University presidents hire Courtney aide to run new ‘council of presidents’

and lobby the legislature. Is the lobbying going to focus on more state funding, or on even less state control? It’s unlikely it will be about how to rationalize the system for redistributing what little state funding there is, given the competing interests of the universities. Andrew Theen has the story in the Oregonian here. A snippet:

But Les Ruark, a Gilliam County farmer, asked a state lawmaker to look into whether the council is subject to meeting and records laws. Rep. John Huffman, (R-The Dalles), asked the state’s Legislative Counsel to offer its nonbinding opinion on whether the council is exempt from the laws.

In an opinion authored July 1, the state lawyers said the council is “probably subject to disclosure under the public records law,” but likely does not meet public meetings law because it was “created informally” and not through a government action.

But it’s no secret that the presidents aren’t happy with the HECC. Here is Theen reporting on that in May:

Not everything, though, is hunky dory in the new world order.

Wiewel, Ray and others said they’re concerned the statewide HECC board is being too aggressive in trying to regulate and oversee the universities.

“We’re already being monitored six ways from Sunday,” Wiewel said of national accrediting bodies. He said HECC’s university surveys released this year went too far.

Ray said he’s been “the biggest mouth” worrying that HECC is morphing into a new version of the university systems.

Cannon said he would “push back very, very hard against that perception.”

The old system had a staff of 200 at its peak, Cannon said, while HECC has six full-time staffers focused on the public universities.

State HECC to examine whether UO Board is transparent and accountable?

6/23/2015 update:

Oregon Law says:

PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES WITH A GOVERNING BOARD

      352.025 Legislative findings. (1) The Legislative Assembly finds that the State of Oregon will benefit from having public universities with governing boards that:

(a) Provide transparency, public accountability and support for the university.
(b) Are close to and closely focused on the individual university.
(c) Do not negatively impact public universities that do not have governing boards.
(d) Lead to greater access and affordability for Oregon residents and do not disadvantage Oregon students relative to out-of-state students.
(e) Act in the best interests of both the university and the State of Oregon as a whole.
(f) Promote the academic success of students in support of the mission of all education beyond high school as described in ORS 351.009.
(2) The Legislative Assembly also finds that:
(a) Even with universities with governing boards, there are economy-of-scale benefits to having a coordinated university system.
(b) Even with universities with governing boards, shared services may continue to be shared among universities.
(c) Legal title to all real property, whether acquired before or after the creation of a governing board, through state funding, revenue bonds or philanthropy, shall be taken and held in the name of the State of Oregon, acting by and through the governing board.
(d) The Legislative Assembly has a responsibility to monitor the success of governing boards at fulfilling their missions, their compacts and the principles stated in this section. [2013 c.768 §1]

The Legislature has passed that responsibility to the HECC. Executive Director Ben Cannon’s proposal for this is here, well worth reading it all:

Workgroup recommendations will be advisory to the Executive Director. HECC staff will make a
final recommendation to the Commission for an evaluation framework in summer, 2015. The
Commission-adopted framework will be employed in Fall 2015 for evaluations of the three
institutions whose boards assumed governance responsibility July 1, 2014 (UO, OSU, and PSU). All
seven public institutions will be evaluated annually using the framework starting in Fall 2016.

The work group will convene January 2015 – June 2015 and will use the following legislative
guidance to frame its work and outcomes:

ORS 352.061(2) stipulates that the HECC’s evaluations of universities must include:
 A report on the university’s achievement of outcomes, measures of progress, goals and
targets as described in the university’s achievement compact with the Oregon Education
Investment Board;
 An assessment of the university’s progress toward achieving the mission of all education
beyond high school as described in ORS 351.009 (the 40-40-20 goal); and
 An assessment as to how well the establishment of a governing board at the university
comports with the findings set forth in ORS 352.025.

ORS 352.061(2)(c) also requires that the HECC assess university governing boards against the
findings set forth in ORS 352.025, including that governing boards:

 Provide transparency, public accountability and support for the university.
 Are close to and closely focused on the individual university.
 Do not negatively impact public universities that do not have governing boards.
 Lead to greater access and affordability for Oregon residents and do not disadvantage
Oregon students relative to out-of-state students.
 Act in the best interests of both the university and the State of Oregon as a whole.
 Promote the academic success of students in support of the mission of all education beyond
high school as described in ORS 351.009 (the 40-40-20 goal).
ORS 352.025 notes four additional Legislative findings:
 Even with universities with governing boards, there are economy-of-scale benefits to having
a coordinated university system.
 Even with universities with governing boards, shared services may continue to be shared
among universities.
 Legal title to all real property, whether acquired before or after the creation of a governing
board, through state funding, revenue bonds or philanthropy, shall be taken and held in the
name of the State of Oregon, acting by and through the governing board.
 The Legislative Assembly has a responsibility to monitor the success of governing boards at
fulfilling their missions, their compacts and the principles stated in this section.

The HECC has now released its workplan, here:

10.0 a. University Evaluation Staff Summary
10.0 b. University Evaluation  and Academic Quality Framework
11.0 Informational Series: Workforce Training Programs in Oregon

 

HB3120 makes HECC boss of UO, guts OUS

Legislative website on the bill hereBetsy Hammond has the story in the Oregonian:

If the Legislature approves the bill, this year will be the last that lawmakers get to decide how much money goes to the four-year universities, how much to community colleges and how much to financial aid. Under the plan, the Legislature would make a single allocation to higher education, and the HECC would decide how to divvy it up.

UO’s new Board of Boosters will report directly to the HECC, which will be responsible for approving tuition increases above 5%, and will have control of degree programs and “university governance.” The board will supervise all of Oregon’s universities and community colleges and financial aid. If I’m reading the current draft correctly, it will have just one faculty member on it. 4/14/2013.