UO State Affairs News

  • Calling all Ducks: Advocates needed for UO lobby day in Salem

    First published in Around the O, UO students, alumni, faculty and staff will visit the state Capitol on May 8 to advocate for higher education funding, and Duck supporters are encouraged to sign up and take part in the event. Advocates will join campus leaders, including UO President Michael H. Schill and student body President Maria Alejandra Gallegos-Chacôn, to meet with lawmakers and make the case for the funding necessary to keep tuition increases as low as possible. Other priorities include investing in new services and programs that reduce debt, improving graduation rates, and expanding career connections. A new video explains the role of advocates at UO Day at the Capitol. “Oregonians believe that having a college degree is important to succeed later on in life, but rising student debt threatens the path to prosperity that higher education has always represented,” said Libby Batlan, associate vice president for state and community affairs. “Increasing state funding for public universities and financial aid are, without question, the biggest factors to keep tuition increases low and ensuring that all students can graduate with the skills they need to get a job.”  As the university faces significant financial challenges and is in the process of cutting $11.6 million from its operating budget, additional state investment of at least $120 million would allow tuition increases to stay below 5 percent for the next two years. Investment of an additional $186 million above current levels would create new and enhanced opportunities for financial aid for underserved student populations, academic and career advising, diversity initiatives and other wraparound services that lead to a positive college experience. The proposed budget from the co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means targets the Public University Support Fund at $777.4 million, which is an increase of $40.5 million over the 2017-19 biennium. The fund is split across all seven public universities. At that funding level, the UO would be forced to consider tuition increases in the double digits on top of cuts that will affect students and employees. “The Legislature is considering historic new investments in public education this session as well as new corporate tax increases to pay for it,” Schill said. “My job, and the job of UO advocates, is to ensure that lawmakers know that without an investment in higher education, they are not truly making progress for students and for Oregon’s economy.” In addition to advocate visits with legislators, the lobby day will include orientation and training opportunities, photos with the Duck, viewing House and Senate chamber sessions and performances by UO musical groups. Transportation from Eugene can be requested when signing up. An orientation video provides additional information about the role of participants. “We know from experience that it’s students and faculty who truly make the difference,” said Ivan Chen, external vice president for the Associated Students of the UO. “We need as many people as possible to come to Salem on May 8th to advocate for our future.” All are welcome and encouraged to participate. Registration is required to attend, which can be completed online in addition to viewing a training video. UO Day at the Capitol is coordinated by UO Government and Community Relations in conjunction with the Associated Students of the University of Oregon, UO Alumni Association and the UO Student Alumni Association.   Link: https://around.uoregon.edu/content/calling-all-ducks-advocates-needed-uo-lobby-day-salem/?utm_source=UOnews&fbclid=IwAR27Eq7fIhHArbyq4H39qwvPz4zEubFgOCMrTBoL7Ohyqginu2RJF7ZCNCE   

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  • Oregon Legislature reaches first bill deadline

