Hybrid model still alive for Eastern Oregon, other schools
The hybrid model is still alive as a governance option for Eastern Oregon University and the three other regional and technical state universities in Oregon.
EOU President Bob Davies is making this point clear following the announcement on Thursday that Western Oregon University President Mark Weiss will request an institutional board for WOU.
Outsiders might interpret this news that Weiss is not interested in having WOU be part of the hybrid model and continuing to work with Eastern, Southern Oregon University and Oregon Institute of Technology on developing a new form of governance necessitated by legislation passed last summer.
Davies believes that nothing could be further from the truth.
“President Weiss has conveyed and communicated to me and the other presidents of the (technical and regional universities) that he remains committed to the hybrid approach,” Davies said, referring to correspondence with Weiss after his announcement.
The hybrid model calls for EOU, WOU, Southern Oregon University and Oregon Institute of Technology to each have their own institutional boards and a presidents’ council. The council would be comprised of the presidents of all four universities and their staffs. The council members would work collectively to help the four universities share resources and information and purchase services in a cost-effective manner. The four universities, for example, could save thousands of dollars by pooling resources to pay for legal and payroll services.
Davies said that he is close to giving his support to the hybrid option.
“I am leaning strongly toward the hybrid model,” the EOU president said.
The hybrid model would allow EOU university to have its own institutional board, allowing Eastern to keep the programs which make it distinctive, Davies said. He said this includes the Eastern Promise, which enables high school students to earn EOU credits while taking classes at their high school.
Consortium board low unlikely
The announcement by Weiss that Western will seek its own institutional board greatly reduces the possibility of a consortium board governing two or more of the four regional universities being created.
“(The announcement by Weiss) weakens the prospect for the consortium model,” Davies said.
A consortium board without WOU would have much less influence, Davies said. A board representing all four regional and technical universities would oversee about 21,000 students. A board governing the three remaining schools would represent 15,000 students.
Governance options are being mulled at the four regional and technical universities following the passage of Senate Bill 270 by the Legislature last July. The bill allowed the state’s three largest universities — Oregon State University, the University of Oregon and Portland State University to break from the Oregon Board of Higher Education and operate independently while being governed by their own institutional boards.
The bill also opened the door to the possibility of EOU, WOU, SOU and OIT having their own institutional boards, being part of a consortium board or being branch campuses of either of the three largest universities.