Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon concludes meeting

Chuck Lillis, chair of the UO Board of Trustees (photo by Tim Christie)
Chuck Lillis, chair of the UO Board of Trustees (photo by Tim Christie)

The Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon continued to make strides this week, as members gathered to discuss a variety of topics that will shape the way they govern the institution beginning July 1.

After reports from the University Senate president, Associated Students of the University of Oregon president and university president, the trustees heard public comments. During a day-and-a-half of meetings on March 27 and 28 at the UO’s Ford Alumni Center, trustees covered a wide array of topics, including:

  • An overview of the budget process;
  • The UO board's relationship with Oregon's new Higher Education Coordinating Commission; 
  • Consideration of policies on board retention and delegation of authority; and
  • Review and approval of tuition rates and mandatory student fees for the 2014-15 academic year.

(A memo from President Michael Gottfredson providing greater detail on the board’s recent activities is available here.)

Regarding the policies on delegation of authority, Chuck Lillis, chair of the Board of Trustees, spoke about the philosophy of the policy. “We’re tasking ourselves with the policy, strategy and oversight of the university; not the operations,” Lillis said, adding that operations would and should be left to institutional leadership. Lillis also noted that the policy could be modified.

The board voted unanimously to adopt the policy motion as presented by Susan Gary which will sunset on July 1, 2014. Based on a suggestion from UO President Michael Gottfredson, the policy motion approved also included a specific process to solicit and gather input from all campus constituencies, working with the University Senate to gather that input for submission to the Board of Trustees by the June meeting.

Regarding tuition and mandatory fees, the board unanimously approved the following recommendations to be forwarded to the Oregon State Board of Higher Education:

  • No tuition increase for in-state students;
  • A 3 percent increase for out-of-state students;
  • The adoption of graduate tuition increases as recommended by the schools and colleges; and
  • A 16.4 percent overall mandatory fee increase, which includes the student-approved fee for renovation of the Erb Memorial Union.

“The affordability of higher education is among this board’s highest concerns,” Lillis said. “We do not take lightly our responsibility for helping to set tuition and fees for the coming academic year, or our fiduciary responsibility to the people of the state of Oregon. As the state continues to place its limited resources in other priorities, it is our job to ensure the ongoing value of a University of Oregon degree for our students, alumni and their families.”

During its Thursday lunch break in the meeting, board members also met with faculty and researchers. The chair said he hopes to continue the practice in an effort to increase awareness of the activity of UO faculty.

Other board business included:

  • Reports from the various board committees;
  • A report from Provost Scott Coltrane on the revision of the university mission statement as required by the Higher Education Coordinating Commission and the university's academic planning process;
  • An overview of the planned response to the Higher Education Coordinating Committee, outlining a series of funding proposals for the expansion and introduction of new initiatives designed to improve recruitment, retention and graduation rates. Those include:
    • Expansion of the PathwayOregon Program ($2.4 million);
    • UO Graduation Assistance Grant ($4.2 million);
    • UO Retention and Completion Initiative: Enhanced advising, learning and enrichment support ($4 million); and
    • UO Tenured Faculty Initiative ($7.5 million); and
  • A report on the recently-concluded 2014 legislative session.

Minutes from the meeting and additional information will be posted on the board’s website at trustees.uoregon.edu.

- from the UO Office of Public Affairs Communications

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include links to the remarks of the University Senate President and to an April 2 memo from UO President Michael Gottfredson