Posted for those who, like me, would have liked to have been able to hear it delivered in person. Pre-recorded video here. The comments are open. The elevator version:
Someone made $50M, Mike Schill got them to give it to UO, and now he’s going to spend it to make the university better.
It would have been a long speech. Here are some highlights:
This fall, we welcomed the most diverse class of incoming students in our history. These amazing students from every county in Oregon, every state in the nation, and more than 100 countries cannot be defined in simple terms. Many of them are the first in their families to attend college, as was I.
We are taking steps toward helping our students be successful and graduate on-time through investments in advising and progress tracking, by working with the University Senate to revise curriculum and programing, and by enhancing student engagement opportunities through under-graduate research, academic residential communities, and freshman interest groups.
In other instances and at other universities, students seek to disinvite or shout down speakers they don’t agree with. Faculty who ask probing questions are sometimes vilified as sexist or racist creating a chilling effect on campus speech and robust discussion. As part of our commitment to excellence and to producing research and students who will make an impact I want to strongly reiterate the University of Oregon’s core values of protecting freedom of speech, academic freedom, and the virtues of robust discussion and debate. If someone says something we don’t like, we should not try to shut them down. That is not what we do in an open democracy. Instead—to paraphrase one of our most monumental Supreme Court justices, Louis D. Brandeis—the antidote to speech we don’t like is MORE SPEECH.
Today I am delighted and humbled to announce that this summer the University of Oregon received a $50 million gift to further excellence at the university over the next five years. … Today, I would like to announce the first five allocations from the Presidential Fund for Excellence.
First, … Like all good academic ideas, the Initiative in Data Sciences bubbled up from the faculty. I have repeatedly heard that we need to develop greater capacity to support our teaching and research in fields as disparate as literature, economics, geography, biology, business, computer science, and design. With the growth of big data comes the need for sophisticated applications and techniques to understand underlying trends and scientific, literary, economic, and social phenomena. And our students need to learn how to apply these methods. Data Science will help connect our disciplines and increase our capacity for discovery.
Second, I will further invest in faculty, because an excellent university is only as good as its faculty. … , I am earmarking funds from the Presidential Fund for Excellence to match gifts to create nine new faculty chairs.
For my third allocation, I will dedicate money from the Presidents Fund for Excellence to support student success programming at the Black Cultural Center. I am extremely excited about this project and can’t wait to break ground sometime in the summer of 2018.
My fourth investment … to support the School of Journalism and Communication’s plan to create a new Media Center for Science and Technology.
For my fifth allocation, I am awarding the College of Education funds to seed a new and exciting initiative that holds the promise of improving the quality of schools in our state and increasing the number of college-ready students they graduate. This program—the Oregon Research Schools Network—will place faculty members in up to 10 high schools across the state. Each faculty member will train high school teachers in the newest innovations of pedagogical practice and also teach students. The cost for each placement in this five-year pilot program will be shared jointly with local school districts. We hope that the initial set of placements will occur in schools with high proportions of first-generation and under-represented students. We will explore the feasibility of dual credit offerings. We also hope our presence in these schools will increase the pool of high school graduates qualified to come and study here in Eugene. We will also examine providing additional institutional support to some of our most successful pipeline programs at the university including the Summer Academy to Inspire Learning and the Oregon Young Scholars program as part of this initiative.
2017 State of the University Address: