December 15th, UO Constitution Day

December 15 is UO Constitution Day. The UO Constitution lays out the division of responsibilities between the UO President and the UO Faculty, and the procedures for resolving disputes. It was adopted by the UO Faculty Assembly on December 7th 2011, and signed by UO President Richard Lariviere on December 15th.

In honor of the event I am posting a history of the Constitution, from the pseudonymous “Old Man”. As prelude, here is the video from the Assembly meeting. The introduction by Senate President Robert Kyr (Music) is followed by Susan Gary (Law), John Bonine (Law) and Peter Keyes (Architecture) giving excellent explanations of what the constitution means:

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I had no involvement in writing the constitution or its adoption. I would appreciate it if those who did would post comments and corrections.

The History of the UO Constitution

(and the Policy on Policies)

as Recalled by the Old Man­­­

Introduction: This document recounts the loss of the University’s century-old tradition of faculty governance, enshrined in its Charter, and events leading to its recovery through the creation and adoption of the Constitution of the University of Oregon.

University of Oregon Charter

“The President and professors constitute the faculty of the University, and, as such, shall have the immediate government and discipline of it and the students therein…”

Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) § 352.010; originally section 14 of Law No. 9, Oregon Laws 1876

The Good Old Days

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Governor Kate Brown appoints new student trustee to UO board

10/26/2015: Noah McGraw has the news in the Emerald, here. The process was considerably more open than that which led to the appointment and reappointment of the faculty trustee, Susan Gary. Good for ASUO. Not sure if the legislature has confirmed this yet.

9/25/2015: UO Student Trustee Helena Schlegel resigns from Board on principle

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UO Faculty Trustee Susan Gary resigns from Board on principle

Just kidding. It’s UO Student Trustee Helena Schlegel who has the principles.

It seems Professor Susan Gary (Law) intends to try and serve out her new term. Gary was first nominated for the board position by former UO Senate President and Professor Margie Paris (Law) with almost no consultation with the faculty. Gary has not been effective.

On March 11 The UO Senate voted unanimously to reject the decision by Board Chair Chuck Lillis and Interim President Scott Coltrane to recommend that Gary be reappointed as the board’s sole faculty trustee. The legislation calls for an open nominations process. Why did the nomination for the faculty position on the BOT come from Lillis and Coltrane, with no consultation with the Senate, or, from what I can tell, any other faculty?

Why would Professor Gary accept the nomination under these circumstances?

Unfortunately, Oregon’s new Governor Kate Brown – a bit busy at the time – reappointed Gary for 2 more years.  And now, 2 years after her first appointment, Professor Gary is inviting to the faculty “stop by and chat”. Maybe she’ll even answer questions. Here’s her schedule:

A Message from The Board of Trustees

Dear colleagues,

Another academic year is upon us, which is always hard to believe…but also incredibly invigorating.

As a faculty member serving on the UO Board of Trustees, I wanted to set up a number of drop-in meetings, so that any faculty member who is curious about the Board, the role of the faculty Trustee, or issues facing the university can stop by and chat. It will also be an opportunity for me to gather concerns, suggestions, and comments that faculty members would like to share with the Board. (Anyone is, of course, welcome to send comments directly to the Board via email: [email protected])

As an individual Trustee, I can’t speak on behalf of the Board, but I can chat about my own experiences, perspectives and sense of how things are going. I welcome the opportunity to visit with you.

Here is my drop-in schedule for the next several months. If none of these times work for you, please don’t hesitate to email me with your thoughts, questions or ideas.

Thursday, October 1, 12:00-1:00 pm in Lewis Lounge (4th Floor), Knight Law School
Monday, November 16, 4:00-5:00 pm in 109 Friendly Hall
Wednesday, January 20, 4:00-5:00 pm in 175 Willamette Hall
Monday, February 22, 12:00-1:00 pm in 225 Streisinger Hall (Novick Room)
Wednesday, March 30, 4:00-5:00 pm in 111A Susan Campbell Hall (Leona Tyler Conference Room)
Thursday, May 5, 12:00-1:00 pm in 219B Frohnmayer Music Building

Best regards,  Susan

Susan N. Gary
Orlando J. and Marian H. Hollis Professor of Law
Member, University of Oregon Board of Trustees
[email protected]

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Governor Brown reappoints all UO Trustees, including Susan Gary (Law)

The Oregonian has the story, here.

