PSU to offer degrees through PCC campus��

Not all of Oregon’s forests may be alive and well, but there is one that is flourishing with the help of Portland State: the Silicon Forest.


When the Oregon Graduate Institute merged with OHSU in 2001, they shifted emphasis from more mainstream studies to biological sciences, leaving many Washington County professionals wanting for graduate programs in their area that deal with technology. The Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science at PSU has come to fill that void beginning fall term by offering four graduate degrees that can be obtained in Beaverton. 


While PSU has offered classes in Washington County for some time, this will be the first time that a full master’s program from Portland State has been obtainable anywhere but the main campus.  PSU faculty will teach 86 evening and weekend classes at Portland Community College’s CAPITAL Center, enabling students who work at Intel to obtain master’s degrees in computer science, electrical and computer engineering, and engineering and technology management.


The Oregon master of software engineering degree programs will be obtainable through classes at the CAPITAL Center.


“This shows a commitment to offer the full programs in Washington County for working professionals,” said Marcia Fischer, assistant dean for enrollment and outreach for Maseeh College.


The graduate programs are still available on the PSU campus.


While no new professors have been hired this year to implement this change, there is a new Westside adviser there to help students navigate their way through the programs.

PSU hired 10 computer science professors from the Oregon Graduate Institute in 2004, increasing the department’s faculty from 20 to 30 professors. This acquisition costs Portland State $2 million a year, but brought with it 20 doctoral students and $2 million in annual grant funding, more than doubling original funding.


The change served both PSU and the graduate institute as PSU sought prestige for its wealth of computer science and engineering programs and the Oregon Graduate Institute changed its emphasis to health-related studies.


The four new programs’ relevance in the region is obvious as Oregon’s largest employer, Intel, is located in Beaverton. Intel employs 15,500 Oregonians and provides for its employees to continue their education.


“In a field like high-tech, people have to keep their skills up,” Brown said.

Fischer, however, was quick to point out that the programs aren’t exclusively for Intel employees.


“We do have a lot of students from Intel, but other students work at other companies,” she said. “The reason we are doing this is for the convenience of Washington county residents but also to increase class offerings for all PSU students.”


In the spring of 2004, Fariboz Maseeh, through his Maseeh foundation, donated $8 million to the College of Computer Science and Engineering, the largest gift in the history of PSU.


According to Robert Dryden, the dean of that college, the donation helps “advance [the college’s] initiative of being regionally relevant and nationally prominent in a select core of disciplines.”