The University of Portland invites nominations for the 2021 Commencement speaker(s), Christus Magister Medal recipient, and honorary degree recipients. All nominations should be emailed to University Provost Herbert Medina (email@example.com) and Evan Leadem, President’s Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) and should contain the following information:
- Name of nominee.
- A paragraph or two answering the following questions:
- If a nominee for Commencement Speaker: Why would this nominee be an exceptional Commencement Speaker? What sort of message would this nominee deliver to the graduates of the University and their families?
- If a nominee for Christus Magister Medal: How has this nominee evinced a vigorous spiritual life and an accomplished professional career in service to others? How has this nominee been a source of inspiration and consolation to the world? How has this nominee illustrated and enhanced the mission of the University of Portland?
- If a nominee for Honorary Degree: How has this nominee contributed to the University’s values of teaching and learning, faith and formation, and service and leadership? What impact has this person had on his/her local community and/or the world? Is this a person that the University would like for its students and faculty to imitate in their own lives?
- Any contact information for the nominee (if possible).
- Any connection between the nominee and the University of Portland (if applicable).
For a list of past honorees, please use this link.
University president Rev. Mark L. Poorman, C.S.C., sent the following message to the UP community on Friday, October 2, with updates on the University’s COVID response and plans:
I begin this message with a sentiment that I have expressed often in emails to the UP community: gratitude. I am grateful for your flexibility and understanding as we have navigated extraordinary challenges together as a University community. I am grateful for the optimism, ingenuity, and resolve with which you have approached remote learning and our University’s modified mode of operations. Most of all, however, I am grateful for how you have supported one another and maintained the close bonds that UP is known for despite the distance that separates us. For all that you have done and will continue to do, know of my heartfelt thanks.
Later today, I will write to UP students and families with news about a topic that is top-of-mind for many in our community: plans for the Spring 2021 Semester. Given the centrality of the student experience at UP, I now share my message to students and families with you, our employees. I have also included additional details that pertain specifically to faculty and staff, so I encourage you to review this message in its entirety.
Before providing details, I must once again emphasize that the course of the COVID-19 pandemic is ever-changing. As we have seen today in news out of Washington, D.C., COVID-19 continues to affect people across the country. We continue to pray for all who have been impacted by this pandemic and all who are on the frontlines. In light of shifting circumstances and the advice we receive from public health authorities, we may need to pivot rapidly. The patience and nimbleness you have demonstrated thus far will be more vital than ever in the coming months.
After consulting with the University’s COVID-19 Steering Committee, members of the Board of Regents, the Provost’s Council, the President’s Leadership Cabinet, and others, I am announcing the following mode of operations for the Spring 2021 Semester.
On-Campus Residency and Dining
At this time, we believe it is possible to welcome some residential students back to campus if we de-densify residence halls, implement a robust testing protocol, and abide by health and safety practices. Students will be welcomed to return and reside in single-occupancy rooms. Capacity on campus will be reduced, so it will be necessary to prioritize requests for housing. First-year students and students who are currently residing on campus will receive priority, followed by upper-class students with compelling needs to reside on campus. All room rates will be based on double-occupancy. First-year students are not required to reside on campus if they so choose.
We understand that some members of the community will question the decision to give on-campus housing priority to first-year students. At UP, we regard shared residency as critical to forming community and creating bonds among students. We believe that the first-year students should be given first opportunity to reside in residence halls and receive the foundational community experience enjoyed by students before them.
We are communicating to students that campus life next semester will be different from previous semesters. Large social gatherings will be strictly prohibited, off-campus travel will be strongly discouraged, and violations of health and safety protocols may result in discipline. The Division of Student Affairs will develop programming and activities for on-campus students that allow for community-building in a responsible way.
We are currently working with our partners at Bon Appétit Management Company on dining plans for next semester.
The Office of Residence Life will provide more information to students by October 19, 2020.
Instruction and Academic Calendar
Most instruction will remain online for the Spring 2021 Semester. A limited number of laboratory, clinical, and experiential courses will be held in-person. We are also exploring the possibility of offering first-year students who reside on or near campus an in-person academic experience; planning in this area is ongoing. The idea of allowing faculty who will be teaching introductory courses (especially courses in the Core) to opt-in to teach an in-person course for the first-year students is being discussed by various academic leaders, including the deans, associate deans, the Executive Committee of the Academic Senate, and the CAS Chairs. Overall, the idea has been well received, and more details will be forthcoming soon.