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The reappointment of Gary is a bit of a slap in the face to the UO Senate, which voted unanimously on March 11 to reject the decision by Board Chair Chuck Lillis and Interim President Scott Coltrane to recommend that Gary be reappointed as the sole faculty trustee, without consulting first with the faculty.

Gary has been away on sabbatical all year, the board did not even put her on the presidential search committee, and she has done little to keep the faculty informed about important Board decisions such as the delegation of authority, policy on policies, etc.


1.1 WHEREAS in 2013 the State of Oregon established the University Board of Trustees as the governing board of the University of Oregon[i]; and

1.2 WHEREAS section 6.1(c) of SB 270, which established the board, gives the Governor authority to appoint board members, subject to confirmation by the Oregon Senate, and states that “the governing board must include one person who is a member of the faculty of the university”[ii]; and

1.3 WHEREAS the law does not give the University President or Board of Directors any special role in making nominations to the Governor; and

1.4 WHEREAS the purpose of including a faculty member is to represent the views and interests of the faculty, not those of other bodies or persons; and

1.5 WHEREAS the interim President of the University and the President of the Board have made recommendations to the Governor without asking the opinion of faculty members; and

1.6 WHEREAS the term of the current Faculty Trustee expires on June 20, 2015;

Section II

2.1 BE IT THEREFORE MOVED that the UO Senate Nominating Committee shall solicit nominations for the position of Faculty Trustee; and …

Either UO has a new president, or Parker Search’s Laurie Wilder lied to us

Update: I’ve been told that Laurie Wilder asked the UO Board for permission to get involved in a second search.

3/19/2015: She seemed so honest, when she talked to the Senate that afternoon:

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3/19/2015 update: I distinctly remember Parker Executive Search’s President Laurie Wilder saying, while sitting there with Connie Ballmer, that UO would get an exclusive: Parker would not take on another presidential search for an AAU university while they were working on the UO search.

But last week the Daily Iowan reported that the University of Iowa had also hired Parker to find them a new president, also in February, for $200K + expenses:

The search for the next University of Iowa president will soon be in full swing.

Jean Robillard, the UI vice president for Medical Affairs and head of the Presidential Search Committee, announced at the state Board of Regents meeting in Iowa City on Wednesday that the panel would have its first meeting on March 25. …

Regent President Bruce Rastetter said the committee’s first official meeting with Parker Executive Search — a firm the regents hired whose duty is to define the goals of the search, develop specifications for the presidential position, create a timeline, and be heavily involved in the interview process — will mostly likely take place in late April or early May. …

The regents announced they had chosen Parker in mid-February. 

Iowa has been in the AAU since 1909, so I see three possibilities:

  1. Laurie Wilder lied to the UO faculty and Ms Ballmer,
  2. UO was kicked out of the AAU in February, or
  3. the Board picked a new President in February and they forgot to tell the faculty.

UO’s search has been botched from day one, when Chuck Lillis snuck secret rules, with minimal faculty participation past the board. Faculty Trustee Susan Gary should have helped him avoid the resulting embarrassment, but she was asleep at the wheel as usual, and isn’t even on the search committee.

The Iowa search committee has 21 members. Seven of them are faculty, including the president and president elect of their faculty senate:

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There are also two students – undergraduate and graduate. Chuck Lillis’s search committee has no students, and more Moffitts than faculty.

Maybe it’s time for the Board to give it up, and beg Coltrane to keep the job?

2/11/2015 update on 9AM search meeting. Trustee Connie Ballmer, Parker princip Laurie Wilder, some people from the search committees. Only others were me and maybe 2 other faculty, one or two OA’s and staff, and Diane Dietz and RG photographer Chris Pietsch.

