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


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

Sincerely, Jayanth Banavar Provost and Senior Vice President

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8 Responses to Provost Banavar appoints members to CAS analysis task force

  1. Big Bad Duck says:

    I heard it over at the faculty club: one of the two mathematicians in the Senate (both are named Chris, it was the one who would raise his hand to ask this type of question), he had written to the Provost to ascertain the falsity of the notion that setting up separate colleges might be part of what he called “a gimmick”, a branding operation to package and make the two or three colleges more palatable than our five Dean C-ASS. I heard it from the horse’s own mouth. As I was,
    still am, convinced rebranding was a central pivoting idea of the whole effort, I saw clearly I was talking to a horse and not a decypherer, what’s the point of teaching algebra if you can’t tell your y from your x (or your why from your ex)

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  2. Someone out there says:

    The college is too big to be manageable politically by the Administration. As the Romans used to say “divide et impera”, so here we go.

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  3. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    Speaking of branding, someone sent me this story about UO and Thanksgiving:

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    • uomatters says:

      When posting links, please add a little bit about what the link is about, or a snippet. Otherwise there are few click-throughs.

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      • honest Uncle Bernie says:


        University of Oregon student groups are holding an event titled “Thanks But No Thanks-giving: Decolonizing an American Holiday.” The event is aimed at “decolonizing” Thanksgiving, claiming the holiday is a “celebration” of “ongoing genocide.”

        Apparently, UO offices helping to sponsor this.

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  4. Thedude says:

    “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.”

    In my sorry experience with University politics, whenever some one categorically states or denies something, the opposite is true.

    Wheres the narrator from arrested development??

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    • uomatters says:

      “a branding effort”? That’s a rumor I hadn’t heard before. It’s a great idea though, I wonder what the naming rights are worth.

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