Blandy and Altman to *both* replace Tomlin

2/21/2012: Not what was expected:

Dear colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that two highly respected University of Oregon faculty members have been selected to oversee the institution’s extensive academic affairs portfolio.  Doug Blandy has been appointed senior vice provost for academic affairs, and Barbara Altman will serve as vice provost for academic affairs on a half-time basis.  Both roles are two-year, renewable positions.

The Office of Academic Affairs is responsible for a broad range of the UO’s academic appointments, programs and initiatives including all faculty personnel matters, curriculum coordination and assessment and program review.  Promotion and tenure as well as the non-tenure track faculty are also important parts of the portfolio.  In addition, the office oversees a variety of reporting units including the Museum of Natural and Cultural History, Academic Extension, the Labor Education and Resource Center and the Morse Center for Law and Politics.

Given the breadth of this portfolio and the complementary strengths Barbara and Doug each bring to these positions, the University of Oregon will be extremely well served by these two appointments.

Doug has extensive administrative experience at the University of Oregon.  He is currently director of the Arts and Administration Program and a faculty member in the UO’s School of Architecture and Allied Arts (AAA).  He is also associate dean for academic affairs for AAA.  In 2005, he served as acting dean for the school.

Doug has made significant contributions to the university through service on a variety of committees including the UO Senate, Senate Budget Committee, Faculty Personnel Committee and the Center on Diversity and Community.

Doug has said that his priorities as senior vice provost will be to “encourage dialogue and collaboration; reinforce vision, risk taking and creativity; and promote excellence among faculty and staff colleagues.”

Barbara is director of the Oregon Humanities Center and a professor of French in the Romance Languages Department.  Her half-time appointment in academic affairs will allow Barbara to continue as the Oregon Humanities Center director, a post she has held since 2008.

Barbara is the recipient of several teaching awards including the University of Oregon’s Ersted Teaching Award in 1997 and the Thomas E. Herman Teaching award in 2011.  She also served as department head of the Romance Languages Department from 2005 to 2008 and was recently elected to the executive council of the Modern Language Association.  Barbara has contributed to the University of Oregon through service on committees such as the Faculty Advisory Council, the International Affairs Advisory Council, University Senate, the Senate Budget Committee and the Women’s Studies Committee.

Barbara has said, “The position is a great opportunity to provide leadership in this time of change and transition.  I look forward to assisting in the coordination of the broad sweep of programs, schools, interests and agendas of the Office of Academic Affairs.  I strongly support the well being of the UO faculty and the integrity of our academic programs.”

Doug will transition into his new role on a half-time basis from March 15 to June 15.  He will work along side Russ Tomlin who will retire as senior vice provost in June.  After that point, Doug will assume the senior vice provost position full-time.  Barbara will start her half-time appointment as vice provost for academic affairs on July 1.

Please join me in congratulating Doug and Barbara as they begin new chapters in their service to the University of Oregon.

Lorraine Davis
Acting Senior Vice President and Provost

I wonder what sort of retirement gig they will find for Tomlin.

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13 Responses to Blandy and Altman to *both* replace Tomlin

  1. Anonymous says:

    Altmann has real class and substance; it’s a travesty that *she* wasn’t given the top position. Blandy shows little vision and brings little academic heft to what is, in effect, the university’s highest academic post. So much for “excellence.”

  2. Anonymous says:

    More admin excess. 1.0 FTE now 1.5 FTE.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Can someone explain how replacing one highly paid senior administrator with 1.5 is not administrative bloat?

  4. Anonymous says:

    It IS administrative bloat! What’s worse is that the bloat has not even been rationalized as necessary. And the real reason 1.0 has been inflated to 1.5 FTE is that our esteemed provost couldn’t bring herself to choose: that is, she couldn’t bring herself to hire the more qualified candidate and risk placing an advocate for faculty and academic substance in the SVP position, even as she couldn’t bring herself to face the certain backlash that would result from saddling the unqualified Blandy with the whole job. Thus she can disguise her mind-numbingly stupid decision under the feel-good b.s. about TWO “highly respected” colleagues, even as she gives Mr. Banal “I’m for collaboration and vision and excellence” the full FTE, the title and seniority, the real power and, you can bet your bottom dollar, the P&T brief. Altmann gets the consolation prize–which is supposed to mollify those of us who might protest–bloat be damned. She probably also gets the low-status shit-work. I’m sure she’ll be glad for a half-time reprieve at the OHC.

  5. Anonymous says:


  6. Anonymous says:

    Will they at least let Barbara be part of the executive leadership team?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Is this decision déjà vue all over again? ” Did not Tomlin and Warpinski so begin their illustrious careers in JH in this manner? And also also under the ever decisive LGD? Another poor decision by a central admin that has no direction?

  8. Anonymous says:

    I have no information on w3hich to judge the SVP appointment,but I am confident that a decision to take a fine scholar, former head of a large complex department, head of HUM center, widely respected person across campus and tell her that she’s only able to serve half time under the supervision of a senior VP is but the most recent of a nearly decade-long string of bad decisions by senior administrators in Johnson Hall. Folk like Barbara and our campus deserve better than this.

  9. uomatters says:

    I’m not posting some of the more vitriolic attacks I’ve received. I will post opinions on the qualifications of the people involved or the advantages or disadvantages of 2 positions, etc. But please don’t get too nasty.

  10. Anonymous says:

    There is such an information vacuum. For all we know, Barbara Altman decided she would regret giving up her teaching work, and this was a compromise. I think it is so very easy to leap to conclusions when decisions are opaque. By now the administration should realize there is huge distrust and skepticism of administrative bloat, and should explain itself up front every time they add a new admin position or give a major raise.

  11. Anonymous says:

    It is possible that Barbara will be replacing Ken Doxsee who worked under Russ Tomlin and handled a lot of the promotion and tenure responsibilities. But the memo does not explicitly say that and I’ve not heard that Ken is stepping down.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Speaking as someone who is heavily dependent upon the services of Johnson Hall, the Senior VP position is more than one FTE. Although economics is not my field, I believe it is false economy to short-change the administrative structure, creating a back log of decisions that need to be made. From my vantage point, this was an elegant decision that takes advantage of the considerable skills that both Barbara and Doug bring to the position.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Dog doesn’t care

    how many FTE are needed in the SVP position. The issue is: will functionality
    increase or will it just be more of the same with different people to talk too.

    On P&T – we are close to 100% there already, why would anything change?

    On Academic Infrastructure, what Ken Doxsee is charged with – is anything
    going to accelerate there?

    Indeed this very language. “institution’s extensive academic affairs portfolio. “
    invites the question:

    What is so extensive about this portfolio?