Commencement work group to recommend a 5-year plan

With a goal of creating rewarding commencement experiences for University of Oregon graduates, their families and the campus community, the UO has launched a process for gathering information and creating a multiyear plan for future commencement activities.

As part of the review, the president’s office is convening a commencement advisory work group charged with soliciting feedback from a range of stakeholders, researching best practices, and proposing how to make best use of resources. The group will recommend a five-year proposal for commencement ceremonies starting in 2024.

The university’s commencement ceremonies have taken on a variety of formats over the years, particularly in recent years during the pandemic and with the recognition of the new federal holiday Juneteenth.

“Commencement is a wonderful and important tradition in which we recognize and celebrate an important academic milestone in the lives of our students,” said acting Provost and Executive Vice President Janet Woodruff-Borden. “As our student population and campus changes, we must adapt and improve. This holistic review and planning process will help us better understand what students and their families want and create the best experience possible for all.”

The 2024-28 Commencement Advisory Work Group will include representatives of students, parents and families, the Division of Student Life, University Advancement, the University Senate, the president’s and provost’s offices, schools and colleges, and communications.

The work group will survey students, families, faculty members and staff about the timing of events and their preferences for ceremony type.

It also will use data from previous ceremonies, research best practices, and consider available resources regarding the calendar, availability of facilities and local lodging, staffing and volunteers, and more. In addition, the group will develop evaluation metrics to help guide future ceremonies.

The university’s goal is to develop a plan that best formally recognizes and celebrates the academic achievement of graduating students while also serving as an opportunity for families, friends, faculty members and staff to join in the celebration of students’ accomplishments.

The recommendations of the work group will allow the university to roll out a plan that considers the goals of commencement, stakeholder preferences, the university mission and best use of available resources.

The work group is expected to begin its work in March and conduct surveys in April. It also will begin planning and research, and then complete a draft proposal for the president in June.

The work group’s charge does not include evaluating commencement activities for 2023, which are scheduled to take place on Tuesday, June 20.

To learn more about the process, visit the Office of the President website.