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December 6, 2018

New Faculty Profile: Emily Sylwestrak, Assistant Professor, Biology

The nervous system must continuously process sensory stimuli, evaluate outcomes, and apply learned rules to future behavior. To accomplish these diverse tasks, neural circuits are specialized at the molecular, cellular, and systems levels.  Emily’s work focuses on how heterogeneous, molecularly-defined neuronal populations work together to drive behavior. Her lab uses transcriptional profiling, cell-type specific activity monitoring, and behavioral analysis to tackle this question in subcortical brain networks that control motivated behavior. Her lab’s goals are to (a) understand the diversity of neuromodulatory cell types in motivational networks, (b) determine how specific cell types are interconnected, and (c) manipulate activity in these circuits to determine how they drive changes in behavior. These circuits are altered in disorders that positively or negatively affect motivated behavior, such as in addiction and depression. Integrating information across multiple levels of analysis will allow her lab to map the activity of different molecularly defined cell types onto behavior in healthy and pathological states. By determining which cell types contribute to altered reward processing in addiction and depression, we hope to discover more specific therapeutic targets for neuropsychiatric disorders.

New Faculty Profile: Ed Rubin, Assistant Professor, Economics

Ed Rubin is interested in the economics of the environment and inequality. His research focuses on increasing the potential for efficient and equitable public policy—particularly for policies that affect environmental quality. Ed’s research also considers several other equity-related topics—e.g., gender discrimination in the workplace, incarceration, and cannabis legalization. In general, he takes a data-driven, empirical approach to his research, combining economic intuition with tools from applied econometrics/statistics and data science (e.g., machine learning, natural language processing, and spatial-data analysis). As a recent example, Ed and his coauthor use more than 300 million natural gas bills to show that residential natural gas consumers’ responses to natural gas prices (elasticities) vary substantially both by income group and by season. They then show how this result suggests previously unexplored policies/regulations that can increase efficiency while potentially relieving some of the burdens on poorer households. Ed received his Ph.D. from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at UC Berkeley. Before studying at UC Berkley, Ed earned a B.S. in mathematics, a M.S. in statistics, and a M.S. in agricultural economics from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

New Faculty Profile: Gabriela Pérez Báez, Assistant Professor, Linguistics

In addition to her teaching and research duties as a new faculty member in linguistics, Gabriela Pérez Báez also will be directing the new Language Revitalization Lab and will be involved in the activities of the Northwest Indian Language Institute. Gabriela is also the co-director of the National Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages alongside Daryl Baldwin, and she served as curator of linguistics at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution and in its Recovering Voices initiative. Gabriela’s research centers on linguistic diversity and strategies to sustain it. Within that broad umbrella, she has had two main interests: For some 15 years, she has worked to document, analyze, and revitalize Zapotec languages in her native Mexico. From her work in Breath of Life, she also has worked with tribal researchers in the United States to support archives-based research for language revitalization. Gabriela has published on migration and language vitality, language revitalization, verbal inflection and derivation, semantic typology, and language and cognition. She is also the compiler of two dictionaries of Isthmus Zapotec within a participatory and interdisciplinary model. She holds a doctorate in linguistics from the University at Buffalo.

Recap of Tykeson Hall Town Halls

Tykeson Town Halls—Summary, Next Steps

About 60 colleagues from approximately 25 CAS departments attended two Tykeson Hall town hall meetings held last week, hosted by CAS, Undergraduate Studies (UGS) and the Career Center. In case you missed these conversations, here’s a summary of the main points covered in the two sessions.

Bruce Blonigen, CAS Dean of Faculty and Operations, offered an overview of progress made on:

  • Construction: We are on track to move into Tykeson Hall next Aug., with doors open to students by the beginning of fall term, 2019.
  • Search for Tykeson Hall Director of College and Career Advising: We are in the final stages of the search and hope to have the director in place by Jan. or Feb.
  • Hiring 20+ new Tykeson Hall advisors: This hiring will commence winter term after the new Director of College and Career Advising arrives; the goal will be to have this new cohort of advisors on campus by the end of spring term; advisors will be trained to offer integrated academic and career advising.

You can download Bruce’s slides here to see his full presentation.

Dennis Galvan, Interim Vice Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Studies, and Kimberly Johnson, Assistant Vice Provost for Academic Advising, offered the UGS perspective on the two main functions of Tykeson Hall advising:

  • To serve as a general advising hub for campus, especially for exploring and first-year students, and
  • To serve as the main hub for CAS major advising.

According to Dennis, “retention is the primary goal” of the new approach to advising that will be launched in Tykeson Hall. To advance our efforts toward this goal, a newly hired team of 20+ advisors, funded by President Michael Schill will work in concert with existing major advisors in CAS departments. This new group of advisors will be trained to offer a comprehensive range of services that will begin to move us closer to the “wraparound” services* currently offered to PathwayOregon students—but for all incoming students, not just those who qualify for Pathway by virtue of Pell-eligible status. Dennis noted that the Pathway program has resulted in a 14% increase in the four-year graduation rate for those students.

Improved Student-to-Advisor Ratios

This new team of advisors will also move closer to the national best-practices standard of a student-to-advisor ratio of 300:1. Our current ratio campus-wide is 800:1; Pathway is 425:1. President Schill’s investment in advising will improve our campus-wide ratio significantly.

Kimberly Johnson underscored that the overarching goal is to “get to students earlier” so they have the freedom to explore opportunities such as language study and study abroad within the context of a systematic plan that will help them achieve their personal and career goals. “When they are self-directed, they may not be as methodical,” and may not have any idea of the range of options that might advance their interests. “Students coming out of high school have limited understanding of different majors,” she said. The new advising paradigm will help students explore their interests in ways that capitalize on their strengths while introducing them to potential majors and career paths they might never have considered.

Flight Paths

Tykeson advising will be organized around six themed areas that encompass all majors offered on campus, and these will be called “flight paths.” The flight path themes will be finalized in January 2019; themes under consideration include “global connections” and “healthy communities,” both of which would represent a wide range of majors, including those outside of CAS.

Once these themes have been established, each CAS department will participate in the two flight paths most relevant to their majors. For instance, anthropology could conceivably fit into the two themes named above; or that department might choose two others. More information will be provided to CAS departments in winter term when the flight paths are finalized.

The Role of the Career Center

Kathie Stanley, Associate Vice President of Student Life, clarified the role that the Career Center will have in the new building—namely, to help students with skills such as interviewing and resume preparation, and to connect them with potential employers. In addition, there will be Career Center staff assigned to each flight path, and the Career Center will be involved in training the new cadre of advisors in “pre-career” advising.

Next Steps

A follow-up meeting with all CAS academic advisors will the held at 9 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 13, in the Redwood Auditorium. Topics of discussion will include developing processes for informing Tykeson advisors about CAS majors and for department advisors to collaborate with the new advising team.  Working groups will be formed to start sharing best practices for advising CAS majors, but also to facilitate conversations with the new Tykeson Hall Director for College and Career Advising about how the Tykeson Hall advisors will best complement and enhance the advising that is already being done in CAS departments.

