OSU-Cascades serves Central Oregon

Vision, Mission, Ethos


Oregon State University-Cascades will be a high quality, comprehensive four-year university and major contributor to the vitality of the unique Central Oregon community and environment. It will be a destination of choice for students, faculty, and staff seeking teaching and research excellence within a dynamic, inclusive and student-centered campus community.

OSU-Cascades is a Destination of Choice.


As a campus of Oregon’s leading public research university, OSU-Cascades provides globally-relevant education, research and outreach. Our students develop the knowledge and critical thinking ability to lead informed lives, serve their communities and enhance their careers. OSU-Cascades is committed to the diversity and sustainability of the campus and  surrounding communities.


The guiding vision of OSU-Cascades is to contribute significantly to the intellectual, cultural, ecological, social and economic vitality of Central Oregon. To achieve that goal, the OSU-Cascades community will strive to model principles and practices of a thriving, equitable and sustainable society. A culture of learning and exploration provides significant rewards to its members; those rewards are best achieved when all community members (faculty, staff, administrators, students, and Advocacy and Advisory Board) strive to honor the following principles:

  1. Respect the dignity and uniqueness of individuals. This principle applies to a diversity of cultures, belief systems, academic ranks and academic/professional disciplines;
  2. Aspire to excellence and integrity in every endeavor;
  3. Consider current and future generations in every deliberation;
  4. Demonstrate leadership in service to community.

Importance of OSU-Cascades to Central Oregon

Since 2001, OSU-Cascades in Bend has delivered the excellence of Oregon State University to Central Oregon, increasingly meeting the challenges of the region’s educational, research, cultural and economic needs. 

OSU-Cascades is Oregon’s fastest-growing public university campus, and has been since 2011. Its responsibility is to provide access to higher education to serve the communities of the region, and to advance knowledge to address complex local and global issues. In addition to serving the state’s education goals, OSU-Cascades is first and foremost a regionally-serving university. 

Central Oregon, which is comprised of Crook, Deschutes, and Jefferson counties, is the fastest growing region in the state. The 2016 tri-county population exceeded 220,000, and is expected to grow to 260,000 by 2030.  Central Oregon K-12 enrollment has grown by twenty-five percent since 2001, including Bend/La Pine which has grown by thirty-eight percent.  Over the same time period, all of Oregon K-12 enrollment only grew by six percent.   

However, in spite of the growth, this largely rural region is not meeting its education needs quickly enough.  The graduates of Central Oregon high schools have been underserved in access to university education.  In a 2016 American Council on Education study, Central Oregon was described as an Education Desert.  The region lags behind the rest of Oregon in higher educational attainment, and the gap in rural Crook and Jefferson counties is significant. The study shows most freshmen who attend a public university do so within 50 miles of home, so OSU-Cascades is critical for serving Central Oregon’s families. Importantly, the research also shows that first generation, low-income, minority and rural students are less likely to go to college at all without nearby access. 

During the Great Recession from 2008 to 2010, Central Oregon lost a significant number of jobs, especially in the cyclical real estate and construction sectors. Seasonally-adjusted unemployment rates were far worse in Central Oregon counties as compared to the rest of the state and the nation. These distressed counties have taken longer to recover, and more than five years later parts of Central Oregon fall behind much of the state. As a critical resource in the region’s economic ecosystem, OSU-Cascades will play a key role by developing infrastructure and programs that will strive to promote regional economic health and stability, and by providing skilled workers in traditional and new industries such as high-tech, bioscience, healthcare, and advanced manufacturing.

To deliver on the regionally-serving promise, OSU-Cascades must offer destination of choice academic programs and nationally/internationally profound research.

OSU-Cascades is critical to Central Oregon and the State.

Goals and Strategies

OSU-Cascades’ goals are aligned with the goals of OSU Strategic Plan 3.0. In addition, OSU-Cascades has a goal to build out the campus to serve the educational needs of Central Oregon.

Goal 1: Envision, design, and build a campus serving Central Oregon and beyond.

  • Launch new academic programs that support regional need, build on COCC offerings, are attractive to students, and prepare students to contribute wherever they choose to work.
  • Establish a residential campus that embraces sustainability and resilience, health and wellness, and innovation and creativity.
  • Leverage the built and natural environments as living laboratories.
  • Knit the campus into the fabric of the community.
  • Create a collaborative and inclusive culture that values diversity.

Goal 2: Provide a transformational educational experience for all learners.

  • Implement a progressive educational experience that is built upon a foundation of both knowledge and skills that are systematically applied to real life problems.
  • Ensure 100% of students engage in a high-impact learning experience, such as study abroad, internships, undergraduate research, service learning, or leadership.
  • Implement cutting edge pedagogy that addresses all learning styles.
  • Create an integrated student support environment that raises and equalizes retention and success of all learners.