    The 2019 Oregon Legislature reached its first bill deadline on Tuesday, April 9. All measures had to be voted out of their first committees in order to stay “alive.” For example, a bill introduced in the House of Representatives and referred to the Education Committee must have moved to the floor for a vote of the full chamber, to the Rules Committee, or to the Joint Ways & Means Committee in order to remain active in the legislative process. Lawmakers are tackling big policy and budget challenges, including: Climate change: Still under debate, HB 2020 would establish a new cap-and-trade marketplace in Oregon, set a cap on overall greenhouse gas emissions in the state, and reduce it over time. It would also charge large polluters — including utilities, fuel importers and industrial facilities — for each ton of greenhouse gas they emit, though some entities would receive breaks. Amendments abound on this measure. Rent control: SB 608 limits rent increases and bars no-cause evictions after a tenant's first year in a building. The bill was signed by Governor Brown earlier this session. Workplace harassment: SB 726 would create new protections for employees who experience harassment or assault in the work place. The Title IX protections: In the wake of the U.S. Department of Education releasing its notice of proposed rulemaking late last year making changes to Title IX regulations, Oregon lawmakers introduced HB 3415. The bill would codify that universities must adopt written policies concerning sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking that occur both on and off campus, ensure relevant training is provided, and more. Credit transfer: SB 730 continues the state’s work on collegiate credit transfer and the creation of unified statewide transfer agreements (USTAs) that are reflected in current law as a result of the passage of HB 2998 in 2017. Dual credit: SB 800 requires the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) to develop standards for approving partnerships to provide dual credit programs. The University of Oregon’s key legislative priorities all continue to move through the process successfully. SB 949 provides $350,000 of new funding to support the UO’s prison education program. The program offers a horizon-broadening experience for “outside” students and invaluable skill-development and credit-bearing course opportunities for “inside” students, helping to reduce recidivism rates overall. SB 949 moved out of the Senate Education Committee unanimously and is now in the Joint Committee on Ways & Means. Read the Around the O story on SB 949’s public hearing. SB 255 would provide $500,000 in one-time state funding for the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology to purchase a new boat for research and teaching. This measure is led by legislators who represent Oregon’s coastal region. SB 255 moved out of the Senate Education Committee unanimously and is now in the Joint Committee on Ways & Means. Read the Around the O story on SB 255’s public hearing. SB 739 would provide $2.5 million to expand the UO’s College of Education’s Oregon Research Schools Network (ORSN) to more school districts throughout the state. The program embeds UO faculty into high schools for five years to work with teachers and students to improve high school graduation rates and student success with the newest pedagogy and resources. SB 739 moved out of the Senate Education Committee unanimously and is now in the Joint Committee on Ways & Means. Read the Around the O story on SB 739’s public hearing. HB 2594 would create a $300,000 state matching fund for the UO’s Sustainable City Year Program (SCYP), which is part of the School of Planning, Public Policy and Management. The matching fund would help smaller, more rural cities partner with SCYP to help them solve public policy challenges and provide more students with experiential learning opportunities. HB 2594 moved out of the House Education Committee unanimously and is now in the Joint Committee on Ways & Means. Future legislative deadlines: May 15: Last state revenue forecast before final budget decisionsMay 24: Second chamber work session deadline (AKA lots more bills die)June 30: Constitutional Sine Die

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  • University presents budget options to Ways & Means

    The University of Oregon, along with the six other public universities, made their case on March 28 to the Legislature’s key budget-writers about why investment in operating funding for college students is critical to a bright future for Oregon. The universities’ presentation focused on the student experience; gaining admission to, paying for, and graduating from college in 2019. We worked to highlight for lawmakers the stark differences between the financial realities of higher education today versus 20 or 30 years ago when many of them were in school. In 1976, for example, annual tuition and fees at a four-year, public university was just more than $1,200 a year. Today, that’s approximately what a student would pay each month for a one bedroom apartment in an urban area like Portland. Universities highlighted the dramatic increase in institutional tuition remissions in the wake of lagging state investment. We talked about programs like Pathway Oregon that help Pell-eligible students pay for school, but made sure to note that that didn’t account for the full cost of earning a college degree that includes room and board, transportation, books, and food. Student, staff, and trustee representatives from all seven campuses walked the Education Subcommittee through how various investment levels in the Public University Support Fund would impact student debt levels, support services, research, and graduation rates on every campus. Specifically, we’re talking about four scenarios: +$40.5 million in the PUSF (total state investment of $777.4 million in 2019-21) The funding level that the State of Oregon has targeted as what public universities need to continue “current services.” Unfortunately, it does not include key cost drivers faced by institutions, including bargained compensation packages and other employee benefits that impact the universities’ ability to keep tuition low and not make further cuts to workforce or services.  +$120 million in the PUSF (total state investment of $856.9 million in 2019-21) The funding level public universities have calculated would keep tuition increases at or below five percent for the next two years.  +$186 million in the PUSF (total state investment of $922.9 million in 2019-21) The funding level recommended by the Higher Education Coordination Commission necessary to advance the state’s educational attainment goals.  +$263 million  the PUSF (total state investment of $1 billion in 2019-21) The optimal funding level for students and public universities to keep tuition increases below three percent for the next two years and make significant new investments in advising, financial aid, wraparound wellbeing services, and academic quality.

