Faculty Union Bargaining

Contact Information 

Emily Ann Farrell, JD, Esq. [She/They*]
Director Employee & Labor Relations
Office of University Human Resources
[email protected] 

The initial Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between UAOSU and the University was concluded in spring 2020 during the early stages of the pandemic. The Agreement states that either the Union or the University may initiate negotiations during the 2023-2024 academic year.  Negotiations would relate to the creation of a successor collective bargaining agreement and are anticipated by both Parties as a continuation of their work together.

Further resources can be found at Faculty Union Bargaining - Additional Resources.

Review the University Labor & Bargaining Team.

Bargaining Principles

As Oregon State University enters bargaining with United Academics of Oregon State University, OSU is committed to collaboratively, accountably, and transparently reaching a successor collective bargaining agreement with the United Academics of Oregon State University that is informed by the 2024-2030 OSU Strategic Planning Initiatives and is in alignment with fundamental values of OSU, which include:

  1. "Increase our excellence by valuing and integrating the diverse lived experiences, perspectives, and viewpoints within Oregon State and the communities we serve."
  2. "Continually adapt to and remove barriers and create equitable outcomes for communities denied access to opportunity."
  3. "Engage communities the university serves to build mutual and resilient relationships to advance shared goals."
  4. "Reckon with injustice in our institutional history and pursue reconciliation through humility and transparency."

Faculty Union Bargaining Updates (Current)

The OSU and UAOSU bargaining teams met on the Corvallis campus Thursday, June 13, to continue ongoing negotiations.

The university bargaining team shared economic proposals as part of OSU’s overall package contract proposal. Package proposals are shared in collective bargaining negotiations with the understanding that the proposal includes contract elements that are considered “gives,” tied to elements that are considered “asks,” with the intent that all proposed articles brought forth be accepted or declined collectively.

As part of its package proposal, the university bargaining team shared the following:

  • Article XXX, Term of Agreement. The OSU bargaining team proposed extending the duration of the collective bargaining agreement to align with OSU’s current strategic plan due to be concluded on June 30, 2030. The university sees this term of agreement as being beneficial to employees and also ongoing relationship building occurring between UAOSU and the university.
  • Article XVII, Research Support and Copyright. The OSU bargaining team accepted UAOSU language regarding notice for non-approval for bridge funding, and largely declined additions proposed by UAOSU related to budgetary allocations that the university believes infringe upon Article VI, Management Rights. The university proposal commits to sustaining language in the existing agreement with UAOSU.
  • Article XVIII, Compensation. The university bargaining team communicated that the large number of proposed spending increases for both salaries and other items would be well beyond the capacity of OSU to support without substantial tuition increases, and therefore careful choices would be necessary. The university bargaining team proposed 4% increases to academic faculty salary minimums for those represented faculty positions with established minimums. If accepted by the union, these increased salary minimums would be effective July 1, 2024 (for 12-month appointments or September 16, 2024 for 9-month appointments). Additionally, the university proposed merit increases over the proposed term of the contract of approximately $26 million in total, or 9.33%. Furthermore, the university proposed increasing the current value of “sea pay” to $150 per day, up from current sea pay compensation of $100 per day, while providing additional flexibility within the employing units to allow for payment above the minimum, as appropriate. Finally, the bargaining teams discussed the process for making out-of-cycle compensation increases and the OSU bargaining team accepted UAOSU’s proposed inclusion of two additional sections within the article clarifying overload pay and course cancelation compensation.
  • Article XIX, Benefits. The university bargaining team proposed maintaining the university’s current contribution of 95% of an employee’s cost of health insurance premiums and declined to accept expansive language proposed by UAOSU that impacts auxiliary units (Transportation & Parking), as well as tuition reduction language that is agreed to by all Oregon public universities. The university bargaining team also declined proposed language by UAOSU that seeks to codify rights in the contract for retirees, who are not represented employees in their retired capacity.
  • Article XX, Leaves. The OSU bargaining team’s proposal maintained best-in-class leave entitlements that meet the state’s minimum requirements. The OSU bargaining team is open to continued discussion with UAOSU related to the function of donated sick leave. The challenge is that the university’s current administrative systems are not well suited to tracking leave donations and use efficiently (it would come at high administrative cost), but the ongoing Administration Modernization Project may help solve the problem. The OSU bargaining team stressed that academic faculty—as exempt employees—already enjoy significant work and schedule flexibility and therefore declined to accept overly restrictive language related to inclement weather and closure leaves that are more appropriately addressed by university policy rather than the collective bargaining agreement.
  • Finally, the OSU bargaining team passed a counter proposal to the Letter of Agreement: Support for Caregivers. The OSU university bargaining team said the university is engaged in multiple areas to address community interest of OSU doing more to support family caregiving needs for employees. The OSU bargaining team is committed to working with UAOSU to continue the conversation in a joint labor management committee forum which, if accepted, would begin in fall 2024.

The UAOSU and university teams are scheduled to return to the bargaining table on June 18 to continue negotiations.

The OSU and UAOSU bargaining teams met on the Corvallis campus Thursday, May 30, to continue ongoing negotiations.

The university bargaining team shared a counter proposal on Article XIII, Faculty Appointments, accepting elements of a concept proposed by UAOSU that would enable use of a continuous appointment process for faculty who were previously on fixed-term appointments but have achieved their second promotion.  The impact of utilizing a continuous appointment process would be that the appointment would be considered to have a start date but no designated end date, and as such, would not require yearly notices of reappointment. The bargaining parties had robust discussion at the table related to language proposed by UAOSU that would restrict and, in many cases, eliminate “joint appointments” or “split appointments,” which the OSU bargaining team declined. The university is not in favor of restricting joint appointments as it supports maintaining consistency between position descriptions and appointments commensurate with the work being performed. The university’s position also considers added context of contractual and specific work obligations related to grant agreements and funding mechanisms.