We plan to delay the start of the semester by two weeks, to Monday, January 25. Doing so will allow students who are moving to campus to have sufficient time to travel, undergo COVID-19 testing, and receive their test results. This delay will also provide faculty members more time to prepare Spring courses. Final exams will be administered from May 3 through May 6. Similar to other universities and colleges throughout the country, for the health and safety of the campus community, we will forgo the traditional full week of Spring Break. Rather, we will have two 2-day, mid-week pauses during the semester when classes will not be held. Also, the University will not hold classes on Friday, April 2 in recognition of Good Friday. Classes will be held on Easter Monday.
The Office of the Provost will provide more specific details about the academic calendar and registration for the Spring 2021 Semester by October 19, 2020.
In-Person Work for Employees
Due to the University’s return to limited on-campus residency next semester, some employees will be asked to return to on-campus work. More information will be provided by supervisors in the weeks ahead. Until employees hear otherwise, they should continue to work remotely to the maximum extent possible.
Testing, Vaccinations, and Health and Safety Protocols for Students
The University has developed a multi-faceted protocol for COVID-19 testing among students.
First, all students residing in on-campus residence halls will be tested at the start of the semester using a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test. Currently, results are usually being received within 48 hours. Students will be instructed to limit their activity while awaiting their test results. If a student tests positive, they will be required to isolate in the University’s designated isolation residence hall.
Additionally, the University will conduct regular surveillance COVID-19 testing in two manners. First, samples of on-campus students will undergo rapid COVID-19 testing each week. These rapid tests typically provide results in approximately 15 minutes. Second, the University intends to regularly test residence hall wastewater for indications of COVID-19. Taken together, these strategies will help us gather critical data that can assist in mitigating the COVID-19 risk on campus.
Finally, the University will conduct symptomatic COVID-19 testing for all students, regardless of whether they reside on- or off-campus. PCR testing will be provided to students with COVID-19 symptoms, students who test positive during surveillance testing, and students who have been exposed to people with COVID-19.
The University is currently developing a dashboard that will provide information to community members about our COVID-19 testing results. This dashboard will go live in January. UP will also support Multnomah County’s contact tracing efforts, and surveillance testing strategies will be informed by the University’s own exposure tracking.
Further, the University has reserved an on-campus residence hall for isolation. Students in isolation will live in apartment-style accommodations with necessary amenities and close support from our COVID-19 case management team.
We are also strongly encouraging all students to receive an influenza vaccination prior to returning to campus. While getting a flu vaccine does not protect against COVID-19, the vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization, and death, and getting a flu vaccine can save healthcare resources for the care of patients with COVID-19.
The health and safety protocols that were announced during the summer will be in effect for the Spring 2021 Semester. This includes mandatory mask wearing, social distancing requirements, and strict limitations on social gatherings. Additionally, students residing on-campus will be required to complete a daily health check and submit to surveillance testing when requested. Students will also be required to comply with all quarantine and isolation directives they receive from the Health & Counseling Center.
Testing, Vaccinations, and Health and Safety Protocols for Employees
The details of our approach to COVID-19 testing of employees are being finalized. More information will be provided as soon as it is available.
As with students, we are asking that all employees receive an influenza vaccination prior to returning to campus. While getting a flu vaccine does not protect against COVID-19, the vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization, and death, and getting a flu vaccine can save healthcare resources for the care of patients with COVID-19.The health and safety protocols that apply to students (e.g., mandatory mask wearing, social distancing, etc.) will also apply to employees.
Furloughs, Salary Reductions, and Benefit Changes
We do not yet know how next semester’s shift in operations will impact the University’s finances. We will gain a better sense for our financial standing once the semester draws closer. More information will be provided as soon as possible.
What Has Changed Since Late July?
In my message of July 30, I stated that the main considerations influencing our decision to deliver primarily remote instruction and keep the residence halls closed included the significant upward trends in infection rates over the summer months in Oregon and neighboring states, along with an increasing number of deaths from COVID-19. Likewise, the slow turn-around time in testing (10-12 days in July) was cause for concern.