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  • Joint Committee on Student Success releases first draft of revenue and expenditure plan

    On April 4, the Joint Committee on Student Success (JCSS) released the first conceptual amendments to House Bill 2019. The JCSS toured the state over the last year examining needs and solutions to fix Oregon’s lagging K-12 graduation rate and improve student outcomes. HB 2019 will create the Fund for Student Success. Within that fund, the bill allocates a yet-to-be-determined increased amount to the State School Fund. Remaining moneys will be allocated to: Early Learning Account – 20% School Improvement Account – 50% Statewide Initiatives Account – 30%. Click here for details on the conceptual amendments. The Joint Committee also released potential options for raising revenue to pay for new investments in Oregon’s public education system. Specifically, the joint committee released three options for a new corporate tax called a Commercial Activities Tax. Click here for details.

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  • Prison program would get a boost from pending legislation

    First published in Around the O, a University of Oregon program that brings classrooms into the state’s prisons would be expanded under a bill now before the Oregon Legislature. The Prison Education Program got its start in 2007 when UO professor Steve Shankman taught a course at the Oregon State Penitentiary. Since then, hundreds of UO students and more than 1,000 incarcerated people have taken classes and participated in other UO activities inside five of Oregon’s prisons.   Senate Bill 949 would provide $350,000 of new funding to support the program in such efforts and allow further expansion. In testimony before the Senate Education Committee last week, philosophy and sociology student Julie Williams-Reyes shared how going inside a prison to take a class with 13 campus-based students and 13 incarcerated students inspired her to engage more actively in issues of social justice and was the determining influence in choosing her career path. Many students have gone on to work in organizations such as the Peace Corps, Teach for America and Sustainable City Year. Graduates have spoken of their experiences in a prison class as stepping stones in their careers as lawyers, teachers, doctors and professionals in various nonprofit sectors. Geography professor Shaul Cohen, director of the program, told legislators that it has broad support on campus, with the UO Board of Trustees, the UO Foundation, campus leaders and many deans offering support. He also said the program has support from the Associated Students of the UO, one of only a few student governments in the country that have invested in such educational opportunities.  Cohen also expressed appreciation for the Oregon Department of Correction’s help in making classes, lectures, workshops and common readings inside the prisons possible. At the Senate hearing, program coordinator Katie Dwyer spoke of working with incarcerated students and noted that education allows people to build self-esteem, become involved in positive programming while incarcerated and be more equipped to re-enter the community. “Incarcerated students sometimes come to us with a strong sense that they will be unable to do the work and uncertain as to how the instructors and the University of Oregon students will see them,” Dwyer said. “They speak to this experience as a transformative one, both for their sense of their academic competence, but more broadly for their self-esteem, their sense of potential impact they can have on the community. Many people have spoken of this as a turning point in their lives, in their full lives, and also of their experience as inmates in Oregon.” Last June, state Sen. Lew Frederick attended a UO graduation at the Oregon State Penitentiary and last week told the Education Committee he was deeply moved by what he witnessed. “One graduate was participating in the ceremony two or three days after he was released from prison,” Frederick saod. “It had taken him quite a bit, but he had done the work. It was a palpable joy that you could see on his face and with his family and the people who came to see him.” Sen. Michael Dembrow attended a UO class at the Oregon State Correctional Institution and testified to the power of the teaching model and bringing people together in discussion. “I think we all know that it does us no good to have individuals coming out of incarceration and not be prepared to be fully functioning and contributing members of society, but that doesn’t happen just by itself,” he said. “We need to be working hard to remove barriers that formerly incarcerated people meet as they re-enter and take steps to make sure that they are ready to re-enter, and one of the best ways to do that is through successful prison education programs such as the UO’s program.”\ https://around.uoregon.edu/content/prison-program-would-get-boost-pending-legislation?utm_source=ato04-09-19&utm_campaign=workplace  

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  • Bill would expand the UO's Oregon Research Schools Network

