Oregon State University’s new president interested in growing online programs

Jayathi Murthy plans to focus on improving Oregon State University’s graduation rates, continue research, and continue to develop what is already the state’s largest university, including its online enrollment. The new university president says she has been warmly welcomed by the OSU campus community as she steps into her role as the new university president.

Murthy started Friday, with Monday as his first “public” day at work.

While many other universities and colleges in Oregon have recently seen new leadership, Murthy has a unique perspective at OSU. While enrollment has tended to decline at public universities in Oregon, and Across the countryduring the pandemic, OSU has seen growth.

During the pandemic, OSU was the only public university in Oregon to see an increase in enrollment in 2020 and 2021, according to data from the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission.

Much of this growth comes from enrollment in OSU’s “Ecampus” online programs. Last fall, the university saw a 14% increase in student enrollment on campus online.

“For us, we take both parts of our enrollment image very seriously,” Murthy said of the university’s in-person and online students. “Certainly our footprint on campus is really large, but there is growing interest in our Ecampus operation, which is truly unique, one of a kind.”

Jayathi Y. Murthy, 16th president of Oregon State University.

Oregon State University

According to the university, Ecampus serves more than 12,800 students from all 50 states and more than 60 countries. It offers over 100 degrees and programs as well as online student services and student success coaching.

In-state students who take a full semester of in-person classes pay slightly less than those who take an Ecampus semester. According to OSU, 15 credits for new Ecampus students this fall term is $5,190. For in-state in-person students, 15 credits cost approximately $4,400.

According to OSU, students enrolled in Ecampus must pay a “distance learning fee” of $93 per credit hour. Officials say this helps defray the additional costs of developing and delivering the online courses, which are taught by Oregon State faculty members. However, OSU notes that online students do not have to pay any other fees than on-campus students.

There is no difference in tuition for in-state and out-of-state students taking Ecampus courses, so out-of-state students pay significantly less for courses online than to attend in person. For new non-resident students this fall, taking 15 credits on campus is about $11,700 per term, more than double what it would cost online.

“Through Ecampus, we can serve non-traditional student classes – sometimes working parents, people who are looking for a different path in their careers – and those are significant populations, so I see us investing quite heavily in our operations. on campus and Ecampus,” Murthy said on Monday.

Murthy comes to OSU from the University of California, Los Angeles where she was the first female Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science. She was also a professor in the Department of Mechanics and Aerospace at UCLA. She is the first-ever woman of color to lead Oregon’s largest public university.

Asked about her vision and goals for the future of OSU, Murthy said the focus will be on student success.

“I think that the student is at the heart of our operation. That’s why we’re here,” Murthy said. “I would like to focus on increasing our graduation rates and ensuring our students have a wonderful experience, but [also] great success and placement in the future.

The six-year graduation rate for students who entered OSU as freshmen in 2015 was about 68%, according to university data. This is slightly above the graduation rate for public universities in Oregon as a whole. According to the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission, the most recent six-year graduation rate was about 67% for in-state students and about 65% for US students. out of state.

Murthy also spoke enthusiastically about Oregon State’s pursuit of research and its commitment to equity and inclusion.

Murthy takes the place of former permanent head of OSU, F. King Alexander. Alexander resigned last year amid criticism over mishandled sexual misconduct allegations at his last university.

Rebecca “Becky” Johnson filled the void between Alexander and Murthy as the university’s interim president. She retired last week after a 37-year career at OSU.

Karen O. Fielding