Presidential Search Committee needed more faculty: Thanks for Listening, Board of Trustees

On September 10, 2014 I sent a letter to the UO Board of Trustees [here], explaining why the principle of shared governance is critical to the presidential search process and why United Academics is uniquely positioned to contribute positively to that process. United Academics brings faculty together in ways that are distinct from, yet complementary to the University Senate. For example, our bargaining unit includes faculty who do not have formal representation or votes in the University Senate (adjunct instructors and fixed term funding contingent research faculty). In that letter and in my public testimony to the Board of Trustees, I asked that the process be responsive to all stakeholders at the UO – faculty through UA and the University Senate, students through ASUO, graduate employees through GTFF, classified staff through SEIU local, and officers of administration through the OA Council.

On September 11, the BOT rolled out a presidential search process that, though approved by the board, received considerable criticism. [see links] It was important that we, as faculty, ask for more representation, especially given the lack of faculty from CAS social sciences and humanities in either of the two-tiered search committees. I contacted Prof. Susan Gary on the board and she responded very proactively to my requests and helped broker a process to add additional faculty to the presidential search advisory committee. The Board of Trustees listened and responded to our request with positive steps.

On behalf of United Academics and faculty across campus, I personally wish to thank Prof. Gary and the rest of the Board for taking additional steps to broaden faculty input in the presidential search process. It is worth recalling why we at United Academics lobbied the state legislature (with students and staff) to assure a seat on the new independent governing boards. With our friends at Portland State University (AAUP), the AFT, and in the legislature, faculty, staff, and students won the right to have seats on the independent governing boards. Finally, a big thank you to the additional faculty who volunteered to have their names advanced to the Board. Let’s keep the positive momentum.

Michael Dreiling

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