Alyssa Sutton

Eastern Oregon University announced last week that it has met all fiscal and performance stability conditions set by the former State Board of Education, meeting the unanimous approval of the state’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission.

The HECC reported to Gov. Kate Brown and state leaders that three years of reporting, analysis and monitoring concluded that EOU has demonstrated fiscal stability and clarity of mission required for future success.

According to an Eastern press release, over the past several years the university’s president and Board of Trustees focused on developing the university’s long-term sustainability.

“This is great for Eastern moving forward,” Tim Seydel, vice president of university advancement, told The Observer. “This goes to show the importance of a local board.”

“Our board is dedicated to the current and future success of this institution,” David Nelson, chair of the Board of Trustees, said in the press release. “Our discussions, and our decisions, are driven by the board’s interest in providing the best education possible for our students as Oregon’s Rural University.”

The conditions were set for Eastern and Southern Oregon universities due to longstanding concerns about the fragility of the universities. In 2014 the State Board of Education and the governor agreed to a specific set of conditions and a timeframe for meeting them.

About this time EOU President Tom Insko took the helm and the current Board of Trustees was formed.

EOU was required to establish an institutional board that focused on financial sustainability, clarified and strengthened the mission of the university and provided a long-term financial viability pathway. The university also had to meet the state’s 40-40-20 goal –– a goal that aims for 40 percent of Oregonians to have a baccalaureate degree or higher, for 40 percent to have an associate’s degree or certificate, and for the remaining 20 percent to have at least a high school diploma by 2025 –– while also aligning with regional economic development needs.

Eastern formulated Ascent 2029 –– a strategic enrollment plan –– and fostered their relationships with other public universities, maintained and strengthened their 16 regional centers and successfully designated Eastern as Oregon’s “Rural University.” Additionally, the College of Arts and Sciences was restructured to align with required goals, and faculty load and course size are regularly monitored.

See complete story in Friday's Observer