Board of Trustees meeting; Highlights from the first day

The Board of Trustees met today in the ballroom of the Ford Alumni Center to discuss important issues to the University of Oregon. Here are some highlights from the first day and a preview of what to expect tomorrow.

The Academic and Student Affairs Committee of the BoT met first at 9 a.m.

Teaching Excellence

Teaching excellence was presented by Executive Vice Provost Scott Pratt, Associate Vice Provost Sierra Dawson and Teaching Program Director Lee Rumbarger.

Pratt said that there are current problems of maintaining teaching excellence through student evaluations, as many studies have revealed their flaws and biases. Pratt also said that teaching should be “the mission of the university” and that it should find an intersection with research.

Services for mental health at UO

Presented by Doneka R. Scott, Associate Vice Provost for Student Success, Shelly Kerr, Director of the University Counseling Center and Kris Winter, Associate Vice President and Dean of Students.

The goals outlined were to increase the size of the counseling staff, to refer students to services offered in the community outside the counseling center more effectively, and to train “paraprofessionals” on campus to help students and lessen the demand for counseling center appointments, according to the presentation.

Data shows that the demand for mental health care at UO and nationally is rising. This has lead to long wait times for students seeking counseling.

At the meeting, Scott, Kerr and Winter showed exit survey data from students who left the UO before graduating. According to the data, 7.5 percent of students cited physical or mental health as the reason for not coming back.

According to data presented, the health center is referring significantly fewer students away due to overcrowding compared to last fall. 44 percent less, proportional to the number of assessments in the term.  

Regardless, the health center still seeks expansion to serve more students. The Tuition and Fee Advisory Board’s proposal includes a $7-per-term per-student increase to the health and service fee to support an expansion of the health center. The Board of Trustees will vote on the proposal tomorrow.

Capital Project Proposal – University Health Center / University Counseling and Testing Center

The renovations of Bean Hall and Oregon Hall were estimated to cost $70 million, however, the project only cost $60 million. The remaining $10 million will be allocated back into the capital budget and will pay for future projects.

Michael Griffel, Director of University Housing, presented a proposal to expand the university health center due to the overflow of students and oldness of the building.

“There’s been a significant growth in the student body since the last renovation was done,” Griffel said.

The new health center will cost an estimated $17.8 to $19.2 million and is predicted to open fall 2019. They hope to break ground in June to start the project after receiving approval from the Board of Trustees.

University of Oregon Police Department – Overview and Updates

Matt Carmichael, chief of the University of Oregon Police Department, gave a report on the accomplishments of UOPD and their goals for the future.

UOPD will be adding a bomb dog to its resources in the coming weeks. The dog is finishing up training in Sacramento, CA and will be on campus in two weeks, according to Carmichael. The dog is hoped to increase safety on campus and improve student-officer relations.

UOPD also absorbed Safe Ride and DDS this year and began offering a third ride service: the off-campus shuttle.

These services offer students approximately 5,000 rides each month, and UOPD is in the process of creating a mobile application for students to request rides more efficiently.

UOPD will also be utilizing Tasers and body cameras to better serve the community and promote safety.

“These tools will bring us up to the national standard,” Carmichael said.

Using Tasers gives officers the option to use something other than lethal force, according to Carmichael.

UOPD also opened a station closer to campus at the Onyx Bridge to be closer to students. According to Carmichael, the closer proximity to students is hoped to improve student-officer relations and house the campus lost and found.

What will happen tomorrow

President Schill will present his proposal for the tuition increase and the BoT will vote on the tuition increase.

ASUO President Amy Schenk, University Senate President Chris Sinclair, Provost Jayanth Banavar and President Michael Schill will present “standing reports” to the BOT.

Finally, there will be a presentation on the Academic Area in Focus: Global Health.

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Francisca "Frankie" Benitez

Francisca "Frankie" Benitez

Francisca "Frankie" Benitez is the Senior News Editor at the Emerald. She is a Senior at the UOSOJC and a lover of dogs and punk rock.

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