Gottfredson headlines: news, comments from around the U.S. about new UO president
Michael Gottfredson was hired June 15 in a unanimous vote by the Oregon State Board of Higher Education to become the University of Oregon’s 17th president since the institution’s founding 136 years ago.
Gottfredson will officially take over as UO president on Aug. 1, but has said he will begin transitioning into his new position sometime this month. Meanwhile, his hiring has been noted over the past few weeks by media across the country.
Following are excerpts from various news stories, editorials and commentaries (most recent first).
GUEST VIEWPOINT: Spending now opens prison doors, not schoolsBy Pete Sorenson
July 2 (http://bit.ly/LsG0gO)
…I was present at the June 15 meeting of the State Board of Higher Education, when the board met in Eugene to approve Michael Gottfredson’s appointment as UO president. I went there to meet and welcome Dr. Gottfredson to our community. His appointment makes me optimistic for the future of higher education in Oregon. Not only does he possess an impressive record and qualifications, but Gottfredson brings a commitment to ensuring “access and quality for the citizens of Oregon” at the UO.
He has also indicated that he will not let the state off the hook with regards to funding. Securing adequate funding for the UO won’t be an easy fight for him, as the Legislature will enter another session plagued by financial difficulties. This election season, we must demand that candidates prioritize public education funding at all levels.
A state’s budget should reflect the values of its people. Oregonians believe in education. As our state adapts to the realities of the 21st century, we know having an educated workforce is crucial for our economic success. You can’t have a democracy without educated citizens. It’s time to end the cuts to higher education and invest in future generations of Oregonians — just like our parents and their parents did for us.
Pete Sorenson represents the South Eugene District on the Lane County Board of Commissioners. He is a former member of the state Senate’s Education Committee and former chairman of the Board of Education at Lane Community College.
C-Ville, Charlottesville (Virginia) News & Arts
Editorial: What UVA can learn from the University of Oregon's presidential sacking
June 26 (http://bit.ly/NeVXrI)
While the University continues to grapple with the aftermath of the Board of Visitors’ decision to push out President Sullivan, a peer institution on the West Coast is experiencing the end of a similar saga—and whatever the outcome of the ongoing battle over governance on Grounds, UVA can learn from the experiences of the University of Oregon.
Michael Gottfredson was named the new president of Oregon, a public research institution with an undergraduate population similar to UVA’s, on Friday, June 15, six months after the state’s Board of Higher Education voted on something that’s familiar here in Charlottesville: the decision to force the school’s president out after just two years on the job.
Ultimately, Oregon faculty and students seeking reinstatement of their president didn’t get what they were asking for, but the way they dealt with the aftermath might offer insight into the process of rebuilding trust in the wake of an unpopular ousting.
The faculty at Oregon demanded closer involvement in their university’s governance, and they got it. Faculty, students, administrative employees, researchers and general staff were formally included in the committee that searched for a new full-time president in a process (Robert) Kyr (music professor and president of Oregon’s Faculty Senate) said was “a very fair one based on collaboration and consultation.”
The chancellor and the Board accepted the recommendation, which Kyr said was a sign that the relationship has already improved.
“We’re working hard to maintain that as we move forward with our new president,” he said.
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Transitions: People in Academe
June 18 (http://bit.ly/NeZoyE)
Michael R. Gottfredson, executive vice chancellor and provost of the University of California at Irvine, was named the sole finalist for the presidency of the University of Oregon. The State Board of Higher Education was expected to confirm his appointment last week. Robert M. Berdahl has been serving as Oregon's interim president since the most recent permanent leader, Richard W. Lariviere, was dismissed last year after disputes with the board.
Daily Pilot (Orange County)
UCI provost leaving for new job in Oregon
June 18 (http://bit.ly/MOIoPg)
After 12 years as UC Irvine executive vice chancellor and provost, Michael R. Gottfredson is moving on to the University of Oregon.
The much-lauded leader will take over as president there Aug. 1.
Gottfredson is credited with helping to establish new schools in law and computer science as well as new programs in statistics and public policy and launching majors in public health and business.
At UCI, Gottfredson was responsible for planning and budgeting including managing $90 million in state funding cuts since 2007-2008.
"The budget has forced us to change the way higher education is financed," Gottfredson said in a prepared statement, "but we never changed our commitment to quality."
Editorial: Unwanted secrecy in the search for University of Oregon president
June 15 (http://stjr.nl/Njx93X)
… The news release and stories written based on it have called Gottfredson the “finalist candidate” to run the school. But Friday’s vote sounds like a rubber stamp on a decision clearly already made, rather than a gut-wrenching vote to choose the best man for the position.
Unfortunately, the public will never know which is true. The search, you see, was a completely secret affair.
The university and OUS spend our tax dollars to help keep the school’s doors open. Because of that, they owe the people of Oregon more information about the selection process than they have been willing to give.
