Provost Phillips to cut colleges, slash UO administrative costs by 1/2

That’s tonight’s rumor from the generally well-informed bartender down at the Faculty Club swimming pool.

It seems Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Scott Pratt is starting his well deserved sabbatical next week and there’s been no announcement for interim applicants. At least one AVP is on the job market. Concerns about the exorbitant cost of replacement hires have been given new weight by CAS Humanities Dean Karen Ford’s CAS task force report, which convincingly demonstrated the extra administrative costs of adding new colleges.

The logical next step is to reduce the administrative burden of running our existing colleges, and so Johnson Hall is considering a plan to consolidate UO’s existing schools and colleges by folding them into current CAS divisions – since CAS is widely viewed as the most functional and economically efficient of UO’s colleges.

While there is still some haggling over who will fit where, the current plan appears to be:

CAS Humanities: Schools of Music and Dance and Journalism and Communications

CAS Social Science: College of Business, College of Education, Honor’s College (?)

CAS Natural Science: College of Design, Knight Campus, Law School.

The deans of these colleges will be reassigned to teaching duties. No word on what will happen to the OtP. No faculty or students will be harmed.

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17 Responses to Provost Phillips to cut colleges, slash UO administrative costs by 1/2

  1. uomatters says:

    Thanks, who was this sent out to?

  2. Curious George says:

    Changes in the Office of the Provost

    Dear Colleagues,

    It’s been a month since I became provost and senior vice president at UO, and I remain excited about all that is going on and humbled by my ever-expanding awareness of the scope of the efforts by so many people at our university. It’s been a particular pleasure getting to know the members of the provost’s team and seeing all they have accomplished to strengthen the academic mission of our university. There is still a lot of work to be done, but I am confident our team will continue making improvements to help students succeed, spur our research forward, and assist our faculty members in pursuing their important scholarly endeavors.

    One of the people who has been instrumental in the office over the last two years is Scott Pratt, the executive vice provost for academic affairs. As some of you may know, Scott has decided to step down from his academic administration position, and yesterday was his last day. A noted scholar with a 24-year history at UO, Scott will resume a full-time focus on his scholarship and teaching as a professor in the Department of Philosophy.

    I want to personally thank Scott for his distinguished service, guidance, and help to this office. Scott will be missed, and I hope you will join me in wishing him the best.

    During the interim, we want to make sure there will be a smooth transition in our office, especially as it pertains to the faculty and academic affairs matters Scott oversaw. Processes and procedures—including those related to faculty searches and hiring—are not changing, but we have made some internal adjustments for approvals or specific steps within the office. If you have any questions about where to go or if you were working with Scott on a particular initiative, please direct your inquiries to Someone on my team will get back to you right away and ensure that you are directed to the right point of contact.

    As far as filling the executive vice provost for academic affairs position, I have decided to conduct an internal search. Currently, I’m working to put together a search plan, and we will announce the details in mid-August. As we move ahead, one detail is clear: we will hold off on the start of the search until mid-September when all faculty are back on campus. This is a critical position to the university’s academic success, and I want to encourage faculty to participate in the process, as well as consider applying for the position.

    In the meantime, I plan to spend the next few weeks organizing my thoughts and consulting with campus colleagues, faculty leaders, and others to gather input on how best to select the next executive vice provost. If you have thoughts on this, please email me at

    Thanks and take care.


  3. just different says:

    Given the experience the Natural Sciences division has with perpetrating discrimination and defending itself in any resulting lawsuits, this makes a lot of sense.

  4. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    Splendid ideas! But I have some alternate suggestions —

    Why not put Law in with Natural Sciences? There is the Natural Law in matters human — think Aristotle and John Locke — and the Natural Law in matters physical — think Aristotle and Galileo.

    Music and Dance — could also be part of Natural Sciences! Many schools have a Physics of Music course — gets the students attention, brings in the dollars.

    And, I’m told, if you want to think of people dancing, just go to weekly Physics Colloquium!

  5. apt says:

    And taking a cue from the Provost’s office, Athletics decided they will now pay their athletes, including life-long insurance policies, and support academics, especially first-generation students. Coaches will be modestly compensated, doing what they do for the love of their respective sport.

  6. Dog says:

    can we read the Ford Task Report
    or is this just another bartender rumor …

    • Dog, the report can be found here:

      In addition to laying out the high cost of restructuring, this report also provides documentation of overwhelming sentiment not to restructure and widespread support among CAS faculty, students, staff, and administrators for interdisciplinary scholarship and commitment to liberal arts education.

      As a reminder, this is the same report that you asked me to summarize for you in a previous exchange on this blog. Since Karen and many others took pains to write it up concisely, lucidly, and accurately, I will continue to ignore your request for a summary should another one be forthcoming.

      • Dog says:

        To: UOM

        Oh I didn’t realize it was the same Task Force document you were talking about in reference to

        “which convincingly demonstrated the extra administrative costs of adding new colleges.”

        All I see in that report is a qualitative matrix of notes in this regard as to appendix E

        To Prof. Berkman

        Yes I am both incompetent and unable to properly synthesize your concise lucidity. I have read the report but like I said I don’t know what it means.

        For me, the most important item was contained in the final list of “conclusions”:

        There is considerable evidence that success is not closely related to structure–any structure can
        work. Leadership quality, administrative roles, and internal structures may be primary to a
        college’s success.

        For me, a summary might say, given that conclusion, what course of action could be taken to enhance this definition of success.

        Of course, that’s just me …

  7. Dog says:

    well of course this idea is mostly in jest, but one real suggestion that has been made in the past is the following:

    The school of journalism has never had a sufficient number of graduate students to justify its existence as a separate school and therefore that should be folded into a media and communications major within CAS.

    Personally, I think it would be great if the law school were under NS then CAS could offer a degree in the physics and law of climate change – a lot of student would major in that – no one believes me of course but this is exactly what johns hopkins did about 10 years ago offering a masters degree in climate change, science and policy – highly successful program.

    But, as always UO inertia completely thwarts change …

  8. Amy Adams says:

    What happens to this $5 million endowment for the UO SoMD deanship?

    • uomatters says:

      Goes to the marching band?

    • Clay Corte says:

      It goes to the next most closely related school/program… in other words, towards the CAS Humanities deanship. Most universities have music rolled into a college of arts/sciences for this reason: administrative bloat. It’s too small to justify a deanship.

  9. marmot says:

    I think your scheduled posts queue just got unstuck, uomatters. Also congrats on predicting Phillips all the way back at the start of April.

    • uomatters says:

      I will be out of the office from June 16th through September 15th. If you need immediate assistance during my absence, please contact UO’s PR flacks at Otherwise I will respond to your post as soon as possible upon my return. Thank you for your message.

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