UO Senators denied chance to provide crucial break-out room input on cultural agility legislation

11/4/2020 update:

Apparently earlier speakers went over time with their charts – who could have guessed – so Pres Berkman had to cut this. But don’t worry, $202K AVP Melanie Muenzer promised the Senate that compliance with HB 2864 is a mere technicality. I’d post a video clip of her saying this, but it seems the Senate doesn’t post videos of meetings anymore.

10/29/2020: $270K VP of Equity and Inclusion to lead UO Senate in a discussion of the definition of Cultural Agility – with break-out rooms!

Anything to keep people from asking why the money that could actually make a difference with action is being wasted on window dressing instead.

On the UO Senate agenda for 11/4/2020:


Location: Zoom (Please find link below the agenda)
3:00 – 5:00 P.M.

3:00 P.M.  Call to Order

  • Land Acknowledgment; Spike Gildea
  • Introductory Remarks; Senate President Elliot Berkman
  • Remarks; Senate Vice President & President-Elect Spike Gildea

3:05 P.M. Approval of Minutes

3:05 P.M. State of the University

  • President Michael Schill

3:20 P.M. Updates & Announcements

  • COVID; Andre Le Duc, Shelly Kerr
  • ASUO priorities; Isaiah Boyd

4:00 P.M. New Business

  • Student Success; Doneka Scott
  • Heritage Project Capital; Hans Bernard, Hal Sadofsky, Harry Wonham, Mike Harwood

4:30 P.M. Open Discussion

  • HB2864, Antiracism resolution work plan; Yvette Alex-Assensoh (attachment)
    • Break out groups

4:55 P.M. Reports
4:56 P.M. Notices of Motion

  • BFA in Dance

4:58 P.M. Other Business
5:00 P.M. Adjourn

Topic: Senate – Nov 2020
Time: Nov 4, 2020 03:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)Join Zoom Meetinghttps://uoregon.zoom.us/j/93760992818

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29 Responses to UO Senators denied chance to provide crucial break-out room input on cultural agility legislation

  1. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    Long ago there was something called the “Process for Change” at UO. Funded by an outside foundation grant. According to then-pres Dave Frohnmayer, it was supposed to produce “transformative change” or something like that. As far as anyone could tell, it had no effect whatsoever. I wish the good academics, vp’s, senators the best in dealing with the question of meaning now before them.

  2. Anonymous says:

    1999 and the only outcome of this JTM thing was to elevate Karen Sprague to become in charge of improving and changing undergraduate education

    • Scitter Footed Scarab says:
      • Dog says:

        Ah yes the web archive …

        As Dog, I was fairly heavily involved in this process for change (p4c) because Dogs like to be kicked while lying down. Some of the philosophy behind the p4c was the https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED424840
        the 1998 Boyer Commission report about a) reinventing undergraduate education and b) better integration of the undergraduate research experience into undergraduate education as the driver of this reinvention

        That remains a very good document/blueprint that really has been largely ignored by everyone. However, the Re-invention Center (a place that actually liked Dogs) was born:

        dedicated to trying to implement many of the recommendations in the Boyer report (The University of Delaware excelled). When I talked to people (e.g. Sprague and others) about joining the Reinvention center at the time, everyone declined with the immortal words We will do our own reinvention right here …

  3. thedude says:

    Keep the students happy and most outspoken faculty happy.

    That is the only goal with these programs.

    • Dog says:

      For that Process of Change program, I think it made outspoken faculty even more unhappy when implementation compared do
      discussion and planning was so pathetic

  4. Diotima says:

    Usually a thumbs-up follower of the blog, I’m wondering if you can do better on this one. How about avoiding participating in criticism of one of the very rare women of color in a leadership position here, and writing a headline and a post that take seriously the fact that the person put in the position of VPDEI at UO gets hung out to dry routinely by a series of administrations that cannot bring themselves to take action on equity?

    • Anas clypeata says:

      How about someone making a lot more money than most of us puts out a memo with a proposed definition that has been copy-edited for parallel structure? Somebody got so attached to adding words to the first non-sentence in that definition that they got lost along the way. At a minimum, it’s missing the word “and”; a good editor would chop it into much smaller, more concise pieces. But, to their credit, they’ve got me arguing on their terms, instead of laughing at academia’s unflagging desire to take two perfectly good words with actual meanings and jam them together to make a new, less enlightening phrase.