    First published in Around the O, a bill that would expand a UO College of Education pilot program focused on improving high school graduation rates is currently moving through the Oregon Legislature. Senate Bill 739 would provide funding to extend to additional high schools the Oregon Research Schools Network, a College of Education program that strives to improve high school graduation rates through collaborative partnerships between UO faculty members and teachers in the high schools. The bill is sponsored by Coos Bay Democratic Sen. Arnie Roblan, a UO graduate and former high school principal . On March 27 the bill moved out of the Senate Education Committee and on to the Joint Committee on Student Success. Roblan first learned about the network when College of Education Dean Randy Kamphaus spoke at the Oregon Coastal Caucus last August. Since then the senator and his colleagues on the legislature’s Joint Committee on Student Success visited Coquille High School to learn more about the benefits of the program for students at one of the pilot sites. The schools network is based on the agricultural extension model, which extends service, instruction and research statewide by placing experts in the field to help improve the academic and career outcomes for Oregon’s youth. Its current five-year pilot project includes placing faculty members in North Eugene High School, Roosevelt High School in Portland, Pendleton High School and Coquille High School.  Senate Bill 739 seeks $2.5 million to grow the model and extend it to six additional districts across Oregon, serving additional high schools identified as high-need, highly impacted and geographically diverse. The college hopes the model can be sued to increase K-12 performance statewide. The pilot program will be expanded and evaluated to assess its effects on diverse high school graduation rates and better participation in and completion of post-secondary education. In addition, the funding will allow it to develop affordable scale-up strategies, including training materials on how to successfully launch an improvement model — which can be delivered online or in person — the development of a “train the trainers” approach, and a framework for how to increase university partnership opportunities. For more information, see “New COE program will help state boost high school grad rates.”

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  • Legislature considers funding for new OIMB research vessel

    First published in Around the O, a bill now before the Oregon Legislature would allocate $500,000 in state funds to build and outfit a new ocean-going research vessel for the UO’s Oregon Institute of Marine Biology. The vessel would help the institute continue its research on marine organisms and ecosystems and provide transformative educational experiences to university and K-12 students as well as community members. It would replace an aging boat that is near the end of its useful life and is too small for current needs. Students and faculty members from the Charleston-based institute traveled to Salem earlier this week to testify in support of the bill. The hearing was held before the Senate Education Committee Institute Director Craig Young joined undergraduate marine biology major Fiona Curliss and doctoral student Caitlin Plowman to explain why a new boat is critical to coastal research and teaching capacity at the facility. “I grew up in Oregon, and when I got to go on a boat from which we could see offshore marine biology communities, I saw things I had never seen in my life closer to shore,” Curliss said. “Those of us who want to pursue marine biology need hands-on knowledge as much as we need book knowledge. We need the equipment like this boat to see these communities.” The 90-year-old institute in Charleston is a destination for students, scholars and visitors, who can take advantage of the distinctive marine environment. The UO’s undergraduate marine biology major is the only one in Oregon. “The Charleston Center is a gem in Oregon that most people don’t realize,” said state Sen. Lew Frederick, a Portland Democrat who testified at the hearing. “It sparks a curiosity in a range of issues, not just in marine biology. It has the potential to become a premier center for biological research.” Coos County Commissioner Bob Main agreed and said the boat, which would be built locally, would also boost the coastal economy. “This project is so important to the economic impact of the community that Coos County commissioners have pledged $50,000 in lottery funds to this project, which is much more than we usually pledge to one project,” he said. The marine biology institute offers experiential learning in several forms, including through boat trips on the RV Pluteus, the existing research vessel built in 1973. On the boat, students learn about oceanographic sampling methods using dredges and trawls and experience close-up encounters with deeper-dwelling sea life that they would otherwise not have the opportunity to see. The electrical and engine systems on the Pluteus are reaching the end of their lives as safe and reliable components for sailing on open waters and in challenging sea conditions. The vessel also is too small to carry most of the UO’s classes for trips outside the bay.  A new vessel would be designed and fabricated in Oregon, and if SB 255 passes, the state investment will be matched by philanthropic support. The bill is sponsored by coastal legislators, including Sen. Arnie Roblan, D-Coos Bay; Sen. Dallas Heard, R-Roseburg; Rep. Caddy McKeown, D-Coos Bay; Rep. David Brock Smith, R-Port Orford; and Rep. David Gomberg, D-Central Coast. The measure moves next to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means for consideration.