Any comments or questions? Please email the deans at

*UGS defines wraparound services as providing “holistic engagement with student’s academic, financial, residential, personal, and other challenges and needs; dependent on creating an early, trusting relationship with a professional advisor,” which has proven to increase retention and improve graduation rates.




Placeholder caption for chart below: According to Dennis Galvan, President Michael Schill has called for a single, unified advising structure, and this chart from Dennis’s Board of Trustees presentation on Dec. 3 shows the relationship between all <<?>> of the advising units on campus. As the chart indicates, the UOAA advisors who will remain in Oregon Hall will be focused on at-risk and/or high-performing students who have specialized needs.


CAS Leadership Update

Continuing our new approach to sharing the top items that CAS leadership is currently working on, here is this week’s leadership update. At our recent weekly meeting, we considered the following items:

Agenda Setting

We want to make sure the meetings we organize have as efficient and productive agendas as possible, which can often take some conversation. We spent some time discussing the best items to have on the agenda for our upcoming department heads meeting (Dec. 12), as well as the agenda for a meeting we had later in the week (Dec. 5) with the deans of Oregon State and Portland State of their colleges of arts and sciences. We have started meeting with this deans group twice a year to discuss issues of shared interest. The meeting we had with them this week included 1) hearing their thoughts on the best structure of colleges of arts and sciences, 2) their approach to the recently passed Oregon Equal Pay Act, and 3) comparing notes on how they structure the roles, responsibilities and compensation of department heads.

Working with CAS Departments to Inform Tykeson Hall Advising

Following up on two Tykeson Hall town halls held the week of Nov. 26, we have invited department heads, directors of undergraduate studies, and undergraduate advisors in CAS to join us for a meeting on Dec. 13 to start talking about how the new Tykeson Hall advising group will be best able to supplement and enhance the advising of CAS majors currently taking place in our departments. We plan to form working groups based on size of departments and their current advising model ,with the aim of having these groups share their practices and act as a resource for the new Tykeson Hall Director of College and Career advising once he or she arrives (hopefully, winter term). Our leadership team discussed ways to make this meeting (and future working group meetings) as effective as possible.

Diversity Action Plan Implementation Grants

The Division of Equity and Inclusion has announced Diversity Action Plan (DAP) Implementation Grants to support initiatives which will boost work being done across campus to implement unit DAPs and to build capacity for that work. We discussed the best way to coordinate proposals for these grants that are coming from various units in our College, and what might be the best ideas we, as a dean’s office, should propose on behalf of the College.




November 29, 2018

New Faculty Profile: Gabe Paquette, Professor, History; Dean, Clark Honors College

Gabe Paquette comes to the UO from Johns Hopkins University. He has previously held research and teaching posts at Trinity College (University of Cambridge), Harvard University, and Wesleyan University, and was Sons of the American Revolution Visiting Professor at King’s College London in 2017-2018.. Gabe’s research explores aspects of European, Latin American, and international history. His first book, published in 2008, analyzes the intellectual origins of the reform program undertaken by the Spanish Crown in the Iberian Peninsula and Spanish America during the second half of the eighteenth century. His second book, published in 2013, is a history of the Portuguese empire in the Age of Revolutions, focusing on the independence of Brazil. His third book, to be published in 2019, is a synthetic and synoptic history of the Western European “seaborne” empires in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In addition to his books, Gabe has written numerous articles, including those published in History of European IdeasJournal of Latin American StudiesModern Intellectual History, the Historical Journal, and European History Quarterly. Gabe has held fellowships awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the University of Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study, the University of Cambridge (Balzan-Skinner Fellowship), and the Fulbright Program.

New Faculty Profile: Kate Mills, Assistant Professor, Psychology

Kate Mills received her bachelor degree at Portland State University, her doctoral degree at University College London, and most recently she has been a postdoc at the University of Oregon. Her lab investigates the intertwined social, biological, and cognitive processes that underlie the development of social navigational skills. Research in her lab integrates social network analysis with laboratory assessments (behavioral and neuroimaging methods), and social environmental measures (e.g., neighborhood metrics), to examine how a child’s social environment affects the development of cognitive and behavioral strategies. A main goal of this research is to understand how the prolonged development of certain brain systems can facilitate cultural learning during childhood and adolescence. Her lab’s immediate research plans involve investigations of how brain development and behavior reflect adaptations or strategies children use to be successful in their daily lives. This research addresses how the demands of a child’s social environment affect the development of cognitive and behavioral strategies, which are subsequently applied in educational contexts. Current projects involve investigations of the a) impact of digital technology use on neurocognitive development, b) adaptive use of mentalizing, c) impact of social stress on social cognitive development, and d) development of internalized models of social agents.

New Faculty Profile: Isabel Millán, Assistant Professor, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Isabel Millán joins the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Kansas State University, where she was an assistant professor of American ethnic studies. Isabel is an interdisciplinary gender studies scholar who researches the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and age through the lenses of critical race, transnational feminist, and queer theory. She specializes in queer studies, childhood studies, and Chicanx/Latinx feminisms. She is currently completing two book manuscripts on queer and bilingual children’s literature entitled, Divergent Children’s Literatures: Childnormativity and Queer of Color Counternarratives and Bilingual Children’s Television from Dora to Elena. Her publications include articles in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, and Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies. Isabel will help build on interdisciplinary queer studies strengths in WGSS, as well as contribute to Chicanx/Latinx studies at UO. She is an advanced junior scholar building a strong reputation in the field with significant experience as a mentor, and an exceptional record of leadership in national and campus initiatives.

CAS Leadership Update

Continuing our new approach to sharing the top items that CAS leadership is currently working on, here is this week’s leadership update. At our recent weekly meeting, we considered the following items:

Tykeson Hall Updates

Advising Director Interviews

We invited five finalists for the Tykeson Director of College and Career Advising position to campus in November. Now that they’ve all completed their visits, we are evaluating the strong pool of candidates and hope to complete a hire in the coming weeks. We will announce more information as soon as we have it. Once the Advising Director joins us on campus, they’ll begin learning about the UO, meeting with various groups and individuals around campus, and hiring the advisors that will be a part of their team.

Town Halls

We invited all CAS faculty and staff to join us for two town halls this week (November 27th and 28th) to learn about our plans for advising in Tykeson. We had a good turnout from many of our departments and were able to share the latest information about how we are collaborating with Undergraduate Studies and the Career Center, the physical layout of the building, the advising team we’ll be building, ​and how that team will be communicating and interacting with CAS departments. We will soon publish a blog post with more detail about these town halls.

Diversity Initiatives

Diversity Action Plan Implementation

We went through our all-CAS Diversity Action plan to make updates about things we’ve accomplished and to plan for upcoming items. We asked our CAS Dean’s Office Diversity Working Group, a temporary group charged with examining our hiring processes for faculty, staff, and OAs, to present their final report. They identified the top five current practices that they believe may be threatening or hindering equitable and inclusive hiring​:

  1. Constraints we put on advertisement text and minimum qualifications when we hire staff.
  2. Not requiring staff search committee members to have implicit bias awareness/training.
  3. Overuse of temporary hires.
  4. Social events as part of searches.
  5. Limited consequences/enforcement if best practices are not followed or if rules are ignored.

