Trustees approve new name for residence and discuss fall outlook
The University of Oregon Board of Trustees addressed a long program of academic, financial, and facilities-related issues at its quarterly meeting in May.
At what could be the last regular board meeting held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, President Michael H. Schill briefed directors on OU’s plans to resume operations primarily in person for the fall term.
Fall planning efforts are ongoing and dynamic, Schill said, as the OU quickly navigates changing public health guidelines and plans to implement its vaccine requirements.
Schill added that the UO is cautiously optimistic about enrollments in the fall, following May’s decision day for high school students, although some uncertainty remains in U.S. higher education as to whether the commitments of the students will be more fluid when the pandemic emerges.
“We’re seeing a positive trend among students interested in attending UO and our filings are up substantially,” said Schill. “All signs are that we are meeting the goals we set out in our long-term financial plan.”
Senior Vice President and Senior Vice President Patrick Phillips, meanwhile, highlighted the UO’s new Institutional Recruitment Plan, which allows for 34 faculty members to be found leading to tenure for the academic year. to come up. The positions to be filled cover a variety of fields in UO schools and colleges and will meet academic needs and institutional priorities, particularly with regard to diversity and interdisciplinary collaborations.
Trustees approved a proposal to name a new residence for DeNorval Unthank, Jr., the first African-American to graduate from OU’s School of Architecture and Allied Arts, now the College of Design. , and who was an associate professor at the university. from 1965 to 1980.
In 2017, the council named a wing of the Hamilton complex in honor of Unthank, following a strong committee recommendation process. With Hamilton scheduled to be decommissioned in a few years, Schill recommended transferring the name to the new building, which is slated to open this fall, in order to continue to honor Unthank and his legacy.
“I have spoken to the family and they are thrilled because this will truly be a flagship building on campus,” Schill told administrators. “I am delighted that we are commemorating the life of Unthank as a UO student, scholar, architect, teacher and mentor.”
The board has approved a temporary operating expenditure authorization for the 2022 UO fiscal year and will receive a final proposal in September after more information on registrations and state credits becomes known. Board members authorized issuance of bonds valued at up to $ 120 million, primarily for the final stages of OUs Housing transformation project.
The board also discussed the OU’s online education initiative. Carol Gering, associate vice-provost for UO Online, told the board that the 2020 pivot to distance education due to the pandemic has accelerated the development of online courses at UO, especially for students of UO. first cycle. It has also increased the comfort level for students and faculty with the delivery of online courses, she said.
Janet Woodruff-Borden, Executive Associate Dean for Academic Affairs: “We are now at an interesting time which is, ‘How do we strategically manage the assets that we have now created? What is the role of the internet in the institution? How much online should we develop? “
Woodruff-Borden and Gering said the next steps will involve in-depth discussions with individual academic units about the potential needs of students in their program for additional online offerings.
Trustees also received an update on strategies and plans for UO Portland, including the university’s efforts to recruit students and generate philanthropic support from the state’s largest metropolitan area.
Jane Gordon, vice-provost for UO Portland, highlighted a range of efforts UO Portland faculty, students and academics have made to strengthen ties with the city, its employers and its communities.
“We have to be in Portland,” Gordon added. “The feedback we receive when engaging with various Portland businesses, industries and communities demonstrates that in order for our university to be relevant to the state and support our students’ goals as they launch into life, engagement in Portland is critical.
In other areas, advice:
- Approved proposals for three new university programs, undergraduate degrees in Native American and Native Studies, and a doctoral program in Spanish.
- Approved an extension of the OU’s relationship with the External Auditor, Moss Adams, following a public procurement process, and reviewed the Quarterly Internal Audit Report from Chief Auditor Leah Ladley.
- Authorized the university to enter into agreements with Oregon22 LLC, the local organizing committee for the World Athletics Championships to be held on the UO campus in July 2022. The purpose of the agreements is to articulate structures payment for services provided, facility usage details, liability and safety measures, and other key aspects.
- Received an update on the Office of Civil Rights Enforcement and Investigation from Nicole Commissiong, who became Associate Vice President and Director of the Office last fall.
- Approved updates designed to clarify certain sections of the OU Student Code of Conduct presented by Katy Larkin, Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards.
At the end of the meeting, the directors thanked seven outgoing board members for their service, including five directors who were part of the inaugural group of the board in 2013.
The seven new directors who will replace them on the board were confirmed by the Oregon Senate earlier this month.
“You should be proud of what we’ve accomplished,” Chairman of the Board Chuck Lillis told the outgoing directors. “Your support for Oregon having a truly superior public university is such a critical thing and I think we’ve all done everything we can to keep this super goal in mind.”
Schill also thanked the Trustees for their “tremendous commitment to university and state,” while adding that he was delighted to welcome an “exciting group” of incoming Trustees soon.
“You are all important members of the family at our University in Oregon,” Schill told outgoing trustees, “and I plan to keep each of you close and engaged.”
Coming soon: Jimmy Murray, the lay board staff member, holds virtual office hours with classified staff on Wednesday, May 26 from noon to 1 p.m. and with administrative staff officers on Thursday, May 27 from noon to 1 p.m.
Faculty Advisor Laura Lee McIntyre will hold a virtual office hour for faculty colleagues on Friday, May 28, from noon to 1 p.m.
Those interested in attending any of these office hours should RSVP by emailing [email protected] to obtain their login details. Members of the campus community should feel free to email council at the same address at any time.