The Western Oregon University Board of Trustees on Wednesday approved the proposed fiscal year 2022 budget and moved forward on the addition of a new degree program in data analytics. The meeting also included an extensive presentation from Interim President Jay Kenton about increasing enrollment at WOU.
The proposed FY22 Budget was updated based on actual fall enrollment and projected winter and spring enrollment. It includes a $3 million personnel reimbursement from the American Rescue Plan and includes additional investments in efforts to boost enrollment in upcoming years. The budget does not include pay increases (with exception for steps for classified staff and promotional increases for faculty). Currently, Education and General fund has a net budget deficit of $2.241 million.
“Declining enrollments present challenges to the university that we are tackling. On a positive note, we have seen an increase in the number of students living on campus, and our applications for 2022 are rebounding,” said Vice President of Finance and Administration Ana Karaman.
The board also approved a proposal to create a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Applied Science in Data Analytics, a program that received Faculty Senate approval in June 2020. The proposal now moves to the Higher Education Coordinating Commission for consideration. The program is anticipated to begin fall 2022.
“The data analytics program will serve a growing need for data analysts in our region and makes great use of our outstanding faculty in computer science, math and information systems,” said Provost Rob Winningham. “WOU is dedicated to evolving our academic offerings to meet the needs of Oregon and beyond.”
“Careers in this field pay well and are highly ranked for satisfaction. We are excited to open this career path for WOU students,” said Breeann Flesch, chair of the Computer Science Division.
Also, during the meeting, the board:
- Heard enrollment update from Kenton.
- Heard from ASWOU leadership about efforts to support campus community members with mental health information. Members are also discussed the role they play in recruitment and retention of WOU students.
- Engaged in conversation about presidential characteristics and traits with Anthem Executive, the search firm retained to assist the board and the university in its presidential search. The conversation will assist Anthem in drafting the Search Prospectus, which the board will approve prior to its use in the search.