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TOL Hosts Special Event on Higher Education

What does the future hold for Oregon’s public university system?

Next week Think Out Loud hosts a special event at Portland State University. University presidents from the U of O, OSU, PSU, and Eastern Oregon University will be joining us to discuss the state of higher education in Oregon. Our event is timed to a gathering of university presidents from across the state who will meet to prepare their agendas for the 2009 legislative session beginning January 13. Top of mind, as usual — but especially during this recession — is funding.

There are many ways for you to participate.

First, you are invited to join us in the Smith Memorial Student Union Ballroom at PSU on Wednesday January 7th from 7 to 9 pm to participate in this free event. The doors open at 6 pm and seating is first-come, first-seated. We would love for you to join us — and no rsvp required!

Or you can tune in next Thursday and Friday mornings, at our regular 9 am, when these two hours of programming will air. (The first on Thursday, the second on Friday.)

And, as always, you can kickstart the conversation online. The two-hour live event will turn into two shows. Part One (to air on Thursday at 9 am) will deal with money. What’s the solution to funding higher education in Oregon? How does the recession impact that funding? Is this an opportunity to change the model by which higher education is funded in the state? How much should families pay for public education? How much should the state pay?

Part Two (to air on Friday at 9 am) will look at the academic experience of going to university today. How do Oregon universities need to change in order to prepare a globally competitive workforce for the future? Is that even their mandate? If not, then what is? Should universities respond to public demand for courses (like workforce training, perhaps?) or should they be ahead of the curve, trying to establish what this state needs for the future?

We’re exploring the state of higher education in Oregon and we’d love your perspective — as a student, graduate, parent, professor, administrator or community member; whether you’re involved with a public or private university, a college or a high school; if you rely on graduates, or if you’re considering going back to school — what are your thoughts on the funding and experience of higher education in this state?

UPDATE 1/16/09: We didn’t get much into private higher ed in this show, although Paul Marthers, Dean of Admission at Reed College made it clear the drop in endowments are hitting hard. More on private colleges in Oregon today in this column by M. Lee Pelton, the president of Willamette University.

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