The OSU bargaining team presented a counter proposal on Article IX, Academic Freedom, accepting language under a new section entitled “Service,” which clarifies that bargaining unit members shall have freedom to participate in a system of shared governance and to contribute to the governance of their academic unit, college and the university as appropriate to their classification and rank. The university bargaining team declined expansive language proposed by UAOSU, however, that included description of shared governance purpose and process, as well as language specifying the roles of the OSU Faculty Senate and its committees. It is OSU’s position that the bargaining agreement should not include reference to a party that is not represented by the contract and does not have rights granted by the CBA as a non-party to the agreement (such as Faculty Senate). The university bargaining team has consistently maintained that OSU does not have an interest in conflating within the contract the roles of management, the union and the Faculty Senate. The latter is the university’s shared governance partner.

The university bargaining team also presented a counter proposal to Article XII Academic Classification and Rank, accepting UAOSU’s proposed inclusion of reference to Professor of Teaching within the contract, which is consistent with a prior letter of agreement between the parties. The OSU bargaining team also accepted language that provides faculty the right to petition University Human Resources, after first requesting a review by their supervisor of their position for potential recategorization or reclassification, if the faculty member believes their assigned duties more closely resemble a position in a different job category or classification. The university declined to accept language proposed by UAOSU that would severely restrict the university’s ability to reclassify or recategorize employees commensurate with work being performed. The university’s position is that work performed should be appropriately reflected in classification and compensation.

The university received counter proposals from the UAOSU bargaining team on Article XV, Periodic Review of Faculty, removing proposed language relating to Performance Improvement Plans (PIP), acknowledging the OSU bargaining team’s concern that the language as presented could have been received as tying PIPs to disciplinary processes. UAOSU also revived prior proposed language that the OSU bargaining team previously declined relating to expanding performance assessment obligations.

The union bargaining team presented a counter proposal to Article XXI, Discipline and Termination, accepting many of the elements that the parties had previously discussed. The union’s proposed new language is tied to UAOSU’s prior acknowledgement relating to PIPs in Article XV, Periodic Review of Faculty, that offers a proposed process for addressing work performance concerns through faculty review processes.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for June 13.
 

The OSU and UAOSU bargaining teams met on the Corvallis campus Wednesday, May 15, to continue ongoing negotiations.

The university bargaining team shared a counter proposal on Article XVI, Promotion and/or Tenure, accepting language proposed by UAOSU with minor changes that academic units and colleges should consider including a promotion and tenure committee member with relevant context for evaluating contributions of an employee when that employee has job duties that are uncommon among faculty in their academic unit.  The OSU team also accepted language acknowledging the application of prior credit toward years in rank when specified at the time of hire, or reclassification or recategorization into a current position.

The parties had further discussion on the union’s proposed change in qualification of when a post tenure review (PTR) would be performed, replacing the word “negative” with “does not meet expectations,” which the university bargaining team accepted. The university bargaining team declined language relating to adding a “post-promotion review,” procedural language regarding PTR process, and the addition of language that would require the university to bargain any changes to the promotion and tenure guidelines regardless of whether those changes were mandatory subjects of bargaining or not, and regardless of whether the changes would have a substantial impact on employees.

The university received counter proposals from the UAOSU bargaining team on Letters of Agreement (LOA) relating to External Review Letters in the Promotion Process and Support for Caregivers that have both been previously passed. The UAOSU bargaining team indicated that its counter proposal on the LOA for External Review Letters in the Promotion Process included revised language meant to address the university bargaining team’s concern that it is not appropriate to include specific policy language for posting on the website in a LOA, while also seeking to address the union’s concern of aligning language on the website with the intent of the LOA. The union re-submitted the prior proposal in full, relating to Support for Caregivers. This proposal had previously been passed by UAOSU and declined by the OSU bargaining team. As previously indicated, the university is equally concerned about the  shortage of affordable childcare services present in communities across Oregon. OSU has expanded childcare centers run by the university, including bringing management of such centers within OSU operations, as well as undertaking additional projects expanding space available for childcare.

To conclude the session, UAOSU and the university bargaining team had additional discussion relating to the context in which many of the proposals have been interpreted up until this point.  As the OSU bargaining team has previously noted, while UAOSU has shared at multiple points through the process, a desire to be engaged in policy revisions undertaken by the university, the university has maintained its position that UAOSU is invited to raise concerns regarding substantial impact of policy revisions in appropriate forums. OSU continues to provide notice and opportunity for public comment on all policy revisions, and adheres to legal and mandatory bargaining obligations. OSU maintained that policy creation and revision remains a responsibility of university management, and that OSU adheres to shared governance principles as a core element of its management philosophy, inviting the Faculty Senate and other shared governance partners to engage within established practices as appropriate to the given issue. In that context, OSU’s position remains that it is not appropriate to conflate the roles of the Employer, Union, and the shared governance role of the Faculty Senate within the collective bargaining agreement.

The parties noted that there is much left to discuss relating to open articles, and the OSU team shared an ongoing commitment to continuing engagement in the collective bargaining process. Of note, nearly every article within the collective bargaining agreement has been opened by the union to bargain, as well as the addition of multiple proposed letters of agreement.  While both parties continue to progress in discussions related to outstanding items, the OSU bargaining team noted the significant breadth of open articles yet open to discussion and said it looks forward to continued engagement with the union at the bargaining table.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for May 30.
 

