¿CAS? task force to briefly discuss President’s assertions, consultants

Update: The Jan 22 meeting of this shambolic process is described below the break. They will try again this Tuesday Feb 12, the birthday of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin,  from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. in the Diamond Lake Room, EMU 119.

At this point I’m guessing that Johnson Hall has decided that the opportunity cost of this is too damn high and they’re just going through the motions. But then that’s what I thought they thought about Brad’s metrics scheme, and look what that’s going to cost us in real money. So I’ll try and do some live-blogging, on the off chance they raise a quorum.

From the official website. My comments in italics.

About half the members are present. Some have to leave early.

CAS Task Force on the Structure of the College Agenda for February 12, 2019

Angela Wilhelms reports that Pres Schill is willing to pay a modest amount for a consultant, and that the deadline will be extended. The committee is now expected to report in “early May” but there will no decisions until Fall, after opportunities for input from the Senate, etc. This will still allow for starting a search for new dean(s) in late fall.

1. Senate Meeting 2/13; please attend if able

Chair Ford will present something to the Senate and there will be time for Q&A. 

2. Discuss briefly President’s Strategic framework assertions

Apparently there’s an old strategic framework, from before Pres Schill, with something about the liberal arts and the sciences. Discussion about ensuring that the report articulates the importance of thinking of these holistically rather than doing a slice and dice. Discussion about that the names of new colleges. “Liberal Arts” and “Sciences”? This decision will take years. 

Long discussion ensues. Multiple members report back that their colleagues don’t see what problems a reorganization is supposed to fix, have noted that the source of current problems is lack of money, not a lack of organization. Ford explains out that the current CAS divisional deans are voting members of the deans council, do fundraising, etc. 

My impression of the sentiment of the task force is that they are still wondering what the point of this task force is. 

3. Survey question 1 responses

On the survey someone asked about how a reorg would affect unit’s definitions of teaching excellence. Answer is not clear since it’s not clear what the def of teaching excellence currently is.

Conversation moves on to the possibility that a complete reorganization of CAS might make it easier for instructors to get white board markers. I’m not kidding.

Members note that the survey collected many cuss words but not much deep thought or coherence. Suggestion is made that was to be expected, given the vague nature of the questions. Discussion of potential new questions, e.g.

“Can you thing of a more politic name for a new college than The College of Liberal Arts?”

“Since we can’t figure it out, what’s your guess on why the President created our task force?”

Discussion of whether to post the current survey responses, with or without redacting answers like “this is a shit show”.  

Discussion of Brad Shelton’s comment from last time that the point of a reorg is to “produce the right kind of leaders”. The Chair says she thought that was sinister, and asked if anyone had a more innocent interpretation of it.  

4. Discussion and feedback on Working Group & Meeting Plan

Five working groups. The whiteboard marker is running out of ink, but I think they are Research, Teaching, Inside (organization & operations), Outside (donors & PR), Structure/$, Writing. Those present are volunteering for these. To start meeting tomorrow.

5. Develop format for future meetings; i.e. what the report of each meeting will look like

6. Update on Consultant

7. Update on extending calendar for our TF process

8. Groups

Jan 22 update on CAS Structure Task Force meeting – cue the consultants

Continue reading

Faculty union releases CAS reorg survey results

Committee Chair Karen Ford says they aim to make a public report in April. That will presumably kick off a campus wide discussion on whether or not to – and if so how to – divide up CAS. Ford has said that she believes the Senate should vote on any reorganization. President Schill and Provost Banavar have said that the final decision will be up to them.

The faculty union ran a quick “what do you think” survey on this a few weeks ago. The full letter from union Pres Chris Sinclair is here. A snippet:

The results of our recent survey on the potential division of CAS into multiple schools are in. There were 93 responses and you can see numeric responses and a tally of repeated themes in narrative responses here.

The central theme in the narrative responses was of deep concern for the future of the humanities at the University of Oregon. While some respondents were cautiously optimistic, most of the respondents were humanists and, for the most part, they were the most concerned. People worry that splitting CAS may weaken our liberal arts educational mission and hinder interdisciplinary work. Some respondents believe that such a change will result in the proliferation of administrators, though the counter point is that these dedicated administrators may improve advocacy to Johnson Hall on behalf of their units.

There were fewer concerns about the process, except the prevalent question of “why?” or “why now?” Some see the process as opaque or don’t feel they have enough information to comment.

Some members in the professional schools held their newly organized schools up as cautionary examples.

Again, some members are hopeful, and many are cautiously optimistic that the process will be thorough and come to the right conclusion. Many, however, worry that the conclusion is foregone.  …

And here’s a screenshot from the report:

 

CAS Structure Task Force to meet

From https://provost.uoregon.edu/task-force-structure-college-arts-and-sciences

Task force meeting schedule

The first meeting of the task force will be on December 13 from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. This meeting will be organizational in nature and is the time for task force members to meet each other, review the goals, and plan. It will be held in Friendly Hall 109.

The following dates and times for future task force meetings are set. Agendas and locations have yet to be determined but will be added once space is confirmed.

January 22: 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.
February 12: 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.
February 26: 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.
March 12: 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
March 19: 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.

The meetings are open to the public and the task force will seek input from the campus community in connection with its deliberations. We have already scheduled a meeting with the Senate and the task force chair on February 13, 2019. Input will also be solicited through an online survey and through open task force meetings, and individuals can provide feedback or ask questions via feedback@uoregon.edu.

To see the information under consideration by the task force, click on the links below.