While the pandemic has not dissipated as we would have hoped, we now believe that conditions will permit de-densified on-campus residency in the spring if we take additional health and safety precautions. While some recent spikes in infection rates have occurred, overall infection rates on the West Coast have flattened since late July. Also, testing turnaround times have improved dramatically. We are now able to receive PCR results in approximately 48 hours. Further, more accurate, less expensive, and more timely testing has been and is continuing to be developed.
Finally, UP has closely studied the experiences of other colleges and universities across the country. Our COVID-19 Steering Committee members have been in close contact with their counterparts at other institutions and have gained a sense for how to mitigate the risks of COVID-19. As we continue to develop and implement our plans for the Spring, we will remain in contact with colleagues from other colleges and universities.
Once again, however, I emphasize that the health and safety of our community members come first. If we determine that conditions no longer permit on-campus residency, we will be ready to pivot to a different mode of operations.
More detailed information on our plans for the Spring 2021 Semester are forthcoming from the Office of Residence Life, the Office of the Provost, and others by October 19. I thank you in advance for your patience. In the meantime, if you have questions, please direct them to email@example.com.
Making a success of next semester will be our shared responsibility. All of us will have to make sacrifices and remain vigilant if we are to keep our fellow community members safe and successfully return to de-densified on-campus residency next semester. We have all seen vivid examples of what can happen if a university community fails to abide by health and safety protocols. I am confident, however, that our University of Portland community–a community filled with goodness, wisdom, grace, and care for one another–can succeed. I am confident that, as Pilots, we can unify around our shared desire for a successful semester and a University environment in which students, faculty, and staff feel safe.
I thank you in advance for your efforts to make these plans a success, and I thank you for your patience as we continue to communicate important information to the campus community in the coming weeks.
I pray that this message finds you and your families safe.
Due to continued poor air quality in Portland, our modified campus operations will remain in effect on, Tuesday, September 15. With limited exception, any employee whose work responsibilities require them to be outside are asked to stay at home tomorrow and not come to work. For such employees, tomorrow will be considered a paid holiday. Further, any in-person instruction/activity scheduled for tomorrow must be conducted indoors; no outdoor instruction/activities are permitted.
All employees are once again encouraged to consult the Oregon Health Authority’s Wildfire and Smoke website for additional information on staying safe.
Further updates on the University’s operating status will be provided as necessary. Along with the Holy Cross Community at UP, I am praying for you, your loved ones, and all who have been impacted by the wildfires.
University president Rev. Mark L. Poorman, C.S.C., shared the following message with the UP community on Friday, June 19:
Dear UP Community Members,
I pray that this message finds you and your loved ones safe and well. I hope that you will join me in reflecting on today’s celebration of Juneteenth and praying that our nation may know peace, justice, and healing.
One month ago, I wrote to you about our plans for a return to in-person instruction and on-campus residentiality for the Fall 2020 Semester. In the weeks that have followed my message, teams across the University have worked tirelessly to develop procedures and protocols for our new academic year this August.
Today, I’m excited to share our Back to The Bluff website with you. This website will be a hub of information and resources for the Fall Semester. I encourage you to return to the site often as many of our protocols are still in development and our understanding of COVID-19 continues to evolve.
Our return to campus this August will look and feel different than semesters past. All community members will be required to wear face masks in public settings. Physical distancing will be necessary. Classrooms and residence halls will be de-densified. Testing, contact tracing, quarantining, and isolation will be aspects of our new reality. But I’m confident that the things that make UP so special – our warmth, our community, our care for one another – will enable us to thrive despite the challenges we face.
Once again, please know of my prayers your continued health and safety. On behalf of all of us at the University of Portland, we can’t wait to welcome you Back to The Bluff this August!
The following message was sent via email to the University community on Friday, June 12:
We hope that this email finds you and your loved ones safe and well.
As UP’s leaders, we write to you today in follow-up to our message of Monday, June 1. In the weeks that have followed the death of George Floyd on a street in Minneapolis, we have listened to the voices of many who have shared their experiences of pain, trauma, and discrimination. We have listened to the voices of people who boldly proclaim that Black Lives Matter amidst a stream of structures and systems that emphatically signal to them that they do not. We have listened to the voices of people in our own UP community – especially the voices of African Americans and other people of color – as they have shared their dismay, anguish, and exhaustion with a lived experience in which their God-given human dignity is denied. We have heard these voices.
