Remain calm, all is well


Dear colleagues,

A few months ago I could not have imagined being in this position, and I continue to marvel at life’s twists and turns. I want to take this opportunity to convey my appreciation for the kind welcome and support I have received. As I’ve said, I am not pleased with the circumstances that created the interim presidency, but it is good to be back at this university that was and continues to be an important part of my life and career.

There is much I could say, and for those who would like to read the longer comments I made to the UO Senate a few weeks ago, they are available here. For now I simply want to reiterate the short list of priorities I will concentrate on in this interim period.

1) Faculty recruitment and retention. It is essential that we recruit and retain the very best faculty we possibly can. Excellence begets excellence. Because of good financial management and a successful model for growing revenue, despite poor state support, the UO is relatively unique in its capacity to add faculty to its ranks over the course of this academic year. Few public universities are able to do this in this fiscal environment.

2) Presidential search. I have known reasonably well or worked in some fashion with six UO presidents. The next president has tall shoulders upon which to stand. Although morale has been damaged by the Board’s decision to terminate President Lariviere, it is generally high because of the momentum, the hope and expectation of the future which he generated. We must recruit a strong, visionary, effective leader, and I hope to play an active role in that process.

3) Capital campaign. One of my tasks as a presidential consultant this fall was to help in planning for the upcoming capital campaign. I met with all the deans and a number of faculty. The institution has many committed alumni and donors. We must clearly and passionately articulate our vision for the future—a vision that our friends and supporters can champion.

4) Independence in governance. The final imperative upon which the others depend, is to advance the project of gaining an independent governing board for the UO. This is essential to the future of the institution. While the UO must remain dedicated to its public mission, it must also have the freedom to act in ways that are constrained by the current governance structure. This is essential if we are to successfully recruit outstanding faculty. And this is essential if we are to be able to spend the university’s resources to best support our people and our mission.

There are, of course, many other challenges and opportunities the next president must address. In the meantime, I know that you are educating and caring for our students and keeping the institution running. I am counting on you to continue your great work through this interim period, just as you can count on me to do everything I can to give the next president a running start. The possibilities for excellence are great. Which is exactly why I am happy to be back here with you.

Warm regards,


Robert M. Berdahl
Interim President
University of Oregon

Replace tuition with an income tax

2/2/2012: That’s the intriguing proposal from some UC students. Eliminate tuition and replace it with a post-graduation income tax. Proposal here, Insidehighered story here:

Student Proposal In Brief:

  • UC students would pay no tuition up front to attend a UC campus.
  • UC students would agree to pay 5 percent of their income for 20 years of employment after graduation.
  • Payments would only be collected while students were working, not while students attended graduate school or were unemployed.
  • Percentage reductions would be granted to students who transfer into the system, enter public service fields, and/or stay in the state.

Australia and England have similar plans in place.

UO Provost’s team of expert special assistants

2/1/2012: I didn’t believe this tip til I checked it out: Lorraine Davis’s “special assistants” now include John Moseley, Frances Dyke, and Don Harris. (Jim Bean is not listed.)

And you are wondering why there is no money to pay for start-up for the science hires? Full org chart here dated 2/1/2012. (link fixed, thanks). John Moseley is still on the payroll? Unbelievable.

Change in Information Services leadership

2/1/2012: Change in Information Services leadership

Following much consultation and deliberation, I have decided to make a change in leadership in the University of Oregon’s Information Services (IS) operation.  Effective February 1, Susan Hilton and Tony Saxman will assume the roles of co-senior directors for the unit on an interim basis while we conduct a national search for a new Chief Information Officer. 

Information Services is comprised of Enterprise Initiatives, Enterprise Administrative Applications, Academic Services, Network and Telecommunication Services, the Advanced Network Technology Center, Systems and Operations, and the management of NERO (Network for Education and Research in Oregon).  Tony and Susan will assume the shared responsibility of broader leadership of the entire operation of Information Services while continuing their specific oversight of Enterprise Initiatives, Network and Telecommunication Services and the Enterprise Administrative Applications team respectively.   The two have extensive experience running information technology operations and together will build on the recent successes of the Information Services unit.

Don Harris will transition from his role as Chief Information Officer and will be responsible for special projects in the Office of the Provost for the next year.

Please join me in thanking Don for his service and welcoming Susan and Tony into their new interim roles.

