CAS Dean Andrew Marcus to step down at end of year

August 17, 2018

Dear University of Oregon community members,

I write today to let you know that W. Andrew Marcus, Tykeson Dean of Arts and Sciences, has notified me that he intends to step down as dean at the end of the calendar year.

The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) is in many ways the heart and soul of the University of Oregon, serving as the academic home to more than 60 percent of the student body and offering more than 40 fields of study in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Andrew has led this vast and complex college with incredible distinction and honor for more than five years, stepping in as acting dean in 2012 and ultimately being named dean in 2016.

President Schill and I are deeply grateful to Andrew for his exceptional leadership of the university’s largest and most academically diverse college through a period of great transformation and challenge within both CAS and the broader university. Andrew has been a principled and visionary leader, a voice of reason, and a tireless advocate for the faculty and students of CAS. With more than 15 years of experience at the UO as a faculty member, University Senate president, department head, associate dean, and dean, Andrew’s wealth of institutional knowledge will be greatly missed from the academic leadership ranks.

Even as Andrew steps away from his leadership role, his legacy as dean will last far into the future. The most enduring symbol of that legacy is Willie and Donald Tykeson Hall, a new college and careers building that is under construction in the heart of campus and set to open in the fall of 2019. Andrew’s vision is to create a place where students can navigate their academic experience at the UO in a holistic and innovative space that combines academic advising, career guidance, and portfolio-building opportunities in one location. More than just a beautiful building, Tykeson Hall will be a place where generations of UO students will set themselves on a path to a more meaningful future. It couldn’t have happened without Andrew’s leadership, vision, and tenacious fundraising efforts.

During his time as dean, Andrew has deftly realigned the college’s budget with transparency and fairness. He has helped recruit and hire amazing new faculty members as well as retain standout professors and researchers, efforts that have helped the UO solidify and strengthen its academic foundation in a wide range of disciplines. Andrew also launched new degrees and programs to serve the evolving demands and needs of students, including the Center for Environmental Futures and the new Black Studies initiative. In addition, he has made significant contributions to the broader UO community, serving on the president’s Senior Leadership Team, the Academic Leadership Team, the Space Advisory Group, and the Budget Advisory Group.

In the coming weeks, President Schill and I will consult with the college’s leadership team and members of the CAS faculty about how best to move forward when Andrew steps down at the end of the year. Having strong, capable leadership within the College of Arts and Sciences is a top priority, and we will develop and share a search plan in the coming weeks to ensure a smooth transition in CAS.

In the meantime, please join me in thanking Andrew for his wonderful service as dean to the College of Arts and Sciences and the entire University of Oregon.

Jayanth Banavar
Provost and Senior Vice President

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21 Responses to CAS Dean Andrew Marcus to step down at end of year

  1. cdsinclair says:

    I haven’t agreed with everything CAS leadership has done under Dean Marcus. However, I think Andrew is a capable, administrator, who is willing to hear dissent and work towards solutions in a collaborative manner. I’m sorry to see him leaving the position.

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  2. Hedgehog says:

    What’s the story? End of calendar year is unusually sudden.

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  3. Jamal says:

    So if he did, indeed, accomplish everything noted in the letter (and I have no reason to think otherwise), why are the Provost and President allowing the University to lose his leadership?

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  4. Just curious says:

    Do you know why Marcus is stepping down?

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    • uomatters says:

      Presumably unhappiness with the increased centralization of money and faculty hiring control under Brad Shelton.

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      • Dog says:

        There clearly is a back story here, one which will undoubtedly remain in the realm of speculation. It is just not normal for someone like a CAS Dean to quit in the middle of an academic year.

        More properly, when Fall Term starts, then this announcement will be made with stepping down occurring at the end of the AY.

        Regardless of one’s feelings for the effectiveness of Marcus, something about this quick announcement is just wrong.

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  5. Hedgehog says:

    That was something like my speculation. Several CAS departments were shut out of hiring this year and have shrinking TT faculties. Power is becoming more centralized. Profs are losing power and decision-making roles. All part of the story of managerial expansion in which the people who know things sink to the bottom and the people that manage things make the rules and call the shots.

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  6. Skeptic says:

    Who wants to be Dean if your job is to

    1. Court donors
    2. Deliver bad news to faculty
    3. Go to all the meetings all the time

    Even if the job pays 300k a year, some people don’t value income that much. Andrew always seemed like one of those people. If he isn’t being given the resources to improve CAS, while seeing all available dollars being funneled to the Knigh Campus (which really should build on CAS), why would he stick around as Dean?

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    • Dog says:

      agreed
      by why leave before the end of the next AY

      indeed, why not leave now before the AY starts,

      something is amiss here

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    • XDH says:

      I think Skeptic, Hedgehog and many of the other posts above are spot on. I think the push for the “success” of the Knight Campus has completely overtaken anything else on campus as a priority, especially with respect to big donors. Why give $$$ to help improve a cash-starved main campus when you can sink your $$$ into a flashy new micro-campus north of Franklin, never mind that we cannot keep the Millrace from flooding the site…..

