Repeal of OSBHE Policy on Instructional Categories of "Liberal Arts, Professional, Pre-Profession, & Technical Education" (Bonine #499)

Date of Notice: 
Fri, 05/08/2015
Legislation, Resolution, or Policy Adoption: 
Policy Repeal
Current Status: 
Approved on 05/13/15

Section I


1.1 Whereas, the OSBHE policy on “Categories of Instruction, Implementation of Board Policies” (beginning on page 57 of the OSBHE Board Policies document [and listed in incorrect alphabetic order in the document table of contents]) consists of two parts:

1.1.1  The first part being a list of definitions of “liberal arts,” “professional,” “pre-professional,” and 
          “technical education” programs
1.1.2  The second part being a history of the development and allotment of these four types of
          programs across the OUS system; and
1.2 Whereas, these definitions do not apply in this particular four-part categorization schema to instructional and research programs at the University of Oregon; and

1.3 Whereas, these definitions are not needed to meet the University of Oregon mission or fulfill our teaching, research, and service obligations; and

1.4 Whereas these policies are clearly of historical interest and should be preserved for this interest in a University archive rather than in an active policy library;

Section II

2.1 BE IT HEREBY MOVED that the unnumbered OSBHE policy on “Categories of Instruction, Implementation of Board Policies” (found on pg. 57 of the OSBHE Board Policies document at be repealed as a University of Oregon policy.


Entities Affected by this Policy

N/A (Definitions no longer apply at the University level)


Web Site Address for this Policy                                     

See relevant heading at (as per link in Senate Policies of Interest Worksheet, Bonine #499).


Responsible Office

For questions about this policy, please contact the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost at (541) 346-3186


Enactment & Revision History

None Available. (Note, however, that some history of policy is contained in the policy itself.)


Policy being repealed

Under the foregoing Board policies, four categories of instructional programs have been allocated to System institutions.

     Liberal arts programs leading to the baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral degrees.

     Professional programs leading to the associate, baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral degrees.

     Pre-professional and lower division transfer programs, a designation given to those instructional programs that are preparatory to upper division or professional school enrollment in institutions not having a degree program in those fields.

     Technical education programs leading to specialty certificates and associate (two-year) and baccalaureate (four-year) degrees.

Liberal Arts Programs in the Oregon University System

Liberal arts programs include programs in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.

Undergraduate Liberal Arts Programs

The pattern of undergraduate liberal arts programs offered in the colleges and universities of the System are the result of three deliberate policy decisions of the Board:

1.            Basic commonality in liberal arts offerings undergirds education. From its inception (1932), the Board of Higher Education has held the view that there should be available at all four-year institutions in the System a basic commonality in the liberal arts.

                In 1932 that commonality of liberal arts offerings was held to be a two-year, lower division program in the liberal arts (humanities, social sciences, and sciences) leading to a certificate of junior standing. Consistent with that policy, all institutions were authorized at least lower division offerings in the liberal arts.

                Only the University of Oregon and Oregon State College (now Oregon State University) were authorized more under the original (1932) allocations.

With the passage of years, the Board came to feel that the burgeoning complexity of civilization, as well as the exponential rate at which it is changing, made it imperative that the opportunity for a commonality of liberal arts offerings be increased from two to four years at all four-year System colleges and universities, as resources could be made available to support such programs.

             The regional schools (SOU, EOU) and OCE were authorized baccalaureate programs in the liberal arts in the form of divisional majors in humanities, social sciences, and science-mathematics for the first time in 1956.

             Four years later, in 1960, Oregon State University was authorized to increase its offerings in the humanities and social sciences from two-year lower division programs to four-year divisional major programs leading to a baccalaureate degree.

            It should be noted that the commonality of liberal arts at the four-year level does not pertain to the specialized institutions, Oregon Institute of Technology and Oregon Health Sciences University. OIT is authorized to offer instruction in the liberal arts as needed to meet requirements of its technical degree programs and lower division transfer programs to the extent these are possible through use of courses approved in support of its technical offerings. OHSU offers coursework in the basic sciences. General education requirements for its students are completed in pre-professional programs or at Portland State University.

2.            Develop Portland State as a major institution. Meanwhile, the Board had made the decision to develop in Portland a major institution. A first step was taken in 1955 when Portland State College was established as a baccalaureate degree-granting institution with divisional programs in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.