Goal 3: Demonstrate leadership in research, scholarship, and creativity while enhancing preeminence in OSU-Cascades’ three signature areas of distinction: innovation and creativity, health and wellness, and sustainability and resilience.

  • Increase undergraduate engagement in scholarship that supports faculty research agendas.
  • Leverage the interdisciplinary culture to foster innovative research partnerships.
  • Strengthen and expand regional, national and international partnerships to advance research opportunities that address real-world issues.
  • Broaden internal support for faculty research and scholarship.

Goal 4: Strengthen impact and reach throughout Oregon and beyond.

  • Enhance partnerships with businesses, non-profits, school districts, higher education and government entities that support the region’s priorities.
  • Empower OSU alumni and OSU-Cascades students, faculty, staff, and alumni to be engaged citizens in Central Oregon to transform knowledge into action for the benefit of communities.
  • Enrich the intellectual and cultural vitality of the region through programming and events.
  • Provide public, multi-use spaces to enhance collaboration with community partners, with attention to cultural and intellectual value.

Signature Areas of Distinction

OSU-Cascades’ strategic plan reaffirms our commitment to three signature areas that draw from disciplines across the university and integrate research, engagement and teaching. The role of land grant universities in the 21st century will evolve from a primary focus of providing information to individual stakeholders for private consumption to include a broader focus of informing society as a whole. This broader focus will inform decisions and policies that will lead to responsible stewardship of environmental and social systems, locally and globally. The university’s long-standing connections with communities and institutions beyond campus borders enhance our ability to communicate our discovery and research.

  1. Innovation and Creativity
    • OSU-Cascades embraces innovation, creativity and critical thinking as essential to life success in a world where change is the only constant. OSU-Cascades will build upon an entrepreneurial culture, lead with cross-disciplinary thinking, and generate new ideas that ultimately result in discovery and solve contemporary world problems.
    • OSU-Cascades will become a conduit for the creative arts in Central Oregon, setting a high-quality standard and embracing artistic risk-taking. The university will elevate the regional arts conversation.
  2. Health and Wellness
    • The OSU-Cascades community promotes and embodies wellness. The campus, curricula, and culture empower and inspire us to make choices that facilitate our own health, and contribute to the collective well-being of our community. The campus is regarded as an innovator in human health and wellness through interdisciplinary research and programming, in collaboration with local, national and international partners.  Students and staff leave campus healthier than when they arrive.              
  3. Sustainability and Resilience
    • OSU-Cascades will demonstrate an unwavering commitment to shaping a future that is socially, economically and ecologically sustainable and resilientThe campus will build sustainability and resiliency into our academic programs, internal operating procedures, built environment, and culture.

Essential Pillars of Support

Oregon State University System

As a part of Oregon State University, OSU-Cascades students, faculty, staff and adminstration are bolstered by a network of OSU shared services and resources. 

We will:

  • Maintain OSU’s high quality standard for academic degree programs, while launching regionally-relevant academic programs;
  • Foster collaboration with colleagues across OSU to achieve excellence in teaching, research, scholarship, and outreach;
  • Develop a sub-brand of Oregon State University that contributes to the the preeminence of the master brand;
  • Achieve financial efficiencies by leveraging OSU shared services and talent.

Campus Environment as a Strategic Asset

OSU-Cascades has a rare opportunity to design, develop and build a Central Oregon campus that reflects the values and culture of our region, while demonstrating best practices for university design. 

We will:

  • Build a net-zero energy and water campus;
  • Create accessible and welcoming spaces for all populations;
  • Design for flexible use of spaces to allow for pedagogical and programming evolution;
  • Select building materials that are sustainable, durable and support local economies.


OSU-Cascades sees diversity as a strength, a competitive advantage and a moral imperative. We want to shape the culture and the workforce of the university to be more reflective of the pluralistic world our students encounter. We have an obligation to prepare our students for success in a diverse world. They need the capacity to become engaged citizens that promote diversity and contribute to local and international communities. 

We will:

  • Develop students who will be able to address longstanding and persistent issues and challenges related equity and inclusion;
  • Foster a campus environment that is inclusive and accessible to students, faculty, staff and administration.

Stewardship of Resources

We must ensure that all budget and finance, physical infrastructure and private philanthropy resources entrusted to the university are used effectively, efficiently, transparently and in a socially responsible manner. We will leverage private giving for OSU-Cascades to advance the university’s excellence in signature areas and in service to our students.

We will:

  • Build highly efficient spaces that maximize utilization;
  • Maximize energy and water efficiency to reduce long term cost of operations;
  • Act as a good neighbor, acknowledging and addressing our impacts on and near the campus;
  • Seek operational efficiencies.

Downloadable PDFs

2018 Strategic Plan

2008 Strategic Plan

2006 Strategic Plan