We suppose that the OUS board could vote not to hire Gottfredson on Friday. But unless the man makes some unforgivable faux pas this week or something is discovered, this is a deal that’s already been done behind closed doors.
EDITORIAL: UO leader needs free hand
June 12 (http://bit.ly/R4Cyfz)
Before getting down to the business of scrutinizing Michael Gottfredson’s prospects as president of the University of Oregon, let’s pause to savor the term “sole finalist.” Gottfredson will be introduced as such in Eugene today and Wednesday, the only publicly identified candidate to succeed UO President Richard Lariviere and interim President Robert Berdahl. The word “finalist” implies more than one. Better descriptions of Gottfredson’s status, chosen but not yet confirmed, might be “presumptive president” or “president pending formalities.”
But that’s the way presidential searches are conducted these days: The state Board of Higher Education forms a search committee, and the public knows nothing until a puff of white smoke wafts from atop the chancellor’s office. Gone are the days when several finalists would participate in rounds of public events. In today’s marketplace for top academic officials, applicants insist on remaining unnamed, fearing that their reputations would suffer if it became known that they were considered but rejected. Thus, habemus Gottfredson.
Gottfredson looks like a good catch. He’s a noted criminologist, co-author of an influential book linking criminal behavior to a lack of self-control. His career has taken him from the State University of New York-Albany to the University of Illinois-Urbana, and then from the Claremont Graduate School to the University of Arizona. Since 2000 he has been executive vice chancellor and provost at the University of California-Irvine.
To someone in Gottfredson’s position, the UO presidency looks like a prize. The job offers him a chance to cap his career as the head of a big public AAU university. At 61, Gottfredson is not likely to consider Eugene a way station on the way to bigger things. He can expect a significant increase in salary.
The attractiveness of the UO presidency depends on applicants’ perceptions. The higher education board fired Lariviere last year because he had gone too far in advocating autonomy for the UO. Many worried that the firing would scare away applicants who aspired to be something more than a platoon commander for an army headquartered in Salem. Berdahl, who himself voiced that concern, said just a few days ago that Lariviere’s firing had not deterred a highly qualified field from applying.
One plausible inference is that applicants received assurances that a president wouldn’t be punished for following Lariviere’s example and pushing hard for what he believes is in the UO’s best interest. That inference is reinforced by the fact that if Gottfredson were interested in a subordinate position, he’d stay in Irvine. Beginnings are times of hope, so the UO and all of Oregon can, at least for a moment, relish the possibility that a president who is prepared to lead is about to be hired by a board that will let him do it.
Salem Statesman Journal
Editorial: Gottfredson a good choice for UO
June 12 (http://stjr.nl/NTi2k7)
Dr. Michael Gottfredson appears to be an excellent choice, based on his résumé. He’s been around the higher education block. He knows the West Coast and the Pac-12 Conference. He is a recognized expert in a down-to-earth field — criminology. Most important, he is a top administrator at an outstanding academic institution.
The UO got off track with the hiring and later firing of Richard Lariviere, who this spring was named president and CEO of Chicago’s renowned Field Museum. Thus, the university needs both change, to adapt to continuing challenges in resources, and stability in leadership.
Gottfredson seems like an excellent person to achieve those goals. He’s been executive vice chancellor, provost and a professor at the University of California, Irvine, since 2000 — a worthwhile tenure at a remarkable institution. UC Irvine has only been around since 1965, becoming a first-class university in a relatively short time.
It’s unfortunate that the board chose only one “finalist,” instead of having one or more additional candidates whom faculty members and other stakeholders could compare. But for being the sole choice, Dr. Michael Gottfredson seems like a good one.
Oregon Daily Emerald
Editorial: Timing of president announcement further proof that OUS isn’t interested in the student voice
June 11 (http://bit.ly/MyJOvn)
The Oregon University System announced Michael Gottfredson as the finalist for the University president search — but if you’re a student, you probably don’t give a damn. You’re probably studying for your finals, preparing to return home or contemplating the end of your senior year. You don’t have time to think about who’s going to be our next top administrator; you’ve got too much on your plate.
Of course, nobody can be mad at you for your circumstantial indifference: Telling you who your new president could be now — the Monday of Finals Week — would be like telling you the president of the University would be removed from office during week 10 of fall term … Oh wait, that actually happened.
A trend is becoming clear here: The OUS makes its most important decisions — decisions that greatly affect us — during times when we are least capable of expressing our collective voice. Sure, they are bringing Gottfredson to campus to field questions and conduct discussions with our community, but just how many of us have the time to attend talks with future administrators when we have 20-page papers or bio-chem finals due this week?
So thank you, OUS, for once again alienating the greater student body from huge decisions. It’s a great reminder of why the University community is fighting to break its ties with you.