UO launches search to find next academic-athletic liaison

Tim Gleason

Journalism professor Tim Gleason has announced his plans for retirement and will be stepping down from his post as the UO’s faculty athletics representative.

Gleason began serving as the faculty athletics representative, or FAR, in fall 2014. As the faculty representative, he is the liaison between athletics and academics, and represents the UO at the Pac-12 and NCAA levels.

“The bumper sticker I use is that the FAR is the academic eyes on athletics,” Gleason said. “Your job in all areas is to bring that academic perspective to the discussion of whatever the issue may be.”

Tim GleasonGleason has a wealth of academic experience, having served as the dean of the School of Journalism and Communication from 1997 to 2013. Previously, he won the school’s Marshall Award for Innovative Teaching in 1990 and was honored as the Scripps Howard Journalism Administrator of the Year in 2013. Gleason’s teaching and research focus is on communication law and ethics.

In his role as the faculty athletics representative, Gleason acknowledged that the past year has been burdensome because of challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic. The representative’s responsibilities include certifying that student-athletes are eligible to compete during the next academic term.

With 17 sports competing in the spring, this created a higher volume of certifications to be completed during the week between winter and spring terms.

“This year has been really, really stressful,” he said. “Obviously, it has been stressful for everyone, but for student-athletes it’s had its own kind of special stresses related to competition, practices, are we going on have a season, aren’t we going to have a season, all of those kinds of questions.”

As part of the Pac-12 faculty athletics representative group, Gleason also meets regularly with the representatives from the other conference institutions to discuss a variety of issues related and unrelated to the pandemic.

In a message to faculty, President Michael Schill and Provost Patrick Phillips thanked Gleason for his work as the faculty athletics representative and for his service to the UO for more than three decades.

“As a nationally recognized administrator with 15 years of experience as the dean of the UO School of Journalism and Communication, Tim brought a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the position,” they wrote. “He will be missed, but we are glad that he will remain a friend of the university.”

Athletic Director Rob Mullens expressed his gratitude for Gleason’s dedication to helping student-athletes succeed in the classroom and in their chosen sport.

“Tim is a champion for the student-athlete experience,” Mullens said. “His time, commitment and thoughtful engagement contributed to the success of Oregon student-athletes and programs. Tim is a valued colleague, and we appreciate his dedicated service to the university. We will miss him.”

Reflecting on his time in the role, Gleason said the time he has spent getting to know the student-athletes and coaching staff has been the highlight of the job.

“Getting to actually get to know the students is really probably the most fun part of the job,” he said. “My greatest frustration is that I get to do that less than I get to do all the other stuff.”

Gleason will step down from the post Dec. 31. Schill has launched an internal search, chaired by Hans Dreyer, associate professor of human physiology, to select the UO’s next faculty athletics representative. More information about the search and position description are available on the president’s website.

“My main advice to the next FAR is to be fully engaged in the process and understand the significant role that he or she plays in making sure that that the academic concerns are always on the table,” Gleason said. “Always remember that the job is making sure we are educating student-athletes and they are getting the best possible experience on our campus.”

—By Jesse Summers, University Communications