From the President: Fall 2013
Author: President Wim Wiewl
Posted: September 25, 2013

Controlling our own destiny

PORTLAND STATE is about to undergo a significant change this academic year that I hope will help propel us from a good university into a great one.

Thanks to Gov. John Kitzhaber and the Oregon Legislature, PSU will form its own governing board that will better reflect our priorities and help us overcome our challenges. Along with the University of Oregon and Oregon State, Portland State will no longer be managed by the State Board of Higher Education, which by design has had to divide its attention among all seven state universities.

Our new board of community and business leaders, faculty, students and staff will focus on PSU. These trustees not only will have a better understanding of our issues, but also will be better able to advocate for PSU in ways that a state board cannot.

This is how it will work. The governor has appointed 14 members to PSU's governing board who must be confirmed by the state Senate. The new board takes the reins of the University starting in 2014 and will work with the Oregon Education Investment Board and Higher Education Coordinating Council, two statewide boards established by the governor and the Legislature. The OEIB guides all education in Oregon, from preschool to grad school, while the HECC coordinates oversight of universities and community colleges.

PSU's day-to-day operations will continue to be run by the president and top administrators, with the governing board providing guidance, setting academic and budget priorities and advising on issues such as capital projects and tuition rates.

OUR URBAN MISSION will be enhanced by a new board made up of leaders with deep connections to the University, the community and the region. For example, the board includes Gale Castillo MA ’74, Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber president; Maude Hines, PSU English professor and former presiding officer of the Faculty Senate; Rick Miller MBA ’91, business leader and PSU supporter; and Pamela Campos-Palma, a PSU student leader and U.S. Air Force veteran.

Students will see immediate benefits. Under the new law creating the independent boards, tuition increases cannot exceed 5 percent annually (tuition this fall at PSU is $6,615 for full-time resident students, up 3.5 percent from last fall, but lower than UO and OSU). PSU's new board will emphasize student success, financial aid, scholarships and career opportunities. By working closely with the PSU Foundation Board, trustees also will help expand efforts to increase philanthropy and private support.

While an independent governing board is no panacea for all of our problems, such as uncertain state funding, I am excited about the commitment, energy and ideas that our new governing board will bring to Portland State University.

Wim Wiewel