The OSU and UAOSU bargaining teams met on the Corvallis campus Wednesday, May 8, to continue ongoing negotiations.

The Union and university bargaining teams continued discussion relating to the pilot program previously agreed to, which temporarily eliminated required external reviewer letters in promotion cases for Senior Instructor I & II, Senior Faculty Research Assistants I & II, and Senior Research Associates I & II. While the parties have agreed to eliminate the requirement for external review letters for these employee categories, further discussion among the bargaining teams was necessary relating to the details of the change.

The university bargaining team shared multiple counterproposals during the bargaining session.

  • The university bargaining team provided a counterproposal to Article XXI: Discipline and Termination, again declining UAOSU proposed language that would require a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) to be completed prior to discipline of a faculty member. The university bargaining team said the proposal is contradictory language to the union’s stated position that PIPs are non-disciplinary tools and are not considered the first step of discipline. OSU’s position, and language the OSU bargaining team previously accepted from UAOSU on this article, clearly describes PIPs as non-disciplinary.
  • The OSU bargaining team also shared a counterproposal to Article XV: Periodic Review of Faculty (PROF). The university team declined language that the union had previously presented which would have the impact of incorporating expansive policy language relating to PIPs into the bargaining agreement.  OSU’s position is that such expansive policy and procedure language is not appropriate for inclusion in the contract and that PIPs are a non-disciplinary coaching tool that may be used when an employee’s work performance is determined to need improvement. Accordingly, the university bargaining team said that expansive language relating to PIPs is not appropriately included in the contract article that discusses the annual review cycle. The parties also had discussion relating to the timing of the review criteria to be used in a PROF. The OSU bargaining team presented language affirming that an employee would receive evaluation criteria in advance of the PROF. The OSU bargaining team indicated its position is supported with further language that clarifies evaluations should be consistent with position descriptions, work assignments, and expectations. The OSU bargaining team accepted proposed language incorporating an overall assessment of whether an employee meets, exceeds, or fails to meet expectations in fulfilling their job duties into the PROF.
  • Finally, the university bargaining team presented a counterproposal to Article IV: Union Rights, confirming the union’s right to request office space, which the union would pay for at the university’s customary rental rate for OSU office space. While not all external stakeholders are entitled to request office space within OSU locations, agreement to recognize the union’s right to request such space would set the union apart from other external stakeholders in this way. The university bargaining team declined additional language presented by the union that incorporated administrative management elements, such as specific designation of funding mechanisms and expansion of the union’s use of electronic platforms other than email for employee communication. OSU will comply with legal requirements and continues to provide access to email, as well as represented employee contact information required by applicable law. OSU also declined language proposed by UAOSU that would permanently waive charges associated with administering public information requests. Public records statutes permit OSU to charge for administrative services provided by the university when a particular request creates a financial burden associated with collecting information responsive to the request. The OSU bargaining team proposed compromise language committing to include additional information in the July report provided to the union that would reflect those individuals that were previously on a 9-month appointment and are expected to return to an academic appointment in the fall even though their appointment is not active during summer terms.

The university bargaining team received a counterproposal from UAOSU that acknowledged where the OSU bargaining team had previously accepted language proposed by the union, but UAOSU also proposed to restore language the OSU bargaining team had previously declined relating to: health and safety information for sites not owned or operated by OSU; how and when the university has an obligation to replace university property, with details relating to the process, funding, and reimbursement of such property; and significant policy language incorporating remote work and flexible work arrangements into the contract. In their proposal, the union recognized OSU’s position that flexible work arrangements are not a right but may be appropriate for some bargaining unit members. UAOSU also incorporated language with a stated intent of not undermining the ADA accommodations process but deferring to the appropriate resource. While the university’s position remains that policies and procedures are not appropriate for inclusion in the collective bargaining agreement, the university bargaining team appreciated the thoughtful engagement at the table relating to this article.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for May 15.

 

The OSU and UAOSU bargaining teams met on the Corvallis campus Wednesday, April 17, to continue ongoing negotiations.

The university bargaining team came prepared to share multiple proposals. In addition, the university was prepared to discuss an existing pilot program previously agreed to, in a Letter of Agreement, which temporarily eliminates required external reviewer letters in promotion cases for Senior Instructor I & II, Senior Faculty Research Assistants I & II, and Senior Research Associates I & II. The pilot program was scheduled to run from July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024, with the expectation that the elimination of an external reviewer requirement for promotion in these ranks would reduce barriers to promotion for candidates and reduce administrative burden.

OSU leadership has proposed making the pilot program permanent as a matter of reducing burden on both employees and administration.

The parties held robust discussion revolving primarily around whether a letter of agreement making the pilot program permanent should be considered non-precedent setting, and the appropriate manner for incorporating the voluntary inclusion of such letters in the promotional dossier. This discussion took the majority of the time allotted for the bargaining session and the university bargaining team did not share additional proposals at this session.

The university received two additional proposals for letters of agreement from UAOSU on Promotion Criteria. The first proposal related to overall Promotion Criteria, which the union indicated were intended to directly replace language within the current Promotion and Tenure guidelines. The second proposal related to the Professor of Teaching category. The union bargaining team shared UAOSU’s intent to request the Faculty Senate to develop promotion criteria for Professor of Teaching for consideration within the Promotion and Tenure guidelines. The university bargaining team will consider both proposals in the context presented and through the lens of broader priorities of equity, sustainability and consistent with priorities of independently maintaining the roles of the Employer and Union, and the shared governance role of the Faculty Senate.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for May 8.
 

