As an alum of all three of Oregon's major universities (and then some), I can tell you, in my opinion, of the direction each needs to take in order to better fulfill its mission.
Oregon State is doing a fine job and is going in the right direction as Oregon's Town & Country A&M. Improvements there need to be made in terms of cultural expression to overcome the vapid banality of many of its student population. There is also a neo-arrogance that has cropped up among the students that is most unappealing and unwarranted, and the university continues on its policy of gouging its own students. The problem at that campus is mostly an under-developed lack of social humanity and expression of the arts. The OSU administrators at the time of the university's enrollment nadir have only themselves to blame for creating this cultural monster. Technically efficient, yes, but at the cost of a Pyrrhic victory. The current adminstrators need to overcome this negative culture in favor of one more humane and uplifting.
University of Oregon has its athletics programs to counter its culture of "anti-discipline." There are quite a few students who swim upstream against this negative influence, but they are in the distinct minority. The default is to skim your studies and live the lifestyle of an overly-politicized bygone hippie. Pity the serious student who is viewed as a freak, albeit it keeps them humble. But to live in submission to a toxic culture -- ugh! Though he barely scratches the surface, here are some choice words from a UO English major as to why he hates the University of Oregon: http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~ocomment/o ... _99_7.html IMO, the UO is "unbalanced" and needs to undergo "intervention" -- a tender or hostile takeover and have the remnants of its once-vapid society eradicated from the earth. I would thrill to see Nike take it over, privatize it and transform it into a truly honorable institution like Stanford.
Portland State is Oregon's best hope for a quality public higher education experience in this state. It has the opportunity to pick and choose what works at Oregon and Oregon State and leave the leftovers to fester in Corvallis and Eugene. Size is not enough. PSU cannot warrant leadership based on size alone. OSU has already claimed they are now the largest university due in large measure to their ecampus enrollment. No, what PSU needs is political strength and teeth. And it can gain these in and through partnership and then merger with OHSU & OGI. The hybrid university would need to be renamed and "Oregon" would need to be in its name. Names and their associated images are highly important when it comes to private and corporate investment in higher education. And it is in the city, where culture is supposed to reach its highest expression, where Oregon's best public university can be created.
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