Welcome to the 2019-20 academic year.
OSU was founded more than 150 years ago to serve Oregon, the nation and the world by providing access to a high-quality education and economic opportunity for all people.
I believe our graduates represent OSU’s greatest contribution to society. Yet, we only achieve this contribution through the dedication and efforts of the excellent faculty and staff who work with and support students in
many important ways.
At OSU, advancing student success is a top priority. We are building our capacity to help you succeed as a student in numerous ways: from the Undergraduate Student Success Initiative to significantly increase student retention and graduation rates for all students; to efforts to address food insecurity and support mental health wellness among students; to efforts to grow financial aid for students with need; and programs to support an increasing number of students who arrive at OSU having transferred from a community college or another university.
We all have a role in student success. Here are a few ways you can be involved:
If you are a student, become involved both inside and outside the classroom in programs, internships and activities that interest you. If you see another student struggling or thinking about leaving OSU, see if you can help. If you are struggling, talk to a faculty or staff member.
If you are a faculty member, engage in conversations with new freshmen or transfer students. Encourage their success by sharing that you are here to help them succeed.
If you are a dean or department head, lend your enthusiastic support for the
Student Success Initiative.
If you are an administrator or staff member, be that person that a student can count on for help and encouragement.
As a community, OSU also is committed to its values of inclusivity and social justice, almost 25% of our students self-identify as students of color. Together, I am confident that we can advance Oregon State’s culture of being
a caring community.
For example, with suicide representing the second most common cause of death among college students nationally, we must support students in new and more effective ways. This year, we will implement a new online training program for faculty and staff called Kognito to learn how to have more supportive conversations with students who are experiencing mental health difficulties and help to refer them to the appropriate campus resources.
As well, over the summer, colleagues have worked to improve services to address student food insecurity. Additionally, we continue to seek ways to ease the financial burden of higher education faced by students and their families. For example, since fall 2017, OSU has awarded over $145,000 in micro grants to 162 seniors. These grants have allowed students with high financial need to remain enrolled and continue working toward graduation. By some comparisons, we are ahead of national norms. For example, students who entered OSU as true freshmen -- and who graduated last June -- had an average debt of $22,000 compared to a national average of $29,000. And 46.5% of those graduates had no debt at all compared to a national average of 34%.
Looking ahead, OSU has a unique opportunity to transform lives both inside and beyond the classroom. I ask each of you to join me in expanding the already impressive culture of caring within the Oregon State community.
I am confident that, working together, the best is yet to come at Oregon State University.
Oregon State University