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  • UO's Tykeson Hall offers new twist on tradition

    Office 52's building will offer students easy access to advisory, career services to help develop 'soft' skills First published on the portlandtribune.com, COURTESY: OFFICE 52 ARCHITECTURE - The 64,000-square-foot Willie and Donald Tykeson Hall, currently under construction in the historic district of the University of Oregons Eugene campus, will create a center where students can connect with advisory and career services. For years, the University of Oregon's College of Arts and Sciences' programs and services have been spread across the school's Eugene campus. But then administrators decided it was time to create a central location to provide a focused roster of support services. Slated to be completed this summer, the 64,000-square-foot Willie and Donald Tykeson Hall represents what may be a first-of-its kind approach in the world of higher education. In addition to flexible classroom and lecture areas, the building will contain space for administrative and advisory services, counseling and tutoring, offices, and shared meeting rooms. The goal is to provide students enrolled in the university's liberal arts programs with more than just the specific skills necessary to excel in their chosen degree areas. The services in the new building also will ensure students have a solid foundation of the "soft" skills such as communication, creative thinking and problem solving that employers say they're having trouble finding in job candidates. "From the very beginning we'll he helping ... students understand there's a suite of career skills they need to be thinking about," said Andrew Marcus, who developed the new approach while serving as the Tykeson Dean of the arts and sciences college. "Having this integrated career and academic advisory (approach) from day one ... will help students understand they are building a portfolio beyond college." COURTESY: KELLY JAMES - Andrew Marcus, right, shows the family of the late Donald Tykeson a rendering of the 64,000-square-foot build that will be named in honor of the telecommunications pioneer and his wife, Willie, center. The $31 million building where those services will be located, which is slated to open in the fall, will be named after Donald Tykeson and his wife, Willie. Donald was a Eugene broadcasting pioneer and a founding board member of C-SPAN. The couple donated $10 million to the project before he died in July 2017. "The University of Oregon is going way further than any other school as far as bringing all of the academic aspects together," said Isaac Campbell, principal of OFFICE 52 Architecture, the Portland firm that designed Tykeson Hall. Winning ways Even though OFFICE 52 is a small firm with just 10 employees — including Campbell and his partner, principal Michelle LaFoe — the firm had earned a big reputation in the world of higher education design even before its selection for the UO project. Campbell and LaFoe started OFFICE 52 in 2010. The two architects had always wanted to work together, and they found they both were ready for a change that would allow them greater choice in the types of projects they worked on. "We wanted to focus on what we were really good at," Campbell said. The partners also decided to keep the firm small so that, along with running the business they would have a chance to be hands-on when it came to actually working on projects. The firm already had several modest-sized projects to its name when it received an invitation to participate in a competition to design Scott Hall, a 109,000-square-foot building that serves as the home of the nano-bio-energy technology program in Carnegie Mellon University's College of Engineering in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Campbell, LaFoe and their team looked at what Carnegie Mellon administrators were considering when it came to siting the building. The Office 52 team felt there was a better solution, and used that as the basis of their presentation. "Our entire proposal was a complete rethinking and that won it for us," Campbell said. The finished building, which features a unique exterior of dichroic glass, has since gone on to win several awards, including a recent honor from Gray magazine. The success of its work on the Carnegie Mellon project has opened doors for OFFICE 52. However, because the entire staff tends to collaborate on projects, the firm is careful about the work it pursues. The Tykeson Hall project caught the team's interest because it represented a new direction for the University of Oregon, a willingness to think outside the box that Campbell felt meshed well with the OFFICE 52 approach to designing projects. Material matters Tykeson Hall sits on an L-shaped site that formerly served as a surface parking lot in the heart of the campus' historic district, which is composed of buildings built in the early 20th century, up to the 1930s. University administrators originally planned to have the building follow the shape of the property. The OFFICE 52 team, working with Rowell Brokaw Architects as the architect of record proposed a smaller footprint for the building, which would then allow the