The OSU and UAOSU bargaining teams met on the Corvallis campus Thursday, April 11, to continue ongoing negotiations.

The university bargaining team shared a counter proposal on Article V, Union Dues, declining union-proposed language which seeks to expand the university’s potential legal obligations for when and how to engage in bargaining. The university’s position is that expansion of Article V is unnecessary since OSU will meet its legal obligations relating to union dues, fees, etc. for bargaining unit members.

The university bargaining team also shared a counter proposal on Article XI, Non-Discrimination. UAOSU had previously resubmitted its proposal, restoring language that OSU had previously struck. In its counterproposal, the university affirmed the language strikes previously presented to the union and indicated that UAOSU’s restoration of previously stricken language is counter due to the union’s assertion that it is generally satisfied with how the current non-discrimination article language is working. The OSU bargaining team is committed to remain open to discussions related to issues around this subject, but reiterated that the university does not have an interest in expanding grievance options in a manner that would have the potential impact of circumventing established university processes related to investigations of bullying, harassment, retaliation and discrimination.

The university bargaining team ended its presentation of counter proposals with Article XXII, Grievance Procedure. Throughout a spirited discussion, the university bargaining team reiterated its position that it is not interested in restricting who the university’s Provost and Executive Vice President may delegate as designee for the purposes of responding to Step 3 Grievances, nor in creating a Step 3 Grievance alternative procedure to move a grievance to the Faculty Senate Faculty Grievance Committee. OSU’s position remains that it is not appropriate to conflate the roles of the Employer, Union and the shared governance role of the Faculty Senate. Further, the OSU bargaining team encouraged that informal and collaborative approaches to problem-solving be included in efforts to resolve grievance matters at the lowest level appropriate for an issue. The university team noted that despite hearing complaints from the union bargaining that there is a lack of collaboration, there have been no requests for labor management meetings in the last months or requests for ad hoc discussions that have not been facilitated, despite repeated invitations from the university to collaborate should need arise.

The university received counter proposals from bargaining team on Article XV, Periodic Review of Faculty and Article XXI, Discipline and Termination. Once again in both counters, previously struck language by the university bargaining team was restored by the union. The university bargaining team raised discussion of what the union is truly working toward with the proposed language, in an attempt to seek some clarity and identify some common ground. Through this discussion, concerns regarding transparency in performance reviews and the process outlined in Periodic Review of Faculty were highlighted as elements of concern for the union bargaining team.

During a discussion on Discipline and Termination, the union bargaining team  again presented previously proposed language reiterating the union’s insistence on requiring Performance Improve Plans (PIPs) for all performance concerns. The OSU bargaining team voiced concern around the applicability of PIPs in certain situations, and said that by making PIPs mandatory, the union’s proposal effectively diminishes the value of a PIP as an informal coaching tool.

To conclude the session, UAOSU presented a Letter of Agreement on Artificial Intelligence (AI) that broadly identified ways that AI might impact both the bargaining unit and work of the institution, and proposed a committee that would meet every six months to address any emerging issues. The OSU team pointed out that the union’s proposed letter of agreement did not specify timeframes for meetings and asked clarifying questions about timing, suggesting a meeting take place before the beginning of the 2024-25 academic year.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for April 17.
 

The OSU and UAOSU bargaining teams met on the Corvallis campus Wednesday, April 3, to continue negotiations.

The university bargaining team shared a counterproposal on Article VI: Management Rights; Article XXIX: Totality of the Agreement; and Article XXVIII: Separability. Changes proposed by the union on these articles related to when and how the university engages in its obligation to bargain. The union had proposed language that expanded these obligations, which OSU declined. The university bargaining team accepted and reframed language in its own counterproposal that acknowledges OSU’s obligation to provide notice in advance of changes that impose a duty to bargain.

The university accepted partial language proposed by UAOSU in Article VIII: Personnel Records, agreeing to respond to a personnel records inquiry by an employee within 14 days, and to provide an estimated time of delivery of information requested by an employee.

The university bargaining team also presented a counterproposal on Article X: Health, Safety, Facilities, and Work Site that accepted language relating to provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) and the replacement of equipment damaged during normal use in support of assigned work duties, with costs borne by OSU when the damage or loss is not the result of employee negligence. OSU also accepted language with additional proposed updates that clarify “university locations” within this article to mean locations where employees are assigned to conduct work, including ships and other field sites, in addition to already listed branch campuses, extension offices, experimental stations, research labs, and university centers.

The university bargaining team declined Article VIII language proposed by the union that would incorporate the full Flexible Work Arrangement Agreement (FWAA) policy and guidelines into the contract. OSU’s position is that FWAAs are not automatic, but instead are approved based on operational need, relevant responsibilities of the employee and the feasibility of flexible work arrangements on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, when a request to work remotely is made under the accommodations process, that request is processed under the Americans with Disabilities Act accommodations process, which is interactive in nature and led by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access (EOA). The language proposed by UAOSU would have created a presumption of flexible work in cases related to accommodations, which would have the impact of bypassing the interactive EOA process.

The university bargaining team received contract language proposals from UAOSU on Article V: Dues Deduction with limited proposed additions..