3.            Extend departmental major programs in the liberal arts to the regional schools (SOU, EOU) and OCE, and to OSU.

     In 1964 the Board decided to capitalize on the liberal arts base developed in SOU, OCE, and EOU as an indispensable support to their teacher education programs by making that base available to students interested in earning a baccalaureate degree program in one of the liberal arts areas. The Board stated that it would authorize the regional schools (SOU, EOU) and OCE baccalaureate departmental major programs in selected liberal arts subject matter fields in which the institutions could demonstrate: (a) need for the program, and (b) resources adequate to offer a program of good quality. (see footnote)

             This policy had two roots: (a) It recognized that the regional colleges and OCE (now WOU), with their traditionally heavy emphasis on teacher education, had built up substantial strengths in the liberal arts subject matter fields (teaching majors) that supported the teacher education programs, and (b) that, particularly at SOU and EOU, if those strengths were made the basis for offering departmental major programs leading to the BA/BS degree, the people of the southern and eastern regions of Oregon would be more adequately served by the Oregon University System, since students from those regions desiring such programs would be encouraged to enter and/or remain at SOU and EOU.

             In 1965, after thorough consideration of (a) the very substantial enrollments in the humanities and social sciences at OSU, and (b) the substantial quality and number of OSU faculty members in the humanities and social sciences, the Board established the policy under which, over a period of time, the Board would authorize OSU to offer baccalaureate departmental major programs in selected humanities and social science fields. The first such degree program (English) was authorized effective in 1966.

----------------------------------------Footnote below---------------------------------------------------------

 Amplification of this policy in respect to regional schools was provided in a report of the Board’s Committee on Academic Affairs, Meeting of the Board #334, January 25-26, 1965, titled Discussion of the OSU, EOSC, and SOSC Requests for Authorization of Departmental Major Programs in the Liberal Arts, January 25-26, 1965, p. 115, as follows:

“Departmental major programs will be authorized regional schools only when it is possible for the institution to demonstrate that it has available or can make available, if authorized, the requested program, the staff, library, and other resources that will permit the offering of a departmental major of some substance.

“As to staff, it would be the view of the Board’s committee that, with some exceptions, there should be available in a department area two or three persons holding the doctoral degree before an institution should consider asking for departmental majors in the field. The System committee on transfer courses offered by the community colleges and the individuals who teach them has established for the community colleges a general requirement that instructors hold a master’s degree in the field in which they are teaching at the lower division level. The higher instructor preparation standard for departmental degree programs suggested here is critical to the development of soundly based departmental programs in the regional institutions.”

College Transfer Programs at Oregon Institute of Technology

Policy Statement Board of Education

(Approved by the Oregon State Board of Education, October 16, 1970; reported in Minutes of the State Board of Higher Education, Meeting #392, January 25, 1971, pp. 27-28.)

WHEREAS, The State Board of Higher Education had been presented a recommendation relating to the addition of the curricula at OTI (Formerly Oregon Technical Institute, now Oregon Institute of Technology) located in Klamath Falls: and WHEREAS the Oregon Board of Education has been requested by the State Board of Higher Education to discuss and make recommendations on the proposed additions to the curricula at OTI, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Oregon Board of Education supports the concept that OTI offer a comprehensive open-door community college educational program for residents of Klamath and Lake Counties, including, but not limited to, lower division courses and associate degree program offerings; and RESOLVED further that the Oregon Board of Education expresses to the State Board of Higher Education its belief that the degree program at OTI should not be expanded at any time to the detriment of its community college programs.

Policy Statement Board of Higher Education

(Approved by Oregon State Board of Higher Education Meeting #392, January 25, 1971, pp. 27-32; and Meeting #397, July 26, 1971, pp. 470-472.)

Oregon Technical Institute (now Oregon Institute of Technology) is authorized to enroll students in college transfer programs to the extent that it can serve these students within its budgeted capabilities and physical facilities.

The transfer programs offered by OTI will be similar to the two-year transfer programs offered by the Oregon community colleges. Requirements for the associate degree also will parallel those of the community colleges' associate in arts degree.

Graduate Programs in Liberal Arts

The configuration of liberal arts programs at the graduate level are consistent with the policies in the several stages of the System's development.

1.            In the initial allocations (1932), graduate programs in the humanities and social sciences were allocated solely to the University of Oregon; and in science, solely to Oregon State College (now Oregon State University).

