Vision, Mission, Values and Priorities
Our vision is to be an internationally recognized urban university known for excellence in student learning, innovative research, and community engagement that contributes to the economic vitality, environmental sustainability, and quality of life in the Portland region and beyond.
The mission of Portland State University is to enhance the intellectual, social, cultural, and economic qualities of urban life by providing access throughout the life span to a quality liberal education for undergraduates and an appropriate array of professional and graduate programs especially relevant to metropolitan areas. The University conducts research and community service that support a high quality educational environment and reflect issues important to the region. It actively promotes the development of a network of educational institutions to serve the community.
Portland State values learning and discovery, access to learning, a climate of mutual respect, openness and reflection, and community and civic engagement. Engagement among faculty, students and the community contributes to learning and scholarship that is globally relevant and regionally focused. Sustainability is an important programmatic focus.
The following themes guide our efforts and direct our resources:
- Provide Civic Leadership through Partnerships.
- Improve Student Success.
- Achieve Global Excellence.
- Enhance Educational Opportunity.
- Expand Resources and Improve Effectiveness.
Engaged with the community
Portland State University is a nationally recognized leader in community engagement, combining academic rigor in the classroom with community-based learning. With a student body of 29,000, Portland State is selected by more students than any other Oregon University. The university’s urban setting and focus on community partnerships, acts as a “living laboratory” that successfully prepares tomorrow’s forward thinking leaders with the experience needed to succeed. Portland State’s reputation for innovation prompted U.S. News & World Report to name PSU as a top “up and coming” national university in its Best Colleges 2013 guidebook.
Distinguished programs and faculty
Many of Portland State’s disciplinary programs are nationally ranked in the top 20 in the United States, and U.S. News & World Report has ranked Portland State’s curriculum among the best in the nation for the past 10 years. The innovative University Studies program, a four-year general education program which promotes community-based learning, interdisciplinary teaching and learning and engagement in real world problems, has established Portland State as a national model for other colleges and universities, seeking to adapt their curriculum to better engage with their own communities.
Portland State professors are prized for their knowledge, research, achievements, and, ability to engage students. Faculty come to Portland State from colleges and universities around the world. Though diverse in culture, background, language, and ethnicity, they come to Portland unified in their commitment to be part of the University’s exceptional approach to learning, engagement, and research.
PSU’s motto, “Let knowledge serve the city,” inspires faculty research locally and around the world. Many professors conduct research that addresses some of society’s most perplexing challenges—providing students with firsthand knowledge and opportunities for involvement and collaboration in their communities. Faculty use their expertise to serve the region through their work with businesses, not-for-profits, and governmental agencies and by holding key posts in professional, cultural, and civic groups.
Research and Strategic Partnerships
Research at Portland State University is growing. PSU has made significant contributions in research areas ranging from signal processing in biomedical applications to life in extreme environments. Our faculty include internationally recognized researchers in engineering and physical, social, and natural sciences.
PSU partners with our sister institutions in Oregon through Signature Research Centers in nanotechnology, drug discovery, and sustainability in the built environment. We collaborate with Oregon Health and Science University through interdisciplinary research where our expertise in social science, biology, and chemistry add value to their clinical expertise. Our research strengths in specialized fields such as invasive species and ecosystem services bring world-class partners like the Smithsonian Institution. And our strong relationships with companies like Intel and Portland General Electric provide partnerships in cutting edge research as well as training opportunities for students and employees.
Green: It’s more than our school color
At Portland State University, students have the opportunity to do more than study sustainability, they engage directly with the community to make sustainability real. Portland State strives to harness the strengths of the university—with new ideas, innovative partnerships, and academic rigor—moving closer toward solving the environmental, social, and economic problems of our time.
Green school spirit can also be seen on the campus itself. Each new building or major renovation on campus over the past eight years, has received at least a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification. The new buildings include such sustainable design features as ecoroofs, rainwater harvesting, and geothermal heating and cooling systems.
Working with like-minded sustainable businesses, individuals, and organizations, faculty and students are performing valuable research on alternative energy sources such as solar panels; aggressive waste reduction and recycling programs; sustainable building practices; and much more. Many of the University’s 213 bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees encourage students to consider issues that integrate economic, social, and environmental viewpoints. Armed with this knowledge and experience, they will join a generation of leaders building a more sustainable world, one idea at a time.
Portland: The community is our campus
Portland State University’s prized location in the middle of a major city guarantees students are always within easy reach of something exciting. Parks, museums, cafes, theaters, shopping, acclaimed restaurants, and professional sports are all close by.
Since its establishment in 1946 to meet the educational needs of GIs home from World War II battlefields, Portland State found its first home in Vanport, a former federal housing project along the Columbia River. The campus moved to Lincoln Hall in Portland’s South Park Blocks in 1952 and now encompasses 50 city blocks, yet still retains a park-like beauty within its urban setting.
The Park Blocks, a natural gathering area for students and faculty, provide a place to talk or study. West of the Park Blocks, PSU’s Urban Center stands at the busiest public transportation hub in the city. It’s the only location in the city where TriMet’s bus system, Portland Streetcar, and, in 2009, its MAX light rail line come together. Bicycling to campus is not considered an alternative transportation method, but a main way students get to campus. With Portland State’s new Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation, along with research and design integrating safer bike paths in urban cities, Portland State continues to meet the educational and sustainable needs of the Portland metropolitan region.
With urban sophistication, small town accessibility, and the many outdoor activities, Portland and Portland State offer a great living and learning experience.