Board of Trustees holds first meeting under new president

UO President Michael Schill attended his first Board of Trustees Meeting in September
UO President Michael Schill attended his first Board of Trustees Meeting in September

Members of the UO Board of Trustees approved several construction projects, a revised budget and a revised tuition input process during a two-day September meeting that wrapped up Friday.

Trustees also heard from Oregon Gov. Kate Brown about her hopes for higher education in Oregon and from new President Michael Schill about his high aspirations for the university. This was the first board meeting for Schill, who became the university’s 18th president July 1.

Schill told the board that his first few months on the job meeting with faculty, staff and students have been exhilarating and exciting, and he said he continues to be impressed by the passion people have for the UO. He said the campus and community are hungry for progress and he doesn’t want to let them down.

Schill outlined three goals:

  • Build the faculty and enhance the academic and research profile.
  • Enhance access and affordability for students.
  • Create great educational experiences for all UO students.

“We are great, we can become so much greater and the only way we will do this is to invest in the academic enterprise, and everyone recognizes this,” Schill said.

Trustees also heard from Schill and Provost Scott Coltrane on current recruiting efforts for key faculty and administrative positions. Schill said to meet their goals the university must hire 80 to 100 net new tenure-related faculty in the next few years, as well as build appropriate research facilities. The board emphasized the importance of the efforts in order to build and grow a world-class research university.

In other business, trustees met two new vice presidents: Kevin Reed, the new general counsel; and Kyle Henley, chief communications officer.

Durning the governor's visit on the second day of the board meeting, Brown said she supports the UO’s drive to boost its status as a world-class university and looks forward to working with trustees to secure “stable and adequate” funding for higher education in the state. Read more about her visit here.

Additionally, the board received an update from Coltrane on an evaluation framework for universities approved by the state Higher Education Coordinating Commission. Trustees also got a recap of budget and policy matters affecting higher education and the UO during the 2015 legislative session from Hans Bernard, associate vice president for state and community affairs.

Trustees expressed interest in the UO’s short- and long-term state advocacy plan and agreed with Bernard that they – and other university trustees across the state – can be tremendous advocates when it comes to state budgets and policy.

The board meeting also included presentations from Julie Newton, interim dean for the School of Journalism and Communication, and Andrew Marcus, interim dean for the College of Arts and Sciences.

Brad Shelton, vice president for research and innovation, was joined by two prominent researchers to share information on sponsored research activities, national trends and related topics. The UO’s position as a national research university was also raised during the conversation with the governor and is an issue trustees have made a high priority. 

The board approved action items from earlier committees meetings, including:

  • Internal board operation policies.
  • Revised AY15-16 operating and capital budget.
  • Capital project agreements (Marcus Mariota Sports Performance Center and Hayward Field).
  • Academic building capital projects (Chapman Hall, College & Careers Building, and Klamath Hall).
  • Earlier student input in the tuition-setting process.

The Board of Trustees’ next quarterly meeting is scheduled for Dec. 2-3. Additional information about the board can be found at http://trustees.uoregon.edu/

 —By Jennifer Winters, Public Affairs Communications