Jan. 12, 2018
UO President Michael H. Schill sent the following 'Open Mike' message to the campus community:
Dear colleagues and friends,
As I write this Open Mike, I feel the earth move under my feet. Before you get concerned that I am singing Carole King songs (she is one of my favorites) or having a nightmare about the Cascadia Subduction Zone, you should understand that just outside my office massive trucks and bulldozers are busy breaking ground for the new Willie and Donald Tykeson Hall, the college and careers building. Since the start of the term, construction crews have been diligently digging, hammering, and preparing the site for a stunning new building that will open in fall 2019. It is noisy; it is loud; and sometimes it feels like the earth really is moving, but it is all for a great and important cause.
The Tykeson building will not only be placed at a central location on our beautiful campus; in many ways it will serve as a new center of gravity for our efforts connected to the single most important objective we all share—helping our students succeed. It will provide us with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to refocus and rethink how we deliver academic and career advising to our students, all under one roof. In addition to adding much-needed office and classroom space to campus, the new building will house College of Arts and Sciences advising services and the UO Career Center. It will provide an integrated approach to advising that will help students consider their career options and then work to devise an academic plan for getting there.
The construction of Tykeson Hall is the latest chapter of the conversation we started three months after I took office about the importance of doing everything we can to enable our students to succeed. So much has happened since I stood in front of campus at the EMU and made the case that on-time graduation promotes a student’s likelihood of earning a diploma and substantially reduces the cost of college. We have already seen modest increases in carrying loads, retention, and graduation rates. While I am pleased that we have made progress, there is much, much more to accomplish.
Over the next year we will work with academic advisors in the Division of Undergraduate Studies, the Center for Multicultural Academic Excellence, PathwayOregon, and all the schools and colleges to improve and enhance coordination through creation of a unified academic advising action plan. The important work of improving our student success efforts is being led by Provost Jayanth Banavar and Dennis Galvan, the interim vice provost and dean for undergraduate studies. You can expect to see changes throughout the university to support these efforts in the coming year. We cannot let our decentralized administrative structure stand in the way of our students’ success—and we won’t.
Today’s students need more than just a degree: they need assistance and guidance in landing jobs that meet their needs and aspirations. We owe it to future generations of students and to those who gave to this endeavor to get this right. We must break down silos between administrative divisions and schools to devise the sort of comprehensive resources and advising that will prepare our students for fulfilling careers in a fast-moving and increasingly global economy. In addition, we must create more high-impact opportunities for students to work with the faculty and more avenues for them to gain experiential education, such as internships and study abroad.
While the construction crews are building a strong foundation for the Tykeson building, we must start now to lay the programmatic foundation for long-term success. This is one of my top priorities for 2018....
I hope you’ll join me in the effort to stay focused on the things that matter most—moving heaven and earth to help our students succeed and building an academic program of distinction.
Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law