The Working Group also provided recommendations to address these concerns. We have already begun working on some of them, and created a plan to move forward on others.

Diversity Committee Chair Meeting

This week, we are hosting the first in a series of meetings for diversity committee chairs from all CAS departments to talk about what they’re working on as well as update them on what we’ve been doing. We will give them an overview of the CAS diversity action plans and what progress we’ve made, engage them in a discussion about climate here at the UO, and let them know what funding opportunities exist to support diversity efforts and ask for their feedback on the CAS Diversity Grants.

You can find out more about our diversity initiatives online here:

November 16, 2018

CAS Leadership Update

Continuing our new approach to sharing the top items that CAS leadership is currently working on, here is this week’s update. At our weekly leadership team meeting, we considered the following items:

Oregon Equal Pay Act Implications

The recently passed Oregon Equal Pay Act has important implications for our hiring and retention processes. The law gives a specific list of criteria that may be used to justify pay differences, and using market forces (e.g., matching other outside offers) is not on that list. Our HR and General Counsel’s offices are seeking clarification from the state about what we need to do to follow the law and how exactly this will impact us. In the meantime, we require that every hire or retention offer for all employees (including any class of faculty, OA, postdocs, and classified) get formal approval from the CAS Dean’s Office before any offer is made. Likewise, we will need to get formal approvals from the Provost’s Office. We ask for your patience, as we will need more time to work out specifics of each situation with your department head and central administration. We ​will be communicating extensively with your department heads and managers about this moving forward.

Personnel Actions in Deans’ Departments

We plan to create a concrete policy explaining what happens with personnel actions in a divisional dean’s home department, such as promotion and tenure, department head selection, midterm reviews, and more. We hope this policy will clarify what we already do to ensure fairness and transparency.

ASA Funding

We have updated our ASA (Academic Support Accounts) fund disbursement policy to clarify that faculty with an external fellowship will still receive their full ASA allocation. We have also clarified in our policy that the annual ASA allocation will be prorated for faculty retiring mid-year. For example, a person retiring at the end of the fall term will receive 1/3 of the annual ASA allocation. The updated policy can be found on CASweb here:

Hosting Outages

You may have experienced some interruptions in website availability and CAS file share availability over the past week or two. We continue to work with central IS to address these issues and restore consistent service across all CAS websites and file shares.

Language Websites

Lisa Raleigh has been working closely with Karen Ford, CASIT, and language department heads to pilot a new website template for language departments. This process is well underway, and we expect to have a mock-up of the new design by the beginning of winter term. Once the work with the languages departments is completed, we will consider how we might make a similar template available to other departments that may want to use it.


November 13, 2018

New Faculty Profile, David Meek, Assistant Professor, International Studies

David Meek is an environmental anthropologist, critical geographer, and food systems education scholar with area specializations in Brazil and India. His interests include: sustainable agriculture, social movements, and environmental education. In a series of recent publications, David has begun advancing a theoretical framework of the political ecology of education. This perspective illuminates how the reciprocal relations between political economic forces and pedagogical opportunities—from tacit to formal learning—affect the production, dissemination, and contestation of environmental knowledge at various interconnected scales. This framework draws upon nearly a decade of research David has conducted on the opportunities and constraints facing the Brazilian Landless Workers’ Movement’s (MST) efforts to advance sustainable agriculture education into state curricula at various institutional scales. David found that the entrenched land management culture of extensive cattle ranching and the region’s largely degraded landscapes remain significant challenges for developing sustainable food systems. Currently, David is working to synthesize the political ecologies of health and education—two emerging areas of scholarship that together illuminate how knowledge, health, and the environment are intertwined. By integrating these theories, he seeks to provide new insight into how food systems education can produce landscapes of well- or ill-being, and how education shapes adaptation, food sovereignty, and food security.

New Faculty Profile: Lindsey Mazurek, Assistant Professor, History

Lindsey Mazurek specializes in history of the eastern Mediterranean under the Roman Empire. She previously held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Memorial University of Newfoundland and taught at Bucknell University. Her research focuses on questions of ethnicity, migration, materiality, and identification in antiquity. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Roman Archaeology and will appear in forthcoming issues of the American Journal of Archaeology and Classical Review. Her current book project, Embodying Isis: Egyptian Religion and the Negotiation of Greekness in the Second Century CE, re-examines prevailing notions of Greek identity and group formation under the Roman Empire. In 2016, Lindsey’s co-edited volume Across the Corrupting Sea: Post-Braudelian Approaches to the Ancient Eastern Mediterranean (Routledge) brought postmodern theoretical perspectives to bear on questions of Mediterranean connectivity raised by the work of historian Fernand Braudel. She co-directs the Ostia Connectivity Project, a digital archaeology and social history project that combines GIS and social network analysis to reconstruct potential social groupings and their participation in the urban fabric of Rome’s main port city of Ostia. She has participated in archaeological fieldwork in the Athenian Agora, Mycenae, Nemea, and Exmoor National Park, and her research has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the International Catacomb Society.

New Faculty Profile: Allison Madar, Assistant Professor, History

Allison Madar joins the UO from California State University, Chico. Her research focuses on the history of early America and the early modern Atlantic world with a focus on unfreedom and the law. Madar’s book-in-progress examines the legal and social dynamics of servitude and the ways in which masters used the widespread establishment of permanent, racial slavery as a way to exploit those who remained temporarily bound. Drawing on research in county court records, servant and slave law, parliamentary legislation, servant contracts, family papers, newspapers, wills, and inventories, Madar argues that, in many ways, the legal structures colonists designed to control slaves enhanced masters’ power over servants, most notably, over women and mixed-race servants. Madar is the author of “‘An Innate Love of Cruelty’: Master Violence against Female Servants in Eighteenth-Century Virginia,” in Order and Civility in the Early Modern Chesapeake and a History Compass essay titled “Servitude in the Eighteenth-Century British Atlantic: Old Paradigms, New Directions.” Her work has been supported by fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mellon Foundation, the Gilder Lehrman Institute, and the William Nelson Cromwell Foundation. She has also been book review editor of the American Historical Review.

CAS Leadership Team Weekly Poem

November Cotton Flower

Boll-weevil’s coming, and the winter’s cold,
Made cotton-stalks look rusty, seasons old,
And cotton, scarce as any southern snow,
Was vanishing; the branch, so pinched and slow,
Failed in its function as the autumn rake;
Drouth fighting soil had caused the soil to take
All water from the streams; dead birds were found
In wells a hundred feet below the ground—
Such was the season when the flower bloomed.
Old folks were startled, and it soon assumed
Significance. Superstition saw
Something it had never seen before:
Brown eyes that loved without a trace of fear,
Beauty so sudden for that time of year.

