OPAA Leadership Adjustments

January 17, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

Since arriving to campus last July, I have spent a lot of time getting to know my team in the Office of the Provost and Academic Affairs (OPAA). I have been very impressed with the dedication of everyone in OPAA and the vast amount of work they need to tackle on a daily basis. As many of you know, prior to my arrival there were several changes made to OPAA’s organizational structure. I have been continuing to assess whether we are optimally utilizing everyone’s skills to benefit the university. While this organizational assessment is still underway, we are making tremendous progress that will help us better address institutional academic priorities and continuously improve our services for faculty and students.

While the entire assessment and refresh is not yet complete, I wanted to update you on a couple of key changes as the winter term begins.

First, Melanie Muenzer will take on a larger academic role as the associate vice president and vice provost for academic initiatives, a new position within the OPAA structure designed to provide focused management over certain important and timely endeavors. Among other responsibilities, Melanie will:

  • work with the deans to develop interdisciplinary and other important initiatives;
  • focus on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion, including diversity action plan implementation;
  • be the dedicated liaison to the University Senate, particularly as we drive forward on key initiatives such as core education redesign and redesigning program review;
  • help coordinate academic development activities; and
  • lead OPAA’s efforts with respect to statewide coordination, the interinstitutional provost’s council, and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission.

This role will allow the UO to best use Melanie’s experience and talents while providing more focused leadership where necessary.

To ensure Melanie has capacity for this new role and the key initiatives therein, the administrative role associated with her current role as chief of staff will transition. I am not yet going to make a formal decision about a chief of staff or similar administrative management position. I want to spend some time analyzing our needs to ensure that the appropriate level of team management and leadership support is provided.

In the meantime, Angela Wilhelms will step in on a temporary basis to manage many of the organizational and administrative affairs within OPAA. She will do so in addition to her role as university secretary. Angela’s experience setting up, managing, and reorganizing executive level offices will be invaluable as I determine next steps.

Angela will join Melanie, Scott Pratt and Brad Shelton on the OPAA leadership team. Please consider her part of the OPAA team and know that she may reach out to you for information as we finish our organizational refresh. Angela’s email address is wilhelms@uoregon.edu and her extension is 6-5561; Jennifer LaBelle is her executive assistant and can be reached at jlabelle@uoregon.edu. They are both located in Johnson Hall 7D.

If you need anything from me, please be sure to contact Suzette Howard, my new executive assistant. Suzette joined us at the end of 2017 so I know many of you have not yet had a chance to meet her. She can be reached at showard2@uoregon.edu or 6-3099. Josh Burnett is also on hand to support both Melanie and the OPAA office generally. He can be reached at jburnet2@uoregon.edu or on our main line (6-3186).

I appreciate your patience, support, and insights as we put the finishing touches on OPAA after the merger of academic affairs and the provost’s office. More importantly, I appreciate everything you do to make the University of Oregon so terrific and to advance our mission of excellence in teaching and research.


Jayanth Banavar
Provost and Senior Vice President