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New Dean excited by “buzz around campus”

Dear Colleagues,  

Welcome to the start of the 2022-23 academic year! And, for those of you—like me—who are new to campus, welcome to the University of Oregon and the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS)! This is already shaping up to be a remarkable year—we learned this week that UO is welcoming a record 5,388 freshman students. 

The buzz around campus in these first few days has been truly energizing: parents and new students tackling move-ins; returning students enthusiastically greeting old friends; faculty busily preparing their syllabi and courses; advisors guiding undergrad and graduate students; and CAS and university staff ensuring that everything runs smoothly. The flurry of activity is contagious. 

I am excited by what lies ahead in the coming year, including the return to a more pre-pandemic-like existence with increased in-person activities. The pandemic has taught us how critical face-to-face interaction is to building and sustaining our CAS community.  As part of the return to “normal,” we have asked instructors to encourage and expect student engagement in classes. For many, this will mean a more structured set of expectations and somewhat less flexibility than during the pandemic. At the same time, we know that coronavirus variants are still with us, so please take care of yourselves and stay home if you become ill. 

This year, we expect to focus on new initiatives in Data Science and the Environment, our new School of Global Studies and Languages, and student success and outcomes. To support the latter, Melissa Baese-Berk, Associate Dean for Student Success, Career and Pedagogy, and Jamie Bufalino, Associate Dean for Student Success, Advising, and Curriculum, have joined the CAS leadership team. We also are implementing Shared Services across CAS, and we are working to make the transition as smooth as possible, knowing that such restructuring always comes with unexpected challenges. 

Finally, we continue to work toward advancing our core principles of diversity, equity and inclusion to make CAS a place where all community members—faculty, staff, and students—feel that they belong and can thrive. Though it goes without saying, please be reminded that bigotry, discrimination, or harassment have no place at UO. If you see or experience this type of intolerable behavior, report it at:

I am thrilled to be at UO and I am genuinely excited to be supporting the transformational work that goes on in CAS through its teaching, research and service. I hope this year is a productive and stimulating one for you all. I look forward to meeting you and learning about your work throughout the year. 

Go Ducks!


Chris Poulsen

Tykeson Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

University of Oregon


  1. honest Uncle Gangsta 09/30/2022

    the “buzz” seems to be more peripheral academic areas — old core fading? — more “student success” bureaucracy — and DEI with a warning. And shared services.

    • uomatters Post author | 09/30/2022

      Yeah, and where did deans get the idea that they’re supposed to communicate like giddy cheerleaders? This is embarrassing.

      • Dr. Fauci 09/30/2022

        You’d prefer he means “The flurry of activity is contagious” literally?

  2. thedude 09/30/2022

    The honest truth is the students are excited to be on campus, and so are the assistant profs. People are grateful they made it through the pandemic, and now are ready to embrace the endemic life with Covid they’ve accepted, even if not everyone at the university has. I’ve really enjoyed teaching this first week.

    On the other hand shared services is going to literally be a dramatic failure UNLESS they raise pay to recruit people, because they promoted a bunch of people to retain them and pay them more, but then they can’t hire anyone to do the old jobs because they don’t pay enough. Likewise, the faculty are demoralized based on inflation and student loan payment likely to resume, right as inflation continues to erode the small raises we’ve received over the last three years. The ast profs they delayed buying a home in the last couple years are going to get squeezed by 10-15 percent rent increases this year.

    • Heraclitus 10/02/2022

      “shared services is going to literally be a dramatic failure”: since it’s going to be literally dramatic, I’m wondering what genre you’re evisaging. Greek Tragedy? Restoration Comedy? Theater of the Absurd? Noh? Also will it be livestreamed?

      • thedude 10/04/2022

        Greek tragedy retold on drunk history.

      • honest Uncle Gangsta 10/04/2022

        the genre will be “Shit Storm” as portrayed by Gangsta Rappers.

  3. happytobegone 10/01/2022

    I worry that the Dean thinks that all that faculty do is ‘prepare classes and syllabi’ because the first weeks of the term involve advising and so much more. But you be you, new CAS dean.

  4. Peanut gallery 10/01/2022

    I wonder if our new and illustrious dean even knows about this hallowed blog yet.

  5. uomatters 10/01/2022

    I wonder if the new guy realizes that he’s paying the PR flack who wrote this “transformational” email more than he pays 2/3 of his faculty.

    • Jane Rock 10/04/2022

      Someone is slick enough to keep mentioning the advance award of our most recent salary increase without ever saying “2%.”

  6. This Is The Way 10/03/2022

    Have you ever considered that you won’t be happy with anything? This place feels like an echo chamber for the disaffected rather than constructive criticism. I doubt you’d be happy with any leader or communication.

    • uomatters Post author | 10/03/2022

      Disaffected? Sounds like you’ve got a look at the still secret campus climate survey’s detailed results. I prefer to say our commenters are “engaged in the relentless pursuit of excellence”.

