The University of Oregon is looking for volunteers from all ranks and classifications to fill positions on both appointed and elected committees and the University Senate. This week AroundtheO is running profiles of several of the employees who graciously volunteer their time to serve on the University Senate or a committee on campus.
Q: Why did you choose to join a committee or run for an elected position at UO?
A: I am a believer in participating to help shape the community I work in. If I do not then my perspective and voice will not be represented and therefore I would need to accept what others choose for me. I have many peers who feel frustrated about how UO is functioning and if they do not get involved in the changes then they will continue in unneccesary frustration. I have seen the fruits of my collaborations and it is extremely gratifying to know many other colleagues around the campus who really care about our future and have the capacity to work together to help shape it.
Q: In what ways do you feel your involvement on a committee or in the University Senate has made a difference at the UO?
A: I know that my honest and candid input has been listened to, and has helped to bring multiple perspectives to very challenging issues. Without the variety of voices we would have singular vision with only a few people making important decisions that impact all of us. The more we each can join in the conversation and debate, the better able we will be to craft complex solutions to very challenging problems. Fostering a collaborative spirit and joining in difficult debates will only strengthen our capacity to be a unified institution.
Q: Has anything been unexpected during your tenure on the committee and/or in Senate?
A: When I first joined any committee it was the non-tenured instructional faculty task force – early 2000? I had no idea that I was even welcome - thinking only tenured faculty could participate in UO governance. I discovered an amazing group of people from across campus, in a wide range of disciplines and ranks who offered important perspectives that helped shape policy. I was inspired by the commitment and passion even in the face of sharp disagreement. This work, very difficult at times, has been a great education for me – learning about policy, UO, listening, and the human spirit.
Q: Why should employees on campus choose to get involved in shared governance?
A: Again, if people are not actively participating, other people will make decisions that impact each of us. Perhaps more importantly participation actually fosters amazing connections across campus that might not otherwise occur. I have had the opportunity to work closely with faculty, staff, and students from across all disciplines in both small and large groups. This creative and collaborative experience has frankly been very inspiring. I have learned a great deal about the university this way, as well as the many talented people that work here.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who is considering joining a committee or running for an elected position as part of shared governance?
A: DO IT! Considering the massive changes across all levels from new governing board structure to new leadership, your voice is essential if we are to capture this unique moment in UO's history when the future is truly open to new directions. You will meet some of the most interesting people too!