Provost taps Bruce Blonigen as interim dean for the University of Oregon’s College of Arts and Sciences

September 24, 2018

Dear College of Arts and Sciences Faculty and Staff, Bruce Blonigen

I am pleased to announce that Bruce Blonigen has agreed to serve as interim dean of the University of Oregon’s College of Arts and Sciences (CAS). He will succeed W. Andrew Marcus, who announced that he will step down from his role as dean in December.

As you know, Bruce is the dean of faculty and operations. Previously, he served as interim dean of the Lundquist College of Business in 2016 and was the CAS associate dean of social sciences from 2013 to 2016. Prior to that, he was the head of the Department of Economics for five years. He is uniquely qualified to fill this interim position, and I am grateful that he is willing to step forward.

During the interim period, Karen Ford will serve as a senior divisional dean. In this role she will serve the Humanities, but also take on certain college-wide responsibilities, such as promotion and tenure, diversity and Diversity Action Plan implementation, assessment, and the reporting line for the American English Institute.

The college will be in good hands with Bruce and Karen in these interim roles, Hal Sadofsky and Philip Scher continuing as divisional deans, and Carol Stabile in the associate dean for strategic initiatives position. This team has worked very well together under Andrew and we know that there will be a smooth transition as we move forward.

CAS and its success are critical to the success of the entire University of Oregon. More than 60 percent of what happens in our classrooms falls under CAS; it represents dozens of varied departments, and CAS faculty members deliver the majority of courses that fulfill our core education requirements. We must all work together to maintain the stability and forward progress of the college while we continue toward our shared goals of fostering undergraduate and graduate student success, diversity and inclusion, and excellence in research, teaching, scholarship, and creative work.

This interim period provides us with a good opportunity for reflection, but one which must be undertaken with great care. President Michael Schill and I have decided to form a task force to analyze the current structure of the college – and whether that structure makes sense for the academic mission

and success of the three divisions and the departments therein. This is not a new question, but we feel now is the time to find the answer. Over the next several weeks, the president and I will articulate the specific charge for this group, as well as its leadership (faculty co-chairs) and membership. We will actively consult with faculty and staff throughout CAS as we formulate the plan and committee membership for this group’s inquiry.

It is important to note that we have no preordained outcome in mind. This is not about trying to find efficiencies, and it is not a move to silo some divisions in an attempt to focus elsewhere. This is about having a robust examination and discussion of the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, and the right structure to advance the academic mission of the institution.

Given this discussion, we do not intend to launch a search for a permanent dean until we have a sense of what the long-term structure will be. We are grateful to Bruce, Karen, and the entire CAS leadership team for graciously agreeing to maintain this interim structure through the duration.

We look forward to sharing more information with you as it becomes available. Thank you for all that you do for the University of Oregon, and good luck with the start of the term.

Sincerely,

Jayanth Banavar
Provost and Senior Vice President