      Based on letters that we have seen on this website, Andrew has/had the cojones to call Johnson Hall on their BS for robbing CAS to pay for the “sins” of the rest of the campus. Whether Gottfredson, Coltrane, Schill or whatever pinhead runs Johnson Hall, I am guessing he got tired of trying to fight the good fight.

      But Dog is right, there is very likely much more to the back story, but Andrew is such a stand up guy that he will not pull an Omarosa, despite how much we really want him to.

      Just my $0.02…

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  7. Oldtimer says:

    Deja vu all over again and again. The only hope lies in CAS faculty willingness to create a strategic shadow structure to stay on top of issues with strategies to leverage faculty power to influence central priorities and decisions. The senate cannot do this for CAS. it cannot even do it for itself.

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  8. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    It will come as no surprise to hear that it’s hard to know what to believe around here. Let me take just one example. What are the SAT scores of Oregon students like? Historically, they have been slightly over 1100 median. You can google on “university oregon sat” and up pops a source on my screen that says middle 50% is 490-610 on both the math and reading sections. Right on the 1100 button. Wikipedia has data for 2010-14 that agree pretty closely with this.

    Historically, UO has almost always been slightly higher than OSU. Doesn’t seem to be the case anymore, even though OSU supposedly has considerably higher enrollment (with more in-state students).

    But then, you can find this on the UO website:

    https://admissions.uoregon.edu/uo-facts

    under “Quack Facts” (that sure must be appealing to high-level high school prospects!) — it tells us that the middle 50% is 1100-1290 — correlating with a middle score of about 1195 — a remarkable rise from recent performance!

    In other words, either there has been an unpublicized dramatic rise in UO student SAT performance — or, the UO website is posting complete bullshit that it is calling “Facts”! Either possibility is incomprehensible to me. (A third possibility is that I simply don’t understand what I am talking about. Please, if you know something about this that I don’t know or have misunderstood, please explain.)

    With a glaring error or whopper like this posted right on the UO website, how can we believe anything that comes out of the mouths of these people?

    I would be really interested to see if they ever correct or else explain this remarkable news.

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  9. Young Dog [but not a puppy] says:

    I would very much like to know if the turnover rate in faculty, both from retirement and from departures, has changed much over the years when Palm, Stone, Larson, Coltrane, and Marcus have been the dean? And also if the ratio of TTF and NTTF has changed much in the CAS over those years? Is the dean of CAS presiding over a ‘lost cause’? Have all these deans been equally effective or equally ineffective in coping with the central admin??

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    • Dog says:

      Oh come on
      the ratio of NTTF to TTF went from less than one to slightly more than 2:1 via Jim Bean’s horrible policy of letting all students in without increasing any TTF

      This by far was the biggest “cultural change” to the UO. Whether this was good or bad remains to be seen, but it was a substantial shift to move to that many students who were necessarily taught by NTTF (which I agree maybe much better
      teachers than TTF). At the worst of this, around 2012, UO had a TTF to student ratio of 33 to 1 (which I think was the highest of all 4000 Universities in the US). I remember a meeting where Shelton tried to spin this as efficient – what crap.

      In my opinion (but who cares what that is) – this is when the UO became a community college. The silver lining is, of course, that is also when I signed up for retirement … precisely because of this.

      Note: in the last two years we have made some headway on increasing TTF hires and lowering the overall ratio. But now it seems we want 28 – 30 K students here and this will happen all over again. This is crap.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Things seem to be working out pretty much as I expected with the “Knight Campus.” As others have already noted, it seems to be sucking the oxygen out of the traditional fundraising efforts. In fact, donations are down in the first year after the big Knight donation. And, what money is being raised seems to be going to the $500 million “match” for the Knight campus, plus, of course, the never-ending athletic expansion.

    While the “old campus” continues to struggle and perhaps decline. Arrgggh, how I hate the sound of it: the UO campus, now the old dowager, with the shiny new “Knight Campus” already separated off in name.

    It is easy to see how UO wants to suck money away from CAS to put out the financial fires in other units. UO is already marginal in scope, having lost the medical school long ago, and never having had engineering, or perhaps having lost that in the mists of time, before I was born probably. The administration knows that it simply can’t afford to lose yet another unit, e.g. the law school. And, most of the money available for snatching is in CAS, simply because of the latter’s size.

    Now all this is coming together: financial instability of the whole operation, part of the national shakiness of the higher ed “business model”; the desire to aggrandize the new “Knight Campus,” lagging private support except for the favored distractions mostly associated with the name of Knight. Plus the insane desire for control on the part of Schill and company, with their contempt for “the gang that couldn’t shoot straight” which very much includes in their mind the faculty along with past administration. The one academic thing they have to show for it is the Knight Campus, with results for the “total campus” that probably won’t be known for a decade or more.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Lest you think that I blame everything on Phil Knight, let me point out that of course the UO faculty and administration played a huge role with the WRC fiasco back in 2000. Many will condemn me for pointing this out, but it is nonetheless any less true for that.)

