UO Admin working in shifts to find cause of bad campus climate

Dear colleagues,

We are writing to provide an update on the University of Oregon’s efforts to create a workplace climate that fosters equity, inclusion, and belonging—with the goal that every individual can achieve and thrive.

As part of this commitment to create a healthy and productive campus culture, the university conducted the IDEAL Climate Survey of UO Employees in April of 2022 with independent consultant Gallup. As previously shared, the results showed we have significant and important work to improve our culture and enhance the employee experience.

University leadership at all levels is committed to this work. We know that we cannot achieve our mission, support our students, and live our values if those who work here do not feel they belong, can contribute, and succeed.

Although the survey was conducted some time ago and reflects a snapshot in time, the responses reflect real experiences and perceptions. The processes of evaluating the survey results with employees and charting a course of action planning takes time. We are using the results to gain a better understanding of our campus climate and identify opportunities for improvement.

Gallup provided the university with the initial results in June 2022, which were shared with campus. Following more analysis, additional university-wide findings were shared in fall 2022 and again in the winter of this year. This spring, vice presidents and deans reviewed the school, college, and unit-level results, and used them to begin conversations with employees on unit-level action planning.

Gallup’s analysis of the findings identified several key areas of focus, including a need to:

  • Improve engagement with employees so they feel connected and committed to their work and our mission,
  • Enhance collegiality to ensure all feel respected, supported, and valued,
  • Ensure employees feel they have equitable access to resources and opportunities; and
  • Prevent and address incidents of harassment and discrimination, ensure incidents are reported, and ensure individuals know about and receive support and resources.

To address these areas of focus, the university formed four university-wide working groups in summer of 2022 and charged them with assessing resources, programs, policies and practices, and recommending improvements or changes.

Each working group is supported by an administrative unit and includes individuals on campus with expertise, responsibility, and/or involvement in the topic area. Climate survey questions were assigned to each workgroup to ensure a comprehensive effort to address all the findings.

The working groups focus are on:

  • Engagement and Onboarding
  • Equity
  • Response, Reporting, and Anti-Discrimination
  • Faculty Promotion and Tenure, and Service

The four university-wide working groups charged with addressing the survey findings have provided updates to senior leaders on their activities and have made initial recommendations.

This message provides a comprehensive review of this work. There is a lot that we would like to share. The key information includes:

The recommendations for any new or updated university-wide policy and program changes listed below, and others in development, will be shared with stakeholder groups for feedback, and reviewed and discussed by senior leadership and the units responsible for work associated with the changes.

This work is ongoing. It takes sustained effort and commitment. Improving our culture is a marathon not a sprint, and we remain resolutely committed to making the University of Oregon a great place to work, teach, research, and serve. We are also committed to continuing to communicate about these efforts and share updates on actions underway.

We want to thank the members of the working groups and all the individuals working to help us analyze, understand, and address these findings.

Again, below you will find additional details about the work group recommendations and the work being done at the unit level.


Jamie Moffitt
Interim President

Janet Woodruff-Borden
Interim Provost and Executive Vice President

Working Groups Update

The working groups convened over this academic year, and are in various stages of assessment, review, and making recommendations. This spring, each group provided progress updates to members of senior leadership.

Each group completed activities which fall into several categories: cataloguing and assessing existing resources and programs, defining the scope and focus of the work, identifying gaps and recommending improvement in programs and policies, supporting unit-level work, and sharing information.

One very clear theme that emerged from each working group is that there are many resources, programs, tools, and initiatives designed to address workplace culture, equity and belonging across our campus and in our units. However, in many cases, there is a lack of awareness, clarity, coordination, understanding, and/or accountability for this work. Every working group is recommending better coordination, outreach and education regarding currently available resources and programs.

Engagement and Onboarding Working Group

Focus: defining engagement, providing tools and resources to support an engagement culture; recommending strategies for until level action and options for an accountability structure.

