Undergraduate Studies reorganization: Town halls Jan 12th and 19th, 5:00

Update from Banavar:

Colleagues,

There is no question that we all share a common goal—supporting our students and ensuring that they have the resources to be successful during their time at the University of Oregon and beyond. This week Dennis Galvan, interim vice provost and dean for undergraduate studies, announced some changes to the UGS team that are aimed squarely at improving and enhancing the way we support student success initiatives at the UO. These changes include a new arrangement in which our highly successful programs such as PathwayOregon, Teaching and Learning Center tutoring and academic support, and our first-year enrichment programs are all better connected and are all ultimately managed by Doneka Scott, associate vice provost for student success. Dennis has detailed those changes in a memorandum to the UGS staff.

The reorganization that Dennis has embarked upon does not eliminate any programs. It simply consolidates administrative oversight of our student success programs within UGS to increase collaboration and coordination. Dennis has been working closely with me and leaders within the provost’s office and UGS to develop a plan that will ultimately strengthen and improve alignment among various student success programs. While we have many fantastic programs—and many talented and dedicated people who support those programs—in some instances our siloed and decentralized structure meant that those programs were not achieving their full potential. 

I understand that change can sometimes be unsettling, but change is necessary if we are to better support our students. I thank everyone within UGS for their patience and understanding. Though some positions may change slightly, this is not an effort to reduce FTE within UGS. Some of you may have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or Dennis.

Thank you,

Jayanth Banavar

Provost and Senior Vice President

Update from Galvan:

Short overview of UGS reorganization

Dear Colleagues: 

The Division of Undergraduate Studied is undertaking a reorganization to expand on our best programs and maximize student success. 

In particular, we are changing reporting lines and eventually relocating some of our best programs, now in the Teaching and Learning Center, by making them the center of our reorganized division. We will build on and expand Pathway, Trio SSS, Learning Specialists, Class Encore, McNair, Health Professions Program, among other marvelous endeavors. 

The new division of UGS involves a new, more integrated organizational structure. Reporting lines and locations will change gradually in the coming months. There will be no reduction in positions. While change of this kind is often challenging, we’re convinced we will come out of it better equipped to advance the university’s student success goals. 

Please do be in touch with me or Doneka Scott if you have any questions or concerns. 

Very best,

Dennis …

1/12/2018: I’m just posting what people have sent me. I don’t have any inside info on UGS. As noted below Interim Dean Dennis Galvan has set up a survey and two forums to provide more info and answer questions:

The first will be especially for TLC staff members (though all are welcome) and will be tomorrow, Friday (1/12) from 5-6:30pm in the Swindells room in the EMU
The second will be for all UGS staff on Friday, January 19th, 5-6:30pm in the Harrington Auditorium (room 101) in Jacqua.

While UO Matters welcomes comments with actual facts, unsubstantiated rumors, prophecies of doom, or inspiring messages from PR flacks such as Tobin Klinger about how the light of the world will move forward into broad sunlit uplands, I encourage people to fill out the anonymous survey below (which helpfully asks for questions for the forums) and then to go to the forums if they can. Reports from the forums would be very welcome.

1)  A letter from Galvan, forwarded to me by “Anonymous”:

Dear Colleagues,

I write to share some important changes coming to Undergraduate Studies. Over the last several months, I’ve spent a lot of time learning about what UGS does, the many strengths that each unit brings to the division, and opportunities for efficiency and alignment. As you all know, Undergraduate Studies has been tasked by the president with the significant task of enhancing student success at UO. Retention and graduation rates are of course key metrics. Student success also depends on our ability to offer a meaningful, comprehensive, and rigorous education to all our students, while giving them the support they need to make the most of that education.

After many meetings and conversations with leaders in UGS, I’ve decided that, to maximize student success, we need to place programs that have been highly successful in impacting students (from retention and graduation rates to holistic student support services ) within a new arrangement for our division, enabling us to expand synergetic relationships that will make our efforts even more robust.

To that end:

Pathway, Trio SSS, and the Health Professions Program will become part of the Office of Academic Advising (OAA), with OAA reporting to Doneka Scott;
TLC tutoring and academic support programs will remain under Amy Neutzman’s supervision, with Amy reporting to Doneka Scott;
FIGs, ARCs and Common Reading will also become part of Doneka’s portfolio, which will weave academic support and first-year enrichment into a wrap-around system for student success, especially in the first two years;
McNair will move under Josh Snodgrass in a team focused on undergraduate research and experiential learning;
Ron Bramhall will continue working on core ed and curriculum reform, but he will be formally “detailed” from OPAA into a 0.5 role as AVP for Undergraduate Academic Excellence, with reporting line to the UGS Dean and Vice Provost;
TLC administrative support staff will be reassigned to central UGS duties, with appropriate consultation and evaluation;
Teaching Engagement Program will have a new relationship with both the Office of the Provost and Academic Affairs and Undergraduate Studies, with further details to follow.

I also want to take advantage of Susan Lesyk’s experience and success in developing programs that enhance the student experience. She will be joining a team that will be charged with implementing an advising and support program for students during their first two years on campus, and leading a series of critical assignments at the heart of student success. In assuming this new role, she is being promoted to Associate Vice Provost for Strategic Academic Initiatives.

While the effective date for change in reporting lines is 1 February 2018, we will work out detailed and tailored transition plans for each unit and individual experiencing a change. Consultations will begin immediately to work out ways to minimize disruption of student services and help units and individuals shift to the new organizational structure along timelines and following processes that make sense for our operations, services, and staff.

As reporting lines and some positions may change, everyone in UGS will continue to have a place within the division. This reorganization is not designed to reduce our FTE or eliminate positions, but instead to maximize integration and build a unified team to advance the university’s student success agenda.