    But there is more. Most of us have forgotten Phil Knight’s support for the splendid scheme (hatched, as I recall, by Michael Redding, is he still at UO?) in which he would donate $800 million for endowment for the UO campus, not the Knight campus but UO in its entirety. In return, he wanted the state to put up an $800 million matching endowment. The state, in return, would be relieved of expectation of future subsidy for in-state students. All that was being asked of the state was that it manage to borrow the $800 million for its share of the endowment, and then pay off the bonds out of what would otherwise have been its subsidy to Oregon students! After which, the state would be in a better position to support the other Oregon campuses, having no obligation to UO.

    All of this was back around 2008 or 2009, before “The Hat” Lariviere got canned. The state basically just told Phil and UO to shove the idea and get lost. To which Phil made his immortal remark about the State of Oregon having a death wish. (Hand it to the man, he has a flair for making his point, like someone else even more prominent that I can think of.)

    Had the $1.6 billion total endowment been invested in the stock market, just a plain old S+P500 index fund, at about that time (the bottom of the market in the Great Recession), it would be worth about double now. $3.2 billion (and still growing) endowment UO could be sitting on for the whole campus, with maybe another $1billion in hand for the Knight Campus!

    The lack of imagination on the part of the state, plus the forgetfulness of all involved (except, I’m sure, for Phil and a few other connoisseurs of stupidity like The Hat), is simply mind boggling.

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  12. oda says:

    My, also faulty memory, was that Phil wanted to buy us, LBO style where the state puts up the money, the title, the lock, the stock and the two smoking barrels while they put in so little as to not even cover a biennial budget, and he and his cronies take the reign… With the erection of the Shlong, and shingles on the river, I think the new ‘independence’ deal looks a lot like the old LBO and the reign has already begun with a shadow admin more focused on buildings and debt… now all that is left is to suck it dry like toys’r’us, and the state will probably be holding a much larger bag of steaming toxic manure. I heard betting would be legal soon, that will be the real cash. Hey, with all this support maybe we can field a football team again.

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    • honest Uncle Bernie says:

      oda — I think your memory is very faultty. I don’t remember any conditions other than the $800 million match. The Hat certainly favored the plan.

      Those two anonymous posts from me, the auto fill in doesn’t seem to be working.

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  13. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    Word on the street is that Marcus quit because of the centralization in the provost office of faculty hires and even of choice of department heads for CAS. And probably the financial troubles of CAS, perhaps due to money being siphoned off for other units, who knows, certainly not me. Hard to know without analyzing some historical budgets and enrollment data.

    This centralization is certainly unprecedented for UO, in my lengthening experience here. It seems that Schill and Banavar have little respect for the institution as it has evolved. “The gang that couldn’t shoot straight” a throw-off from Schill — was it a tweet? — that I can’t get out of my mind.

    Schill doesn’t seem to realize that there is a reason UO is not UCLA or the University of Chicago — we have gone forever without the financial resources of those places. I really mean 60 years and longer. So maybe we are a bunch of bums, but for the money, I say we are fairly good bums.

    I would once again make the point, with all due respect to the pork abstainers here, including myself, that those guys haven’t been able to bring home the bacon. They act like they wonder why we can’t be first rate. And I point out, our science startup packages are smaller by hundreds of thousands of dollars, when not by an integer multiple; we don’t have even have startup money for all the open positions; we don’t have money for graduate student recruiting. The opportunities for the less grant-driven programs, the humanities, may not be what they are at other places. I am not even going to go to the salary issues. And still, we do pretty decently. Sometimes hiring new faculty who turned down “better” places. Physics managed to hire a Nobel prize winner, first time ever at UO to my knowledge. Some National Academy types in recent years, home-grown here.

    Again, they aren’t able to bring home the bacon. The laggardly fundraising (except for the Knight Center aka Campus and the Knight athletic facilities). What has the new trustee system done for us? Certainly hasn’t brought in the money. Their role in other leadership? AWOL. The old state board did more! Of course, sometimes there is gratitude for being left alone.

    But this departure of Marcus seems like a Big Deal to me. It is like a vote of no confidence from the Big Unit. Are we heading toward a showdown involving yet another UO president? A lot of people don’t like this centralization. What is going on with the budget, the money flows? I don’t know. It might be a big project for the UO Senate.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Even if there was some sensible “institutional Priority” for strategic hiring, I don’t think individual departments in CAS would align with that, unless they were given *extra* positions.

      In general, I don’t really think centralized hiring is a good idea, but on the other hand, its been my experience that departments tend to perpetuate their own academic and intellectual isolation by hiring very narrow individuals.

      So some kind of improve happy medium is needed, but I don’t think we are getting there.

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    • XDH says:

      Based on what I know/have heard, HUB is correct. Over-the-top centralization and (mis)appropriation (and gross fumbling) of donors (and donor desires/wishes) are a few of the reasons that led to Marcus’s departure.

      As for centralization/budget/money flow, ask Brad Shelton…. oh wait, that was a stupid response….

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