President's report on a new era in governance at the University of Oregon
The University of Oregon made extraordinary progress during its first five years of institutional governance. Read details of the University of Oregon's transformation and upward trajectory below.
“Under the UO Board of Trustees, the university has invested in academic and research excellence, student access and success, equity and inclusion, and creating outstanding student experiences. Since 2015, the UO met goals of increasing four-year graduation rates by more than 10 percentage points, added dozens of additional research faculty, launched innovative academic programs, welcomed record-breaking freshman classes, inspired historic philanthropic giving, increased campus and inclusion, and boosted scholarships for students with need. I want to emphasize that the progress we have made is not the work of any one individual or one group of individuals. It is shared amongst our entire community. But there is still work to be done. The University of Oregon is deeply committed to giving a world-class education to the next generation of Oregonians. Our entire campus is committed to doing that and continuing a legacy of creating meaningful impact for the state and society.”
Michael H. Schill
President, University of Oregon
Launched with the largest gift ever to a flagship public university, the campus creates the intellectual infrastructure to establish Oregon as a center for both research and development, making Oregon a place where companies can start-up, grow, and stay. The Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact is a $1 billion initiative to fast-track scientific discoveries into innovations that improve the quality of life for people in Oregon, the nation, and the world. The Knight Campus has already become a hub of innovation, research and partnerships ahead of the first buildings opening in summer of 2020.
The heart of any great research institution is its tenure-related faculty. Over the last five years, the UO has increased tenure-track positions by 10 percent and plans to add additional positions in the coming years. Among these hires are the first four tenure-track faculty hired as part of the new Knight Campus.
Providing students with firsthand experience doing research and creating knowledge is a vital part of the academic experience. Programs like the Center for Undergraduate Research and Engagement (CURE) serve as a hub for undergraduates interested in pursuing research opportunities. The center helps students find opportunities, provides funding support, and creates opportunities for students to showcase their work throughout the community, state, and nation.
One of the great strengths of the University of Oregon is the commitment that our faculty members have to our students, especially in terms of delivering an excellent educational experience at the cutting edge of their fields. At the UO, teaching excellence is defined as inclusive, engaged, and research-led—inflected by the university’s research mission and informed by research on how students learn.
The UO has redoubled its commitment to making higher education accessible to motivated, talented students regardless of their financial means. PathwayOregon, the university's promise to qualifying Oregonians, speaks to the heart of UO's mission and covers all tuition and fees for academically qualified first-year Oregonians whose family income meets Federal Pell Grant requirements.
Upon his arrival at the university in 2015, President Michael H. Schill launched a number of student success initiatives and challenged the university to improve the four-year graduation by 10 percentage points by 2020. That goal was met a year ahead of schedule thanks in no small part to the nearly 20 student success initiatives implemented since 2016 aimed at reducing institutional barriers and ensuring all students are well-supported.
Class of 2023
Expanding Academic Environments
Student success at the University of Oregon has entered a new era with the opening of Willie and Donald Tykeson Hall. Twenty-three new advisors, six career readiness coaches, and many other advising and support professionals fill this building with approachable, accessible student support and have established the building as a conduit to other student advising and resources across campus.
With the opening of the Lyllye Reynolds-Parker Black Cultural Center (BCC), the University of Oregon has realized the dream of generations of activists: an academic, cultural, and social home for the UO's Black students and the community. Spurred by student demands, the center is named for Lyllye Reynolds-Parker, a civil rights activist and UO alumna who touched countless lives of UO students in her career as an academic advisor. The BCC is a welcoming and supportive space that helps Black students harness the resources necessary to navigate their social, cultural, and academic experiences.
The UO continues to make steady progress in improving campus diversity. The university has invested in several dozen initiatives and programs over the last five years designed to recruit, hire, retain, support, promote, and engage historically underrepresented groups, including women, minorities, veterans, and individuals with disabilities. To celebrate the diversity that makes our community vibrant and enriching, the UO recognizes annual heritage months and highlights the experiences of students, staff, and faculty.
UO students apply their studies in a variety of ways, including working for NASA. Fueled by a desire to travel to space, physics major and NASA intern Manju Bangalore proves that focus, determination, and failure are all necessary to achieve new heights of success.
While the UO provides a gateway to education for Oregonians, our students are dedicated to giving back to their state. One of many examples, Kevin Frazier, BS '15, founded Passport Oregon, a nonprofit dedicated to providing an opportunity for city kids to see the wonders their state has to offer.
In 2016, a $10 million gift from Gwendolyn and Charles Lillis endowed additional research positions in the UO's Department of Earth Sciences. Today, the department's Oregon Center for Volcanology has become the largest dedicated academic group devoted to volcanoes in the United States.
Alumni and friends posted one of their most generous years ever with gifts totaling $254.65 million for the University of Oregon during the fiscal year ending June 30.