After more than a decade of dedicated service, James C. Bean, senior associate dean for academic programs, former Lundquist College dean, and former University of Oregon provost, is moving on to become provost of Northeastern University in Boston.
His achievements and contributions are too many for this space, but here are a few to consider when reflecting on Jim’s time with us.
During his time as dean and Harry B. Miller Professor of Business from 2004 to 2008, Bean led a $57 million campaign for the Lundquist College of Business, initiated centers of excellence within the college, and led the move of the Oregon Executive MBA from Beaverton to 200 Market Street in downtown Portland.
As senior vice president and provost of the University of Oregon from 2008 to 2013, Bean served under four different university presidents, adapting to each while creating transformative initiatives for the UO, including the responsibility centered budget model or RCM. This type of budgeting and reporting model calls for revenue-generating units to self-fund operations as well as pay their portion of administrative costs.
In recognition of several factors—including the state’s majority disinvestment from higher education, the public’s desire for heightened accountability from higher education, and advances in technology—Bean led the development of the university’s first Academic Plan. It evaluated the university’s capacities, opportunities, and challenges and how it could navigate its future in a “distinctively Oregonian” way. Critical and defining features of the mission included reinforcing our status as a public partner with the State of Oregon. A second precept of the plan involved preserving our core value of a liberal arts education promoting lifelong learning and ethical living. Finally, it called for the fulfillment of our foundational mission as a comprehensive research university.
In summer 2009, the Big Ideas selection committee, initiated by Bean, selected five concepts that aimed to help shape the future of the university. Six years later they are more relevant than ever: Sustainable Cities, Bridging the Americas, Global Oregon, Human Health and Performance, and Green Product Design.
Back at the Lundquist College in mid-2013, Bean immediately got to work on our Sports Product Management (SPM) program. Alumni, donors, and partners caught the SPM vision and pledged support. Thanks in no small part to his assiduous work, the initiative swiftly gained status as a recognized program. Once announced, the college was flooded with inquiries and applications—nearly 51 applications and 346 pre-applications at last count, with approximately one-third coming from abroad.
This dedication to Portland programs, both in pedagogy and physical space, is quintessentially “Jim.”
These achievements were also echoed by UO Acting Senior Vice President and Provost Frances Bronet.
“It is with Jim that Big Ideas were launched,” she said. “Jim helped mobilize leadership across campus resulting in a huge leap in interdisciplinary collaboration at UO. On my wish list is the opportunity to teach a class with Jim—which was our plan when we were both deans. I guess we could try it cross-institutionally as provosts. But for me, most importantly, Jim was and is a generous partner. I cannot thank him enough.”
I wish to close with a personal note of gratitude and friendship. Jim and I have had what must be one of the more unusual relationships in academe. Five years ago as provost he hired me to run the Lundquist College of Business. I reported to him and collaborated with him on a number of initiatives, notably our progress in Portland.
Four years later, after stepping down from the provost position, he agreed to come back to the Lundquist College as senior associate dean reporting to me. For many people and in many organizations such a reversal of roles would be unthinkable. For us it never was an issue. What is more, it never was an issue with our faculty and staff. Our mutual respect and friendship simply trumped any thoughts about rank and authority. I will miss him as a colleague and friend, and I wish him all the best in his new venture.
Cornelis A. “Kees” de Kluyver
Rippey Distinguished Professor