Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education
Appointed in July 2012 as the first ADUE, McNeely is focused on curriculum development, enrollment planning, student advising, special teaching initiatives, and other aspects of undergraduate education that affect not only the College of Arts and Sciences but the university at large.
Virtually all of UO’s 21,000 undergraduates take the bulk of their core curriculum in the College of Arts and Sciences. At any given time, more than 10,000 students go on to major in one of the 46 fields of study in the College. The ADUE is dedicated to ensuring that the academic needs of all these students continue to be met.
Prof. McNeely defines the overarching goals of his position as follows:
- Maintaining the synergies between teaching and research that make the UO distinctive and creative;
- Ensuring that when we are required to measure and assess student learning, we do so in a way that upholds core academic values; and
- Defending the unique advantages of a residential university as online education offers our students more ways to learn in the years to come.
He is especially interested in revitalizing the General Education curriculum to help students immerse themselves in the big ideas and problems that span departments and disciplines. Read more about the General Education Renaissance initiative in CAS.
“By and large, we do an excellent job in the departments and majors in terms of teaching the critical thinking skills that a liberal arts and sciences education has always imparted,” McNeely said. “But we could do much better at cultivating breadth of vision and the ability to make connections across fields of knowledge, which is one thing that General Education can and should offer.”
More broadly, McNeely will be collaborating with faculty, students, and staff in other parts of the university to improve campus-wide coordination of support for undergraduate education. “UO has grown a lot, but it’s still the kind of place where cross-campus connections are easy to make,” said McNeely.
Prof. McNeely is also an historian of knowledge. In 2008, with his wife and History department colleague Lisa Wolverton, he published a book called Reinventing Knowledge From Alexandria to the Internet, chronicling upheavals in higher learning throughout history. “Now, too, we’re living through a moment when higher education, and flagship public research universities in particular, face a lot of disruptive challenges,” he said. “I felt compelled to roll up my sleeves and help UO navigate those challenges.”