Although the University of Oregon graduate program was dropped at Oregon State University-Cascades, U of O students there will still be able to finish their degree.
The decision to have undergraduate programs offered by only one institution came after Higher Education Assessment Team members “tried to find the most efficient model from … a financial perspective, a students’ perspective and a community perspective,” said Christine Coffin, OSU-Cascades’ director of communications & outreach.
“The members interviewed students and faculty … and found we weren’t serving students well by having two programs under one institution,” said Coffin.
The college is currently “teaching out” the current U of O students so they can finish their degrees, according to the HEAT report page on the OSU-Cascades website.
The four U of O degrees—general science, psychology, math and social science—will be picked up by OSU-Cascades. The new general science, psychology and math degrees should be available next summer term, said Natalie Dollar, an OSU-Cascades’ associate professor.
Dollar and OSU-Cascades associate professor Neil Browne are in the process of proposing a new category for the social science degree at OSU-Cascades.
Along with the challenge of switching degrees, the college is also faced with switching the students and faculty.“Some students have a strong allegiance to their schools … it’s important for us to be very sensitive,” said Coffin about the transition for UO students at OSU-Cascades.
The administration aims to have the UO degree professors continue teaching their courses for OSU-Cascades.
“We would love to bring them on board,” said Coffin. “They’ve added to the students’ experience.”
While the decision to switch to a single institution’s program was presented last summer, OSU-Cascades administrators have been trying to switch for a while.
“We’ve been waiting for years, then HEAT came along,” said Dollar.
HEAT was formed in fall 2009 “to determine the short-, mid- and long-term higher education strategies” in Central Oregon, according to the HEAT report page on the OSU-Cascades website.
When OSU-Cascades began, the Oregon University System put a call out for proposals for a branch-campus,” said Dollar. “They (OSU) chose OSU’s proposal … but it was never implemented … they never worked it out with [UO] so we were left with their program.”
In addition to developing the new social science degree for OSU-Cascades, Dollar is also assisting in the overall transition, which has been “a great process,” according to her.
“We have to figure out how to transfer the programs, while both maintaining the vigor of the program and the interest of the students,” said Dollar. “But it hasn’t been a challenge so much as a success”