Newly arrived University of Oregon students step into fall quarter at a time when school is evolving. Ombuds, architecture and journalism are among the departments at UO that have a new dean at the helm. Some of these new deans determine the trajectory of their department. Some improve student life. Some shape the scope of science and research.
Collectively, these six new individuals at UO influence the direction of the school. And the students follow.
Welcome Christoph Lindner, Juan-Carlos Molleda, Brett Harris, Doneka Scott, Kris Winter and David Conover.
By: Miguel Sanchez-Rutledge
Christopher Lindner has lived and worked in dozens of countries during his life, but his next chapter has him living in Eugene, where he will be the newest dean of the School of Architecture and Allied Arts at the University of Oregon.
Upon coming to Oregon, Lindner was ecstatic to begin his work at UO.
“What makes me very excited about being here is that there is a lot of positive energy on campus,” Linder said. “I am really excited to be joining the university that is here now and I am even more excited about being part of building the university that’s coming.”
Lindner comes to UO from the Netherlands where he was a professor of media and culture at the University of Amsterdam. From 2010-14, Lindner was the director of the Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis. Lindner has published many works on urban planning and design including “Paris-Amsterdam Underground: Essays on Cultural Resistance, Subversion, and Diversion.” Lindner has conducted many studies regarding interrelations between cities, globalization and political ecology. Despite his accomplishments, Lindner admits that he can’t do well in this position without knowing and becoming a part of this community. Lindner hopes to cultivate a sense of unity at UO.
“You need to know and understand your community,” Lindner said. “You can’t provide direction or leadership to a college unless you actually know the people who are there. My job is to make great things happen for other people, and that’s how I measure my success. My success comes with the success of our students, faculty, departments and university.”
Juan Carlos Molleda
By: Max Thornberry
Juan Carlos Molleda said that one thing he brings to the School of Journalism and Communication is different perspectives. Molleda is honored to take the helm of this 100-year-old school after moving across the country from the University of Florida.
“I’m coming from outside, from a peer institution,” Molleda said in a phone interview with the Emerald, “I bring a wealth of experience in academia.”
In addition to his lengthy list of professional accomplishments, Molleda brings diverse experience and a new vision to the school. He is the first dean of the SOJC with a professional background in public relations as well as the first Latino.
Molleda said that some of his goals are making the PhD program stronger, emphasizing experiential learning as “essential for success” and improving the synergy between the Eugene and Portland programs.
Molleda believes his background makes him a good fit at UO.
“My bachelor’s [degree] is in journalism, then I have experience in PR,” he said. “This is why it is called the school of journalism and communication – because there are different fields of study. […] I have always worked with journalists and understand the importance of the work they do.”
Molleda and his husband moved to Eugene on June 26, roughly a week before he began at UO. Since then, he has enjoyed the move, particularly the summer weather.
“Florida is very humid, very hot,” he said, “then you come to Eugene and there is no comparison. You have a lot to do, not only in Eugene but in the state.”
Molleda is appreciative of his leisure opportunities as well as his team at the university.
“In the SOJC, I have a really great staff who are helping me to understand the administration,” he said, “and the faculty is helping me to understand their curriculum.”
By: Tran Nguyen
Brett Harris isn’t new to Oregon, in fact, she lived in Lincoln City in 2005 and since then, she said she hasn’t been able to get Oregon out of her mind.
The former ombudsperson for University of Mississippi has recently joined the ombuds office team at the University of Oregon, taking over for UO professor Jennifer Reynolds. Founded in 2014, the Ombuds office is one of the only confidential and neutral services for all campus members to discuss concerns, explore options and find resources for conflict resolution.
With a background in dispute resolution and experience working as a mediator and attorney, Harris was hired to be the first ombudsperson at UM in 2015. She holds a bachelor degree in American Studies from Idaho State University and a J.D. from the University of Idaho College of Law with a degree emphasis in Native American Law.
“The university and the people were wonderful,” she said of UM. “[My family and I] loved our time there.”
Harris said leading the UO Ombuds office is an “amazing opportunity.” She hopes to grow and shape the already established program into a substantial resource for campus members. Her focus will be on educating and training the community on conflict resolution.
Her family, including her husband Wesley, two of her younger kids, two labrador retrievers and a cat, just moved to Eugene Sept. 12. “It’s challenging,” she said, but she’s glad to see her four-year-old and ten-year-old adapting well to their new schools.
Her husband, who worked in nursing administration in Mississippi, is excited to be here in Oregon because he will be able to fly fish.
“We don’t have any spot to fly fish in Mississippi, mostly because we are afraid of alligators,” Harris said with a laugh.
Other New Ducks added to the flock this fall
Kris Winter becomes the dean of students at the University of Oregon on Sept. 19 after leaving that position from Oregon State University.
As dean of students, Winter helps the UO community by “removing barriers, responding in crisis, building community and upholding integrity,” she told AroundtheO, UO’s website for news releases.
“There will be everyday moments, ‘aha’ moments and moments that challenge you,” she wrote in her announcement on the dean of students website. “In all of these moments, I want you to know that my staff and I are here for you.”
Winter replaced Paul Shang as the dean of students after Shang retired in August. Vice President of Student Life Robin Holmes held the interim position until Winter was hired, according to AroundtheO.
Winter earned her undergraduate degree in educational studies in 1998 from UO, her master’s from OSU and is currently working on her doctorate at Portland State University, according to the UO Dean of Students website.
David Conover moved to UO from Stony Brook University to fill the Vice President for Research and Innovation position on Aug. 15, according to the UO provost website.
At Stony Brook, Conover was a professor of marine science in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, where he also served as dean from 2003 to 2010. Conover has authored over 125 publications on oceanic fish.
“My background and experience in research and administration will benefit the great work that is taking place across campus and around the globe every day as we further strengthen and expand discovery and innovation at the UO,” he said on the UO research website.
Doneka Scott, former assistant vice provost for Equity and Diversity for University of Minnesota, has just accepted a job at UO as Associate Vice Provost for Student Success. Her job is to develop and implement strategies around advising and other student services, with a focus on overseeing student success tool, EAB’s Student Success Collaborative Campus.
Scott, a graduate of University of Michigan, has a background in mentoring, advising and teaching. At her two and a half-year-old job at University of Minnesota, Scott worked to improve graduation and retention rates for undergraduate students.
Will Campbell also contributed to this report