UO Board Trustee Susan Gary (Law) offers helpful tips for talking with UO Trustees

3/2/2015 update:  No word on whether or not BOT Secretary Angela Wilhelm will tear down that wall of PR flack tables separating the Trustees from the university community during this Thursday and Friday’s meetings, but it’s a good sign that 20 months into their term in office, the Board is willing to meet with faculty. I’m on the list, so Wilhelm’s assistant Amanda Hatch can’t have been screening people too carefully:


March 3, 2015

TO: Individuals Attending Faculty/Trustee Discussions

FROM: Susan Gary, Faculty Trustee

RE: Thoughts on the March 6 Discussions

Thank you for your willingness and interest in participating in the discussions with UO trustees this
Friday, March 6, at 8:00 AM.  These conversations will give the trustees a great opportunity to learn
more about the faculty – what we do, our strengths and the challenges we face.  I thought it would be
helpful to provide some ideas about conversation topics, although these are not restrictive.  You should
feel free to discuss any issues of concern to you, and the trustees may have questions they want to ask.
The conversations will evolve, as conversations do.

Our initial target size was 10 faculty members and three trustees per group.  Given the number of
people who expressed interest, we can accommodate everyone if we increase the group size to 11, so
that is what we have decided to do.  I think 11 should be fine; if you would prefer to wait until June (we
plan to have more discussions then), please let Amanda Hatch know and we can save your information.

The trustees will want to hear from everyone, so please be courteous with respect to time so that
everyone can have a chance to speak.  It’s a conversation, so multiple short comments will likely be
better than one long comment per person.

Here are suggested topics for discussion that I brainstormed.  I use “faculty” to include both TTF and
NTTF because most topics apply to both, although sometimes in different ways.

Faculty classifications.
– What do the classifications of faculty as TTF and NTTF – mean?  (and NTRF and Library faculty if
someone can speak to those categories)
– What roles do different faculty members play?

– What is the promotion process like for TTF and NTTF?

– What contributes to teaching excellence?
– How much work goes into preparing a class?
– How do teachers keep their classes fresh?
– How does the Teaching Effectiveness Program work with faculty to improve teaching? (Have you
taken advantage of TEP and what has been the benefit?)
– How does research contribute to teaching?
– What are classroom conditions like – technology, class size, and configuration of classrooms?
– How do negative factors hinder teaching excellence – increases in class size, increased teaching

– What kind of University and unit service do faculty do?
– What is the service work load and what types of service work do faculty do (admissions,
scholarships, curriculum, hiring, promotion and tenure, etc.)
– How does the level of service required affect teaching and scholarship?

– How do faculty mentor students?
– Undergraduates? What kind of mentoring do undergrads need?  What are the
challenges/rewards of mentoring undergrads?
– Graduate students?  What is the relationship between an advisor and a
candidate?  How does advising a grad student work?
– How do faculty help students think about career options?

– What is the role of research for a TTF?
– What is the grant writing process like?
– What is the publication process like?
Masters or Ph.D.
– What synergies exist among the research, teaching and service obligations of faculty members?
– (Note: There is a lot to say about research, but this is an area the trustees have already had
some exposure to, so it may be good to focus on other topics.)

Unit structure.
– How do TTF and NTTF interact within units?
– How do units govern themselves?

University Senate.
– What role does the Senate play?  What role should the Senate play?
– Do faculty feel engaged with the Senate?

Online education.
This probably deserves a separate discussion when issues can be discussed more thoroughly – there is a
lot of work needed to develop a strategy – but someone may have particular insights to share.

2/25/2015 update: Ron Bramhall (Business) and faculty union VP for NTTFs, persuades the BOT’s sole Faculty Trustee, Susan Gary (Law), to invite NTTFs to meetings with Board members:

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 4.51.27 PM

Yes, after 18 months she’s still trying to figure things out as she goes.