Jean Toomer

November 8, 2018

New Faculty Profile: Henry Luan, Assistant Professor, Geography

Henry Luan’s research program focuses on advancing probabilistic inferences in geospatial data analysis. He is particularly interested in Bayesian spatial and spatiotemporal modeling and its applications in exploring inequities of urban environmental exposures and their associations with health. He also applies (Bayesian) machine learning as well as computational methods including Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) and Integrated Nested Laplace Approximation (INLA) to efficiently analyze large volumes of heterogeneous geographical data.

New Faculty Profile: Leah Lowthorp, Assistant Professor, Anthropology

Leah Lowthorp is a folklorist and cultural anthropologist and comes to us from her position as an associate of folklore and mythology at Harvard University, and as a Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow at the Center for Genetics and Society (CGS). Her ongoing research in Kerala, India, engages issues of cosmopolitanism, art and social change, and UNESCO intangible cultural heritage. Leah’s research explores art as a window onto culture, analyzing the performing body as engaged in dynamic interplay with social, economic, and political change within a universalizing modernity and shifting constellations of cosmopolitanism. Leah’s research with Kutiyattam Sanskrit theater expands inquiry into alternative cosmopolitan imaginaries, analyzing the performing body as engaged in dynamic interplay with social, economic, and political change over the long durée. She is also currently exploring the online circulation of biopolitical narratives, in an investigation of the digital folklore of human genetic and reproductive technologies.

New Faculty Profile: Jina Kim, Assistant Professor, East Asian Languages and Literatures

Jina Kim specializes in Korean literature and culture. She is the author of a forthcoming monograph Urban Modernity in Colonial Korea and Taiwan, a comparative study of modernist literature and culture emerging in Seoul and Taipei during the Japanese colonial era. Broadly, her research interest area is in modern Korean literature and cultural history. More specifically, her research questions rest in the historical, theoretical, and philosophical concept of the “new”—whether material goods, social and technological revolutions, cultural and artistic movements, racial formations, or subjects of knowledge. She is currently completing a second book project on Sonic Narratives and Auditory Texts in Modern Korea. Her other research and teaching areas include comparative colonialisms, in particular, between Korea and Taiwan, Vietnam, and Korean diasporic literatures; intermediality, transmedia storytelling, and digital humanities; sound studies; popular fiction and popular culture; and the history of technology and literature. She received her Ph.D. and M.A. in Asian languages and literature (Korean literature) from the University of Washington, an M.A. in comparative literature from Cornell University, and her undergraduate degree in English literature from the University of Chicago. She has previously taught at Smith College and Dickinson College.

November 6, 2018

CAS Leadership Team Weekly Poem

This week’s CAS leadership team poem, Martha Hollander’s “Election Night,” remembers the polling place as a beacon of hope.  We post an excerpt here in a spirit of hope.  The full poem is on the Paris Review website.


Change, they all desire change, a radiant
new face, or a world awash in truth

like the wet shore starving for the waves
that break, rush forward and collapse on it,
shimmering green and gold, salty, spent.


November 2, 2018

Reaffirming Our Commitment to Our Community

The past months have been difficult ones for our diverse community. The leadership of the College of Arts and Sciences joins President Schill in stating, “Civility and reasoned discourse seem to have given way to hate and the politics of distrust and division.”

In opposition to the violent bigotry given new energy and attention in our country, the leadership of the College of Arts and Science reaffirms the following:

  • We recognize and appreciate our trans and gender nonconforming students and colleagues, and support existing protections for transgender people against discrimination.
  • We oppose supremacy in all its forms, whether it is targeted towards people of a particular race, religion, nationality, cognitive and physical ability, or any other category. We oppose the aggressive statements, hate-filled language, and violence used to incite and intensify bigotry.
  • We believe and support survivors of sexual violence.
  • We are committed to academic freedom and civil discourse, which are core principles of a liberal arts education and our democracy.

In the days before the midterm elections, we hope you will join us in discussing, sharing, and considering how we might more fully realize these commitments.

The CAS Leadership Team




November 1, 2018

CAS Leadership Team Weekly Poem

In the spirit of the season, this week we offer an excerpt of Gjertrud Schnackenberg’s “Halloween”:

. . . Our awkward, loving Frankenstein in bed
Who told his sister that it isn’t true,
That real men in real boxes never do
Haunt houses.  But the King of the Dead

Has taken off his mask tonight . . .


Because this poem is under copyright and not available on the internet, we offer only an excerpt here, but you can read the full poem in Schnackenberg’s collection Supernatural Love (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000, page 49).

October 31, 2018

CAS Leadership Update

Continuing our new approach to sharing the items that are top-of-mind for CAS leadership, here’s the latest leadership update. At our weekly leadership team meeting, we considered the following items:

Institutional Hiring Plan (IHP) Process

We have received additional guidance from the Office of the Provost about the next steps in the IHP process and should be able to send more detailed instructions to your department heads very soon. The deadline to submit a first draft of search proposals to the CAS Dean’s Office will be Friday, December 14. We will then give departments and divisional deans time to work together to make improvements or provide additional information when needed, with finalized proposals due back to the Dean’s Office by Monday, January 14.

Tykeson Hall Director of Advising Search

Interviews for the Tykeson Hall director of advising are coming up next week through mid-November. Undergraduate Studies will be announcing public presentation times soon and we hope you will be able to attend and provide input.

CAS Faculty Excellence

We are often asked by university leadership or external audiences how we know whether our faculty are excellent. We want to answer this as clearly and thoroughly as we can, and this question has been a main motivation for the research metrics exercise led by the Provost’s Office. We are discussing other indicators that would be salient, particularly the institutions that have offered competing offers to our new hires, as well as the list of institutions that have offered positions to existing faculty, which then require retention efforts. We plan to work with others, particularly department heads, to gather these data for the past 5-10 years.

Revenue-Generating Masters Programs

CAS is considering a pilot program to help encourage revenue-generating masters programs in departments that have the capability of offering them. This is easier in the professional schools than in CAS so there is still work to be done to move this pilot forward, but we hope to be able to learn more over the next several months and perhaps develop a policy regarding these programs going forward.


New Faculty Profile: Kate Kelp-Stebbins, Assistant Professor, English

Kate Kelp-Stebbins received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2014.  Her longstanding research interest is comics and graphic novels, and she has published numerous articles and chapters, including such titles as “Hybrid Heroes and Graphic Posthumanity: Comics as a Media Technology for Critical Posthumanism”; “Undead in Suburbia”; and “Comics as Orientation Devices.” She is currently finishing a book entitled Graphic Positioning Systems: Global Comics, Radical Literacies. She is an accomplished teacher who received the 2017-18 Distinguished Faculty of the Year Award at Palomar College, where she taught from 2014 until this year. She joins us as Assistant Professor of comics studies.

October 30, 2018

New Faculty Profile: Ben Hutchinson, Assistant Professor, Psychology

Ben Hutchinson is interested in the bidirectional relationship between attention and memory in humans. His lab aims to better understand how selective attention is able to operate upon memories as well as how memory retrieval can influence what we attend to in our ongoing perceptual environment. The lab uses both behavioral (e.g., psychophysics) and neuroimaging (e.g., functional magnetic resonance imaging; fMRI) techniques to better understand when and where these aspects of cognition interact as well as articulate how they are implemented by the brain. He received his bachelor degree at the University of Pennsylvania and his doctoral degree at Stanford University, and he was as a postdoc at Princeton University.