    • uomatters says:

      Wouldn’t it be something if our VPEI told the Senate something like
      “Sorry, I’m not going to participate in this sham. Instead I’m going to talk to you about what I’ve learned from doing exit interviews with under-represented faculty over the years, and work with you to make sure Provost Phillips doesn’t make the same mistakes again with his latest cluster hire plan.
      Also, I’m wondering if anyone has any ideas about increasing the pipeline of under-represented students at UO and helping make sure the ones we have graduate on time and go on to grad schools, so that someday universities won’t have to try and increase faculty diversity by temporarily poaching minority faculty from other schools.”

      • thedude says:

        Given a fair number of the URM students are student athletes, why now call out the football team and athletics dept for doing their best to obfuscate whether the teams are really achieving the academic goals which should be their priorities instead of letting the millionaire coaches take all the money while the athletes get broken bodies and end up several semesters shy of graduating.

      • hmmm says:

        a) Hey, why doesn’t the Faculty Senate google ‘why underrepresented faculty leave institutions’ and then ask departments to cogitate a bit and come back for a serious discussion?

        b) Hey, maybe we’re not the first U.S. institution to do a pipeline program? And maybe the folks coming out of the hundreds of other pipeline programs are not applying to our faculty positions because – oh, who knows? Maybe the Faculty Senate could talk about that?

        c) AGREE with Diotima.

        • uomatters says:

          Good idea. The first hit is this: https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2020/03/06/underrepresented-faculty-members-share-real-reasons-they-have-left-various
          As many of the respondents noted, toxic departmental climates and routine failure and negligence by those that hold institutional power to address various forms of micro- and macro-aggressions (and sometimes outright racism) continue to be pervasive features that female and minoritized faculty within academe face. When pre-existing conditions that create unwelcome environments are not seriously considered, retention of marginalized faculty and staff members poses a serious challenge.
          The second is this: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/03/14/new-survey-effort-seeks-uncover-real-reasons-why-faculty-members-leave-their-jobs
          Could institutions cut such costs going forward if they knew more about why faculty members leave? That’s the premise behind a major faculty exit survey initiative from the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) at Harvard University and the University of California’s Office of the President. Distinct from COACHE’s annual Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey, the new project will target faculty members who resigned or were successfully retained last year at six University of California System campuses. After the pilot phase closes in June, COACHE will open the program to other interested institutions.
          When I, as Senate Pres a few years ago, asked a top administrator why UO was not participating in COACHE surveys, I was told “because we know it will make us look bad”.

        • Dog says:

          In my experience flight is also the result for a failure of critical mass. Many of these underrepresented faculty feel too much isolation and of course, tokenism is also part of the dynamic.

          • uomatters says:

            Here’s the relevant part of Provost Phillips’s announcement. Does anyone have an example of a university that has made this sort of thing work?
            The Center and Hiring
            With the support of President Michael Schill and the deans of all of the schools and colleges, I am proud to announce a new five-year initiative to establish a research and policy center focused on racial disparities and resilience. The center will be supported by the commitment of 12 new faculty lines that will be added to units across the entire campus; faculty whose research is focused on understanding and addressing racial disparities in the United States in areas such as health, education, housing, employment, and wealth. In addition to these new lines, programmatic activities within the center will be supported by at least $3 million in philanthropic support. The combined investment in the new center over a five-year period will be more than $11 million.
            The specific structure and vision for the center will be determined in the coming months by actively seeking the engagement and input of UO faculty and off-campus partners. Formal planning discussions will initiate in the early winter following the completion of the current federal election cycle and some of the campus climate efforts outlined below. Faculty lines will be filled via open searches initiated next fall and via target of opportunity hires of outstanding faculty whose scholarly perspectives uniquely enhance and broaden the academic structure and impact of the UO. As planning and hiring progresses, opportunities will arise for existing faculty to become formally affiliated with the center as well. The focus here will be to not only expand our scope of educational offerings and scholarly contributions, but to also create a center whose members are focused on making a difference in the world at large. I would expect the open search process to be initiated a year from now, following our planning discussions and Institutional Hiring Plan process, with other targeted hires occurring as those opportunities arise.
            In addition to the positions directly affiliated with the new center, up to six additional new positions will be allocated for new faculty members into departments with historically underrepresented faculty. Here we will again place an emphasis on recruiting faculty whose unique scholarly perspectives and proven capacity to mentor underrepresented students would make them important additions to our academic community. Departments participating in this part of the initiative will be required to display evidence of a history of supporting and mentoring new faculty and a strong commitment to diversity efforts, including mentoring underrepresented students.
            We take on this commitment and make this investment, despite any other institutional challenges that might seem to get in our way, because we are dedicated to transformational change and because this will be the primary focus of resources normally allocated to new faculty hiring for the coming year.