The union provided a counterproposal to Article IV: Union Rights which included proposed language relating to union-designated office space on campus, access to electronic communication platforms, additional language relating to union member list reports that are to be provided by OSU, and a request for access to information under information requests to be provided at no cost to the union. OSU’s position is that while the university occasionally waives application of the statutorily permitted fee for information requests, OSU does retain the right to assess such charges as appropriate. The union’s proposal also included additional language specifying the funding source for the “release time pool” allocated for employees who engage in conducting union business, contract administration, grievances and union governance. The university bargaining team indicated that while OSU previously agreed to such a funding pool in the inaugural contract, the mechanism by which the university allocates such funding is outside of the scope of the collective bargaining agreement and is instead an administrative process that is within management rights to determine.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Apr. 11.
 

The OSU and UAOSU bargaining teams met on the Corvallis campus Monday, March 25, to continue negotiations.

The university bargaining team shared a counterproposal on Article XXI: Discipline and Termination. OSU accepted the union’s proposal to include reference to Performance Improvement Plans (PIP) within the collective bargaining agreement, but declined language that would require a PIP to have been deemed unsuccessful prior to initiating any form of discipline.  OSU’s position is that a PIP is a non-disciplinary tool intended to help guide an employee in getting back on track to meet expectations.  Requiring a PIP prior to implementing discipline effectively includes PIPs as part of the disciplinary process. OSU also accepted with revisions, language from the union that when an employee has waived their right to union representation, the employer nevertheless will notify the union if any formal agreement in lieu of discipline or in addition to discipline is sought and share such agreement with the union prior to circulating to the employee.  The university bargaining team discussed with the UAOSU bargaining team that the university is aware that a formal agreement in lieu of discipline or in addition to discipline should not violate the labor agreement of a represented employee, and the university holds a strong position in favor of employee self-determination.  And, in the context of this type of agreement when an employee has waived representation, the university recognizes the union has an interest in having awareness of actions that may be taken relating to a formal agreement of represented employees.

The university bargaining team also responded to the union’s proposal relating to childcare and caregiver support, indicating that the university is similarly concerned about Oregon’s shortage of affordable childcare services and has expanded childcare centers run by OSU, including bringing management of such centers within OSU operations, as well as undertaking additional projects expanding space available for childcare. As these projects are in active implementation at this time, the OSU bargaining team declined the union’s proposal.

The university bargaining team also received numerous contract language proposals from UAOSU. The university bargaining team has not yet responded to these proposals and, therefore, the summary below depicts only the union’s requests:

•    Article XI: Non-Discrimination. UAOSU re-submitted its proposal relating to non-discrimination, reviving its request to include the policy related to bullying within the collective bargaining agreement and expand grievance options when an allegation of bullying is related to another grievable matter under the standard grievance process. As previously mentioned, the union indicated that it is generally satisfied with how the non-discrimination article is working. OSU’s position remains that bullying is already referenced in this article, and with UAOSU’s indication that this article has been working well, the union has not provided sufficient justification for a need to expand grievance options. Further, OSU maintains that the mere reference to policy language within the contract does not create an independent obligation to bargain all policy decisions if those policies change.

•    Article XXII: Grievance Procedure. UAOSU returned a counter-proposal relating to grievance procedures within the contract. The parties had previously traded proposals on this article with OSU’s most recent counter proposal on Feb. 21, declining language relating to notification of the union when an agreement is sought with an employee that has declined representation by the union. At that time, the OSU bargaining team indicated that based on the context provided by UAOSU at the table, this proposed language was more appropriately included in Article XXI: Discipline and Termination, and the parties mutually agreed that UAOSU would re-submit their proposal on that article in the context of that discussion, which UAOSU re-submitted on March 4. In the new counter proposal presented by UAOSU , UAOSU revived previous language relating to notification of agreements when an employee has declined representation by the union. The proposal also revived proposed language restricting who the Provost may delegate as designee for the purposes of responding to Step 3 Grievances as well as language creating a Step 3 Grievance alternative procedure to move a grievance to the Faculty Senate Faculty Grievance Committee. OSU’s position remains that it is not appropriate to conflate the roles of the Employer, Union, and the shared governance role of the Faculty Senate.

The union also brought counter proposals to articles that the parties have previously exchanged including Article XXIX: Totality of the Agreement, and Article VIII: Personnel Records.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for April 3.
 

The OSU and UAOSU bargaining teams met on the Corvallis campus Friday, March 15, and Thursday, March 21, to continue negotiations.

The university bargaining team shared a counterproposal to changes proposed by UAOSU to Article XXIV: Termination Not for Cause. OSU declined UAOSU’s proposed language that incorporated reference to Faculty Senate bylaws and oversight. OSU’s position is that it is not appropriate to conflate the roles of the Employer, the Union, and the shared governance role of the Faculty Senate. Furthermore, as the Union and the Employer are the express parties to this collective bargaining agreement, it is inappropriate to include language within the collective bargaining agreement that defines which actions another group outside of the bargaining agreement may take. The Faculty Senate operates per its by-laws separate from the faculty collective bargaining agreement. 

The university bargaining team accepted changes proposed by UAOSU that restructured the article to delineate between termination not for cause of individual employees, and termination not for cause of multiple employees, while maintaining the important distinction as to when this article is applicable versus the non-renewal process as cited within Article XIII: Appointment and Reappointment. UAOSU had also proposed tying the “not for cause” notice period to academic terms. The OSU bargaining team declined these changes and restored contract language that specifies termination notice timelines in the calculation of the months required for noticed to be provided.