The issue of space allocations continues to evolve, but over time, all UGS units will be located in the Knight Library, Oregon Hall, or the new Tykeson Building. A number of these moves will take place during winter and spring terms 2018. Timing of moves will be a part of the individualized transition plans mentioned above.

Excellent work has been done on student success within every UGS unit. These changes will present the opportunity to continue this work in a more streamlined and efficient way, while taking advantage of the experience and expertise that exists within UGS

That said, change is always hard, and I am committed to providing, open, public space to share our perspectives on major changes. I want to hear from you and answer your questions as best I can. To that end, I have scheduled two open forum meetings:

The first will be especially for TLC staff members (though all are welcome) and will be tomorrow, Friday (1/12) from 5-6:30pm in the Swindells room in the EMU
The second will be for all UGS staff on Friday, January 19th, 5-6:30pm in the Harrington Auditorium (room 101) in Jacqua.

I realize that, given the short notice, many of you will not be able to attend at either of these times. Maeve Anderson will be in touch to schedule other meetings either by unit, or in open forum format, beginning next week.

If you would like to submit questions or comments anonymously in advance, please do so through this qualtrics survey [https://oregon.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_50dFDVfGDS91PlX] for anonymous feedback and comments.And of course, please do feel free to reach out to me directly at any time.

With thanks for your understanding and collaboration,

Dennis

Dennis Galvan
Interim Vice Provost and Dean, Undergraduate Studies
Professor of Political Science & International Studies
University of Oregon

2) A response to the above, emailed to uomatters and about 65 others including reporters from “A concerned University of Oregon member”:

Dear President Schill,

I am dismayed to learn that the Division of Undergraduate Studies intends to eliminate the Teaching and Learning Center; home to programs such as Health Professions, Class Encore, Student Support Services, Pathway Oregon, and the Teaching Effectiveness Program. The elimination of the Teaching and Learning Center is part of a reorganization of the Division of Undergraduate Studies lead by the current Interim Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies and current Vice Provost for International Affairs, Dennis Galvan. Through my years at the University of Oregon, I have work directly with the Teaching and Learning Center on countless student engagement and student success initiatives which is why I find this news so shocking and troubling. If you, President Schill, truly feel as strongly about student success as you have stated on multiple occasions, including your 2017 State of the University address, you will feel equally as shocked and troubled by this news.

The Teaching and Learning Center has a storied history within the University of Oregon as a leader in student support and a home to students which is why this is so stunning as to be inconceivable. Furthermore, I was shocked an appalled to discover that this decision was made without consultation of the committed and hard-working directors within the Teaching and Learning Center or the executive counsel of the Division of Undergraduate Studies. With an effective date of February 1st, the campus community and the students we support are left with no time to plan, much less prepare for such a monumental upheaval of an integral pillar to student success on campus. Such a rash and rushed initiative can only serve to harm the very students we are here to support.

It is a thinly veiled secret that there have been significant issues in undergraduate advising at the University of Oregon. Through the hard-work of dedicated advisors and faculty across campus we have seen progress; although not as fast as we had hoped and certainly not as rapidly as you have wished. But the response to slow progress should be seen through support and recognition of programs that work, not their destruction. There is more than the constituent programs that make the Teaching and Learning Center so effective in its mission of student success. That magic cannot be simply transplanted from one office to another, but must be grown at its core.

I cannot begin to understand how Susan Lesyk and the wonderful team she has assembled must feel, but I am left in shock and grief that the University of Oregon may lose yet another institution to student success and we as a community may lose these wonderful people. While Mr. Galvan may herald this as the beginning to a new era of student success I fear this is the end to these critical programs and the philosophy of student success  at the University of Oregon.

President Schill, there is still time to rectify this ill-advised and ill-conceived proposal, but I beseech you to act promptly less an integral home to student success is lost forever.

Sincerely,

A concerned University of Oregon member.

 

To my colleagues,

The shocking nature of this calamity has lead me to write this letter, an act I would have found unthinkable mere hours ago. I write this letter of my volition and without awareness from those involved. I could not sleep without taking some small action.  

Please do not let the Teaching and Learning Center go quietly into the pages of history. Please share your wonderful experiences with the Teaching and Learning Center and your sentiment on the importance of student success with the leadership and Mr. Galvan. Please pass this message along to all those who will care deeply about this troubling news. I have also learned of two open forums at which Mr. Galvan will be taking questions.

Forums:

Friday (January 12th) from 5-6:30pm in the EMU Swindells Room

Friday (January 19th) from 5-6:30pm in the Harrington Auditorium (Room 101) in Jacqua

Mr Galvan has also created a survey (https://oregon.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_50dFDVfGDS91PlX) for anonymous feedback and comments.

Thank you!

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5 Responses to Undergraduate Studies reorganization: Town halls Jan 12th and 19th, 5:00

  1. Anonymous says:

    If you want some inside non-pr bs info about what is happening from inside, what’s a good way to contact? I can provide credentials.

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    • uomatters says:

      You can email it to uomatters at gmail.com. Thanks!

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  2. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    Let’s hope they do it with the skill, tact, and aplomb with which they have handled the Oregon Bach Festival!

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    • anonymous says:

      An unfortunately apt comparison: this “reorganization” seems to be breaking up what works without any clear explanation of why a cohesive successful support center, TLC, is being dismantled to disperse its parts piece-meal. Our students deserve better.

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      • honest Uncle Bernie says:

        They want to raise retention and graduation rates. I suspect they don’t have any better idea of how to do that than to break up what they already have — even though R+G rates were rising before they came along. Will be interesting to see if they make any real positive difference.

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