New Faculty Profile: Annelise Heinz, Assistant Professor, History

Annelise Heinz joins the UO from the University of Texas at Dallas. Her research on modern American history coheres around the intersections of gender, race/ethnicity, and sexuality. Her work also engages with the growing field of transpacific history, examining the flows of people, goods, and ideas between the United States and China from the late nineteenth century through the twentieth century. Currently, she is working on a book about the American history of the Chinese parlor game mahjong, and how its history helps us understand redefinitions of gender, ethnicity, and consumerism in modern American culture. A related article, “Performing Mahjong in the 1920s: White Women, Chinese Americans, and the Fear of Cultural Seduction,” was published in Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies, Spring 2016. Annelise also served as Associate Producer for a digital version of the late historian Allan Bérubé’s fascinating “talking picture show” about a forgotten multi-racial and gay-friendly militant labor union, “No Race-Baiting! No Red-Baiting! No Queen-Baiting!”

As a West Coaster, Annelise is delighted to return to the Northwest. She received her Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2015. Before beginning graduate work, she taught English at Yunnan University in Southwest China. Previously, she worked in education and social work in Walla Walla, WA, home of her undergraduate alma mater, Whitman College.

October 24, 2018

CAS Leadership Update

We’ve heard that faculty and staff would be interested in hearing more about what CAS leadership is working on throughout the year, and would like to use this blog to share periodic updates with you. We anticipate being able to do this several times a month and look forward to sharing current issues and priorities. This week, at our leadership team meeting, we considered the following items:

CAS Academic Residential Community (ARC) Agreements

We had a conversation with Dennis Galvan, Interim Vice President and Dean of Undergraduate Studies, and Kevin Hatfield, Director of Academic Residential and Research Initiatives in Housing, about Academic Residential Communities (ARCs), which are designed to help students find a community based around shared interests and passions for inquiry.  ARCs have become an important way for first-year students to connect both academically and socially, which will hopefully increase their retention and academic success. Our conversation was focused on how we can help develop these further in the future in collaboration with Dennis and Kevin.

Institutional Hiring Plan (IHP) Process

The Provost’s Office has let us know that they would like to move the timeline for the IHP process up by about a month this year, a move we support because it gives us all more time to plan and execute our searches. We don’t have an exact date yet, but anticipate that we will be accepting search proposals from departments through mid-December. We will share more information with your department heads as soon as we have it from the Provost’s Office.

Tykeson Teaching Awards

We are pleased to continue the tradition of the Tykeson Teaching Awards, which celebrate teaching excellence in CAS. We’ll soon be sending out a call for nominations to department heads and look forward to continuing this tradition of honoring the spectacular faculty we have teaching in CAS. We generally select one awardee per division every academic year.

Research Metrics

CAS leadership continues to work with the Provost’s Office to provide feedback on research metrics for each CAS division. The Provost’s Office has shared a very preliminary draft with us and we are talking to them more about how it can be refined and improved based on conversations we’ve had with faculty and departments over the past months.

Tykeson Hall

We are in the middle of a search for a Director of Advising for Tykeson Hall — Skype interviews have begun this week. We hope to have someone joining us on campus by spring term so we can bring them into Tykeson Hall when it first opens. We also want to let you know that we are planning some CAS Tykeson town halls in late November. We want to share information about what’s happening with Tykeson programming and how we are working together with Undergraduate Studies and Academic Advising to create some really robust student support structures. Please look for more information on those town halls coming soon.



October 23, 2018

CAS Leadership Team Weekly Poem

At a retreat in August 2017, the CAS deans were concluding the meetings with a discussion of what they each saw ahead in the coming year.  When Andrew Marcus asked if Karen Ford could bring some poetry into the life of the leadership team in the year ahead, Karen began sending the CAS LT Weekly Poem in the early morning of the weekly meeting.  Others heard about the poems and wanted to receive them, too.  The poems have now gone to Andrew, Bruce Blonigen, Carol Stabile, Hal Sadofsky, Lisa Mick Shimizu, Miriam Bolton, Phil Scher, and Sherri Nelson in Friendly Hall; Jayanth Banavar, Mike Schill, Scott Pratt, and Brad Shelton in Johnson Hall; and Rebecca Lindner, Pam Palanuk, and Samantha Hopkins in Chapman Hall.

The poems that generated the most discussion were Mark Doty’s “Golden Retrievals,” Sylvia Plath’s “Metaphors,” István Kemény’s “The Bee-Keeper” in Hungarian and English, and William Stafford’s “The Way It Is”; the least discussion, Charles Martin’s “After 9/11,” Adrienne Rich’s “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers,” and Robinson Jeffers’ “Shine, Perishing Republic.”  The poem with the most typos was Larry Levis’s “The Oldest Living Thing in L.A.”  Everyone missed Karen’s single football allusion of her lifetime when she sent Tennyson’s “The Eagle” and Browning’s “The Patriot” on Super Bowl Sunday.

As we reinvigorate the CAS blog, we thought that everyone could use more poetry in their lives.

This week’s CAS Weekly LT Poem, curated by Karen, was “[These are the days when Birds come back – ],” a last-blast-of-summer poem by Emily Dickinson.  When we can’t send a poem still under copyright, we’ll try to send a link to the poem online.  When we can’t do that, we’ll send the title in case some of you would like to track the poem down yourselves.

These are the days when Birds come back –
A very few – a Bird or two –
To take a backward look.

These are the days when skies resume
The old – old sophistries of June –
A blue and gold mistake.

Oh fraud that cannot cheat the Bee.
Almost thy plausibility
Induces my belief,

Till ranks of seeds their witness bear –
And softly thro’ the altered air
Hurries a timid leaf.

Oh sacrament of summer days,
Oh Last Communion in the Haze –
Permit a child to join –

Thy sacred emblems to partake –
Thy consecrated bread to take
And thine immortal wine!

            Emily Dickinson


2018-19 Dean’s Fellows

The dean’s office is pleased to announce this year’s two outstanding Dean’s Fellows. This is the second year of this program, which is intended to help cultivate leadership in our College and give our dean’s leadership team access to fresh perspectives on some of the university’s most important issues and projects.
The 2018-19 Dean’s Fellows are:
Lara Bovilsky, Associate Professor, English — Lara will be taking on a project to develop and implement new procedures throughout CAS for graduate advising and professional development related to non-academic careers for graduate students, coordinating efforts among departments and with the graduate school. Her goal is to design graduate advising programming that will help improve graduate morale, confidence, training, and job placement results across all graduate programs in CAS. Lara was DGS in her department for six years and won the Director of Graduate Studies Excellence Award in 2013 for her work as DGS in English. Her research focuses on early modern British understandings of group and individual identity.
Tyler Kendall, Associate Professor, Linguistics — Tyler will be exploring ways in which CAS might offer better support to mid-career faculty. He will engage with colleagues across the college to gather ideas and information that will help shape initiatives to support faculty in their career advancement, research, teaching, and community life at the UO, as well as overall satisfaction. Tyler is the recipient of several NSF grants and a Faculty Excellence Award. His research focuses on social and cognitive aspects of language variation and change, with a sociolinguistic emphasis on understanding language and linguistic patterns in their social context.