The university bargaining team received numerous contract language proposals from UAOSU. The university bargaining team has not yet responded to these proposals and, therefore, the summary below depicts only the union’s requests:

  • Article XVIII: Compensation. UAOSU submitted its proposal relating to compensation, which requested: 
    • Increasing salary minimums by $4,536 to $12,484 depending on position type, with an additional 3.5% annual increase to minimums. 
    • Providing an additional $8,000 for “inflation and peer adjustment” to the full-time annual salary of all continuing bargaining unit members except Postdoctoral Fellows. 
    • Providing annual “across the board adjustments” of 3.5% for each year of the contract. 
    • Providing merit pool increases based on equivalent of 1.5% of an academic unit’s salary pool with individual merit increases limited to 3.0%.
    • Providing a 10% salary increase for bargaining unit members who have already achieved full promotion and exceeded expectations in all areas judged in a post-promotion performance review, and providing 5% for those who have met expectations. As proposed, post-promotion performance reviews would occur once every six years following a faculty member’s promotion to the highest rank in the employee’s classification under Article XVI: Promotion and/or Tenure, as detailed below.

The union also proposed additional language related to overload FTE; Ecampus course development funds; 20% pay for courses cancelled due to  low enrollment; and the establishment of a salary pool equivalent to at least 0.5% of the total bargaining unit salary pool to be distributed to employees as equity increases.

  • Article XIX: Benefits. UAOSU presented an initial proposal which incorporated language the union bargaining team said was based on current state legislation relating to benefits access for individuals working less than 0.5 FTE at OSU, but more than 0.5 FTE in a combination of public institutions of higher education. The proposal included language relating to benefits that a faculty member would be eligible to receive upon retirement, which would include access to university programs, email addresses and library resources. The proposal included a process for nominations of retired employees for emeritus status if the employee retired after working at OSU for a minimum of five years. The proposal also included a request that the cost of employee parking permit costs remain frozen for the duration of the contract and an increase in the number of family member tuition reduction benefits to two full benefits that could be split among two family members for each benefit. So what the union bargaining team is requesting is that the staff fee privilege of 70% discounted tuition for up to 16 credits per employee or assigned family member attending OSU, be doubled and the two benefits could be split among up to four family members taking up to 8 credits each.

The union bargaining team raised a concern relating to a supervisor’s ability to speak with an international employee about their work visa, and proposed language that would restrict such communication to be between HR and the employee.

  • Letter of Agreement (LOA): Support for Caregivers. UAOSU presented a proposal relating to childcare and caregiver support. The letter of agreement proposal would establish a $500,000 pool to be used in support of bargaining unit members who have caregiving obligations. Under the proposal, a joint labor-management committee would be established to determine the criteria for distributing the designated funds with the intent that all funds would be exhausted prior to the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement.

Article XVI: Promotion and/or Tenure. The union bargaining team provided an initial proposal that included language that explicitly included an obligation to negotiate any changes to university policies and procedures described in the Promotion and Tenure Guidelines, and additional language that any unit level policies be the product of shared governance processes of the college or unit. The proposal also included provisions for review of faculty members whose job duties are uncommon among other faculty in their academic unit to include participation by another faculty member who is capable of reviewing the contributions of the faculty member in the context of their assigned work. UAOSU also proposed language that qualified timelines for performance improvement plans for post-tenure reviews to a range of 1-3 years for unsatisfactory performance related to research productivity. The union also proposed a post-promotion review process for bargaining unit members that have already been promoted to the highest rank in their classification. The union bargaining team indicated that this proposal was intended to align with the union’s proposal on Article XVIII: Compensation on post-promotion reviews.

  • Article IX: Academic Freedom. The union bargaining team provided an initial proposal that included expanding language relating to freedom of expression and the ability for faculty to state and express personal opinions on their person via personal effects and post materials in assigned workspaces, provided such expression does not unduly interfere with university business.  The proposal also included language limiting oversight as it relates to student assessment, added language relating to freedom of expression in the context of participation in shared governance, critique of academic policy, university governance, among other matters. The proposal included a new clause within the article that set out a proposed clarification of the roles of union, shared governance partnership, and policy creation.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for March 25. 
 

The OSU and UAOSU bargaining teams met on the Corvallis campus Monday, March. 4, to continue negotiations.

The university bargaining team shared a counterproposal to Article XV: Periodic Review of Faculty. OSU declined UAOSU’s proposed language that the university bargaining team considered overly granular or inappropriately incorporating university policies and procedures within the collective bargaining agreement. OSU accepted limited language proposed by UAOSU that incorporates reference to performance improvement plans (PIPs) in the contract. The OSU bargaining team proposed additional language for context saying that PIPs are intended as a non-disciplinary tool when an employee’s performance is determined to need improvement.  The parties also had thorough discussion at the table relating to review criteria and when an employee is considered to “meet expectations”.

The university bargaining team received proposals from UAOSU related to:

