Dr. Edward J. Ray, president of Oregon State Universitysince 2003, visited OSU-Cascades Campus on May 18 to talk to the community about OSU’s status as a topten land grant university and what impact that “umbrella effect” had on students in Bend. In the conversation that followed, issues pertaining to OSU-Cascades were raised.
The president mentioned the changes OSU-Cascades has seen since its founding 10 years ago, not just in terms of enrollment, but also in terms of the programs available.
Ray described the changes ahead for OSU-Cascades as “very positive, very dynamic, very promising.” The university is looking to add exercise and sports sciences and biology to the programs already offered and are intending the additions to be unique to the Bend campus.
There is potential for widening the masters degrees offered to include an MBA and Master in Public Health degrees. With the population of OSU-Cascades growing steadily—going from 363 in 2001 to 678 in 2011—the timeline for expansion was discussed.
The university may be acquiring property close to the center of Bend that could be used for graduate programs and collaborative research activities.
Another concern raised is the lack of courses offered for students’ majors. Ray mentioned the problem of limited resources in the areas of state funding and fundraising. Raising enough money to cover costs in order to offer more classes—without increasing tuition and fees on the backs of students and families—will take “literally years,” according to Ray.
One solution to the lack of courses for OSU-Cascades may be the online classes offered through OSU, although currently these classes are prohibitively expensive for many students. The 2010-2011 price for online classes is $235 per credit making a four credit class $940.
While there are fixed cost start-ups to online classes, President Ray is “not sure we are not pricing according to what we think the traffic can bear, as opposed to what represents more sensible pricing,” he said. “The reason I care is because I don’t want students getting priced out of courses if there isn’t a pretty good reason why things cost the way they do.”
Reducing this differential could help students vary their course load for their majors while OSU-Cascades grows and funds become more available for on-site classes.
“We’ll look into that,” said Ray.
Kirsteen Wolf can be reached Kwolf@cocc.edu