PSU president opens campus dialog on the future of Portland State
Portland State University President Wim Wiewel convened the academic year Tuesday with a challenge to faculty to help reshape university priorities in the face of rapid societal and technological change and increasing public and political accountability.
“We need a new university-wide discussion about these issues,” Wiewel said in his faculty convocation address at Smith Memorial Student Union. “If we are to make progress on our overall goal of being a ‘leading public urban university,’ then we need to decide what key changes and initiatives we want to undertake as far as our course offerings, methods of delivery, staffing, funding sources and more.”
For example, he said, PSU has never had to work harder and do more to recruit and support students at a time when online educational options and alternative paths to a degree are proliferating while state funding for higher education has declined.
“How much do we invest in research support, or teaching, or student advisers, or our buildings? How much in the humanities, sciences, engineering or any of the professional schools?” asked Wiewel, who enters his seventh year as PSU president.
“And how do we retain PSU’s broader role as an agent of culture for Portland and Oregon, as a crucial part of the state economic development engine, as a catalyst for building community?”
To answer those questions, Wiewel will lead an effort this academic year to develop a plan that will guide the university over the next three to five years. Rather than a top-down effort, he said, strategic planning will engage faculty, students, staff, alumni and the new Board of Trustees. The planning process will include campus forums and other opportunities to provide input and feedback, including a new campus website where individuals can track the progress and submit comments and questions.
Also at convocation, Provost Sona Andrews and Vice President of Research and Strategic Partnerships Jonathan Fink conferred the following annual faculty awards:
• David Maier in the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science received the Branford Millar Award for Faculty Excellence.
• Mary King in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences received the George Hoffman Award for Faculty Excellence.
• Thomas Larsen in the University Library received the Kenneth and Elsie Butler Award for Library Faculty Service.
• David Coronado in the Maseeh College received the Mary Cumpston Award for Service to Students.
• Edward Zaron in the Maseeh College received the Faculty Research in Excellence Award.
• Steven Thorne in the College of Arts and Sciences each received the Junior Faculty Research in Excellence Award.
• James Pankow in the Maseeh College received the Senior Faculty Research and Excellence Award.
Pictured above: Video of PSU's 2014 Convocation.