    Article XXI: Discipline and Termination. Upon mutual agreement, UAOSU re-submitted its proposal relating to discipline and termination for the purpose of including language relating to formal agreements that are proposed to an employee in lieu of or in addition to discipline when the employee has declined union representation on the matter. The proposed language requires the university to notify UAOSU if any formal agreement in lieu of or in addition to discipline will be pursued and to consult with UAOSU in writing prior to providing an employee an agreement related to discipline or termination.  This language was proposed in addition to the prior-proposed language relating to Performance Improvement Plans (PIP) as non-disciplinary tools. 
    Article X: Health, Safety, and Facilities. UAOSU presented an initial proposal relating to health, safety, facilities and work sites.  The proposal included significant additional language incorporating Flexible Work Arrangement Agreements (FWAA) and use of a FWAA in the medical leave accommodations process.  The proposal also included proposed language relating to personal protective equipment (PPE) and access to computers and technology.
    Article XVII: Research Support and Copyright.  The union provided an initial proposal that included expansion language relating to bridge funding pool amounts and approved uses.  The proposal also included language changing the Graduate Employee tuition rate built charged against external grant award applications to one-half of the resident graduate tuition rate. The union bargaining teams said this change would make it more affordable to incorporate graduate employee work into grant-related projects.  The union indicated that this language is intended to speak to how grants fund graduate tuition and are paid. The union also proposed language allocating returned overhead amounts to be provided directly to a grant’s principal investigators (PIs) and to be used at the discretion of the PI for any activities in support of research. Finally, the union proposed language creating an effective “right of first refusal” for bargaining unit members who produce course materials under paid formal agreement, to have the indefinite right to teach the associated course any time it is offered for as long as those materials are in use without redevelopment under a new paid agreement.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for March 15.
 

The OSU and UAOSU bargaining teams met on the Corvallis campus Wednesday, Feb. 21, and Friday, Feb. 23, to continue negotiations.

UAOSU passed proposals to the university bargaining team related to:

  • Article XXV, No Strike, No Lock-out. The UAOSU bargaining team revived its previously proposed language indicating that in the event of a strike by other bargaining units within the university, UAOSU members would not be expected to perform work previously assigned to striking employees. The OSU bargaining team’s position remains that reference within the UAOSU contract to other bargaining units’ contracts is not appropriate as those bargaining units are not subject to the OSU/UAOSU contract.  Further, bargaining unit members’ workloads are commensurate with their position descriptions and workload assignments.

  • Article XX, Leaves. The union bargaining team shared an initial proposal to this article proposing the creation of a sick leave bank and requiring two days off each week, without any work being performed. The proposal also included language expanding sabbatical leave to all represented academic faculty members who have achieved promotion and meet the length of service requirement. In addition, the proposal is seeking to increase sabbatical pay thresholds to 70%, 85%, and 100% of salary based on the duration of the leave. Finally, the proposal included additional language significantly expanding provisions of the Oregon Paid Family Medical Leave (OPFML) to prevent medical leaves from running concurrently and requiring use of leaves to be additive to each other, expanding the amount of time an employee may be on protected leave, and applying OPFML benefits to out-of-state employees.

  • Article XIV, Position Descriptions and Workload. The UAOSU bargaining team shared an initial proposal related to academic faculty position descriptions and workload that included significant language additions relating to the purpose of position descriptions, revisions to position descriptions and work assignments. The union also included reference to existing law with the stated intent that the use of this language would allow a grievance-based remedy beyond legal remedies for any violations that may occur. The proposal also requires the creation of a faculty workload committee within each academic unit to have approval authority over all updates to faculty workload guidelines. UAOSU included additional language defining what must be included and excluded from workload guidelines and proposed the creation of an additional pool of funding for designated FTE course releases. The latter would be for a faculty member’s exceptional service and “informal labors” of volunteering and mentorship with particular emphasis on service in support of diversity, equity and inclusion.

  • Article XII, Academic Classification and Rank. The union bargaining team proposed the addition of language based on the new classification Professor of Teaching, as well as changing the term “Fixed-term” appointments to “Non-Tenure Track” appointments. The union also proposed language relating to how an employee may petition for reclassification or recategorization of their appointment and restricting reclassification out of the bargaining unit when a work assignment is administrative in scope, unless the appointment was classified as an administrative position at the time of hire. The union bargaining team proposed language incorporating individuals into the bargaining unit  serving in professional faculty roles within Extension.

The OSU bargaining team shared numerous counter proposals:

  • Article XXIX, Totality of the Agreement. The OSU bargaining team declined UAOSU’s proposed and revived language that would expand the Employer’s notice and bargaining obligations under the agreement. The university bargaining team stated that the university must always fulfill its legal obligations and said there is a defined process if the union believes the employer has not fulfilled a bargaining obligation. 

  • Article V, Dues Deductions. The university bargaining team declined proposed language that would have expanded the current monthly dues to include union-designated “associate members.” Associate membership is a designation the union uses internally for individuals who voluntarily contribute dues to the union while not employed in a classification represented by the union. OSU’s position is that the collective bargaining agreement is limited to the employees who are members of the represented classifications within the bargaining unit.  Union administrative designations and associate memberships are a matter of union administration and not appropriate for addition to the collective bargaining agreement.

  • Article XXII, Grievance Procedure. The university bargaining team accepted language that allows a grievance to be filed earlier in the grievance process if both parties agree. The university bargaining team declined language proposed by UAOSU that would have created a Step 3 Grievance alternative procedure to move a grievance to the Faculty Senate Faculty Grievance Committee. OSU’s position is that it is not appropriate to conflate the roles of the Employer, Union, and the shared governance role of the Faculty Senate. The OSU bargaining team also declined the addition of a mandated facilitated dispute resolution process that includes the Employee and Labor Relations (ELR) team as the entity required to enforce the plans agreed to during this process. Employees may always engage with the OSU Ombuds Office and request facilitated dispute resolution. The OSU bargaining team shared that this process is necessarily outside the domain of ELR and proposed enforcement by ELR may interfere with the important work of the Ombuds Office.

  • Article VII, Personnel Records. The university bargaining team agreed to UAOSU’s proposal requesting the Employee and Labor Relations team respond within fourteen (14) days to petitions by employees to remove or correct personnel records that an employee believes may contain errors of fact or omissions. The OSU team declined language restricting to fourteen (14) days the time to provide personnel records. Current contract language recognizes that records may be produced “within a reasonable time,” which may occasionally be more than fourteen days depending on the circumstances and volume of records requested. 

