Tuition-setting, diversity and COVID-19 on trustees’ agenda

The UO emblem on Dads Gate

The Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon will meet to discuss the upcoming tuition-setting process; the ongoing impacts of COVID-19; and the university’s diversity initiatives and to vote on adding a new undergraduate degree in dance, among other issues.

The board’s regular fall quarterly meeting will take place virtually Dec. 3 and 4. The meeting agenda and materials, as well as a live webcast link, are available on the board of trustees website.

The full board will meet beginning at 8:30 a.m. on both Thursday, Dec. 3, and Friday, Dec. 4.

Andre Le Duc, associate vice president and chief resilience officer, will brief the board on the impacts of COVID-19 on UO operations as well as preparations for winter term. He will also present the proposed updates to the university’s approved COVID-19 health and safety operational plan for feedback from the board.

The UO’s external auditor, Moss Adams LLP, will present its annual findings; Jamie Moffitt, vice president for finance and administration, will provide a quarterly finance report and a report on the UO’s FY20 audited financial statements; and UO Chief Auditor Leah Ladley will present her quarterly audit report.

Looking forward to next year, Kevin Marbury, vice president for student life, and Moffitt, co-chairs of the Tuition and Fee Advisory Board, will discuss the tuition-setting process used to recommend tuition rates for the 2021-22 academic year. This process will be the first since the board adopted the Oregon Guarantee in March, a model that allows each new Duck to pay the same fixed tuition rate for up to five years.

During the Dec. 4 portion of the board meeting, the board is expected to approve a new Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance, pending confirmation from the University Senate. The proposed program would the first BFA in dance degree in Oregon and the only BFA degree nationwide to place equal emphasis on dances of the African diaspora and those of European roots. The degree would attract more dance students and increase the diversity of dance faculty at the UO.

Additionally, the board will vote on an $8.8 million renovation and expansion project of the UO’s pioneering Zebrafish International Resource Center facility. The project will replace and upgrade much of the center’s 20-year-old aquaculture equipment, research space and biosafety.

The majority of the funds for the project will come from two National Institutes of Health grants totaling $8.3 million. The UO Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation has pledged $550,000 towards the project.

Mike Harwood, associate vice president for campus planning and facilities management, will provide a progress report on existing construction projects on campus and discuss physical infrastructure projects on the horizon. He will also report on the university’s sustainability efforts.

Yvette Alex-Assensoh, vice president for equity and inclusion; Provost Patrick Phillips; and Mark Schmelz, chief human resources officer, will provide an update on institutional equity, inclusion and diversity initiatives. They will look at key accountability areas and discuss different ways to define and measure success in reaching institutional objectives.

For the board’s academic area in focus this quarter, professor John Halliwill, department head of human physiology, will showcase the department and its work, including its undergraduate and graduate offerings, faculty profiles and expansion plans.