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Coltrane gives Espy jobs to Shelton, Berglund

As announced on April 15, Dr. Kimberly Andrews Espy will be leaving the University of Oregon on May 23 to take a new position at the University of Arizona. After consulting with a number of faculty and administration colleagues over the last few weeks, the President and I have made some decisions about how best to transfer the responsibilities of the office for Research, Innovation, and Graduate Education. Beginning Tuesday, May 27, we will separate the responsibilities of Graduate Education from Research and Innovation. Today, we are pleased to be naming two interim positions, both of which will report directly to me.

It is my great pleasure to announce that Dr. Brad Shelton, Vice Provost for Budget and Planning for the last five years, has agreed to take on the added responsibilities of Interim Vice President for Research and Innovation. Brad has been with the UO since 1985. He is a Professor of Mathematics who has mentored 12 PhDs during his tenure and served as head of the department from 2001 to 2008. His research areas include noncommutative algebraic geometry, noncommutative ring theory and homological algebra. He remains an active researcher, whose most recent projects are in the theory of Koszul algebras, generalized Koszul algebras and connections between noncommutative rings and combinatorial algebraic topology.

A Wayne Westling awardee for University Leadership and Service in 2009, Brad has served the university through membership and leadership on the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee, the Faculty Advisory Council, and the Faculty Personnel Committee. He has been instrumental in the design, implementation, and management of the Oregon Budget Model and the Integrated Data and Reporting Project. He will continue to be actively engaged in collaborative activities with the Vice President for Finance and Administration and the Provost’s Office on the strategic budget process, and he will continue to be involved in strategic investment decisions – such as the Faculty Excellence Cluster Hire process. Starting May 27, we will address the office as the Office of Research and Innovation.

I am equally pleased to announce that Dr. J. Andrew Berglund, Associate Dean of the Graduate School, has agreed to be the interim Dean of the Graduate School. An active supporter of graduate education who has instructed graduate courses, Andy runs a robust National Institutes of Health- and foundation-supported research lab with many graduate students who themselves have been successful in receiving external support from the National Science Foundation and the American Heart Association. While serving most recently as Interim Associate Dean, he incorporated his significant expertise and investment in student professional development into his new role, working to offer outlets for graduate students to enhance their professional careers while completing their graduate studies.

Andy has been instrumental in enhancing our Graduate Research Forum programming by including judges from the UO and regional businesses. He has shaped the new Dixon Innovation Award, which seeks to help doctoral students build transferable skill sets in preparation for careers outside academia. Additionally, Andy co-led the development two years ago of a new track in the biology master’s program for bioinformatics, which combines coursework at the UO with internships in industry, academics, and government. Since arriving at the UO in 2002, Andy has had many notable achievements and honors, including receiving  the Basil O’Connor Scholarship from the March of Dimes of Foundation. He has been a member of the Department of Chemistry’s Graduate Recruiting Committee since 2004, serving as chair of the committee since 2010. Andy has served as director of graduate studies for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry for the past three years, and has mentored more than 20 PhD and masters students.

Graduate Education and Research are intrinsically linked our expectation is that the two units will continue to have many points of intersection both administratively and conceptually. I look forward to Andy and Brad working collaboratively with me on administering the graduate, research and innovation portfolios.

It is our intention to very quickly launch searches for permanent replacements for these two interim positions. By the end of May, we hope to have identified a committee for a national search for a Vice President for Research and Innovation.  We expect to do an internal search for a permanent Dean of the Graduate School and aim to have the search committee named before the end of the school year. If you have suggestions for individuals who might serve on either of these search committees please forward them to my assistant, Kathy Warden, at [email protected].

Please join me in thanking our two colleagues for taking on these additional responsibilities and serving in these very important leadership positions.

Scott Coltrane

Senior Vice President and Provost


  1. Anonymous 05/13/2014

    Administrative bloat rears its predictable head.