Lead unit: Human Resources

Summary of activities:

  • Launched Employee Engagement web resources and worked with HR Partners and leaders across campus to increase awareness of these resources and consult on how they could be utilized to enhance engagement in units.
  • Compiled a Climate Survey Guide to Data Sharing and Action Planning Discussions that was made available to deans and vice presidents and their senior leadership teams in February.
  • Explored and identified options related to a potential accountability structure for supervisors and managers to enhance and sustain employee engagement efforts and focus,
  • Evaluated additional resources that may be needed to support employee engagement work on an on-going basis.
  • Evaluated onboarding resources to enhance what already exists and identify potential opportunities for additional resources.
  • Started collaboration with HR and the Division of Graduate Studies to identify engagement and professional development resources to meet the unique needs of graduate employees

Working group recommendations to senior leadership for discussion and consideration:

  • Implementation of subsequent workplace climate surveys every 3-5 years to sustain employee engagement and workplace culture.
  • Adoption of an accountability statement for use on webpages and other written materials as needed.
  • Addition of employee engagement accountability language to supervisor/manager position descriptions in the “Job Duties” section.
  • Addition of employee engagement accountability language to supervisor/manager performance reviews.
  • Development of metrics to evaluate supervisor / manager leadership around employee engagement initiatives.

Additional information: https://president.uoregon.edu/charges-climate-survey-working-groups#engagement

Equity Working Group

Focus: developing tools and interventions to address gaps in equity among groups based on race, gender, disability, ethnicity, and employee group; embedding equity practices and an equity lens approach; and partnering with human resources to develop equity expectations and tools for supervisors.

Lead unit: Division of Equity and Inclusion

Summary of activities:

  • Identified experts to support facilitation of unit-level climate survey discussions.
  • Developed and is hosting workshops to support faculty and staff including: Facilitating Challenging Group Discussions: Listening and Leading with Care facilitated by Justin Freeman, partner at Juniper Rim Partners; Journaling Experiences: An Equity Resourcefacilitated by Michelle Stimpson
  • Identified existing list of institutional resources related to equity that need to be embedded in accountability processes.

Working group recommendations to senior leadership for discussion and consideration:

  • Regularly communicate to all employees about expectations regarding equity in the workplace and provide reporting pathways to identify and address areas of inequity.
  • Equip managers and supervisors with equity tools and hold leaders accountable for incorporating equity appropriately in all unit-based decision making, policies, and processes.
  • Amplify institutional equity successes and address equity gaps where they exist.
  • Communicate climate survey findings and analyses, as well as a shared definition of equity, to foster a common understanding of the work across campus.
  • Ensure the actions that administrative leadership and units are taking to address equity gaps and barriers to change are being reported on and communicated regularly.
  • Amplify existing professional development and campus resources related to equity for all campus and institutional decision makers.
  • Systematize equitable decision-making across campus with the dissemination of an equitable-focused decision tool for major unit decisions.
  • Embed equity definitions, scenarios, and tools into relevant professional development, supervisor expectations, and onboarding processes in ways that clarify what equity looks like within units/departments at various levels and centers equity as a value. 
  • Present avenues to obtain resources for strategic investment in equity processes.

Additional information: https://president.uoregon.edu/charges-climate-survey-working-groups#equity

Response, Reporting, and Anti-Discrimination Working Group

Focus: preventing bias discrimination and harassment as well as other impacts around inclusion and belonging on campus; improving the system of university reporting and response.

Lead unit: Office of Investigations and Civil Rights Compliance

Summary of activities:

  • Assessed reporting obligations of designated reporters, reporting forms, and employee checklists.
  • Identified and assembled resources for employees to increase clarity and understanding of resources; policies and reporting responsibilities; and resources for training and training requests.

Working group recommendations to senior leadership for discussion and consideration:

  • Increase campus understanding of reporting avenues, investigation process and regulations, and response options.
  • Develop training and resources to increase employee understanding of reporting obligations and available support.
  • Develop training to increase understanding of policy violations versus conduct that fall below investigation threshold and non-investigative resolutions.
  • Develop process to accompany investigation process to further inform and support campus through the investigation process.
  • Create resources, and support and response procedures for incidents not meeting threshold for investigation or formal action.
  • Improve anti-discrimination through education and awareness.

