BY KIM MOORE
A conversation about higher education with the presidents of the University of Oregon and Clackamas Community College, followed by September's powerlist.
BY KIM MOORE
Outgoing president of the University of Oregon
Oregon Business: You recently were appointed an independent governing board. What effect do you expect the new board will have on university operations?
MG: The public board statute in Oregon is the best in the country. It provides a lot of autonomy and authority to the governing board of the higher-education institution. It is no longer a state agency. The governing board can set fees and actually establish the budget; it can borrow money and build projects. The key also is that the trustees of the institution will be advocates for the institution in every sense of the term.
OB: Who are the new members of the independent governing board?
MG: We have members who spent much of their careers in the private sector, such as our chair Chuck Lillis. Ten of our 14 members are alums of the university from various schools. We have one member from a high-level executive decision-making [position] in the public sector — Ross Kari, who was an executive with Freddie Mac. We have a prominent journalist, Ann Curry; we have a faculty member; a classified staff member; we have individuals who run private businesses themselves, such as Andrew Colas of Colas Construction in Portland.
OB: Why such a focus on appointing business sector representatives to the governing board?
MG: We are looking forward to the insights and skills of people from the business sector in managerial issues, in construction issues and in operational efficiencies. We would like advice and insight into how we can be as efficient and effective as possible, so that as much of our revenue as possible can be spent directly on the students and our educational and research programs.
OB: How will the new independent governing board address the problem of escalating tuition fees?
MG: If you look at our expenditures at the University of Oregon over the past seven or eight years, they have not really increased by more than inflation. What has happened is that there has been a shift in who pays the costs to the students and their families. We are very concerned about that. This brings us to other sources of revenue we can generate in addition to student and public dollars. We look forward to our board working with us to develop philanthropic strategies, as well as efficiencies we can generate in our operations.
OB: Where does online education fit into University of Oregon’s strategic plan?
MG: Some classes are completely online here, others are largely so. Nearly every class has some component of what might be thought of as online education. Because of the way information is provided and students learn, there is a big transformation in every discipline about the use of online education — Internet, chat rooms — how students interact with each other and how they interact with the professor. We are ensuring our students are as connected as possible with the online world, and that our faculty takes their educational tools and exports those all over the world.