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Candidate Biography

BRUCE SORTE (at OSU since 1985), Business & Personnel Officer, College of Agricultural Sciences

FACULTY SENATE: Agricultural Sciences Senator, 1998-present; Executive Committee 1999-present; Athletics Task Force, 1999-present; Budgets & Fiscal Planning Committee, 1993-1999 (co-chair, 1996, chair 1993 & 1994); Information Services Task Force, 1998; and Internal Budget Allocation Committee, 1998.

OTHER UNIVERSITY SERVICE: Child Care Committee, 1993-1998; Financial Aid Committee, 1996-1998; and Campus Planning Committee 1991-1993.

SEARCH COMMITTEES: Various for business, contracting, development, and facilities services positions.

Candidate Statement: The IFS was formed 30 years ago to 'assure a faculty voice at the institutional, OUS, and legislative levels.' Budgetary concerns have often been the motivation for activism by the IFS. As a professional faculty member, I have focused on budgets, business and administrative processes, and helping academic faculty. I believe my experience and perspective could be useful to the IFS. We need to participate more in the OUS budget process, reconsider our relationship with PEBB, work more directly on legislative proposals, and be part of redefining the graduate tuition remission policies. Thank you for considering me as your representative.


Responses to Questions Posed by the Executive Committee

1. Over the next two years, what critical issues for faculty will be best addressed through IFS?

Anwser: Developing resources to provide competitive faculty salaries, putting real money towards recruiting and retaining minority and women faculty/ administrators, reversing the trend towards part-time faculty, finding a benefit system in lieu of PEBB that will not drive our salary increases below the cost-of-living adjustments while recognizing that we have a responsibilty to include the whole campus community (e.g. classified staff, grads., and maybe undergrads.) in that improvement, creating an "Education Investment Portfolio" whereby we shift the discussion from underfunding to a menu of capital investments (both human and physical) in a K-16+ educational system, and more formally weaving IFS into the administrative fabric or policies of OUS (e.g. guaranteed release time for the IFS president and better definition of our opportunities for political involvement).

Background and Musings: These initiaitves sound ambitious, yet, the IFS has taken a number of steps to become even more politically active over the last few years. They invited legislators to their meetings at the regional campuses, met in Salem during the Session and invited legislative leaders to those meetings, and they called on legislators in their offices.

We need to get moving now for the next Session. IFS should consult with the institutional faculty senates, AOF, and AAUP and draft a 2001 Legislative Agenda by February 2000. IFS representatives should test that agenda across the state with the Board, OUS, legislators/candidates, students, parents, and other stakeholders. By the time the primaries are over, IFS should have a finalized agenda and be asking for specific commitments from candidates. IFS should also work with OUS during the summer to assure that the OUS 2001/03 Biennial Budget includes two or three of the IFS' initiatives.

Setting the agenda and developing the resources will be a delicate effort. On the one hand, we will have to thank the legislators that were so supportive in the last session while showing them how the extra funds only partially made up for a decade of inadequate budgets. Education is a public good and the new funding model is just more accurate and better directed than the old budget model. It is not a ticket to a self-sustaining system of higher education. If Oregon wants an effective K-16+ system, we will need to make additional capital investments in every future legislative session - never built, always building.

At the same time, IFS will need to encourage all campuses look internally and restructure. True restructuring prove Legislature that we have captured every programmatic administrative efficiency possible. Reaching those efficiencies require consolidation adaption within academic departments. Administratively, it mean a rigorous benefit/cost evaluation of bureacratic requirements. far more direct linkages between faculty revenue generation resource allocation with due consideration for maintaining even expensive programs are critical university. I used term K-16+ system because, if keep competing amongst ourselves, may ignore K-12 Higher Ed. students continue lose. coalition hold tremendous potential.



2. What would you do if you thought a policy set by the OUS Board was harmful to faculty?

Answer: Carefully study information on the policy and check my initial impressions with people I know who will have thought about the policy and will represent different perspectives than my own. IFS needs to work very hard to anticipate issues like those discussed in Question No. 1, develop support for their positions from a number of constituencies, and clearly and strongly inform the Board of their positions. If the Board still adopts a policy that is harmful to faculty, IFS needs to react quickly by formally requesting reconsideration of the policy at the next Board meeting, discussing the issue with individual Board members prior to the meeting, and invoking support from the institutional Faculty Senates, AOF, AAUP, and other stakeholders (e.g. student representatives). If the reconsideration request is not successful, the IFS needs to debrief and determine whether or not to take the issue to the Legislature and/or the public or return to the Board with a different approach.

Background and Musings: My work in a manufacturing firm, at OSU, and on the City Council has taught me that I can only develop an optimum compromise by knowing the issue inside and out and then being willing to work very hard with people who bring different values and goals to the table. The weakness of this approach is that I am often called a micromanager and compromiser. Well I do not think my wisdom is usually credible enough to shape policies, however, I have been successful knowing the details and using them to help develop creative alternatives that others are not considering. Examples include: OSU - Independently developing and analyzing the financial data for the Information Services' deficit. When our Faculty Senate Task Force finished, we determined that the Library was being asked to repay about twice as much of the debt as they incurred. Our report helped persuade the Administration to reduce the Library's debt responsibility. We also provided a number of suggestions that might prevent a similar situation from occurring in the future. City of Corvallis - The newly planted trees on the south side of Harrison Blvd. between 30th and 35th are there to protect Harrison from becoming a three or four lane bypass. They are five feet off center because we did agree to five feet of widening to accommodate a five foot bike lane on each side (the travel lanes will be reduced from 12.5 ft to 10 ft.). I provided these examples to stress that I believe success is based on very hard work studying the details, careful thought, listening to constituents, and staying engaged in the discussion, even when you are not getting all you want.


Thanks for reading any or all of these thoughts. I would appreciate your additions, suggestions or challenges to these points so, if I am fortunate enough to be the IFS representative, I can do the best possible job of representing you.