2/19/2015 update: Gary had been planning all along to invite the NTTF’s to “separate but equal” meetings in June. Honest:


February 19, 2015

TO: Deans & Department Heads
FROM: Susan Gary
RE: UO Board Discussions with NTTF

This memo is a follow-up to the memo you received a few days ago. That memo asked that you encourage faculty members in your units to participate in discussions with members of the UO Board of Trustees during the Board’s March meeting. The memo asked you to convey the information to TTF members of your units.

The intention was not to exclude other important constituencies, particularly NTTF, from meeting with Board members. Rather, the thought was that the discussions would be more productive if the groups were smallish, and that it therefore would make sense to start with TTF and then, at the June meeting, organize discussions with NTTF faculty. Please assure members of your units that our intention is to reach out to NTTF in the near future.

2/17/2015 update: With 4 months left on 2 year term, Susan Gary finally invites (tenured and tenure track) faculty to meet Board

Susan Gary is the UO Law professor whom Kitzhaber appointed as the sole faculty member of the Board of Trustees, on the recommendation of Margie Paris, another law professor who was at the time UO Senate President. Gary kept the faculty in the dark about the Board’s various power grabs, such as the Delegation of Authority, and from what I can tell she didn’t help the Board understand the depth of faculty opposition.

She’s been away on sabbatical for most of the year and is out of touch with the UO faculty, particularly those outside the law school. Presumably Governor Kate Brown will be looking to replace Gary soon, with someone who has the trust of the faculty and the board. Apparently this is the audition call, and only TTF need apply:

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 7.56.57 PM

2/10/2015: Students question Angela Wilhelms’ control of Board communications

And they’re doing something about it. Alexandra Wallachy has the story in the Emerald here:

.. Helena Schlegel, the student member of the BOT, said the trustees hope the upcoming luncheon meetings will give students a chance to get to know the board members.

“We really wanted it to be less of a formal environment for trustees to get to know students on campus and for students to get to know the trustees, their governing board,” Helena Schlegel, student member of the BOT said. “We see it as an opportunity for students to get engaged with the board meetings other than just me updating people and them telling me what their opinions are on certain issues.”

Why hasn’t the faculty member of the board, Susan Gary, done anything similar? I don’t know. Ask her:

Screen Shot 2015-02-10 at 6.07.13 PM

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32 Responses to UO Board Trustee Susan Gary (Law) offers helpful tips for talking with UO Trustees

  1. James says:

    You clearly don’t know Professor Gary. I highly doubt you can find a faculty member on this campus with more integrity than this woman. It’s difficult to watch you assault someone who gives more of herself to this institution than nearly anyone.

    • Pou says:

      “You clearly don’t know Professor Gary.”

      Yeah, that’s the point.

    • By all accounts says:

      Professor Gary is an amazing behind the scenes worker. The problem is, this isn’t a behind the scenes position. The work needs to be done transparently and in the public eye.

  2. NTTF says:

    This is certainly a positive step, and I look forward to a time when an invitation to meet with trustees is extended to the remainder of the statutory faculty.

    I’d like to think that I’m as capable and as interested as my tenure-track colleagues in thinking and talking in a constructive way about strategies to improve the university.

    • Another NTTF says:

      Yes, someone needs to explain to the Board and Gary that with regard to our Constitution and our CBA, the “faculty” is made up of TTF and NTTF. In fact, more than 60% of the “faculty” is NTTF.

      Why is this opportunity limited to TTF? We certainly have no problem putting NTTF in front of thousands of students each day, why can’t they be trusted to interact with their royal highnessess?

  3. Cynic says:

    do not disagree, but doesn’t the UO Senate legislation include .5 and above NTTF as part of statutory faculty? This issue goes back to the unionization debate.

    • Another NTTF says:

      I don’t understand your point, but the Constitution includes TTF and Instructional NTTF as statutory faculty – there is no fte limit.