New Faculty Profile: Daniel Grimes, Assistant Professor, Biology, Institute of Molecular Biology

Dan Grimes studies how symmetries are broken and maintained during embryonic development and growth. Why are our hearts on the left and how do they come to be there? How do our two arms develop symmetrically and grow to be the same size? How does our spine stay straight during growth? His lab uses a variety of approaches including genetics, genomics, confocal imaging, and single cell sequencing to investigate the biological principles and molecular mechanisms behind these questions. For most of his work, he uses the zebrafish model organism.

Dan is also interested in furthering understanding of human diseases associated with aberrant symmetries. These include heterotaxia, the improper distribution of the internal organs, and idiopathic scoliosis in which three-dimensional curvatures of the spine occur in adolescence for currently unknown reasons.

Dan studied molecular and cellular biochemistry as an undergraduate and later undertook a PhD in mouse genetics, both at the University of Oxford. He then completed a postdoc at Princeton University, where he worked on roles for cilia and fluid flows in embryogenesis and growth. Outside the lab, Dan enjoys watching and playing soccer, reading, writing, and traveling.

New Faculty Profile: Devin Grammon, Assistant Professor, Romance Languages

Devin Grammon’s research focuses on linguistic diversity in Southern Peru. He addresses how social-ideological dimensions of language shape the ways that people understand, acquire, and practice linguistic features in communities characterized by intense social and cultural exchange. As an interdisciplinary researcher, he uses qualitative and quantitative methodologies and draws primarily from theoretical constructs in the fields of linguistic anthropology, variationist sociolinguistics, and second language acquisition.

In his primary research project, he draws on 16 months of ethnographic data to investigate language learning and cultural participation in global education programs focused on Quechua and indigenous communities in Cuzco. He argues that understanding how study abroad affords second-language acquisition requires us to examine the broader values, beliefs, and ideologies that shape opportunities for meaningful interaction between students and local stakeholders. Through examining language learning and study abroad as vehicles of social justice in marginalized communities, this research contributes to our understanding of the workings of sociolinguistic diversity in an era of globalization. This project is part of a larger research agenda that includes collaborative projects on the socio-phonetics of Quechua consonants and the use of Quechua and Spanish in mystical tourism and expatriate communities in Cuzco and the Sacred Valley of the Inca.

New Faculty Profile: David Garcia, Assistant Professor, Biology, Institute of Molecular Biology

David Garcia received his B.S. in biochemistry and molecular biology from UC Santa Cruz, and Ph.D. from MIT, where he investigated the mechanisms of post-transcriptional regulation by microRNAs in David Bartel’s lab at the Whitehead Institute. Following graduation in 2012, he moved onto studying prions in yeast in Daniel Jarosz’s lab at Stanford University School of Medicine as a postdoctoral fellow. His work there focused on identification of natural triggers for biologically beneficial prions, new prion-like states of RNA binding proteins and their physiological consequences, and the capacity for certain stressors to induce long-lived epigenetics states. His postdoctoral research was funded by fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the NIH/NIGMS, and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.

October 16, 2018

New Faculty Profile: Carolyn Fish, Assistant Professor, Geography

Carolyn Fish’s research falls at the intersection of cartography and environmental communication. She studies how we can effectively communicate climate change through maps—which are one of the primary ways in which scientists and the media both communicate climate change, albeit with different audiences. These visual devices are central to understanding the science and impacts of climate change as well as the potential mitigation strategies. Carolyn uses both quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection and analysis to illustrate how the media and scientists create and design maps that balance communication and scientific accuracy. She is currently vice-president of the Cartography Specialty Group of the AAG and a member of the North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS) and Cartography and Geographic Information Society (CaGIS).

New Faculty Profile: Joseph Dufek, Lillis Professor of Volcanology, Earth Sciences

Joseph Dufek’s research is primarily focused on the application of fluid dynamics to understand mass and energy transfer in geological processes, with particular emphasis on volcanic systems. Most processes in nature involve multiple phases—for instance, ash particles interacting with a turbulent gas carrier phase in an explosive volcanic eruption or bubbles exsolving and interacting with magma in a conduit. One of Joseph’s research’s goals is to delineate how multiphase interactions contribute to the structure and composition of igneous systems, and the role of such interactions in determining the dynamics and deposit architecture of volcanic flows.

New Faculty Profile: Sarah DuBrow, Assistant Professor, Psychology

Sarah Dubrow received her undergraduate degree at Stanford University, her doctoral degree at NYU, and was a postdoc at Princeton University. In her research, Sarah aims to uncover why our subjective experience of the world feels structured when, in fact, it is continuous. How do our internal and external states influence this structure? She tries to understand how we learn the structure of our environments and how we use that structure to organize our memories and guide our decisions. Using sophisticated neuroimaging and neural modeling techniques, she investigates how neural representations can mirror the true structure of the external world, and, at the same time, distort that structure to achieve behavioral goals. By mapping between the brain and behavior, she hopes to shed light on fundamental organizing principles in human cognition.

October 9, 2018

New Faculty Profile: L. Zachary DuBois, Assistant Professor, Anthropology

Zachary DuBois is a biocultural anthropologist in the Department of Anthropology. His research focuses on biological and cultural intersections, particularly to address health disparities among transgender and gender non-binary people. In his work, he examines how people experience and embody the complexities of social life including their perceptions of the built and natural environment, and focuses on minority stress experience, stigma, and resilience among gender minorities and within the context of racial inequality. Zachary conducts collaborative, cross-disciplinary mixed-methods health disparities research to better understand social determinants of health among vulnerable groups.

New Faculty Profile: Jonathan Davis, Assistant Professor, Economics

Jonathan Davis is an applied microeconomist who uses lessons from economic theory to inform the design, implementation, and evaluation of social programs. Jonathan’s research takes these insights all the way from theory to practice and provides rigorous evidence about the resulting welfare gains. For example, he has partnered with Teach For America (TFA) to match some of their teachers to schools using a deferred acceptance algorithm (DAA) while continuing to match other teachers using their baseline mechanism. Because this matching pilot was implemented as a field experiment, he was able to credibly measure its impact on teacher retention, satisfaction, and performance. His other research provides new evidence about trends in intergenerational mobility, about treatment heterogeneity in the response to summer jobs programs using new machine learning methods, and about how to improve services in the largest juvenile detention center in the United States. Jonathan holds a PhD from the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy and spent two years as a post-doctoral scholar in the economics department at the University of Chicago before coming to the UO.

