Starting this summer and culminating in the next, the Oregon University System is undergoing radical changes in how they govern the public universities in the state. One of the most dramatic changes to OUS will be the departure of Melody Rose, who has served as the interim chancellor since March 2013. Rose is leaving OUS to become the president of Marylhurst University” target=”_blank”>Marylhurst University.
“I look forward to joining Marylhurst University, and to work closely with students, faculty and staff in service to this community,” Rose said. “Marylhurst’s history of serving underserved students speaks to me as a first-generation college graduate, and I am delighted to build upon the university’s mission and vision in order to maintain and create pathways to higher education.”
Before her time at OUS, Rose held numerous positions at Portland State. She was vice provost for Academic Programs and Instruction, chair of the Division of Political Science and oversaw the University Studies and Honors programs. Rose was also the founder and first director of the Center for Women, Politics and Policy.
In her time as chancellor of OUS, Rose directed the process of decentralization for the state’s public universities, which officially began on July 1, 2014. In the new system, PSU, the University of Oregon and Oregon State University will be governed by their own boards of trustees. On July 1, 2015 Oregon’s smaller public universities will go through the same change.
“It’s complex; the unraveling of this 85-year-old system,” said Di Saunders, former OUS director of communications and current associate vice president for communications and public affairs for the Oregon Institute of Technology. “Now we are four legal entities, next July there will seven legal entities.”
Saunders believes that Rose effectively led her staff though the decentralization.
“She has been an excellent leader who guided us through this transition process. It’s always difficult when an organization is changing its role, then downsizing, then going away,” Saunders said. “She helped people internally stay focused on the work at hand, the important role they were playing, keep their spirits up. She’s a very transparent leader, she shared information.”
As well as directing the decentralization process, Rose publicly fought to lower the cost of a college education for Oregonians.
“She pounded the drum,” Saunders said. “She’s politically connected. All the legislative activity that needed to be complete, she was on all of that. She was very instrumental in getting the tuition freeze for students, she went all over the state talking to editorial boards, in the hallways in Salem talking about affordability issues, saying we really need to make a dent in college costs for students.”
Rose will begin her presidency at Marylhurst University in mid-August. OUS has not named an official successor to Rose at this time.