design development.

  • The Academic Strategies Committee approved its annual work plan and report on workplace safety and heard presentations on faculty affairs and the extension and engagement programs offered by OSU. The committee approved the offer of a Bachelor of Science in Teaching to be offered beginning in the spring of 2023 at OSU’s Corvallis campus, a program that will seek to help address the shortage of teachers in the State. The degree is currently only offered at OSU-Cascades in Bend. Approval of the curriculum offered at Corvallis is pending support from the State Provost Board and approval from the state Higher Education Coordinating Commission.

During the board meeting, trustees heard public testimony from eight community members regarding the College of Forestry’s research forest planning; three community members about housing plans for university students; and a graduate student regarding compensation for OSU graduate assistants.

The board meeting concluded with an executive session authorized by Oregon law.

The board also held a retreat Wednesday at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in the Gladys Valley Marine Studies Building to discuss the development of the university’s next strategic plan.

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