Additional information: https://president.uoregon.edu/charges-climate-survey-working-groups#anti-discrimination

Faculty Promotion and Tenure, and Service Working Group

Focus: identifying gaps in understanding of and knowledge about promotion and review policies, process, and expectations; augmenting the role of mentoring in clarifying expectations around promotion; implementing the University Senate-developed recommendations on equitable and transparent faculty service.

Lead unit: Office of the Provost

Summary of activities:

Working group recommendations to senior leadership for discussion and consideration:

  • Bring additional clarity to expectations for promotion through the current process of unit policy revisions.
  • Develop additional training for unit leaders to foster mentorship around promotion.
  • Create additional training resources and community awareness around equitable and transparent service allocations.

Additional information: https://president.uoregon.edu/charges-climate-survey-working-groups#faculty

Unit-level Data Sharing and Climate Action 

In February, the university held a School, College, and Unit-Level Climate Survey Workshop for all deans, vice presidents, and the senior leaders in their divisions. At this summit, university leadership provided information, expectations, and resources for sharing results specific to each school, college, institute, or division to individual employees.

A Gallup consultant provided training and input on how to engage with employees and embark on unit-level action planning. Gallup, Human Resources, the Division of Equity and Inclusion and the Office of the President created and curated a comprehensive list of resources and tools for unit leaders to utilize to engage in these discussions.

Vice presidents and deans are expected to have shared their unit- or division-level data with employees by the end of this term. Some of this work is complete, some remains underway. This work takes time, especially in very large academic units, but it is important that individuals not only see their unit’s results but have time to review and discuss them with their supervisors, directors, and/or division heads.

All deans and vice presidents are expected to report at the end of this month about these conversations and their next steps for addressing the findings through current or future action planning.

In addition to the scheduled sessions––Facilitating Challenging Group Discussions: Listening and Leading with Care and Journaling Experiences: An Equity Resource––the Division of Equity and Inclusion will also be hosting workshops over summer and fall to provide support and resources for unit-based teams as they develop their action plans.

Additional Information and Resources

Employee Climate Assessment:

Employee Engagement and Support:


Response, Reporting and Anti-Discrimination Programs:

Policies and Reporting Responsibilities: 

Training and Training Requests:

Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to UO Admin working in shifts to find cause of bad campus climate

  1. Tug o' the Forelock says:
    • Inquiring Minds says:

      Exactly. More and more word salad describing in minute detail the problem. It seems to me the problems described are felt across position types, gender, and race but are amplified within more marginalized groups. The opaque leadership and some very poor executive managers who do not sincerely listen and engage others is where words without action is toxic.

  2. UO Matters says:

    This is an interesting read and I confess I’ve committed this hitherto unnamed sin myself from time to time.

  3. thedude says:

    To quote some unknown politician.

    It’s wages (the economy) stupid.

    But how’s an interim admin making 60k a month at their temp job supposed to get that…

  4. honest Uncle Gangsta says:

    Wow, these people are caught up in some sort of bizarre obsession. This is the top leadership of the so-called UO community? A million a year for this? Well, they are better than Putin, I would acknowlege. I compare this with past communications from UO admin. It is not healthy stuff.

  5. Cheyney Ryan says:

    I have just now looked over the Climate Survey results on an issue I have been involved with–the Administration’s handling of sexual harassment/discrimination complaints. Nothing has improved since the last survey done on this, about ten years ago. Most people don’t report incidents, and those who do report them conclude that the Administration is not serious about dealing with harassment. Why would they think that? One reason may be the ethical murkiness of how investigations are conducted. For example, while a complainant can provide the names of persons who can substantiate her complaints, the investigation may choose not to interview any of them; indeed, even if the complainant is promised that they will be interviewed, the investigation may choose to ignore that promise. If this sounds bizarre—why would anyone enter into a process in which their evidence can be ignored?—the last three heads of the Title IX office have adamantly defended it against my objections (I am happy to provide details to anyone interested). Yet it seems that, in response to the consistently dreary perceptions of the process, the Administration has delegated solving the problem to the very office that seems to be the source of it.