Most universities have a strong Institutional Research department that produces unbiased, data-based reports on basic issues like budgeting, enrollment, student/employee satisfaction, ROI and efficiency stuff. The IR Director is in the room for every important decision.
For various reasons, UO’s IR office does not do these things. This means that when a tough issue comes up there is no respected semi-independent voice giving advice. Instead the Pres, Provost, and Angela Wilhelms get numbers from offices like the VPFA and VPBP and IR, and have their staff massage them in whatever way suits their particular goals.
UO would certainly be better off with a strong, centralized IR department – but that would be a challenge to JH’s various special interests. So while this mid-level hire might make sense, if it doesn’t lead to a reorganization it’s not going to make much of a difference.