            • Dog says:

              yes, my concern is that each department will get a token and that no effort will be made in maximizing the possibility of building a critical mass in some area of scholarship. I imagine, their defense is that the proposed new center is the implicit critical mass …

              and how to actually measure “historically underrepresented faculty” in a fair manner.

      • ya really wanna know? says:

        Increase recruitment of students by publicizing success of current students.

        Increase success by not bending admissions standards. Let’s have the SAT data.

        Increase success by not brainwashing students into thinking they are victims with deck stacked with “systemic racism” and the like.

        Push them to work their butts off.

        Stop patronizing them. Stop trying to turn them into cripples.

        As it is, there IS systemic racism. The academic types just need to look at the other foot.

        • thedude says:

          Control what you control instead of just being angry about the stuff you can’t control.

          • Dog says:

            Agreed, but what can we (faculty) actually control around here?

            • thedude says:

              How hard you publish.
              How well you teach.

              Noticing students who are smart, but maybe not thinking about grad school. Many of these will be students who are URM, this is the biggest way we can individually make a difference, is helping the pipeline (as individuals).

              Then when assistant professors come, work with and mentor them. Coauthor and work with other URMs in the field, etc.

              THat’s stuff I can control.

              • Dog says:

                thanks for the list

                Dogs don’t do anything hard or well and we don’t notice Jack Shit so I guess I can’t control anything …

              • Tarn says:

                For what it’s worth, I appreciate this sentiment. As an older student I had NEVER considered the option of going any farther than a BS in my educational trajectory. If it wasnt for other professors and grad students I certainly wouldn’t be trying to go further.
                So, thank you.

                • honest Uncle Bernie says:

                  As one of the professors trying to make a difference, and not always seeing so much success, I can say that is good to hear! I hope you will try to pass the word on to other, younger students.

  5. Old Man says:

    Convene the assembly.

  6. uomatters says:

    The HB2864 mentioned in the pdf from our VPEI is here: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/HB2864/Enrolled
    It says:
    (2) Each public institution of higher education shall establish a process for recommending, and providing oversight for the implementation of, cultural competency standards for
    the public institution of higher education and the institution’s employees. The process established under this subsection must:
    (a) Include a broad range of institutional perspectives;
    (b) Give equal weight to the perspectives of administrators, faculty members, staff and
    (2) Each public institution of higher education shall:
    (a) Not later than December 31, 2019, establish a committee or other entity, or establish
    a process, that complies with the requirements set forth in section 1 (2)(a) and (b) of this
    2017 Act and that will enable the public institution of higher education to recommend, and
    provide oversight for the implementation of, cultural competency standards for the public
    institution of higher education and the institution’s employees; and
    (b) Not later than December 31, 2020, be in compliance with all of the requirements set
    forth in section 1 of this 2017 Act.
    Obviously our VPEI did not put this process in place by the deadline, and is now asking the Senate for some quick cover.
    FWIW, the legislation does not mention “Cultural Agility”, but does provides a very specific and inclusive definition of Cultural Competency that we are to adhere to:
    (c) “Cultural competency” means an understanding of how institutions and individuals can respond respectfully and effectively to people from all cultures, economic statuses, language backgrounds, races, ethnic backgrounds, disabilities, religions, genders, gender identifications, sexual orientations, veteran statuses and other characteristics in a manner that recognizes, affirms and values the worth, and preserves the dignity, of individuals, families and communities.

  7. Canard says:

    As I recall, the failure to adopt a university diversity plan in 2005 was based in no small part on the inability to define cultural competency, while at the same making its demonstration necessary for receiving tenure. I’m glad that 15 years later, the legislature has taken care of that one. It should only take us another 15 years to figure out cultural agility.

  8. Eternal Skeptic says:

    Tried-and-true strategic method for those seeking the illusion of change: move goalpost; change name of goalpost to something similar (and similarly vague); convene committee to define new goalpost; watch as disagreement over goalpost definition ensues; eventually encourage and even require (loose) consensus on definition; convene new committee; require reexamination of previous committee’s conclusions; move goalpost…

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