18 Responses to Why Oregon State is not Oregon’s flagship research university:

  1. Fishwrapper says:

    Can’t be a flagship without cutting instructors and buying a spiffy police department…


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  2. uograd says:

    Let’s see. OSU has a larger enrollment than the UO and students are voting with their feet as its enrollment is increasing while UO’s is decreasing. According to the NSF it attracts nearly three times the total and two times the federal R&D support. Moreover, it has had an outstanding president in Ed Ray for a number of years while the UO has had a revolving door. UO is “the flagship” only in the ego centric minds of its faculty and administrators. Everyone else with any knowledge of the comparison between the two universities knows it just isn’t true. As a two-degree recipient from the UO with a Ph.D. from one of our country’s premier research universities the decline of the UO in comparison to OSU doesn’t please me, but the facts speak louder than biased rhetoric.

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    • But snakes! says:


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    • honest Uncle Bernie says:

      I hear you, and to some extent I share your views/concerns.

      However, the on-campus enrollment of the two schools is about the same. 75% of the Corvallis enrollment is in-state, compared to about 50% in Eugene. Do you think that having a more local student body makes OSU better? Furthermore, UO still leads slightly in SAT scores, despite being deprived of engineering students, with their high SAT math scores.

      OSU does have much more research funding, but only because it is allowed to have applied programs like engineering, agriculture, oceanography that are simply denied to UO. When you compare programs in which there is actually overlap, like the natural sciences, UO is far ahead.

      I would also note that in rankings of Ph.D. programs in which both schools are represented, UO is almost universally ahead. Do you know of programs in which OSU has gained on UO in such rankings?

      In sum, has there really been a decline of UO relative to OSU? Maybe, but I’m not so sure.

      If OSU has pulled farther ahead of UO in research funding, that probably simply reflects the shift in emphasis in the U.S. from “pure” to “applied” research. And, of course, the fact, to repeat, that UO simply has not been allowed to participate in many applied programs.

      I happen to think that it’s a great misfortune that UO does not have engineering, while OSU does. The latter is probably no better than the top 75-100 in the country. Is that really a mark of distinction for OSU?

      Perhaps the new Knight campus will help UO make up for its lack of applied science and engineering.

      To make UO indubitably the flagship, it would take a comparable effort, or more, to bring the “old” campus to a more distinguished level.

      Is anybody among the trustees or donor base thinking about this?

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      • Sherlock says:

        The UO Law school ranks 86 (https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/law-rankings/page+4). Is that really a mark of distinction for the UO? One could go around and around saying this UO program is better than OSU’s program and vice versa. but to me, Oregon’s flagship university is the one that best educates and is most accessible to its residents. Both of us are public universities, after all. AAU be damned.

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        • honest Uncle Bernie says:

          No, it’s not a mark of distinction, it’s pretty widely acknowledged to be a matter of concern. I’ve said so myself here in this august forum. I would never claim that the UO law school is an emblem of superiority.

          I would however claim that UO does have some pretty estimable programs in other fields.

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  3. eric charnov says:

    It must be a ‘slow athletic scandal ‘ day, so UOM got bored and lobed this post…for the hell of it. Of course the snake picture is real cute; it is the lead picture on Bob Mason’s website; he does VERY interesting/cool science at the interface of ecology, evolution and physiology; check it out: http://masonlab.science.oregonstate.edu/

    The particular study in the news-release is a long term field study of the cost of reproduction in males, using snakes, and employs some sophisticated measurements. this is a question of fundamental importance in evolutionary ecology. Not applied ecology.
    OSU is much stronger than UO in basic ecology, but such comparisons don’t matter [ UO is much stronger in Molecular Biology and neuroscience]. These comparisons may be an amusing parlor game, modeled after athletic comparisons, but wont help UO become stronger in scholarship.
    Your new research VP, David Conover is a world class evolutionary ecologist, who also does reproductive ecology; hires like him are whatreally matter.
    And much of what Bernie says is true.

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  4. English81 says:

    I never have quite understood the notion that UO is not “allowed” to have applied programs such as engineering. Here in Washington, WSU was not “allowed” to have a medical school until one day, after a successful legislative campaign, it was. Nothing is set in stone.

    If UO’s forward progress is hindered by policies established a generation ago, then it should work to change those policies. UO’s competitive standing is clearly hurt by inability to offer popular programs available at every other Pac12 university.

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    • honest Uncle Bernie says:

      I agree! I’ve said for years that UO should be much more assertive.

      I keep hearing (and seeing in the press) that in recruiting Oregon students OSU bills itself as “the science school” and “the research school” and “the statewide campus.” Whilst UO is very reluctant to toot its horn about academic prowess, so I hear, I hope that’s wrong.

      That said, I think UO would have had a very tough time getting permission, let alone funding, for engineering. The only thing that would have worked would have been if some big donor had come up with a bundle of money.

      And we have the Knight campus coming. And now we need the right people to come together with a vision and the means for the whole campus.

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      • dude says:

        That’s why UO should focus on the future of engineering, such as Comp Science, data science, software engineering, machine learning.

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        • dog says:

          focus needs to be on contributions to real world issues

          -yes data science is one
          -bio medical devices
          -materials for energy story
          -global justice in a consumption driven world

          is a short list
          but everyone gets to make up their own list here

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      • Eugenenative says:

        “…UO is reluctant to toot its own horn..”

        Doesn’t sound like the UO I know.

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    • dog says:

      This is largely a hold over when UO was a member of the
      Oregon University System and before that OSSHE (Oregon
      State System of Higher Education) – under those auspices we were not allowed to have an engineering program but
      those auspices are legacy now, so perhaps the future can change.

      However, many on our campus have voiced that “applied programs” = “vo tech” = not allowed at liberal arts
      places. This, of course, is bullshit, but we don’t seem flexible or agile here …

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      • UO Observer says:

        Last time I checked UO only provides a Liberal Arts education to a select few.

        I wish Banavar the best of luck in his efforts to modernize UO.

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  5. Fishwrapper says:

    It is worth noting, too, that Robert Mason, the researcher referenced, is OSU’s Faculty Senate President.

    A little collegial log rolling, perhaps? I’ll have to watch Bob’s blog for the latest in neuroeconomics research…

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  6. UofOGrad says:

    The knight campus will become its own brand and the UO connection will slowly fade as phil gets what he wants: a natty (maybe someday) and his own university. He has never forgotten that UO faculty said bad things about him.

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  7. Moonman says:

    What a cheap shot. If it makes you feel good, knock yourself out.

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