Smart Leadership for Higher Education in Difficult Times
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Smart Leadership for Higher Education in Difficult Times

Edited by David W. Breneman and Paul J. Yakoboski

As the US economy emerges from the severest recession in a generation, large questions regarding its long-term ramifications for higher education remain unanswered. In fact, the harshest effects of the economic downturn are likely ahead as campus leadership focuses on enrollment, affordability and fundraising. This volume of essays examines the challenges and opportunities for advancing higher education’s core missions of education, research and service in a resource-constrained environment.
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Chapter 6: Southern Oregon University: A Case Study for Change in the ‘New Normal’

Mary Cullinan


6. Southern Oregon University: a case study for change in the “new normal” Mary Cullinan CHALLENGES FACING US When I googled “higher education challenges” recently, 124,000,000 results popped up. During the last century, experts inside and outside of universities wrote untold numbers of articles and gave untold numbers of talks on the myriad thorny issues confronting higher education: affirmative action, new technologies, remedial education, political unrest, tenure, curricular reform, intellectual property, global competition, legal pitfalls. The list of issues is immense. However, this first decade of the twenty-first century is setting a standard for challenge that is unprecedented for higher education, and particularly for public higher education, in the United States. Among the most disturbing trends are the following: State Disinvestment Between 1980 and 2000, the share of university operating expenses paid by state tax dollars fell by 30 percent. In many states, decreases in funding for higher education have accelerated greatly since 2000, and some states now have structural financial problems that will not quickly be solved (Hurley, 2009, p. 4). In Oregon, which has never richly funded higher education, state appropriations per student dropped from $4,292 in 1989 to $3,460 in 2009–10. If you adjust figures in line with the consumer price index, the drop is to $2,009 per student in 2009–10 (Frohnmayer, 2009, p. 5). At the same time, of course, costs for universities in areas such as health care benefits and utilities continue to rise. 85 BRENEMAN PAGINATION (M2472)...

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