      • Old Man says:

        The Constitution says “career non-tenure-track officers of instruction”. I wouldn’t be surprised if “career” is defined as at least 0.5 FTE.

        • Another NTTF says:

          i have looked and found no definition of Career that is limited by FTE. The .5 designation used to be in the Constutution or Bylaws but was removed. We certainly have Career NTTF who are on less than .5 FTE contracts.

          But none of that is the point. The institution has made a decision over time to grow the NTTF category, probably for flexibility and economic reasons. In doing so, it has placed critical parts of the Academic mission in the hands of those faculty – faculty who are now central to that mission. It is hypocritical to marginalize those faculty and limit their role in the governance of the university. That’s why the Constitution includes them as statutory faculty.

          It’s insulting to exclude them from this conversation with the Board.

  4. Another NTTF says:

    The logic of having separate TTF and NTTF meetings, and starting with TTF doesn’t hold up. The meetings need to be small so start with TTF?

    • NTTF says:

      Agreed. The number and the composition of the set of participants at the mooted meetings are orthogonal.

      Even giving the most charitable benefit of the doubt about the subsequently stated intention to be more inclusive later, it still wouldn’t make any sense not to mention those later meetings with NTTFs in the original memo if that had indeed been the plan all along.

      It’s really difficult to avoid the most straightforward reading of the situation: that including NTTFs was an afterthought. Either an afterthought in terms of meeting with trustees, or an afterthought in terms of mentioning them in the initial announcement. Either way, the sentiment [attitude? subconscious bias?] that this two-part episode reveals is unfortunate. We NTTFs have a lot to contribute to campus, and–of course–we already do!

      It’s not a zero-sum game. The presence and hard work of NTTFs don’t constitute threats to either the TTF as a body or the research mission of the university. Those of us dedicated to teaching complement the research strengths of our TTF colleagues, and those of us engaged in research directly enhance that mission.

      We can–and should–always work together to improve our institution. Not separately.

  5. Dr. Funkenstein says:

    Well, given the late breaking announcement yesterday that NTTF in Humanities and Social Sciences would need to teach 9 courses yearly (assuming no other responsibilities), she may have simply been reflecting the assumption that there won’t be an awful lot of us left to worry about anyway. At least not at 1.0.

  6. cynic says:

    “… we’re all trying to figure things out as we go.”

    Right. Who is this “all” she speaks of? Mrs. Balmer? Emperor Chuck? It’s no wonder she was elected as the sole faculty rep thanks to corrupt Cowboy John.

    • uomatters says:

      Paris was not elected. Margie Paris (Law) nominated her, and John Kitzhaber (former Governor) then sent her name to the OR Senate, and they appointed her.

      • cynic says:

        Sure, I can be as pedantic as you. ;)

        tr.v. e·lect·ed, e·lect·ing, e·lects
        1. To select by vote for an office or for membership: elected her club president.
        2. To pick out; select: elect an art course.
        3. To decide, especially by preference: elected to take the summer off.
        4. To select by divine will for salvation. Used of God.
        1. Chosen deliberately; singled out: an elect group of advisers.
        a. Elected but not yet installed. Often used in combination: the governor-elect.
        b. Chosen for marriage. Often used in combination: the bride-elect.
        3. Selected by divine will for salvation.
        1. One that is chosen or selected.
        2. One selected by divine will for salvation.
        3. (used with a pl. verb) An exclusive group of people. Used with the: one of the elect who have power inside the government.

  7. acrobat says:

    The metadata in the .pdf of the “third” memo that was circulated today (the first one that many faculty have seen, except here of course), shows that the author is Amanda Hatch, Exec. Asst. in the Office of the Secretary of the BOT. So, let’s not blame Susan Gary for the content.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Gary seems to to have some issues with the Senate:

    University Senate.
    – What role does the Senate play? What role should the Senate play?
    – Do faculty feel engaged with the Senate?

    How about asking those same questions about Johnson Hall and the ELT and ALT instead?