Let there be no doubt about where we stand as a Catholic, Holy Cross institution. At the University of Portland, we affirm that Black Lives Matter, we stand in solidarity with our Black community members, and we commit ourselves to the cause of anti-racism. To do anything less would be to shirk our responsibilities and betray our calling as people of faith.
Many in our community rightly demand action. As an institution of higher education, we wield some of the most powerful tools in the fight against racism, discrimination, and bigotry. We believe with deep conviction that true, lasting change comes from teaching, research, service, and formation – endeavors at which UP excels. We also believe with deep conviction that such true, lasting change cannot merely be “top down.” Indeed, it is incumbent upon each one of us, whether we are an administrative leader, a faculty member, a staff member, or a student, to examine our positionality, consider our privilege, take stock of our talents, and leverage them to bring about a more just, peaceful, and compassionate world.
Members of our community rightly ask, “what can we do?” At an institutional level, we invite you to explore this PilotsUP website and the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion website which provide useful resources and address many of the steps that UP has taken, and continues to take, to combat systemic racism. We list representative examples of ongoing initiatives and announce some new initiatives here:
- We will redouble our efforts to establish a major and minor in Ethnic Studies within three to five years and will resume our national search for an Ethnic Studies faculty member.
- We will implement training modules on issues of institutional racism and implicit bias that will be mandatory for all students, faculty, and staff.
- We will strengthen efforts to recruit and retain faculty, staff, and students from underrepresented groups. Such efforts will include the continued implementation of industry best practices when it comes to faculty search committees, outreach to high schools and organizations that serve prospective students from underrepresented backgrounds, and enhancements to on-campus services that promote the well-being and success of community members of color.
- We will further empower the President’s Advisory Commission on Inclusion to collaborate with the Office of International Education, Diversity, and Inclusion on initiatives, programming, and events that will center the voices and lived experiences of people of color, and support such efforts with increased funding.
- We will implement the University’s revitalized Core Curriculum beginning in 2021. This new curriculum features two “habits of heart and mind,” Commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, and the Common Good and Global and Historical Consciousness, that have a clear nexus to issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and cross-cultural understanding. We commit to issuing additional grants for innovative course development within these habits.
- We will place renewed focus on scholarship programs that widen access to UP among underrepresented groups, such as the Davis Scholars, SHE-CAN, and the various scholarships established by UP community members.
- We will use the coming year’s ReadUP program as a platform for all students, faculty, and staff to read and discuss a literary work that addresses issues of racism.
- We will continue to invest in and promote existing University organizations that promote inter-cultural awareness, engagement, and empathy, such as the Collaborative for International Studies & Global Outreach (CISGO).
- We commit to strengthening the University’s relationships with community organizations at the vanguard of advocacy for historically marginalized populations, such as the NAACP, Urban League, and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
- We will continue to sponsor signature events that present our community with the chance to engage deeply in issues of racism, inclusion, and cultural humility, such as MLK Day ON, Faculty Development Day, and Staff Development Day.
Following a wide-ranging national search, Herbert A. Medina, currently dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, has been appointed to the role of Provost effective July 1. The search for Thomas Greene’s successor attracted more than 300 applicants.
Medina has served as dean and professor of mathematics since 2018. His leadership of CAS has been marked by devotion to student well-being and success, dedication to faculty support and development, and unwavering commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. He has been a champion of experiential learning, directed the study and development of new academic programs, and has already played an important role in faculty and staff searches at the University.
An exemplary teacher-scholar, Medina is rightly beloved by his students and has earned widespread recognition for his research in functional analysis, wavelets, and polynomial approximations. He is deeply committed to the University’s Catholic and Holy Cross mission and its call for all community members to be engaged in the work of social justice, radical hospitality, and advancement of the Catholic intellectual tradition. As a leader and a colleague, Medina’s style is communicative, transparent, collaborative, compassionate, and humbly confident.
Prior to joining UP, Medina enjoyed a highly successful 26-year career as a professor and administrative leader at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He was associate dean of LMU’s Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering before his appointment as CAS dean at UP. He holds a B.S. in mathematics and computer science from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a M.A. and Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley.
For more information contact the president’s office at x7105 or firstname.lastname@example.org.