I’ve spent the week visiting my son, who lives in the shadow of Eastern Michigan University, and have gained some insights into how institutions of higher education are faring here in the Midwest.
I had the pleasure this morning of attending a keynote address by higher education author Jeff Selingo at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Summer Council of Presidents in Minneapolis. I came away encouraged that our campus has been talking about – and doing – many of the right things to prepare SOU and its students for a rapidly changing future.
Our budget- and tuition-setting process this spring has been more stressful for all of us than we would have hoped, but it is nearing an end. The Oregon Legislature appears to have settled on an allocation that’s more favorable for higher education than we anticipated a few months ago.
The SOU Board of Trustees agreed today with my recommendation for a tuition rate increase for the 2019-20 academic year that will be tied directly to the level at which higher education is eventually funded by the Oregon Legislature.
We are all asked to back various causes, some of which are nearer to our hearts than others. I think it’s safe to assume we all have a soft spot for the students on our campus, so I’m hoping you will join me in supporting the Raider Week of Giving, April 29 to May 5.
We are fully committed to providing a safe environment in which you may learn and work, and we took last week’s event very seriously.
On Friday, SOU’s Board of Trustees will vote on 2018-19 tuition and fees that are being recommended by ASSOU and the administration. I am writing to make sure that you are fully informed about the tuition rates that are being proposed.
We all have reason to be especially proud today of our university and its progress – Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission unanimously approved our new mission statement and its members described our strategic planning work as “exemplary” and “energizing.”
At my annual State of the University Address a few weeks ago, I suggested to the campus that Southern Oregon University can become our state’s University for the Future. It’s an idea that has developed over the past year as SOU created a strategic plan to serve as our roadmap.
There is one important thing I want to call your attention to before Winter break begins. Last month, Ballot Measure 101 qualified for a special statewide election to be held on Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018. I hope that each and every one of you will participate in the democratic process and exercise your right to vote.