OSU officials honor Ecampus Dean Bill McCaughan
by Linda Wallace for OSU This Week
Oregon State University administrators, faculty and staff bid a fond farewell to Extended Campus Dean Bill McCaughan at a reception November 29 in the CH2M HILL Alumni Center. McCaughan is retiring after leading Extended Campus for the past six years. Ecampus is the OSU department that delivers online courses and programs to students throughout Oregon and worldwide, and also manages Summer Session, K-12 online programs, and workforce development.
OSU President Ed Ray, Provost Sabah Randhawa, and many OSU deans and other university leaders attended the reception. Ecampus Associate Dean Mark Merickel hosted the event that included a video tribute to McCaughan.
Ray spoke about the positive changes and perspectives in online education that have occurred both on campus and globally since McCaughan took over as dean of Extended Campus in 2000. He also praised McCaughan and Ecampus for their partnership with the innovative Siletz Valley Early College Academy that provides K-12 education on the Siletz Reservation. Another unique program started under McCaughan's leadership is the Oregon Virtual Tribal College, a program that will provide tribal members in Oregon a means to pursue higher education without leaving their families and culture behind.
Randhawa commented on the substantial growth in OSU online course enrollments, citing double-digit increases each of the past six years. He also described the major changes McCaughan accomplished as dean – facilitating a name change (from Distance and Continuing Education), developing a successful new revenue sharing model that has proven beneficial to other OSU departments, and moving distance-delivered education into the mainstream at Oregon State University.
McCaughan, who has been considered an innovator in distance education and communication, came to OSU from Texas Tech University, where he was vice provost for outreach and extended studies. From Texas Tech he also brought his vision of extending education to K-12 students, thus beginning OSU K-12 Online and P-12 Outreach. Prior to his career in Texas he spent 27 years in Alaska, some of that time as associate vice chancellor and as director of LearnAlaska, a network that provided educational services for 250 Alaskan Villages.
After his retirement, McCaughan will stay on with Extended Campus as a part-time employee to continue his work on the Oregon Tribal College and other projects. He said, “OSU is a special institution populated by very special people. Even in the worst of times, it rises to the challenge and moves on to greater heights. It has been my privilege to have been a part of that march forward and I thank all of you for making it an exciting and rewarding journey for Gail and me."
Each speaker at the podium commented on Bill McCaughan’s unique sense of humor and unassuming nature. Randhawa remarked at the end of his comments that he would miss working with McCaughan and listening to his intriguing stories and experiences in Texas and Alaska.
McCaughan will retire as dean at the end of the year. The search committee is currently interviewing national candidates for the Extended Campus dean’s position and hope to have a new dean on board by early 2007.