New Faculty Profile: Don Daniels, Assistant Professor, Linguistics

Don Daniels received his Ph.D. in linguistics in 2015 and then worked at the Center for Excellence for the Dynamics of Language, at The Australian National University, before joining the linguistics faculty at the UO in 2018. Don researches the languages of Papua New Guinea. There are two main aspects to this work. The first is describing the structure of languages that, in most cases, have never been described by a linguist before. This involves conducting elicitation, making recordings, and analyzing the languages from their sound systems to their vocabulary and grammar. So far, he has written basic descriptions of six languages, and is currently working on three more. The second aspect of Don’s work is to discover how Papuan languages diverged. This work uses a comparative method to determine common ancestry and degrees of relatedness among diverse languages. Using this method, Don has reconstructed Proto-Sogeram, the hypothetical language from which the Sogeram languages of Papua New Guinea are derived. Altogether, Don’s work on Papuan languages enhances our understanding of what is possible in human language and how languages evolve through time.

October 1, 2018

New Faculty Profile: José Cortez, Assistant Professor, English

José Cortez received his Ph.D. in rhetoric, composition, and the teaching of English in 2017 from the University of Arizona. His research interests include Latina/o studies, Latinx rhetoric, and decolonial/postcolonial studies as well as composition studies and critical theory. His essay entitled “Of Exterior and Exception: Latin American Rhetoric, Subalternity, and the Politics of Cultural Difference” is forthcoming in the journal Philosophy and Rhetoric. Previous to his hire at UO he was Assistant Professor at the University of Utah in 2017-18. He joins the English department as assistant professor of rhetoric and composition.

New Faculty Profile: Amanda Cook, Assistant Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Materials Science Institute

Amanda Cook started her higher education at California State University, Fullerton, where she worked in the research group of Christopher Hyland. After receiving her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 2015 while working for Melanie Sanford, Amanda began working for Christophe Coperet at ETH Zurich as a post-doctoral fellow. At Oregon, her research program will design and develop new catalysts for the transformation of organic molecules. Using a molecular approach to surface chemistry, solid catalysts will be synthesized, allowing for in-depth mechanistic studies to be carried out. Solid, or heterogeneous, catalysts are prized in the chemical industry because of their practicality, since they are easily separated from the product of the reaction. As such, her group will focus on chemical reactions of potential industrial utility, including carbon dioxide conversion (using carbon dioxide as a carbon source in synthesis), alkyne functionalization (better ways to make chemicals that are used to make polymers and plastics), and biomass conversion (recycling waste materials like lignin and using them as a resource for fine chemicals). Understanding reaction pathways and catalyst structure will be an important component of her research group.


New Faculty Profile: Carl Brozek, Assistant Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Materials Science Institute

Carl Brozek joins the UO Chemistry and Biochemistry department as a part of the UO’s Energy & Sustainable Materials Clusters of Excellence program. Carl did his postdoctoral work in the Gamelin Lab and the Clean Energy Institute at the University of Washington. His research has spanned the synthesis of inorganic small molecules, MOF-based heterogeneous catalysts, and semiconductor electrochemistry. Most recently, he has developed theoretical and analytical tools for studying the redox properties of colloidal quantum dots. The Brozek Lab will synthesize reactive clusters and porous solids, and study how their unique properties challenge conventional understanding of molecules and materials.

September 25, 2018

New Faculty Profile: Scott Blumenthal, Assistant Professor, Anthropology

Scott Blumenthal is a biological anthropologist in the Department of Anthropology and comes to us from a postdoctoral research fellowship in the Research Laboratory for Archaeology at the University of Oxford, UK. Scott studies the ecology and evolution of early hominins in Africa and the role of climatic and ecological change in human evolution. His research is focused on diets, dietary variability, and environments of fossil hominins, primates, and other mammals in Africa over the last six million years. He uses isotopes in fossils and extant animals and in sediments to reconstruct diets, aridity, and seasonality at fossil and archaeological sites. He is currently working in the Lake Turkana and Lake Victoria regions of Africa.

New Faculty Profile: Faith Barter, Assistant Professor of English

Faith Barter received her Ph.D. in 2016 from Vanderbilt University. She also holds a J.D. from American University and worked as a lawyer for some time before turning to literature. Her research on nineteenth-century African American literature brings her legal expertise to bear on this rich area of literary history. Her dissertation is entitled “Human Rites: Deciphering Fictions of Legal and Literary Personhood, 1830-1860.” Her publications include “Lessons in Legal Literacy: Democratizing Legal Critique as a Means of Resisting Racial Injustice” and “Bartleby, Barbarians, and the Legality of Literature.” She is also an award-winning teacher who has taught classes in Women and Gender Studies as well as in English, including such topics as “Women in Law and Literature” and “Narratives of Slavery in Law and Literature.” She joins us as Assistant Professor of African American literature.

New Faculty Profile: David Allcock, Assistant Professor of Physics

David Allcock’s research focuses on using electric and magnetic fields to precisely control the quantum state of individual atoms and molecules. To do this, he charges them to create ions that can be trapped, often for days, a fraction of a millimeter above an electronic chip. These ions are one of the few systems so far developed that can store the quantum analog of digital bits, known as qubits, for longer than a fraction of a second. At the University of Oregon, David will develop new ways of connecting these ions to quantum computing platforms that lack this kind of long-lived memory, effectively creating a quantum hard drive. David received his MPhys degree from the University of Oxford in 2007 and his D.Phil. from Oxford in 2012. He was awarded a Lindemann Fellowship in 2013 and joined the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Ion Storage Group, the birthplace of many of the techniques he uses.  He will continue running experiments at NIST as an associate member until the new UO ion trap laboratory becomes operational in 2019.

September 19, 2018

Tykeson Hall Update

With construction of Tykeson Hall moving forward, CAS and Undergraduate Studies (UGS) are turning their attention to making the building’s vision of integrated academic-career advising a reality. We are currently searching for a director of Tykeson Hall and plan to bring candidates to campus in November. In October and November, CAS and UGS will be holding town halls to discuss the new building and how it will transform advising at UO.

Above: The last beam of Tykeson Hall was lifted into place on Aug. 31, 2018. Photo courtesy Rowall Brokaw. Watch the final progress on the live webcam

January 19, 2018

A Once-In-A-Generation Opportunity

Earlier this month, I sent a note to all CAS heads outlining the process for requesting tenure track searches in AY18-19 as part of the Provost-led Institutional Hiring Plan (IHP). To give you further context for hiring priorities, I want to share the evolving CAS vision document that I and others have been developing for the college since last July (download the vision statement).

This vision, which I have discussed previously with department heads, the Senate, campus leadership, and our CAS Advisory Board, establishes a framework for priority-setting for the next several years. Among its many uses, I hope this document helps you think strategically about your requests for tenure track lines for your departments or your clusters.

As you will see, the vision strongly emphasizes the idea that, in addition to individual discipline-based faculty lines, we should work to create nodes of collaborative faculty excellence that address pressing social and scientific needs of our time—and also speak powerfully to student academic and career interests. Successful hiring proposals will be distinguished by their support of one or more of these priorities.

But beyond the IHP, I hope our vision prompts even deeper college-wide conversations about how to improve the student experience and how departments want to direct their research agendas. I am very hopeful that this plan will engage the CAS community, because it relies on CAS faculty and staff to bring their best ideas forward to help shape the future of our collective success.

