Oregon Institute of Technology has decided it will ask to form its own independent governance board.

Oregon Institute of Technology has decided it will ask to form its own independent governance board.

President Chris Maples announced this week that the four-year technical college will request to form its own independent board, as well as the ability to be part of a presidents' council. Through an online student survey, 273 of 355 people polled supported the university remaining independent.

"The overwhelming first choice was an independent board," Maples said. "Having a board that will understand the polytechnic mission and the focus that we have will be just tremendous.

"Being allowed to form (an independent) board is step one," Maples added "The step two is this president's council."

A proposed president's council would include technical and regional university presidents from Western Oregon University, Southern Oregon University and Eastern Oregon University. A member of each institution's governing board, and a member of the Higher Education Coordinating Commission also would be part of the council. The council would not have governing authority, but Maples said it would promote collaboration between the state's public universities.

"I think it's efficient, I think it's advantageous for students here, it makes maximum use of tuition dollars and tax money," Maples said of the proposed council. "I'm just really excited."

Maples said OIT expects to hear feedback on its request from the University Governance Working Group Board of the State Board of Higher Education between April and June and hopes to have a board in place by July 1, 2015.

The group will make a recommendation to Gov. John Kitzhaber. Kitzhaber will then have the final say on the decision. Kitzhaber also would consider approval of the 11- to 15-member board, which would include one Oregon Tech student, one faculty member and one nonfaculty staff member.

The University of Oregon, Oregon State University and Portland State University will each begin their own independent governing boards in July.

Holly Dillemuth is a reporter for the Klamath Falls Herald and News. Reach her at hdillemuth@heraldandnews.com.