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Candidate Biography

Faculty Senate President-Elect Candidate

FREDERICK W. OBERMILLER (at OSU since 1974), Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 1974-present; Adjunct Professor of Rangeland Resources, College of Agricultural Sciences, 1991-present; OSU Honors College Faculty, 1997-present; and Adjunct Professor of Environmental Sciences, College of Science, 2002-present.

FACULTY SENATE SERVICE: Agricultural Sciences Senator, 1999-present; Promotion and Tenure Committee, 2002-present and 1987-91; Administrative Appointments Committee, 1998-present (Chair 1999-02); Curriculum Council, 1997-98; Undergraduate Admissions Committee, 1986-87; Faculty Reviews and Appeals Committee, 1983-86 (Chair 1985-86); D. Curtis Mumford Faculty Service Award Committee, 1983; and Faculty Economic Welfare Committee, 1977-79 (Chair 1978-79).

COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES SERVICE: Student Advancement Administrative Committee, 2001-present; Student Recruitment and Marketing Subcommittee, 2000-03 (Chair); Awards Committee for Outstanding International Service, 1993; Semester Conversion Committee, 1987-89; Conference Days Awards Committee, 1984-86; and Curriculum Council, 1983-89.

EXTENSION SERVICE: Extension Service representative to OSU Office of International Research and Development, 1990-91; National Public Policy Education Committee, 1989-91; Extension Committee on Policy (ECOP) Community Resource Development Subcommittee, 1977-79; and OSU Extension Service Community Development Newsletter, 1976-77 (Editor).

OTHER UNIVERSITY SERVICE: Undergraduate Education Council, 1999-02; Oregon Water Resources Research Institute, 1994-96 (Advisory Board Member); Warm Springs Indian Reservation Presidential Council, 1991 (Faculty Coordinator); Student Information System Council, 1988-91; and OSU/Oregon Department of Economic Development Task Force, 1976.

SEARCH COMMITTEES: Numerous County Extension Agent and Faculty search committees over the past 29 years at OSU. Others include OSU President, 2002-03; CEO for the OSU Foundation, 2002; Dean of Distance and Continuing Education, 2001; Associate Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, 2000; and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, 2000.

Candidate Statement: As my biosketch suggests, I believe that university service is a fundamental responsibility of faculty and staff. In my case the breadth of service coupled with long-term appointments as an on-campus Extension specialist, Agricultural Experiment Station researcher, and teacher at both the undergraduate and graduate levels provides me with the background required to effectively advocate for academic and professional faculty, as well as our students and staff, with university administration. That experience also brings confidence in dealing with the Legislature and Chancellor's Office. A good listener by nature, I integrate input well, and speak directly and knowledgably to relevant issues.

Over the next two years, what critical issues for faculty will be best addressed through IFS and how can you help move those issues forward on their behalf?

Many issues and concerns are highly relevant to our faculty. Three are highlighted below, but all, including those not mentioned here, are worthy of faculty thought, deliberation, and proposed resolution in the immediate future.

  1. Finalization and implementation of "A Strategic Plan for the 21st Century."

    A good deal of time, thought, and creative energy was expended in the development of the OSU 2007 Plan, now morphed into "A Strategic Plan for the 21st Century." Within the next three years we need to make substantial progress toward the achievement of three goals: provision of outstanding academic programs in five areas of excellence; improved teaching environment as reflected in the success of graduates; and enhanced funding and revenues from several sources. The Faculty Senate must continue to play a central role in this reorganization and development effort, and I will assure we do play such a role. I was not directly involved in the preparation of OSU 2007 and, given my diverse experience as a participant in faculty governance, can be an objective leader of our efforts to implement a plan benefiting faculty, staff, students, and our land, sea, and space grant institution as a whole.

  2. Resolution of the "tenure question."

    Tenure is the foundation of academic freedom. Black's Law Dictionary defines tenured faculty as "those members of a school's teaching staff who hold their position for life or until retirement." Economic cause may lead to dismissal of tenured faculty, but no individual can be singled out for selective dismissal. It appears that OSU Extension Service administration may have violated this fundamental tenet of academic freedom in meeting recently imposed budget reductions, but perhaps not. The Faculty Senate needs to carefully analyze the circumstances of this case, and take collective action to insure that it sets no precedent for the future management of budgets specifically, and faculty in general. A longer-term commitment to the investigation is desirable either by the Promotion and Tenure Committee or another group appointed by the Executive Committee. As a former Extension faculty member, I can provide knowledge and leadership to such an inquiry and subsequent recommendations to administration.

  3. Building faculty influence in the administration of our university.

    Our faculty has, in my opinion, played less than a leading role in university administration over the years, although it is evident that Provost White and others are encouraging more active faculty involvement in administration. The Faculty Senate President, a member of the University Cabinet, has the opportunity to bring faculty initiatives, concerns, and reactions to higher administration in the appropriate forum and in a constructive manner. Because I have served on a large number of university-level committees and related capacities in close involvement with higher administration, I have the experience to constructively interact with administration. I will do so in a manner that is direct, discreet, and informed.