In fact, I believe we are on the verge of a once-in-a-generation transformation. In the 1960s and 70s, higher education was reimagined by a new wave of faculty and a profound critique and reinvention of curriculum. It is increasingly clear that we are in the midst of a similar sea change; our vision for CAS is designed to shape the future of the UO for decades to come—relying on the imagination and leadership of our faculty to create the forward-thinking research and teaching initiatives that will define us.

Why a Vision? Why Now?

Why develop and share a vision statement now? It was helpful to have a prompt from my new boss: One of the first things our new provost, Jayanth Banavar, did when he arrived last summer was ask all of the deans to create a vision for their colleges. Recognizing that vision statements are a dime a dozen in higher education (and often go on for 100 pages, aspiring to do everything under the sun), the CAS deans undertook to craft a concise, relevant statement for our college that builds on our strengths and our potential for capitalizing on those strengths.

First and foremost, we recognized that we have many assets to build from:

  • The quality of our existing faculty, their commitment to excellence, and their longtime track record of collaborative endeavor
  • Major initiatives undertaken over the past four years, which have included:
    • The most aggressive tenure track faculty hiring program in the history of CAS
    • A first-ever college-wide Diversity Action Plan
    • The largest development campaign in our history
    • An ongoing rethinking of programs for student advising
    • Launching the design and construction of Tykeson Hall, a building designed for student success, scheduled to open in Fall 2019
    • Major science lab improvements
    • Efforts to revitalize student interest in our languages and humanities
    • And many, many more efforts ranging from individual activities to the college-wide development of personnel and management systems.

Proceeding from this baseline of strength, I originally thought the best approach to producing a vision for the provost would be to ask the divisional deans (Karen Ford, Hal Sadofsky and Phil Scher) to write separate plans for the humanities, natural sciences and social sciences, respectively. Each of them delivered a well-considered divisional plan, but we soon realized that we needed a cohesive, simplified vision that unites the entire college. Accordingly, we distilled the many aspirations for our divisions into two main college-wide goals:

The UO College of Arts and Sciences will be a leader among public research universities in preparing students for lifetime success, by:

  • Reinventing both advising and undergraduate curriculum to dramatically improve both academic and career success;
  • Rewarding and recruiting faculty who 1) pursue solutions to social and scientific needs, 2) advance our curriculum, and 3) model for students the modern collaborative workplace.

You will notice these goals foreground student success, which is intentional. We must articulate our vision to many constituents besides ourselves—prospective and current students, parents, alumni, donors, etc.—and framing academics, advising and research in terms of student benefit is designed to help the rest of the world embrace our collective purpose: to help students “do well” as they pursue their passion for “doing good.” (More on this later.)

Student-Centered, Faculty Led

As the vision statement makes clear: we aspire to be student-centered in the context of being faculty-led. Faculty are the engines of both research and educational excellence, and our goals for attaining national leadership must focus on initiatives that engage, support, and build our faculty. As you know, President Schill aims to advance our AAU status by increasing our numbers of research faculty, many of whom will be in CAS. Concurrently, dozens of CAS faculty retirements are taking place, allowing us to realign our hiring priorities to emphasize major social and scientific issues. In 2017, there was a 9% turnover in CAS faculty; we will have a similar turnover in this year, perhaps a total of 40% in a matter of just a few years.

We will call upon—and reward—both current and future faculty to propose bold new research agendas, reinvent the curriculum, and reimagine their deep involvement with our students through their research, their classroom activities, and their role as advisors and mentors. Our success will depend on our faculty joining together in an energized intellectual community that embodies the Oregon spirit and our long-term commitment to the ideals of public education.

Along with our necessary emphasis on faculty, we must also focus on our staff, who play an essential role in realizing our vision. Our staff are leaders in student advising, personnel management, diversity innovations, and the development of management solutions that support all our daily operations.

Do Well, Do Good

Together, all of our activities are in service of guiding future generations to “do well and do good.” One of the abiding characteristics of UO undergraduates is their earnest desire to make a positive difference in the world (do good). At the same time, today’s students also feel intense pressure to graduate on time, succeed academically, and make the best use of family resources (do well). They worry about their future job prospects in a world that is evolving at dizzying speed.

It is our obligation to help students both do well and do good. The vision helps guide our efforts in this regard. Collectively, we will accomplish this through:

  • Modernizing our advising and curricula to directly address the aspirations and needs of the modern student,
  • Rewarding and recruiting faculty who specialize in areas of highest relevance to today’s society and our students,
  • Promoting team approaches to problem-solving, and
  • Demonstrating to students the relevance of skills acquired throughout the liberal arts—not only in their own fields but also in collaboration with colleagues across disciplines (thus learning from their faculty mentors how to navigate the increasingly permeable boundaries of today’s workplace).

This vision and the objectives we will pursue to attain it will, by their very definition, evolve. This is a process vision, not a fixed vision. The goals we set and the measures we follow will be informed by the evolving expertise and opinions of our faculty and staff, the changing issues of our time, and—most critically—the changing needs and skill sets of our students.

I encourage you to join me in helping to bring this vision to life for our students and our entire community. We are at a pivotal moment, with a profound opportunity to transform our curriculum and research profile to serve future generations in imaginative new ways.

In the near-term, you are invited to participate in this vision and crafting our future through the many collaborative efforts already underway, including: the Institutional Hiring Plan process, the college- and university-wide Tykeson working groups, the many planning committees at work in venues ranging from University Senate Committees to the Knight Campus Advisory Board to our department-level diversity committees and curricular planning groups. The decisions made in these settings help launch us on our new trajectory; now is the time to be engaged.

Andrew Marcus
Tykeson Dean of Arts and Sciences

December 29, 2017

Welcome New Faculty

Welcome back one-and-all to the winter term.  And welcome to our new cohort of 42 tenure-track faculty, some of whom will be arriving this term. With the arrival of these faculty, we have realized our largest TTF “class” ever.  We are presently conducting another 42 searches in CAS, so I suspect we will have a comparably big cohort of new colleagues next year.

I invite you to visit the CAS new faculty webpage to see a directory of our new faculty members, which includes six in the Humanities, eleven in the Social Sciences, twenty-four in the Natural Sciences, and one shared between Social Sciences and Natural Sciences. All of these faculty bring remarkable resumes and new perspectives to the college. Our directory also includes Jayanth Banavar, our new Provost, and David McCormick, a member of the National Academy of Sciences who will lead the Neurons to Minds cluster. We have also included on our list David Wineland, a Nobel Laureate, who joins us as NTTF research faculty.

I want to note that the strength of faculty we recruited across all disciplines reflects the strength and reputation of our college, which is entirely due to the great work produced by CAS scholars and researchers over the years. Your work has elevated the stature of the University of Oregon. Thank you for those contributions.

Here’s looking forward to a new year with new colleagues — and many collaborations ahead!

Warm wishes for 2018,

Andrew Marcus
Tykeson Dean of Arts and Sciences

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