Dear Oregon State University Community Members,

As promised, I write to provide an update on the steps the Board of Trustees is taking to identify and appoint an interim president.

There are three stages occurring in the process to find a permanent president. The first was the March 23 appointment of Provost and Executive Vice President Ed Feser to serve briefly as acting president until an interim president is named. The second, which is underway now, is the process to appoint an interim president to serve until a permanent president is named. The third stage is the full presidential search process. The Board will share the approach and timeline for the permanent presidential search after the appointment of the interim president and further consultations with the OSU community.

Board Chair Rani Borkar asked me to serve as her delegate in conducting the nomination and community engagement process for the interim president appointment. These efforts began with the March 29 launch of a new webpage summarizing the process. Since that time, many of you have enthusiastically provided feedback on the needed areas of focus for the interim president, as well as nominations of those you would like to be considered. There is still an opportunity for you to submit suggestions on the Board of Trustees website before noon tomorrow. The Board is grateful for your active engagement and advice.

Over the past week and a half, I have been meeting with OSU Faculty Senate leaders, staff, student leaders, administrators, university partners and other stakeholders to gather nominations and input on the focus and experience needed in the interim president. To date, I have held more than 50 one-on-one conversations and reviewed the comments submitted through the Board of Trustees webpage. My next step is to go over the feedback and nominations with a committee of trustees and OSU community members convened by the Board Chair to help her evaluate the nominations. More information about the committee will be posted on the interim president webpage soon.

The survey feedback and conversations indicate that OSU community members and stakeholders want an interim president who knows the university well and supports its strategic plan, vision, and current initiatives, and who is committed to shared governance. We are fortunate to have many strong leaders who fit this description. Many have stressed the need for an experienced individual who is able to engender trust and confidence within the university community as we conduct a search for a permanent president. It is likely the interim president will serve for approximately one year.

While many have nominated Acting President Ed Feser and President Emeritus Ed Ray, neither are candidates for the interim post. Acting President Feser has made it clear that he would prefer to return to his role as OSU provost and executive vice president while President Emeritus Ed Ray has argued that the university should tap other talented leaders, rather than stepping back into the role himself.

Based upon the feedback received thus far, we will be scheduling a university forum with the recommended final nominee. The university forum will provide community members with an opportunity to hear from the finalist, and to provide additional input to the Board of Trustees on the finalist’s qualifications. While a great many I have consulted have shared that they do not want the Board to deliberate any longer than necessary, the Board remains committed to an inclusive and transparent process. Under our current timeline, the Board expects to conclude the consideration and selection of an interim president in a public meeting of the Board within the next two weeks.

It is the Board of Trustees’ goal to work together with the entire university community to maintain the positive momentum at Oregon State University that we have built over many years. I look forward to working with you further to advance OSU as one of the nation’s leading land grant research universities, expanding its positive impact throughout Oregon, the nation and the world.

Sincerely,

Patty Bedient
Member, OSU Board of Trustees