Business Journal: Where PSU made its $3M bet on the future of higher education
Author: Matthew Kish, Portland Business Journal
Posted: May 16, 2013

Read the original story here in the Portland Business Journal. 

Portland State University late Wednesday announced the winners in a novel $3 million effort to "ReThink" how the university does business.

Early this year Portland State unveiled ReThink PSU, a campus-wide effort to address the headwinds facing colleges and universities, such as decreased funding, increased tuition costs and competition from online education providers.

The program solicited proposals from faculty and administrators for projects that would make the university more effective. Provost Sona Andrews hoped for 30 proposals. More than 160 were made.

On Thursday, Portland State said 10 winning proposals would each get funding between $50,000 and $275,000.

Not surprisingly, PSU has allocated the biggest chunks of the $3 million to improving access to education.

Several of the projects will make curriculum available online, including a proposed online master's degree in social work and a fully online undergraduate degree in general and liberal studies.

The university will also put 10 courses fully online.

Proposals geared towards math and science and business education also received funding.

The projects are part of the Provost Challenge, which was the "first big wave in ReThink," Andrews said.

More than one-third of the university's faculty and staff participated in a proposal. Andrews said the projects will continue to be discussed and work will continually post online.

"The heat that these projects generate will impact other people on campus," Andrews said.

Read more about the winners on Portland State's website.

Matthew Kish covers banking, finance, footwear/apparel and higher education.