Lorraine Davis
Senior Vice President and Provost

Search Committee announced

Dear UO Community,

Following is an announcement about the presidential search committee that will be released to the media later today. I wanted to share the information with you first.

George Pernsteiner
Chancellor, Oregon University System
News Release
February 1, 2012


Contact: Di Saunders, Office: 503-725-5714; Cell: 971-219-6869

Chancellor Announces Search Committee for University of Oregon President

PORTLAND, February 1, 2012 – George Pernsteiner, chancellor of the Oregon University System (OUS), today announced the Search Committee for the next president of the University of Oregon (UO). The new president will replace interim president Robert Berdahl, who began in this role in late December.

The Search Committee will be chaired by State Board of Higher Education member Allyn Ford of Roseburg, and he will be assisted by Dr. Sona Karentz Andrews, vice chancellor of Academic Strategies for the OUS, and Tim Black, UO assistant vice president, Office of the President.

Search Committee members will include the following representatives from UO’s many constituent groups, including:

[edited by group]


  • Miriam Abelson, UO graduate student in Women’s and Gender Studies; 
  • Maneesh Arora, UO undergraduate student in Environmental Studies; 
  • Ben Eckstein, undergraduate student in Planning and Public Policy Management, and president of Associated Students of the UO;


  • Miriam Bolton, UO executive assistant, Lundquist College of Business; 
  • Eric Clark, UO libraries’ student coordinator and assistant to unit manager; 


  • Frances Bronet, UO dean, School of Architecture & Allied Arts;   
  • Robin Holmes, UO vice president for Student Affairs; 


  • Allyn Ford, search chair, and president of Roseburg Forest Products; 
  • Dan Giustina, managing partner, Giustina Resources; 
  • Gregg Kantor, CEO, Northwest Natural Gas Company; 
  • Anne Marie Levis, president, UO Alumni Association, and president & creative director, Funk/Levis & Associates;
  • Ed Maletis, UO Foundation member; 
  • Gwen Lillis, chair, The Lillis Foundation; 
  • Preston Pulliams, president, Portland Community College; 
  • Mary Spilde, president, Lane Community College.


  • Michael Hames-Garcia, UO professor of Ethnic Studies; 
  • Robert Kyr, Phillip H. Knight professor, UO School of Music and Dance; 
  • Alec Murphy, UO professor of Geography; 
  • Margie Paris, UO professor of Law; 
  • Geraldine Richmond, UO professor of Chemistry; 
  • Kim Sheehan, professor of Journalism;

The Committee will begin its search process for a new president immediately, working with a national search firm which was selected through an open RFP process. Search chair Allyn Ford noted that the target for the selection of the new president of UO by the State Board of Higher Education is this summer. The chancellor and Allyn Ford are continuing to meet with members of the UO community, faculty, and students to identify the qualities, qualifications and characteristics needed in the next president.

Allyn Ford said, “My thanks go out to this Committee, which is representative of the many strengths and perspectives of the UO community, as well as those of the state of Oregon. We appreciate the Committee’s willingness to work collectively on this critically important work. We are excited about beginning the search process, and are committed to moving through an accelerated schedule, but one that does not compromise quality, so that we can have the University’s next president appointed this summer and ready to lead the institution this coming fall. The University of Oregon’s next president will be both an institutional and a state leader in higher education, so the work of identifying candidates is one that has important ramifications for all of Oregon.”

Faculty union quotes

1/31/2012: Sam Stites of the ODE has a good story with quotes from several pro-union faculty:

“We’re hoping to have the card-check done by the end of the term,” said Deborah Olson, union representative and special education instructor. “We’re actually shooting for a higher number. We want more than 50 percent plus one so we have a real clear statement that this is something that the faculty wants.”

“It would provide clarity and an opportunity for the next generation in how to find excellence in the face of the challenges that face state universities,” University professor Louise Bishop said.

“I believe that most faculty are pretty enthusiastic, and I think that they see a real need so it has a good chance,” said Scott Pratt, union representative and philosophy professor. … He says that a union will allow the faculty to have a larger stake in making decisions, setting budgets and other fiscal and administrative issues that the University faces.

It is not going to be all gravy though. Unions do some ridiculous things.

Professor who leaked emails to admin quits senate

1/30/2012: Courtesy of, story here:

A Springfield professor who shared emails from other faculty leaders with the University of Illinois president’s chief of staff has resigned from the campus senate amid a vote of no confidence by her peers.

