Task Force on the Structure of the College of Arts and Sciences

The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) is the largest academic unit at the University of Oregon. CAS accounts for more than 60 percent of all credit hours delivered at the UO. Due to its size, enrollments, and faculty, CAS receives more than half of the general funds allocated to schools and colleges. CAS is also a complex unit in terms pedagogy, research/scholarship/creative activity, and faculty review standards across its 38 departments.

The college is the academic home to thousands of students majoring in one of its many programs, and it is also considered the academic home to students who have not yet declared a major. Additionally, most students at the university–regardless of their home school or college–complete core education requirements through CAS courses.

The university administration has appointed a task force to gather information on whether the current size and scope of CAS are optimal.

The charge of the task force

The task force is being asked to conduct an analysis of the costs of and benefits to making structural changes to the division of academic programs currently housed in CAS, and those in professional schools that may better align with current CAS departments. The task force is not going to make a recommendation for a particular path forward, but will focus on the pros and cons of the current structure and possible changes to it. The focus of this analysis is rooted in the CAS departments’ abilities to individually and collectively—with the highest level of success—meet the university’s goal and mission of excellence in teaching, research and scholarship, and service.

The task force has the authority to think creatively and look outside existing structures. For example, a college may not necessarily be shaped along our current divisional lines, or there may be departments or programs that are better aligned with a professional school (or vice versa). Additionally, the task force may also identify disadvantages of the current structure that should be addressed, but perhaps the proper mitigation is not structural.

The goal of this analysis is not to consider changing the structure of CAS to save money or to simply introduce efficiencies. The analysis is about determining what allows for the greatest success of faculty, staff, and students going forward.

The task force

Karen Ford, senior divisional dean of CAS, is chairing the task force, which will be staffed by the Office of the Provost. The membership of the task force includes representatives from various stakeholder groups.

The members are:
Elliot Berkman, CAS, Natural Sciences, Psychology, Associate Professor
Tina Boscha, CAS, Humanities, English, Senior Instructor
Melissa Bowers, CAS, Humanities, English and Folklore, (OA) Department Manager
Ben Brinkley, CAS, IT, (OA) Director
Pedro García-Caro, CAS, Humanities, Romance Languages, Associate Professor
Spike Gildea, CAS, Humanities, Linguistics, Professor
Monica Guy, CAS, Social Sciences, Environmental Studies, (OA) Office Manager
Bruce McGough, CAS, Social Sciences, Economics, Professor/Department Head
Betsy McLendon, CAS Advisory Board member
Juan-Carlos Molleda, School of Journalism and Communication, Professor of Communications/Dean
Gabe Paquette, Clark Honors College, Professor of History and International Studies/Dean
Craig Parsons, CAS, Social Sciences, Political Science, Professor/Department Head
Mike Price, CAS, Natural Sciences, Math, Senior Instructor
Tyrone Russ, CAS, IT, (Classified Staff) Buyer
Christiana Sewall, CAS, Natural Sciences, General Science, Undergraduate Student
Brad Shelton, Office of the Provost, Natural Sciences, Math, Professor/Executive Vice Provost
Janelle Stevenson, CAS, Natural Sciences, Biology, Graduate Student
Joe Sventek, CAS, Natural Sciences, Computer & Information Science, Professor/Department Head
Richard Taylor, CAS, Natural Sciences, Physics, Professor/Department Head
Frances White, CAS, Social Sciences, Anthropology, Professor/Department Head
Rocío Zambrana, CAS, Humanities, Philosophy, Associate Professor

Teri Rowe, the department manager for Economics and Sociology, will provide staff support on behalf of the Office of the Provost.

To assist the task force in its work, there will be subcommittee group of academic CFO’s available to focus on data analysis and research. This group will be coordinated by Brad Shelton, executive vice provost, and may include three or four additional members.

The work of this group and the work of the full task force are not mutually exclusive; rather, the subcommittee’s work will be informed by the requests of the full task force.

Task force meeting schedule

The first meeting of the task force will be on December 13 from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. This meeting will be organizational in nature and is the time for task force members to meet each other, review the goals, and plan. It will be held in Friendly Hall 109.

The following dates and times for future task force meetings are set. Agendas and locations have yet to be determined but will be added once space is confirmed.

January 22: 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.
February 12: 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.
February 26: 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.
March 12: 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
March 19: 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.

The meetings are open to the public and the task force will seek input from the campus community in connection with its deliberations. We have already scheduled a meeting with the Senate and the task force chair on February 13, 2019. Input will also be solicited through an online survey and through open task force meetings, and individuals can provide feedback or ask questions via feedback@uoregon.edu.

To see the information under consideration by the task force, click on the links below.

CAS Task Force information packet – December 10, 2018


    Week of october 15

    Task force charge and outline distributed

    Weeks of October 15 and October 22

    Consultation with stakeholders and Senate President and Vice President regarding task force membership

    Week of October 29

    President and Provost visit CAS Department Heads meeting on November 2

    November 20

    Leadership announces CAS task force members

    December 13

    First meeting of the task force. This is an organizational gathering where members meet each other for the first time to discuss the work.

    Friendly Hall 109 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

    Week of January 7

    Research and information gathering as desired by task force completed by staff and shared with committee

    January through March

    The following dates and times are for task force meetings.

    Jan. 22: 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

    Feb. 12: 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

    Feb. 26: 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

    March 12: 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

    March 19: 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

    *Locations for the meetings have yet to be determined but this will be updated when location information becomes available.

    March 18 thru April 12

    Additional time for meetings as needed; window of time to draft analysis for submission / review by committee

    April 15

    Task force report due to President and Provost


    Target for decision by President and Provost about how to move forward

    June 3 or 4

    Discussion at Board of Trustees meeting and likely announcement date