The growing impact of Portland State University
WELCOME to Portland State University’s annual President’s Progress Report. This report is an opportunity to share our student and faculty success and our growing impact across the region.
For the second consecutive year, the U.S. News & World Report college rankings rated PSU among the nation’s top 10 “up and coming” universities. The ranking is meaningful because it comes from an annual survey of top U.S. university officials who recognize the rise of PSU for making significant progress in academics, faculty and student life.
Portland State is the largest and most diverse university in Oregon, and our mission is to serve the region through our teaching, research, public service and community and business partnerships. What sets us apart is our urban engagement that gives real-world opportunities to our students through Senior Capstone projects, internships and outside-the-classroom experiences. Last year, PSU students compiled more than 1 million hours of service, our professors were awarded nearly $60 million in research grants, and the economic impact of our campus generated $1.44 billion to the region. You can find examples that illustrate this work by our students, faculty and alumni inside this report.
This fall, PSU will be the first and only public university in Oregon to offer a four-year degree guarantee to entering freshmen. Full-time freshmen who sign an agreement and stay on track will get the support and courses necessary to graduate in four years or PSU will not charge them tuition for any remaining required courses. For transfers and current students, we have increased advising and developed personalized “degree maps” that enable them to determine what courses and sequences they need to attain their degrees. Last year, more than 6,000 undergraduate and graduate degrees were awarded by PSU — the most in history for any Oregon university — and these programs will help students and families reduce the cost of a degree by streamlining the time it takes to earn one.
We are working hard to contain costs and reduce student debt. Thanks to additional funding by the Legislature, tuition at PSU and all public universities will remain frozen during the 2014-15 academic year. This is the first time since 2001 that tuition has not increased at Oregon universities, and a new state law will limit future tuition increases to no more than 5 percent a year.
That same law has restructured the state’s university system to give the three flagship universities — PSU, Oregon State and University of Oregon — more independence and better coordination with the state’s community colleges and schools. For PSU, this means our new 15-member Board of Trustees will be able to focus solely on our urban mission, emphasizing student success, financial aid, scholarships, philanthropy and accountability. Our new trustees are a diverse and dedicated group of community and business leaders who take over on July 1.
Our campus continues to modernize to meet growing needs, with the Collaborative Life Sciences Building opening this summer in the South Waterfront, which will combine our new science labs with OHSU’s Knight Cancer Research Center and OSU’s School of Pharmacy. We also will soon start to renovate and expand our School of Business Administration, and we will finalize plans for a new home for the Graduate School of Education and for the Viking Pavilion and Stott Education Center, a renovated complex for sports, events and students on the South Park Blocks.
Please take a close look at our progress report to learn more about PSU. I encourage you to visit campus this year to see firsthand what progress we are making.
President, Portland State University