Tih-Fen Ting, professor in environmental studies on the Springfield campus, resigned as chairwoman of the University of Illinois at Springfield campus senate on Friday. She also resigned from the University Senates Conference, a cross-campus committee of faculty leaders.

The UIS campus senate has no confidence in her leadership and “condemns her unethical and unprofessional conduct both prior to and during the anonymous email investigation,” the resolution stated. Ting’s actions violated shared-governance principles and diminished the standing of the campus senate and the influence of the campus within the University Senates Conference, according to the resolution.

Earlier this month, an investigation revealed that Ting sent dozens of emails to Lisa Troyer, UI President Michael Hogan’s former chief of staff. Those emails, from an anonymous gmail account, contained various communications and forwarded emails from members of the University Senates Conference. Troyer later resigned amid the investigation into anonymous emails sent from a Yahoo account from her computer to the senates conference.

IU president Hogan’s apology is here.

Dr. Pernsteiner speaks – but no Matt Donegan

1/25/2012: It’s taking George a while to find UO community members willing to serve on a committee with him. Wonder why. If you are faculty and haven’t been contacted, you are probably not on the list. Pernsteiner and Ford will be here next month to explain themselves – Matt Donegan is clearly never going to set foot in Eugene again in public.

I wanted to update you on the search process for the University of Oregon president. Although we had hoped to be able to name the search committee by now, we do not yet have commitments from all the people we are contacting. We hope now to be able to finalize the membership late this week or early next. With the advice of Interim President Berdahl and a panel of faculty and students, we have chosen a consulting firm to assist in the search. We selected Diversified Search as the apparently successful proposer. This is the same company that recently assisted in two high level executive searches at the University. We are currently in the midst of the legally required period for other proposers to protest that selection. If no protest is lodged, Diversified can start work later next week.

We continue to expect to have a series of forums and meetings regarding the search process on February 8, including the University Senate meeting at 3:00 that afternoon.

Thank you.

George Pernsteiner
Chancellor, Oregon University System

VP for Academic Affairs candidates

1/24/2012: Wow – they are actually asking for faculty opinions:

We present, for your consideration, Barbara Altmann and Doug Blandy as finalists for the position of Senior Vice Provost.  We will be holding an open forum for each of the candidates during the week of January 30th.  Presentation details, candidate application materials, and a feedback link can be accessed at:  I encourage your engagement with each candidate at their respective forum.

Lorraine Davis
Acting Senior Vice President and Provost

Expect these to be ignored. Our administration already knows what is best for us.

Union Event at art center Today

1/24/2012: The most common reason workers unionize is bad management. Johnson Hall is a case study of dysfunction, so guess what’s happening? Word is that the union organizers already have more than 1/2 the signatures they need, and they are ending the quiet phase early:

An Invitation from the United Academics Organizing Committee
Join colleagues for the official LAUNCH of our union authorization card drive!
Tuesday, January 24th
Papé Reception Hall, Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
12:30-3:30 – Drop by Anytime!
Coffee, tea and light refreshments provided

Organizing Committee members will be sharing the reasons they are involved in building United Academics and answering questions about the official certification process. Please come and share your questions and join the discussion. 

An art museum with light refreshments. The last time I tried to join a union the boss waved his stainless 357 at us, and the oil company brought in the scabs from Texas. They gave a few of the troublemakers promotions, then fired the rest of us. The Cody Wyoming cops sat around the landing zone guarding the choppers til we sobered up and left, for better jobs on the CGG crew down in Pinedale.

Millions for jocks, not a cent for scholars

1/18/2012: That’s the word on the $5 million Jock Box gift from John Jaqua’s widow. Greg Bolt explains the basics, here. Duck press release here. And now Rob Mullens has admitted that he is going to use all the proceeds to cover the small part of the maintenance and utilities that the athletic department must pay. Not a cent will go to help the academic side pay for the $1.83 million cost of running the athlete-only tutoring operations. Where was UO’s VP for Development Mike Andreasenwhile this gift was being negotiated? Not doing his job for the academic side. Where was UO Foundation President Paul Weinhold? Cashing his paycheck. What is the probability that the widowed 91-year-old donor, the generous and rather interesting Robin Jaqua, understood how UO’s athletic department would use her gift? ____%. Meanwhile, the athletic department is continuing to play hardball with the students over football tickets and costs. Because they are that greedy. Emily Schiola has the story in the ODE.