    • anon 05/13/2014

      I think this split makes sense. Not many in-house people could do both parts of the VPRIGE job well. Brad is familiar with the money-flow of the of VPR office, and Andy now has experience in GE. I’ve heard plenty of complaints that Espy had power over both domains, and I guess it is to be expected to also hear complaints about that not being the case. You are entitled to your opinion, of course, but this seems far less egregious than many of the other admin positions. And frankly, maybe the split was needed to get anyone to do the job.

      • Anonymous 05/13/2014

        You seem to be mistaking my comment about administrative bloat for a comment on the merits of this particularly restructuring or the individuals selected.

        I am sure that every new administrative position created seemed like a good idea to the person creating it. Some, perhaps quite a few of them, might actually have been good ideas.

        But the reality is that if you do every thing seems like a good idea, you will very quickly run out of money. And the fact of the matter is that UO is deeply over-administrated.

        Had this announcement included a statement to the effect of, “In order to make this expansion possible we are consolidating elsewhere in the following way…” I would have been quite happy. Or if I had any reason to suspect that’s what is happening behind the scenes. But that is never how things work around here.

        This may indeed be a good idea when viewed in isolation. I am suggesting that we not view it in isolation.

        • anon 05/13/2014

          Sorry for making the assumption that your comment, made in response to news about forming these two interim positions, was a comment on the merits of this particular restructuring.

          Yes, I agree with your general comment that admin bloat needs to be monitored. And despite my snark above, I also agree that lots of new positions seem needed on an individual basis and only later does one realize that suddenly the organization is top heavy. But I did mention that of the admin positions created recently, this seems more justified than many.

          I’ve been a critic of how much of the research dollars have gone to administration… “the max allowed” as the VPR proclaims, as if that is a good thing. On the other hand, I’ve seen the Assoc VPRs racing around trying to fit in all the meetings. Maybe it is a sign of too many meetings, but they are busy.

    • Old Joe 05/13/2014

      I think this is a good move for two reasons. First, graduate education has long been the poor cousin in that office. Now there may be an opportunity to raise its profile at UO. Second, I involuntarily wretch whenever I hear or see the acronym RIGE. At least for now, I and many others will be spared that indignity.

      • Indeed 05/13/2014

        Old Joe has it exactly right. Relegating the acronym “RIGE” to permanent dustbin status would be a huge step in the right direction.

        Espy never really had any real accomplishments to speak of in her mostly ignored role as dean of grad education, perhaps because she was too busy building using her other powerful role to serve her own interests as a “scientist”.

  2. Vlad 05/13/2014

    Yes, some internal people could do both jobs on a campus our scale and have done so in the past, but even if they are to be split, please, let’s not go through the wasteful charade of bringing finalists who are not clearly superior to brad and Andrew, respectively. it is possible to have an honest national search with a reserve price of clearly better than what we already have. Just one opinion

  3. monkey business 05/13/2014

    Like everyone else I’m delighted to see the end of RIGE. That said, the new acronym (ORI) will be easily confused with our neighbor, the Oregon Research Institute. Personally, I would have gone with RIO. With Espy gone, what better time for a little Carnival?

  4. But what can we make of it? 05/14/2014

    If memory server the grad school and the dean of the grad school were separate just a few short years ago. In looking at other universities, this is not a standard model and who would ever think it should have been. If done well the provost for research should be running 1/3 or more of the schools revenue and a near billion dollar a year business, while the dean of the Graduate school is just that, an academic taking care of one of the most important colleges and students in the institution. For the past few years the grad school really has got the short end of it, and it seems that for decades research at our school has been woefully mismanaged. The VPR facilitates good research and science infrastructure.

    • Happy guy 05/14/2014

      Not only did Espy give the Grad School the short end of it, she managed to force out good people at the Graduate School and took credit for accomplishments of the Grad School that she had nothing to do with.

    • dog 05/14/2014

      the separation occurred in 1997 (more than just a few short
      years ago). Stead Upham was the first causality of that dual
      position responsibility. Ignored voices at the time said, loudly,
      that this separation was an ill conceived idea.

      The VPR should facilitate good research infrastructure.

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