  9. Joe Hill says:

    Might be helpful to

    a) explain to the trustees why the faculty unionized and what the union is bargaining for in the new contract, such as NTTF protections, and raises to get TTF faculty to AAU peers.

    b) explain the importance of graduate students for a research university. How faculty work with them, how they teach, how we need to make competitive offers to get them to come to UO.

    TheBoard really should have a faculty union rep and a grad student rep on it. As a law professor Gary is unfortunately out of the loop on both these issues.

  10. that effing Dog again says:

    on point a) I imagine there are at least 100 different explanations

    on point b) if we really have to explain this to the BOT then we are in a lot of trouble.

  11. concerned PI says:

    We should not spend time defining university employee classifications or discussing our ‘feelings’ about the Senate. We should be using these valuable meetings to discuss UO priorities. How do we achieve/sustain academic excellence? How can the Board support those directions? What are three top policies that they can approve that will move us forward?

  12. Equally concerned PI says:

    Agreed. I plan to do exactly that. I found the suggested topics ridiculously trivial for such a meeting opportunity. I would be very concerned if we really needed to explain to the BOT what is the role of research for a TTF, or what the grant writing process is like, or what the publication process is like. Are you kidding me!

    • Cat says:

      But maybe you’ve got it backwards. Why would the trustees know all this already? They are not academics. If you leave the bubble, very few people outside a reseach lab know what goes on in one. Very few people on campus know what exactly my own research entails, which is vastly different from what yours entails (just by virtue of your being a “PI”). Students don’t know, parents don’t know, so why would our brand-new board members know? And maybe you’ll have better luck getting them to understand what we mean by excellence and what we need to achieve it, if you build up from the basics. I expect the list of questions came from the trustees, not Prof. Gary. We need to educate our board, and they are kindly asking to be educated. So to plan to answer: “that’s a stupid question and a waste of my time” is disrespectful and counterproductive. I’ve been to an event like this, and was struck by the odd mix of what they “get” and where they’re assumptions are off. I hope you plan to listen, before you rant. On the Senate, I suspect they are getting mixed messages. As faculty not presently “engaged with the Senate” and with a low opinion of an institution made up of a very small number of people with a very high opinion of themselves and their charge, I’m frankly glad someone is taking the time to ask representative groups of faculty what they actually think.

      • Another NTTF says:

        Thank you and amen. They are asking to be educated.

      • just different says:

        That’s how I read it too. It may drop your jaw that it’s necessary to explain these kinds of things to the newly-independent board of a university, but academics have a way of forgetting that the few people outside of academia who care what goes on within its walls are usually badly misinformed. The wise thing would be to speak to the BoT in their language and take this opportunity to disabuse them of Lillis’ sophomoric badmouthing and get them on the side of academics and research. They already know all about the damn football team.

        • concerned PI says:

          I have a lot of respect for the Board as a set of very successful people. I expect that they could get employment categories and promotion information from a briefing document. I predict we will spend 90 minutes, however, talking about topic 1- the big focus on sorting ourselves into classifications- rather than talking about academic excellence. That would be unfortunate. I’d really like to get to classrooms, at least.

      • dog says:

        What one does for individual research is not what a Research University is. A research University is a set of structures, policies, support and infrastructure that enables a continually expanded set of research in all areas and produces PHD students in all of those areas.

        A research University is not one that decides to hamper its ability to support graduate students even further …

  13. Anonymous says:

    Susan, what’s appropriate dress for this? Should we each bring a small gift? Do we wait to sit down until the Trustee does? Start w/ chi-chat about how great a job Dana Atman’s been doing? Or is that to familiar. Maybe better to wait until spoken to?

  14. Dr. Funkenstein says:

    I’m allergic to horses. Do you think Chuck will enter on one, or will he be borne on a palanquin?

  15. frantic says:

    Oh my, oh my! What to wear? Where are the suggestions for proper attire? Will the day require a change of clothes midway?