Category Archives: Governance

Policy-Making Process (cheat sheet)

Policy creation at the University of Oregon is designed to ensure that policies are adequately vetted by various stakeholders and subject-matter experts during the drafting process and before being implemented. The entire process is laid out in the Policy on University Policies. As the process can be rather elaborate, the Office of Secretary of the University has provided a helpful cheat sheet.

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Closed search for new provost

Dear members of the University of Oregon community,

As many of you may know, the Provost Search Committee has been hard at work for the past five months. The 17-member committee, which includes representatives from virtually all of the UO’s constituencies, has created a position description, built a pool of candidates, and conducted interviews with a wide variety of potential candidates. We are now at the stage of the process where we plan to bring some of them back to Eugene for more intensive interviews and recruitment.

The Provost Search Committee, in conversation with members of the search firm Russell Reynolds Associates and some of our candidates, has concluded that the successful completion of the search requires that we follow what is increasingly becoming the national practice: avoiding the sort of open search that we have previously employed for decanal candidates. If we were to follow past practice, a number of candidates would drop out of the process rather than compromise their leadership positions at their current universities.

We have consulted with University Senate leadership and the Faculty Advisory Council on how to move forward with the next step in the process in a way that carefully balances our need to conduct a competitive search with our desire to receive input from appropriate campus stakeholders. We have agreed that over the next few months, finalists will come to Eugene to be interviewed again by the search committee and by deans, vice presidents, the provost and his chief of staff, the senate president, and the president of United Academics. Following this process, the search committee will present their final recommendations to the president, who will ultimately make the hiring decision. 

We are excited by the pool of candidates; they are an accomplished set of academic leaders capable of leading our university. We are also very grateful for the generous amount of work and dedication of members of the Provost Search Committee who are committed to finding our university the best person to be our next provost. While our process for selecting the next provost will be different than it has been in the past, in light of the inclusive nature of our search committee and our desire to hire the very best provost we can, we are comfortable with the process set forth above. 

We look forward to providing you with more information in late February or early March.


Michael H. Schill

President and Professor of Law

Geraldine Richmond, Provost Search Committee Chair

Presidential Chair and Professor of Chemistry

Thinking about the Role of the UO Senate, by Craig Parsons


I am proud to be serving as a new UO Senator this year. Given some controversy over the Senate’s role in recent years, I want to think deliberately about how I see this body. I am writing this memo to clarify my views for myself, but I will share it to seek reactions that could sharpen (or change) my thinking.

Continue reading Thinking about the Role of the UO Senate, by Craig Parsons

Administration writes a “Statement of Principle Regarding Academic Policies”


Under the 2011 UO Constitution, the faculty has authority over “all academic matters as commonly understood in higher education”:

1.2 The University of Oregon is governed by the President and the Professors in accordance with the 1876 University of Oregon Charter. ORS 352.010. 1.3 Sole faculty governance authority at the University of Oregon resides in the Statutory Faculty. This authority extends to all academic matters as commonly understood in higher education. The Statutory Faculty may delegate its authority but must retain oversight responsibility.

This summer President Schill and Provost Coltrane made an attempt to be more specific:

From: Scott Coltrane
Sent: Sunday, October 2, 2016 9:48 PM
To:; Chris Sinclair
Cc: Mike Schill
Subject: Fw: Academic principles

Bill and Chris,
I wanted to share with you the attached Statement of Principle Regarding Academic Policies that Mike and I have approved to help us determine if a policy is academic or not. The Policy on Policies uses language from the Constitution (see citations on the attachment), but there is still the question of what “commonly understood” means. Based on research from AAU peers, AAUP, etc., this seemed like an appropriate baseline. We do feel it is important to have an articulated standard to help guide us through the policies process. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.

SCOTT COLTRANE | Provost and Senior Vice President | 541-346-3186
202 Johnson Hall
1258 University of Oregon | Eugene, OR 97403

Statement of Principle Regarding Academic Policies

Primarily, we see academic policies as those addressing curriculum, academic standards, academic standards of admission, academic freedom, tenure and promotion, major changes to academic programs, grading standards, and student life as it relates to the educational process. Additionally, academic policies are more likely than not going to include policies relating to faculty status; this area includes appointments, reappointments, decision not to reappoint, promotions, the granting of tenure and denial.  See AAUP’s Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities Section 5.[1]

Policies which have broad applicability to university employees but do not differentially treat faculty are not considered academic.  For example, key control to buildings, parking, purchasing regulations, or information technology matters relevant to all users, such as training, security and email use.