2.            Subsequently (1941), the Board restored to the University of Oregon authorization to offer baccalaureate and graduate programs in science, thus making available in the state's liberal arts university graduate programs in subject matter fields in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.

3.            The University of Oregon Health Sciences Center (now Oregon Health & Science University), through its schools of medicine, dentistry, and nursing, is authorized to offer graduate master's and doctoral degrees in some of the basic sciences (anatomy, bacteriology, biochemistry, human genetics, medical psychology, pathology, physiology) that undergird the professional medical and dental degree programs offered there.

4.            In 1964, the Board announced its intention to expand baccalaureate offerings at PSU and, as resources were available and need could be demonstrated, to authorize the development of master's degree programs in the liberal arts and selected professional fields of high demand (e.g., teacher education, business administration). The Board further stated that, as need and resources dictated and permitted, it would authorize the establishment of doctoral programs in selected fields.

                During the next three biennia, 1965-1971, the Board moved with deliberate, systematic care to the expansion of PSU's graduate offerings. A schedule was developed for the systematic strengthening of library, faculty, and physical resources in areas in which programs were to be added and funds to carry out the plan were sought and received from the legislature.

By the close of the 1969-1971 biennium, Portland State University offered 18 MA/MS degrees, 24 MAT/MST degrees, two other master's degrees (MSW and MBA), and was beginning work on three doctoral programs.

Since 1971-72, graduate program development has been primarily in specialized professional areas:

                MFA in Art (1971-72)

                Master of Urban Studies (1974-75)

                MAT/MST in Earth Sciences (1975-76)

                Master of Public Administration (1976-77)

                Master of Urban Planning (1977-78)

                Tri-University Ed.D. in Community College Education (1978-79); discontinued (1985-86)

Joint UO/PSU Ed.D. in Public School Administration and Supervision (1978-79); changed to Ed.D. in Educational Leadership (1985-86)

                Master of Taxation (1978-79)

                Graduate Certificate in Gerontology (1979-80)

                MA/MS in Engineering (Civil, Electrical, Mechanical) (1983-84)

                Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering (1985-86)

Professional Programs in the Oregon University System

In accordance with convictions concerning allocation of professional programs, apart from programs in teacher education and business administration, the overwhelming number of professional degree programs have been allocated by the Board to single institutions.

Pre-professional and Transfer Programs in the Oregon University System

One- and two-year transfer programs for all the fields in which System institutions offer baccalaureate degrees are available at any time from the four-year institutions of the System.

Technical Education in the Oregon University System

Technical education programs are offered by the Oregon University System at Oregon Institute of Technology, Oregon State University, Oregon Health & Science University, and the regional universities.

The present configuration of technical education in the System reflects: (1) legislative action transferring Oregon Technical Institute (now Oregon Institute of Technology) to the State Board of Higher Education, effective July 1960; and (2) policies of the State Board of Higher Education.

Board Policies Covering Development of Technical Education Programs

1.            System institutions ought not to offer short-term vocational/trade courses or programs, except as a service on a self-supporting basis in areas not served by community colleges.

2.            System institutions ought not to offer vocational/trade-type programs leading to an associate degree.

                This policy has had much to do with the steps taken by the State Board of Higher Education to upgrade OIT's instructional offerings, staff, and facilities.

3.            Associate degree and certificate programs in technical fields are appropriate to a technical institute, to a professional school such as the Oregon Health Sciences University that has unique facilities for offering training to technologists in the same setting in which the professionals with whom they will later work are also being educated, and in special instances in regional colleges, where a special regional need requires or justifies such programs.

                It is under this general policy that OIT continues to offer the range of two-year associate degree programs that it does, that certificate programs are offered by OHSU, and that associate degree programs are offered by SOU in nursing and business fields, and EOU in community service, secretarial science, and early childhood education.

4.            The System should offer four-year baccalaureate degree programs in selected technologies as a service to technically oriented students and to business, industry, government, and other segments of society that look to educational institutions for the well-qualified technologists that today's requirements are increasingly calling for.

            It is in response to the foregoing policy decision by the Board that baccalaureate programs in technology have been authorized: OSU in selected engineering technologies, and OIT in the engineering technologies; diesel power technology, industrial management, and allied health fields.




Financial Impact: 
Cost Neutral

Colin Koopman (Associate Professor, Philosphy), member of the Curriculum & Program Matters Workgroup