area in front of the building to be turned into greenspace. The area also would provide a connection to nearby Chapman Hall, which houses UO's Honors programs. An 80-year-old brick structure, Chapman boasts details made of terra cotta, the last time that material was used on a building on the campus. COURTESY: OFFICE 52 ARCHITECTURE - The upper central floors of Tykeson Hall will contain counseling and advisory services while the lower floor will feature The Commons, an event area that will open onto an exterior green space. University administrators were set on having the new building also be made of brick. Campbell and his team, however suggested minimizing the amount of brick on the exterior of Tykeson Hall in favor of using terra cotta as the main exterior material. "Terra cotta has been used (in the past) on campus buildings as a decorative element, (but we) used it as a primary material and as a rain screen," Campbell said. "It's a new interpretation that parallels the university creating a new way of approaching education." The main four-story portion of the building will house administrative and support services. The terra cotta exterior features a muted palette of five glazes in hues simultaneously drawn from the tones of terra cotta details on surrounding buildings as well as from a careful study of colors from the Oregon landscape, according to Campbell. "The terra cotta portion houses all of these disparate pieces that are being brought together and are being restructured and rethought in a new way," he added. "It's a new material for a new program." Stretches of glass on the main part of the building also offer views into public gathering areas and an event space that will be called The Commons. "The Commons ... is a space that flows out onto the terrace on the west side of the lawn," Campbell said. "It's meant to be transparent and open, and invites people into the building." Honoring tradition The design team didn't completely bypass the use of brick, though. In order to create a smooth transition between the four-story main part of Tykeson Hall and the shorter Chapman Hall, a two-story brick portion that will house offices and classrooms runs along the outside of the new building. With an eye toward continuing the balance between old and new, OFFICE 52 developed a unique pattern for the brick that Campbell calls Norman Cross Bond. COURTESY: OFFICE 52 ARCHITECTURE - The exterior of Tykeson Hall features a five-color glaze palette of terra cotta, left, along with a unique brick pattern that was developed by OFFICE 52 Architecture. "As far as I know, it's never been done this way," he said. "It's a repeating pattern acknowledging everything else on campus, but we're doing it in a modern way. The 78,000 bricks, made from clay and shale from Oregon and Washington, were fabricated locally. The building also will feature a slat ceiling and wall panels in main public spaces made from Pin Oak trees harvested from the project site. Some custom furniture also is being made from Port Orford Cedar trees from the site. Additional custom-made furniture will feature materials certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The project, which is targeting gold-level certification in the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, is expected to use 34 percent less energy than outlined by Oregon's energy code. The building is being billed as the first in the Pacific Northwest to combine post-tensioned concrete slab construction with a hydronic system. The highly efficient system features hydronic radiant floor and wall heating and cooling systems with active chilled beams. Fortis Construction is on target to finish the project by this summer, roughly two years after work on the building began. COURTESY: KELLY JAMES - Willie Tykeson examines a model of Tykeson Hall during the 2017 groundbreaking of the project. Tykeson and her late husband, Donald, contributed $10 million toward construction of the $34 million building. Meanwhile, the university is already beginning to ramp up the staff it will need to start introducing students to concentrated services that will be in the new building in the fall. The majority of the university's 21,000 undergraduates will be required to participate in the new program, Marcus said. Although specifics about how soft skills such as independent thinking and strong communication will be incorporated into basic classes such as math and composition are still being developed, the university has already begun beefing up its current staff of seven advisors with 23 additional positions, who will begin working with students in the new program this fall. Marcus, who retired from his position as a dean and now is a professor of geography at UO, already has talked with leaders at other universities from around the country who are eager to see how the new approach at Tykeson Hall will pan out. "I think there are going to be a lot of positive ripples from it," Marcus said. "I think it's going to be transformational for the students. I think it will be a place that will provide inspiration for other (universities)." email: sbasalyga@pamplinmedia.com Twitter: @PortlandBizTrib Facebook.com/BizTrib Instagram: @PortlandBizTrib

