From the President: Fall 2018
Author: President Rahmat Shourseshi
Posted: September 17, 2018

Invested in student success

AT OUR GRADUATION ceremony in June, I asked for those who were the first in their family to graduate to stand and be acknowledged. More than half of those gathered on the Rose Garden floor got to their feet. It was a poignant reminder of the opportunities we are providing for Oregonians who are driven to improve their lives and those of their families.

The disparity in educational attainment based on family income is one of our nation’s greatest challenges. Nationally, only 1 in 4 low-income students earn a bachelor’s degree, while 3 in 4 high-income students earn one—an educational gap that perpetuates the income gap.

Portland State University has always been committed to providing Oregonians access to higher education. I am proud that PSU educates more first-generation college graduates than any university in Oregon. We set them on a trajectory of upward social/economic mobility that improves not only their lives, but those of their siblings, children and grandchildren. Indeed, over the past year I have had the pleasure of meeting many alumni who tell me their lives are fulfilling and prosperous because they earned a degree from PSU.

We are now developing a Pathways to Success model to close the gap in higher education. Look for us to increase our investment in services such as student mentoring and coaching, innovative curriculum and personalized learning experiences supported by technology. Students who participate in Pathways to Success will earn their degree while minimizing debt.

We know that undergraduates who work or conduct research in their field of study have better academic and career outcomes than do those who miss out on those experiences. This is one reason we are expanding cooperative education experiences this academic year. Please read more about out efforts on pages 22-23 in this issue.

In closing, I extend my heartfelt condolences to the family of Jason Washington, who died this summer in a shooting involving Portland State campus safety officers. We are determined to learn from his tragic death, and I have pledged thorough reviews of the shooting and our campus security and safety staffing, training, policies and procedures. The safety of our students, faculty, staff and community is of paramount importance.

Thank you for your continued support of PSU and our students.

Rahmat Shoureshi
President, Portland State University