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Smug Interim Provost tries to distract her underpaid faculty colleagues by “fostering their sense of belonging”

Last updated on 03/23/2023

Having had to listen to our smarmy Provost talk and talk through many meetings, I’m willing to bet this is her own creation, not the work of ChatGPT. Presumably she took it straight from the cover letter for her next presidential search application, which we hope will be a successful one.

Dear faculty colleagues,

Central to the University of Oregon’s educational and research mission is our commitment to inclusive excellence. I am writing to provide an update on the Office of the Provost’s recent work to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion, and to foster a culture of respect in our academic programs and activities.

We are focused on improving our faculty members’ experience at the university by fostering their sense of belonging and engagement.

To this end, many activities are underway and in the planning stages in the provost’s office. These include a project to foster best practices for the post doc to faculty transition and cohort-based community-building led by the Office of the Provost such as new culturally responsive, network-based faculty mentorship programming.

We have also set in motion a four-event series, called Inclusive Excellence in Action. The series kicked off with an Inclusive Teaching launch event on March 3 to celebrate our current inclusive teaching efforts and the launch of new Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant-funded programming to amplify the culture of inclusive teaching. We will host three more events this spring, including one I’d like to highlight here. On April 26, we will host the Faculty Success: Inclusive Recruitment and Retention Summit for faculty and staff which has two goals: (1) to learn about the work being done around inclusive hiring and retention efforts across campus and at the college and school level; and (2) to focus on specific challenges inherent in some aspects of this work and crowd-source strategies for addressing them.

Additionally, and as you are hopefully aware, leadership in each school and college is working through a process for engaging its faculty and staff, at the unit level, around the 2022 climate survey. I have two goals for our deans between now and the end of this academic year: (1) to ensure that everyone has an understanding of their unit’s results in the context of the results at the broader, university-wide level; and (2) to provide you, our faculty, and other employees with the opportunity to engage in meaningful discussion on what points resonate with you and how each of you, as a member of various groups—from your role in your school and college community, to your role in your academic department, as a member of our teaching community, as a scholar and/or member of a research unit—can contribute to shaping what progress toward an improved culture and climate looks like.

All of this aligns with—and some of our future efforts will be informed by—the work of colleagues in the Center on Diversity and Community (CoDaC) who have conducted a deep dive into the experiences of our own faculty of color and researched best practices for the active retention—rather, the proactive retention—of faculty.

I want to take a moment here to extend my sincere thanks to those of you who gave your candid input on such a wide range of crucial topics as part of CoDaC’s effort. We have heard the depth and breadth of the concerns related to equity in service, cultural taxation, and the impact of these on faculty of color. The leaders of this work, Charlotte Moats-Gallagher and Gerard Sandoval, have shared their findings with the President’s senior leadership team, the deans, the University’s Senate Executive Committee and others. We continue to work with the University Senate and its task force focused on the inequitable service burden on many faculty and adjacent work of the climate survey-related working group on faculty promotion, tenure, and service.

I am optimistic that through these and future endeavors, the university is on a path to improving our faculty retention, academic and campus culture, and the experiences of our faculty, as well as our staff and students. I am committed to this work, and I will continue to provide updates on these efforts and what we achieve.

Janet Woodruff-Borden
Interim Provost and Executive Vice President


  1. thedude 03/22/2023

    You know what help my sense of belonging and department retention. Raises that more than keep up with inflation.

    • uomatters Post author | 03/22/2023

      I believe you, but a reputation for giving the university’s money away to faculty is not going to go over well with the Trustees, at her next presidential search interview.

      • thedude 03/23/2023

        Admins about low faculty pay. Let them eat DEI training and group belonging therapy.

  2. TRPer 03/23/2023

    You’ve done it Harbaugh, you’ve made me nostalgic for Moseley. Now I must go spit out some vomit.

    • uomatters Post author | 03/23/2023

      I try not to read emails from Woodruff-Borden anymore, but a colleague sent me this one and I posted it to help foster a culture of respect in our academic programs and activities.

  3. Slowly Boiled IT Duck 03/23/2023

    If you haven’t looked at the newer campus climate survey documents, you should. The answer to FAQ #6 (“What about statistical significance?”) is a high point. (“… Significance testing is not necessary…”). At least the question was frequently asked.

    The Disaggregated Demographic Data document is also notable, if only for its amusing lack of internal consistency. For example, untroubled by statistical concerns, one can observe that Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are by far the happiest group on campus, but only if they report up to the President. If they report to the Provost, they’re miserable. The fix is obvious.

    Seriously, though, is the faculty really signing on to this?

  4. honest Uncle Gangsta 03/24/2023

    Yeah, things are going great. Ask those forced to use shared services, Tykeson advising, or search for classrooms. And DEI is going great. Just look at the performance measures e.g. grades. The UO loves to publicize this info, right?

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