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  • Legislative Session Reports: Week 7 update; co-chair’s budget released

    Legislative Session Reports: Week 7 update; co-chair’s budget released Week seven of the Oregon legislative session ended with some important budget news. The co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Ways & Means released their recommended budget for the 2019-2021 biennium. This budget, based on all current revenues projected to come into state coffers and the economic forecast, had some good news and bad news for public higher education. The good news: Overall operating funding for public universities increased by $40.5 million from the base version of the Governor’s Recommended Budget, which had kept funding completely flat for universities. Additionally, the co-chairs directed the Subcommittee on Education to review appropriate funding levels for the Sports Lottery program and all Public University State Programs. Sports Lottery was zero-ed out in the Governor’s budget. The UO receives about $1 million each biennium from that program to fund scholarships for student athletes and graduate students. The UO’s State Programs include the Labor Education Research Center, the law school’s Clinical Legal Education program, the Dispute Resolution program, and the TallWood Design Institute. Additionally, there are State Programs that all universities benefit from, including the Engineering & Technology Sustaining Fund, which funds research, innovation, and workforce development. The UO received $1,134,500 in FY19 from this program, which was eliminated in the Governor’s base budget. As the Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact gets up and running and the UO continues to advance its research portfolio, we expect to continue to receive more funding from the ETSF, which is distributed through a formula. The bad news: Despite a $40.5 million increase, this funding is not nearly enough to protect students from too-high tuition increases and cuts to the University’s workforce, programs, and services. Oregon’s seven public universities need a collective $120 million increase in operating funds (which would bring the total to $857 million—still below pre-recession funding levels) in order to keep tuition increases for resident undergraduate students to less than 5%. Because of the way the state’s funding formula is set up, the UO would receive an increase of just about $200,000 in operating funds at the co-chair’s budget. Don’t forget that the Joint Committee on Ways & Means is taking their show on the road (literally) and traveling to Coos Bay, Pendleton, Redmond, and Portland over the next three weekends to hear directly from the public about the budget. If you can attend one of these hearings to testify in support of higher education funding or hold signs supporting universities and colleges, click here for more information. In other news: Aside from budget news, the Capitol was busy this week. Wednesday was a solemn day with the state funeral for Secretary of State Dennis Richardson, who passed away of brain cancer last week. We are grateful to Secretary Richardson for his decades of service to the people of Oregon. The Legislature continues to debate important public policy that would impact the UO, including: Accelerated credit (SB 800) Campus safety Regulation of athlete agents (SB 686) Regional Accelerator Innovation Networks and a state matching fund for federal research grants universities’ apply for (SB 418 & HB 5524) Common Applications (SB 624) Hazing policies at universities (HB 2519) Funding for veteran’s services on college campuses (SB 35) And more!

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  • Bill would help cities take part in UO sustainability program

    First published in Around the O on March 8th 2019. A bill making its way through the Oregon Legislature would help more cities take part in the UO’s Sustainable City Year Program by creating a new state matching fund. House Bill 2594 would put $300,000 in the fund to help cities, particularly smaller communities in rural areas of the state, that otherwise wouldn’t be able to participate in the sustainability program. Sustainable City Year pairs cities with students and faculty members in the College of Design, College of Business, School of Journalism and Communication, School of Law, and the College of Arts and Sciences for a large-scale, intensive, year-long partnership to tangibly move forward on paths toward a more sustainable future. “Many Oregon communities, especially those in rural areas, could benefit from a partnership with SCYP but cannot fully afford to participate,” said Marc Schlossberg, professor of city and regional planning and co-director of the Sustainable Cities Institute. “SCYP partners must meet several standards, including buy-in from local political leadership and staff, interest in a range of community improvement issues, and having financial skin in the game.” The House Education Committee held its first public hearing on the bill Feb. 25. Committee members will now decide whether to hold a work session on the bill before sending it to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means, which reviews all budget requests. The bill is sponsored by state Reps. Julie Fahey, a Eugene Democrat, and Marty Wilde, a Democrat representing portions of Lane and Douglas counties.   The Sustainable City Year Program “directly connects students and cities, allowing students to learn and cities to improve,” Wilde said during the public hearing. “Students study the city and find ways it can improve in terms of sustainability. Cities benefit from the added capacity and new perspective. Students benefit from the real-world experience they can apply beyond college.” Each year, the program works in a different community and matches community-identified project ideas with up to 35 university courses, more than 20 faculty members and 500 students across more than 12 disciplines giving 40,000 hours of effort. Developed in 2009, the model has been adopted by more than 25 other universities across the United States and is being disseminated globally with the help of the United Nations. To date, the Sustainable City Year Program has worked with the cities of Gresham, Salem, Springfield, Medford, Redmond and Albany. Last year it piloted two new expansions of its model, including partnering with Portland transit agency TriMet on its proposed 12-mile Southwest Corridor light rail project and with a smaller Oregon city, La Pine. “We were very impressed by the both the quantity and quality of the work produced,” said Albany Mayor Sharon Konopa. “Student recommendations have subsequently been incorporated into plans for our parks system and the Albany waterfront, the parks and recreation department’s business practices, community engagement objectives and other city activities. By increasing our capacity and bringing in fresh ideas, student efforts helped save the city money and make more informed decisions about some of Albany’s significant challenges.”   https://around.uoregon.edu/content/bill-would-help-cities-take-part-uo-sustainability-program

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