Last year was a time of change for PSU, changes that providechallenges and opportunities for the new academic year.
The academic year began with a reduced state budget and anotheryear of enrollment growth. Research and sponsored contracts fundinggrew by eight percent to $32.5 million. A PSU graduate donated $8million to the College of Engineering and Computer Science. PSUreceived approval for BA/BS degrees in Black Studies and the MSdegree in Materials Science and Engineering. We opened the BusinessAccelerator and now 11 companies are working with PSU. Majorchanges were made in financial aid to streamline and improveservices.
We made progress in developing the University District. PSUdedicated the Native American Student and Community Center, EplerHall and an expanded Helen Gordon Child Development Center; webegan construction on the NW Center for Engineering, Science, andTechnology and renovation of the first floor in the Millar Library;we opened University Place and a new Student Health and CounselingCenter (this year we’ll add dental services); and we continuedmajor renovations in the Smith Memorial Student Union. Climberswelcomed the rock wall in Stott Center. We upgraded classroomsacross campus.
We said goodbye to several longtime administrators: NohadToulan, founding Dean of the College of Urban and Public Affairs;James Ward, Dean of the Graduate School of Social Work; TomPfingsten, University Librarian; Jay Kenton, Vice President ofFinance and Administration; and Mary Kay Tetreault, Provost.
These changes have presented us with opportunities to move PSUforward. During this year, new and exciting plans are in theworks.
I will be spending a lot of time working with the StateLegislature to secure more funding for higher education and on theUniversity’s fundraising effort. We must stop the disinvestment inour future and that means gaining public and private funding thatstabilizes tuition, increases faculty salaries and improvesprograms, as well as campus facilities.
PSU will soon embark on the public phase of the capitalcampaign. Until now, we have been engaged in the quiet phase of thecampaign, a time when we have worked with our lead donors. Thecampaign is an opportunity to demonstrate the importance of PSU andthe difference we make to the economy of the region.
We must expand access to PSU through increased publicly andprivately funded financial aid. Key to the diversity agenda, PSUwill work to strengthen enrollment of underserved populations andinternational students. We recently hired 12 computer sciencefaculty to enable us to reach national recognition in an area tiedto the region’s economy. A multi-year strategy to hire facultyacross the disciplines will support our growth in students.
We will continue to develop the University District. Recently,the Broadway student housing opened and soon there will be severalnew businesses in our neighborhood. This year, we will move forwardon redeveloping the PCAT block and finish the Urban Plaza. We willfinalize plans for the new student recreation center and forbringing light rail to the campus.
Selecting the next Provost and Vice President of Finance andAdministration is a priority for all of us. These leaders must beable to move PSU forward with a balanced and integrated planinvolving the academic and administrative entities on campus.Student representatives have been appointed to serve on the searchcommittees. Candidates will visit campus in February and March andI hope you will participate in the public meetings.
Educating students, conducting world-class research and servingthe community defines the work we do. This year should be a timewhen we affirm our commitment to PSU, when we thank each other forthe contributions we make and when we work together to improveOregon’s largest, most diverse and only urban university.