Regardless of whether a policy or proposal is deemed “academic” and thus proceeds through the academic policy process, the input of the senate or individual faculty members is always welcome through the public comment process for interested stakeholders.

Approved by President Michael Schill and Provost Scott Coltrane

August 2016


Miscellaneous Policy References and Citations

A “University Policy” (Policy) is a policy that

  • Has broad application or impact throughout the University community
  • Must be implemented to ensure compliance with state or federal law
  • Is necessary to enhance the University’s mission, to ensure institutional consistency and operational efficiency, or to mitigate institutional risks
  • Is otherwise designated by the Board or the [University] President as a University Policy.

Excluded from the definition of a University Policy are things such as, but not limited to, implementation guides, operating guidelines, internal procedures, and similar management controls and tools.[2]

An academic policy is one that addresses curriculum, academic standards, academic standards of admission, academic freedom, tenure and promotion, major changes to academic programs, grading standards, student life that relates to the educational process, or other matters of an academic nature as commonly understood in higher education.[3]

Proposals regarding majors, programs, minors, certificates, courses, and degree requirements are not considered policies for process purposes.[4]


[2] University of Oregon Policy I.03.01, Section 3.1

[3] University of Oregon Policy I.03.01, Section 3.2; University of Oregon Constitution, Section 1.3 (emphasis added)

[4] University of Oregon Policy I.03.01, Section 5.3

Changes proposed for college teaching release policies

CAS and, I believe the other colleges are currently revising their teaching release  policies. I’ve asked the deans for the current drafts, and will add them below as I receive them.

Info request:

From: UO Senate President <>

Subject: course release policy
Date: October 1, 2016 at 2:31:09 AM PDT
To: Andrew Marcus <>, Bruce Blonigen <>,, Terry Hunt <>,, Adriene Lim <>,,,
Cc: Chris Sinclair <>, Senate Executive Coordinator <>, Office of the Provost <>, Mariann Hyland <>

Dear Deans –

I’m writing as Senate Pres, to ask that you provide the Senate with a copy of the current draft of your college’s course release policy, so that I can distribute it to the Senate before our October 5 meeting.


Bill Harbaugh
Senate President
Economics Professor
University of Oregon

CAS response:

From: Karen Ford <>
Subject: Fwd: course release policy
Date: October 1, 2016 at 3:57:50 PM PDT
To: William Harbaugh <>

Dear Bill,

I’m responding to your request below for college course release policies. Attached are our proposed methodology and metrics in CAS, which we’ve drafted after discussions among the CAS deans and with the Wise Heads. We will be discussing the proposal with Academic Affairs and United Academics before it’s final.

All the best,

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AAA response:

From: Christoph Lindner <>
Subject: Re: course release policy
Date: October 1, 2016 at 11:48:25 AM PDT
To: Senate President <>
Cc: Senate Executive Coordinator <>

Dear Bill,

I’m sorry to say that A&AA does not currently have a draft school policy on course releases. We are currently working on developing/drafting such a policy, which will be available to share and circulate in due course.

best wishes,

Christoph Lindner
Dean and Professor
School of Architecture and Allied Arts
University of Oregon

Governance at the University of Oregon

The University of Oregon Senate is a partner in shared governance at the UO. We collaborate with the trustees, the president, and the administration as well as the university committees to further the mission of the UO. The Senate derives its authority from the Statutory Faculty, by virtue of the University of Oregon Constitution, and it expresses the faculty’s will on academic matters through legislation and policy proposals. Though its power derives from the faculty, the Senate draws its members from and represents the entire university community, including faculty, students, staff, officers of administration, officers of research, librarians. Given its broad representation across the university, the Senate can also express the will of the entire university through non-binding resolutions addressing issues that affect the community.


The University of Oregon Constitution 

The University Senate Bylaws

The Policy on University Policies is maintained by the University administration.