      • This Is The Way 10/03/2022

        Buzz words aside I can’t imagine you would be happy with any leader, any message, any strategy, etc.

        • Don't let Bill retire ever 10/05/2022

          Just wanted to share my view that UO Matters seems to be a very valuable counterbalance to the administration. Kinds like the “loyal opposition” in Parliament. As a longtime reader of this blog, I know its author does not invariably oppose the admins, but to the extent that he does, the clash is salutary for our community.

          • Dog 10/05/2022

            No, I think UO matters does always oppose our admins and I think this forum should, along as the admins at the UO continue to clearly not honor any sensible academic mission or show any respect for those that work to try and achieve that mission.

            • uomatters Post author | 10/05/2022

              Ceterum censeo delendam esse Carthaginem.

          • This Is The Way 10/07/2022

            There is value in counterbalance and opposition, just seems the common thread is never being happy and often Enquirer like methods.

            • uomatters Post author | 10/08/2022

              I’m curious, Way, do you also send comments to Around the 0 and chief PR flack Richie Hunter, objecting to how they use student tuition money to pay for propaganda that puffs upon the careers of UO administrators, while neglecting any efforts to communicate the real intricacies, conflicts, and issues behind their decisions and policies?

            • Dog 10/08/2022

              This forum, like most, is defined by its contributors. In this forum, as in most, these contributions are petty, inane, selfish, opinions without a basis, mostly flames; i.e. typical. But this forum should also have mostly academic contributors which makes its general nature all the more unfortunate. Counterbalance and opposition need to perform in an objective and fair way, backed up by data.
              This seldom occurs here, and to me, that has always been a reflection of the UO academic community. Instead, we just make accusations here …

              • Powerball 10/11/2022

                It’s not clear to me that opposition “needs” to be “objective and fair” way if those in power are not acting in an “objective and fair” way. Who are we performing for? You?

    • A Dude 10/11/2022

      I can understand the frustration some people must feel with critique of the Administration, as it’s generally not individual Administrators who are responsible for the underlying problems that lead to administrative bloat in higher education – there are big structural challenges at work here that go well beyond the walls of Johnson Hall. But the thorniness of the issue shouldn’t be a reason to criticize the critics. The truth is, the role of a University in civil society has shifted and is shifting away from a pure academic mission, and there are good reasons to be skeptical of those changes – which any leader of a public university in the year 2022 will necessarily feel constrained to accept.

      • Dog 10/11/2022

        I don’t know. Its been my UO experience that certain INDIVIDUAL administrators have created bad policy (i.e. the 2008/9 decision by Jim Bean to open up the floodgates of students without any planned increase in TTF lines) that have lead to increasingly bad institutional behavior for the following decade or more.

        I agree that the perceived and operational roles of the University in civil society has shifted. But, in that process I believe the University has forgotten its essential mission.

  7. Anonymous 10/05/2022

    The disaffected should have a platform, and a damned loud one.

    Yours is a sniveling and shameful post. Placating and pandering to power, defensive of obvious administrative incompetence and abuse. Most certainly not “the Way.” You might consider something less Mandalorian and more Neimoidian.

    Have you ever considered that you are happy with far too little?

  8. Mike 10/05/2022

    Pretty tone deaf from the Tyke. “Contagious activity”? We are hardly able to put the pandemic in past tense, what with the genesis of BQ.1 and XBB.

    • Fishwrapper 10/05/2022

      Tone deafness has been proven to be a rewarding performance art form for so many admins…

    • thedude 10/05/2022

      Get vaxxed and chill. Trust the science.

  9. Townie 10/06/2022

    RIP Lorry Lokey.

    What an incredible man. His life story is so inspiring.

    Lorry Lokey, a man to remember!

    • uomatters Post author | 10/06/2022

      Background info at
      Lokey began donating large sums of money to charities in 1990. By 2007, he had donated more than $400 million, of which 98 percent was given to secondary and post-secondary education.[5] Some schools include the University of Oregon, Mills College, Stanford University, the Technion,[9] Santa Clara University, Bellarmine College Preparatory, and Portland State University.[1][7][10][11] These efforts led to his listing as one of the ten highest donors in the United States by the Chronicle of Philanthropy in 2006.[5] In 2018, he donated $10 million to the University of Haifa for the construction of a new building in Downtown Haifa, Israel.[12]

      As of June 2014, Lokey has donated a total of $139.9 million to the University of Oregon in Eugene.[13] This includes a $74.5 million donation in 2007 that was the second most ever given to the school, and the largest donation designated for academics.[5] The 2007 donation went towards the creation of the Lorry I. Lokey Science Advancement and Graduate Education Initiative.[5]

      In October 2008, the Stanford School of Medicine announced that Lokey would donate $75 million for a research facility.[14] The facility is named the Lorry I. Lokey Stem Cell Research Building.[14] He also donated money to establish new chemistry building in Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel.

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