Faculty members to be featured on banners on and off campus

The smiling faces of nearly 60 UO faculty members will soon be flying on banners on campus and into town, highlighting outstanding teaching and scholarship.

By mid June the banners will be installed along the Agate/University corridor and East 13th and 15th avenues on campus, and along the Ferry Street Bridge off campus. Each of the 59 banners will feature a portrait of a faculty member, a quote, and the reason the person is being featured, such as excellence in teaching, research, mentorship or leadership.

Each banner also features a QR code that takes people to a webpage highlighting all the faculty members.

“We hope that this new recognition will instill pride in our community and inspire everyone to strive for excellence in their own work,” said Janet Woodruff-Borden, interim provost and executive vice president.

The initiative aligns with the university’s Excellence in Action efforts and is intended to improve the academic and campus culture, Woodruff-Borden said.

Troy Elias, associate vice provost for diversity and inclusion, said the idea for the banners was born out of the pandemic.

“It’s pretty clear across campus our sense of community has been disrupted by the pandemic,” he said. “Campuswide, morale has taken a hit.”

Elias began thinking of ways to rebuild a sense of community and to acknowledge the diversity, curiosity, ingenuity, leadership and shared sense of commitment faculty members bring to campus. “All the things that make us special,” he said.

The banners, he said, will serve “as reminders of that every day while we’re on campus, for faculty and for students as well to learn about the things that are happening across our campus.” 

Faculty members were selected for the banners based on earning outstanding teaching and scholarship awards, achieving research excellence, or playing leadership roles in university governance. Faculty members were able to opt out the project without explanation if they wished.

The criteria highlight faculty excellence found in “various pockets around campus,” said Denita Strietelmeier, program manager for the project. The featured faculty members are a diverse group at different points in their careers and from a broad range of academic disciplines, she said.

“You get to see diversity of thought, expertise, and how faculty contribute to excellence on campus,” she said. “It’s a beautiful lens into our faculty.”

The next iteration of the banner project will use different criteria, or another lens, to feature faculty excellence, she said.

Twelve of the banners will be on Ferry Street for 28 days, while the remainder will be on campus at least until the start of fall term.

Reaction from the current group of faculty members has been positive, Elias said.“There’s been some shyness, some concern that we’ll continue to add faculty in the future, and it will rotate,” he said. “The impetus behind this was community, and for the most part people have reciprocated exactly that.”

By Tim Christie, Office of the Provost