I have to say that I was surprised and impressed by Ms Ballmer’s and Ms Wilder’s willingness to answer some tough questions. Wilder got into the nuts and bolts of what candidates ask her (e.g. what sort of board does UO have? Control-freaks, laissez-faire, etc.) The Senate is not going to like some of the answers we’re going to get this afternoon about the process, but personally, I’m no longer quite as paranoid about the likely outcome.

2/10/2015: UO Board’s Parker Executive Search firm is not exactly top shelf

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UO Board Trustee Susan Gary (Law) offers helpful tips for talking with UO Trustees

3/2/2015 update:  No word on whether or not BOT Secretary Angela Wilhelm will tear down that wall of PR flack tables separating the Trustees from the university community during this Thursday and Friday’s meetings, but it’s a good sign that 20 months into their term in office, the Board is willing to meet with faculty. I’m on the list, so Wilhelm’s assistant Amanda Hatch can’t have been screening people too carefully:


March 3, 2015

TO: Individuals Attending Faculty/Trustee Discussions

FROM: Susan Gary, Faculty Trustee

RE: Thoughts on the March 6 Discussions

Thank you for your willingness and interest in participating in the discussions with UO trustees this
Friday, March 6, at 8:00 AM.  These conversations will give the trustees a great opportunity to learn
more about the faculty – what we do, our strengths and the challenges we face.  I thought it would be
helpful to provide some ideas about conversation topics, although these are not restrictive.  You should
feel free to discuss any issues of concern to you, and the trustees may have questions they want to ask.
The conversations will evolve, as conversations do.

Our initial target size was 10 faculty members and three trustees per group.  Given the number of
people who expressed interest, we can accommodate everyone if we increase the group size to 11, so
that is what we have decided to do.  I think 11 should be fine; if you would prefer to wait until June (we
plan to have more discussions then), please let Amanda Hatch know and we can save your information.

The trustees will want to hear from everyone, so please be courteous with respect to time so that
everyone can have a chance to speak.  It’s a conversation, so multiple short comments will likely be
better than one long comment per person.

Here are suggested topics for discussion that I brainstormed.  I use “faculty” to include both TTF and
NTTF because most topics apply to both, although sometimes in different ways.

Faculty classifications.
– What do the classifications of faculty as TTF and NTTF – mean?  (and NTRF and Library faculty if
someone can speak to those categories)
– What roles do different faculty members play?

– What is the promotion process like for TTF and NTTF?

– What contributes to teaching excellence?
– How much work goes into preparing a class?
– How do teachers keep their classes fresh?
– How does the Teaching Effectiveness Program work with faculty to improve teaching? (Have you
taken advantage of TEP and what has been the benefit?)
– How does research contribute to teaching?
– What are classroom conditions like – technology, class size, and configuration of classrooms?
– How do negative factors hinder teaching excellence – increases in class size, increased teaching

– What kind of University and unit service do faculty do?
– What is the service work load and what types of service work do faculty do (admissions,
scholarships, curriculum, hiring, promotion and tenure, etc.)
– How does the level of service required affect teaching and scholarship?

– How do faculty mentor students?
– Undergraduates? What kind of mentoring do undergrads need?  What are the
challenges/rewards of mentoring undergrads?
– Graduate students?  What is the relationship between an advisor and a
candidate?  How does advising a grad student work?
– How do faculty help students think about career options?

– What is the role of research for a TTF?
– What is the grant writing process like?
– What is the publication process like?
Masters or Ph.D.
– What synergies exist among the research, teaching and service obligations of faculty members?
– (Note: There is a lot to say about research, but this is an area the trustees have already had
some exposure to, so it may be good to focus on other topics.)

Unit structure.
– How do TTF and NTTF interact within units?
– How do units govern themselves?

University Senate.
– What role does the Senate play?  What role should the Senate play?
– Do faculty feel engaged with the Senate?

Online education.
This probably deserves a separate discussion when issues can be discussed more thoroughly – there is a
lot of work needed to develop a strategy – but someone may have particular insights to share.

2/25/2015 update: Ron Bramhall (Business) and faculty union VP for NTTFs, persuades the BOT’s sole Faculty Trustee, Susan Gary (Law), to invite NTTFs to meetings with Board members:

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