Sharing appreciation and announcing a new floating holiday

December 4, 2023

Dear colleagues,

As fall term winds down and we look ahead to celebrating the winter holidays, I am filled with pride and appreciation for our UO community and our many successes. During my first five months as president, I’ve met with thousands of members of our faculty, staff, student body, alumni, and community at dozens of gatherings and events, all of which have helped me understand what it means to be a Duck. I’ve enjoyed learning about your rich and diverse experiences, expertise, and deep commitment to our mission.

Today I write to convey my thanks, provide holiday guidance, and give an update on our UO Onward university strategic planning.

Holiday Programs 

I’m pleased to announce we are piloting a new floating holiday that will give eligible employees an extra paid day off to observe any day of cultural, personal, or religious significance. In recognition of the many unique experiences and needs of our campus community, this gives employees flexibility to celebrate a day that is meaningful to them over the next 12 months.

I also encourage all units to observe a “quiet period” between the December 25 and January 1 holidays, as operations allow. We encourage leaders to maintain only essential work. Reducing operations will allow employees who choose to take time off the opportunity to relax and recharge. Those who will be working will have more time to focus or plan for the year ahead with a little lighter workload.

We want to support well-being in our work and personal lives and recognize our employees’ diligent commitment. The pilot holiday and quiet period guidance are small ways we can continue to foster belonging and flourishing at the University of Oregon.

UO Onward – Strategic Planning 

 The listening and information gathering phase of our UO Onward strategic planning process will wrap up in December. We have held more than 25 engagement sessions over the last few months. Hundreds of participants have reflected on the UO’s priorities and working goals; offered strategies, tactics, outcomes, and other ideas and suggestions. Hundreds of people also completed the online survey.

During winter and spring terms, we will compile and analyze this information, draft a plan, and seek more input as we hone our goals and create a roadmap for success for the university. The information gathered at the recent Forum on Belonging, Climate and Culture will also help to shape our planning and goals.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the sessions, forum, and surveys. Your input is vital. Your participation is helping us to create a university where every student and employee can flourish; our research, knowledge production, and creative practices will improve lives; and our impact and service will make our community and world a better place.

In closing, thank you for the warm welcome to the University of Oregon. I wish you a wonderful end to the fall term, a restful holiday season, and a joyous year in 2024.

With gratitude,

Karl Scholz