oregon state university

Strategic Plan 2015

Eighteen months in preparation, the College of Liberal Arts’ strategic plan is the result of a wide array of input from CLA faculty, staff, students and the wider university community. Our goal is a focused-metric-based action to elevate our college, and all of Oregon State University.

This plan reflects an awareness of national trends in liberal arts education; our central role in fulfilling the university’s goals; and, especially, CLA’s own identity, values, strengths and advantages. A dedicated CLA committee with representation from each of our six schools worked to finalize this plan.

We look forward to working toward these ambitious goals, and sharing our successes with university and external communities who are invested our college and Oregon State University’s future.

Lawrence Rodgers

Dean, College of Liberal Arts

Our Mission

The College of Liberal Arts is the key to transforming OSU into a prominent international research university, achieving its strategic goal of providing transformative learning experiences, and strengthening OSU’s impact in Oregon and beyond. We bring the critical methods and crucial insights of the arts, humanities, and social sciences to the enduring and contemporary issues facing our world. We prepare students for challenging careers and empower them to live lives of achievement, courage, contribution, and meaning. Our work contributes to building a more just, secure, and promising future for all.

Our Process

This strategic plan is the result of a faculty-driven process to identify and reflect the key values of the College of Liberal Arts. A task force of representatives from each CLA School analyzed input from a wide array of sources – discussion among School Directors, two faculty forums, interviews with thirty administrators across OSU, and study of strategic plans from multiple colleges and universities – to consider how CLA can build on its current strengths to help OSU become one of the Top 10 land grant institutions in America.

Our Goals


CLA will build its research profile nationally and internationally.


  • Create a new endowed faculty position for each school in the next five to 10 years.
  • Build a Center for the Arts to enhance the visibility of CLA’s creative and scholarly work at OSU and in the community.
  • Increase support for faculty development of external research proposals and creative funding opportunities.
  • Increase support for faculty to further OSU’s internationalization efforts through research partnerships and international conferences.

The Cornerstone for the Arts challenge was a first step in building up performing arts programs at Oregon State — $6 million was raised in that effort.

Megan Ward, an assistant professor in the School of Writing, Literature and Film, is one of the leaders of a worldwide digital humanities project that is using spectral imaging and processing technology to reveal some of the long-concealed words of Scottish explorer David Livingstone. Ward’s collaboration will make thousands of pages of the explorer’s notes and sketches easily available online to students, researchers and the public around the world.

Assistant Professor of Economics Todd Pugatch’s work spans the globe, with current projects focusing on youth unemployment in South Africa, the effect of Mexican immigration on labor markets in the U.S, and education reform in the Gambia. He also is a research fellow with IZA, the Institute for the Study of Labor - a private, independent research institute based in Bonn, Germany, that conducts national and international labor market research.


CLA will establish at least one nationally ranked graduate program in each school.


  • Secure increased funding for graduate fellowships and teaching assistantships.
  • Increase the number of stand-alone graduate level courses in all graduate programs.
  • Establish a dedicated CLA facilities fund for graduate research facilities.
  • Establish new graduate programs in areas that have potential for OSU distinction.

Oregon State’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program has been ranked in the top-25 M.F.A. programs nationally for the past three years.

New graduate programs created:


CLA will become a leader, at OSU and nationally, in quality undergraduate education.


  • Create a plan to guarantee the completion of a CLA degree in four years.
  • Create incentives and support for faculty to develop and implement high-impact educational practices in individual courses and as requirements for majors.
  • Engage in proactive recruitment of high achieving students and students from underrepresented groups.
  • Create additional scholarship support for undergraduate students.

In the past year, 90 undergraduates have participated in research in the School of Psychological Science. Many of these students present their work at national conferences.

Last February more than 100 College of Liberal Arts art, music, theater and new media communications majors were invited for an all-day workshop on entrepreneurship and making a career in the arts.

“We teach students them so much about art and creating art,” says associate professor of music Bob Brudvig. “But we want to teach them how to market themselves or find those resources to start their own enterprise.”

Since 2009, anthropology professor Loren Davis has led students from Oregon State and around the country to the lower Salmon River in Idaho to participate in the Cooper's Ferry Archaeology Field School. There, the students help Davis sift for clue left by ice-age hunters.


CLA will become a national leader in diversity, equity, and inclusion.


  • Integrate global learning and critical diversity into CLA curricular offerings.
  • Increase number and types of study abroad opportunities.
  • Build research and teaching collaborations with university cultural centers, international programs, and diverse regional communities.
  • Recruit, hire, and retain faculty from diverse and underrepresented communities in order to enhance the diversity of perspective at OSU.

Associate professor of philosophy Joseph Orosco wanted his students go gain perspective on the often strife-ridden relationship between Latin America and the U.S. But he also knew that creating a study abroad program to Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico (where his collaborator, Enrique Fuentes, works) would be difficult due to violence in the area. So he created a virtual experience for his students. Students in both countries watched films independently and then discussed them over Skype. “We thought film would give students a common experience,” Orosco says. “The idea was to think about the themes of peace, war, nonviolence and violence in North and Latin America in a historical way.”

In 2015, CLA received a $1 million estate gift that will go toward scholarship support for study abroad programs.

In the past three years, CLA faculty have created five new short-term study abroad programs, including to Cuba and Greece.

Four Oregon State students in liberal arts disciplines have received Fulbright Scholarships in the past 10 years. Of 25 Oregon State faculty who have received Fulbright awards in the past 10 years, 8 have been CLA faculty members.


CLA will communicate the CLA Advantage and enhance student success and career outcomes.


  • Build career counseling across CLA in the context of comprehensive advising.
  • Build a coordinated and aggressive CLA marketing and communications plan for CLA degree programs.
  • Develop high-impact alumni networks and partnerships in Oregon and beyond.

For the past two years, CLA has published the Leading Edge, a magazine that mails to nearly 30,000 CLA alumni, and demonstrates the CLA Advantage in its graduates.

More than 9 in 10 employers polled in an Association of American Colleges and Universities survey reported that they want those they hire to demonstrate ethical judgment and integrity; intercultural skills; and the capacity for continued new learning.

More than three-fourths of employers want more emphasis on: critical thinking, complex problem-solving, written and oral communication, and applied knowledge in real-world settings.