CAS Task Force information packet – December 10, 2018


Timeline

  • WEEK OF OCTOBER 15

    Task force charge and outline distributed

  • WEEKS OF OCTOBER 15 AND OCTOBER 22

    Consultation with stakeholders and Senate President and Vice President regarding task force membership

  • WEEK OF OCTOBER 29

    President and Provost visit CAS Department Heads meeting on November 2

  • NOVEMBER 20

    Leadership announces CAS task force members

  • DECEMBER 13

    First meeting of the task force. This is an organizational gathering where members meet each other for the first time to discuss the work.

    Friendly Hall 109 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

  • WEEK OF JANUARY 7

    Research and information gathering as desired by task force completed by staff and shared with committee

  • JANUARY THROUGH MARCH

    The following dates and times are for task force meetings.

    Jan. 22: 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

    Feb. 12: 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

    Feb. 26: 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

    March 12: 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

    March 19: 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

    *Locations for the meetings have yet to be determined but this will be updated when location information becomes available.

  • MARCH 18 THRU APRIL 12

    Additional time for meetings as needed; window of time to draft analysis for submission / review by committee

  • APRIL 15

    Task force report due to President and Provost

  • MID-MAY

    Target for decision by President and Provost about how to move forward

  • JUNE 3 OR 4

    Discussion at Board of Trustees meeting and likely announcement date

Provost Banavar appoints members to CAS analysis task force

The original timeline is here. Two of the 22 members are UO Senators, elected by the Senate CAS Caucus. Karen Ford, chair of the task force, has agreed that the UO Senate should vote on any reorganization of CAS.

Sent on behalf of Provost Jayanth Banavar

11/20/2018

Dear Colleagues,

President Michael Schill and I are pleased to announce the membership of the task force that will be analyzing the structure of the University of Oregon’s College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) to determine if the combination of disciplines is best suited to deliver on our mission of excellence in teaching, research, scholarship, and creative work.

Last month, we informed the university community that we were creating the task force and charging it with looking at the advantages and disadvantages of the current structure of CAS, particularly in relation to possible other structures (e.g., two colleges or three colleges). Part of that discussion will include an examination of the current internal CAS structure, the relative advantages and disadvantages of the structure, and determining whether we have the most effective organization to meet our liberal arts mission.

The task force also will be asked to determine whether changes relating to other schools or colleges at UO might make sense in the context of the issues being examined. In other words, are there benefits to having some parts of CAS more tied to any of the professional schools, or vice versa?

To arrive at the membership, we solicited input from across the university and many people made recommendations that influenced our final decision. We appreciate all the feedback and are grateful to those who have volunteered their time on this important endeavor.

The task force members are:

Elliot Berkman, CAS, Natural Sciences, Psychology, Associate Professor
Tina Boscha, CAS, Humanities, English, Senior Instructor
Melissa Bowers, CAS, Humanities, English, (OA) Department Manager
Ben Brinkley, CASIT, (OA) Director
Karen Ford, CAS (Task Force Chair), Humanities, English, Senior Divisional Dean and Professor
Pedro García-Caro, CAS, Humanities, Romance Languages, Associate Professor
Spike Gildea, CAS, Humanities, Linguistics, Professor
Monica Guy, CAS, Humanities, Environmental Studies, (OA) Office Manager
Bruce McGough, CAS, Social Sciences, Economics, Professor/Department Head
Betsy McLendon, CAS Advisory Board member
Juan-Carlos Molleda, School of Journalism and Communication, Professor of Communications/Dean
Gabe Paquette, Clark Honors College, Professor of History and International Studies/Dean
Craig Parsons, CAS, Social Sciences, Political Science, Professor/Department Head
Mike Price, CAS, Natural Sciences, Math, Senior Instructor
Tyrone Russ, CASIT, (Classified Staff) Buyer
Brad Shelton, Office of the Provost, Natural Sciences, Math, Executive Vice Provost
Janelle Stevenson, CAS, Natural Sciences, Biology, Graduate Student
Joe Sventek, CAS, Natural Sciences, Computer & Information Science, Professor/Department Head
Richard Taylor, CAS, Natural Sciences, Physics, Professor/Department Head
Frances White, CAS, Social Sciences, Anthropology, Professor/Department Head
Rocío Zambrana, CAS, Humanities, Philosophy, Associate Professor
Undergraduate Student, TBD (invitation pending)

Teri Rowe, the department manager for Economics and Sociology, will provide staff support to the task force.

As you can see, we have a robust, experienced, and capable group who will work together for this analysis. We expect the analysis to include discussions about whether we are maximizing organizational design to achieve and grow academic excellence, whether any changes to the current design would weaken current advantages or mitigate existing problems, whether changes would impact interdisciplinary work and collaboration, how changes might impact (positively or negatively) various departments and disciplines, structural/administrative issues relative to the current or a new structure, and other relevant issues.

The task force will begin its work this fall. As we move forward, it’s critical for all of us to support the effort in a positive and constructive way. We have heard a variety of thoughts and theories about why we have organized a task force: a branding effort or a cost saving effort; an attempt to drive institutional resources to the Knight Campus; or simply an effort to boost certain disciplines by abandoning others. These are simply untrue.

The fundamental premise is: What structure will allow us to best deliver on our goal of excellence in teaching, research, scholarship, and creative work?

Meetings of the task force will be open to the public, and we will give regular updates on the group’s progress on the provost’s website and through other communications. You are always welcome to share thoughts, questions, and ideas through feedback@uoregon.edu.

Sincerely, Jayanth Banavar Provost and Senior Vice President