Catherine Dyck appointed as acting chancellor of OUS

A successor to current Oregon University System Chancellor Melody Rose was chosen during a meeting of the Board of Higher Education on July 11. Catherine Dyck, current vice chancellor of Finance & Administration for OUS, was appointed as acting chancellor and chief financial officer by a unanimous vote.

Dyck’s term, which will begin on Aug. 16, will follow the departure of Rose, who has been appointed as the new president of Marylhurst University.

Rose’s departure is one of a series of changes affecting OUS in the coming year. In 2013, the Oregon legislature passed Senate Bill 270, which allowed Portland State, Oregon State University and the University of Oregon to establish their own institutional governing boards, subsequently removing them from OUS on July 1. Southern Oregon University, Western Oregon University, Oregon Tech and Eastern Oregon University will follow suit and establish their own governing boards by July 1, 2015.

At the July 11 meeting, board members discussed these changes including work prioritization of the Technical and Regional Universities (SOU, WOU, OIT and EOU). Rose also proposed the creation of a new position, combining the role of chancellor and chief financial officer into one office.

“We worked through a process of trying to identify the proper title and scope of responsibilities and landed… on the title of acting chancellor,” Rose said. “We also happen to have to have a chief financial officer, and that works as [Dyck’s] role currently.”

Because the Board of Higher Education will not be seeking a permanent occupant for the role of chancellor, the title of acting chancellor was chosen instead of interim.

“There was some dialogue among senior board leaders about that title ‘acting,’ and does it really fit our circumstances versus interim,” Rose said. “We’re academic, so we’re going to argue about these things. And you know, I don’t think that in terms of our traditional nomenclature that it’s a perfect fit, but I think it perfectly reflects our current situation.”

Before board members voted on the new position and its occupant, Rose expressed her high hopes for Dyck.

“[Dyck’s] background, as you all know, is in finance and administration. She has served at [New] Mexico State University. She served along with me at Portland State University in a variety of roles,” Rose said. “She brings deep, working knowledge of budgets, deep leadership experience and [she is] very skilled at handling personnel issues.”

While Dyck faces a challenging year ahead, she remains optimistic about the changes to come.

“There is no doubt that this will be a year of continuing challenges and change, but I’m confident that the board leadership…will be able to accomplish all that we set out to do this year,” Dyck said. “We’re going to prepare and execute a successful closure of the Oregon University System after 83 years.”