  • Article XI, Non-Discrimination. The university bargaining team declined UAOSU’s proposed language incorporating portions of the OSU Respectful Workplace policy in the collective bargaining agreement. The UAOSU bargaining team indicated during presentation of its proposed language that the union believes this article is working well and said the union intends use language from existing policy to expand this article and create a grievance process for alleged violations of the Respectful Workplace policy.  The UAOSU bargaining team also proposed the addition of “caste” to the list of protected statuses that are currently in the bargaining agreement that mirror existing law. The UAOSU bargaining team indicated the union believes the matter will be considered by the state Legislature for addition to Oregon Law. The university’s position is that caste includes national origin at birth, marital status and familial status, and would otherwise already be included in the categories that are legally protected classes within existing federal and state laws. The university bargaining team shared that in the event new legislation is approved that defines and incorporates caste as a protected status, OSU will comply with  statutory legal obligations.

  • Article IV, Union Rights. The university bargaining team accepted language with small proposed revisions, approving the right of UAOSU to request and pay for office space on the Corvallis campus for the term of the agreement. The OSU bargaining team declined language giving UAOSU access to all unit level listservs and other electronic communication platforms, saying such platforms generally include employees who are not represented members of the bargaining unit, making such additional access to be  inappropriate. The university bargaining team said UAOSU already receives each month a current list of members from the university that includes corresponding email addresses. The OSU bargaining team also declined proposed language that would have permitted UAOSU the right to receive within 30 days information and data responsive to information requests at no cost to the union. Current labor law permits an employer to charge a union for information and data provided under information requests under certain circumstances and when the information request creates an administrative burden or cost to the employer. While OSU rarely charges the union for such information, OSU reserves the right to do so, as appropriate. The bargaining teams also had thoughtful discussion about the current monthly bargaining unit information lists provided to the union and have agreed to continue those discussions.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for March 4.

The OSU and UAOSU bargaining teams met on the Corvallis campus Wednesday, Feb. 14 and Friday, Feb. 16, to continue negotiations.

Of note, the parties came to a tentative agreement on Article VII: Labor Management Meetings agreeing to schedule a meeting each month, though meetings may be cancelled if there are no agenda items. This agreement reflects both parties’ intent to meet on matters relating to the relationship of the parties and indicates an ongoing effort to maintain collaborative engagement.

UAOSU continued conversation relating to its desire to be engaged in policy revisions undertaken by the university. The university maintained its position that UAOSU is invited to raise concerns regarding substantial impact of policy revisions in appropriate forums. OSU continues to provide notice and opportunity for public comment on all policy revisions, and adheres to legal and mandatory bargaining obligations. OSU maintained that policy creation and revision remains responsibility of university management, and that OSU adheres to shared governance principles as a core element of its management philosophy, inviting the Faculty Senate and other shared governance partners to engage under established practices as appropriate to the given issue.

The university bargaining team received proposals from UAOSU related to:

•          Article XXIX: Totality of the Agreement. UAOSU again proposed language the OSU bargaining team had previously declined, which would have expanded the university’s notice requirements and obligation to bargain. This is relevant in the context of the union’s stated position that even minor policy revisions may trigger an obligation to bargain by mere reference.  

•          Article XIII: Faculty Appointments. The union shared an initial proposal related to faculty appointments that reframes appointment types, for example, restricting joint appointments (colloquially referred to as “split appointments”) within a single academic unit, creating a default non-tenure track appointment type as a continuous appointment with limitations to reduction in FTE, and limiting fixed-term appointments.

Article XV: Periodic Review of Faculty. UAOSU proposed the addition of Performance Improvement Plans (PIP) into the contract as a non-disciplinary tool when work performance fails to meet expectations. The proposal includes specific guidelines for utilizing a PIP. The union stated at the table that it does not envision PIPs replacing the Post Tenure Review (PTR) process, but serving as an additional tool that may run concurrently with or prior to a PTR.

Article XXIV: Termination Not for Cause. The union shared an initial proposal relating to termination not-for-cause, which would incorporate reference to established Faculty Senate bylaws and adjust the notice period and process for not-for-cause terminations. The university team asked the union whether it intended to include reference to Faculty Senate bylaws in the contract as a means of ensuring any changes in policy would be subject to bargaining. The union declined to address this question and referred to reorganization of academic units as prompting their interest in the proposal.

Article XXI: Discipline and Termination. UAOSU proposed changes to the discipline and termination process, to add reference to Performance Improvement Plans (PIP) as non-disciplinary tools and not a step in the disciplinary process. The proposal also included language reframing the basis for subsequent sanctions and requiring a PIP to have been deemed unsuccessful, prior to an employee’s receipt of any formal sanction related to poor work performance. The university believes this additional language has the impact of including a PIP as an additional step in the disciplinary process and therefore would not be non-disciplinary as the union envisions.

The OSU bargaining team shared a counterproposal on Article VI: Management Rights again declining the union’s revival of previously struck language proposed by the union that would expand the university’s obligations relating to notice and duty to bargain portions of the Agreement that may have been invalidated. For instance, if a law changes that conflicts with a term of the labor contract, the law supersedes the contract term. A change to the law does not automatically create an obligation to bargain unless it relates to a mandatory subject of bargaining.

The university team also shared a counterproposal to Article XXV: No Strike, No Lock-out in which the union previously proposed language indicating that, in the event of a strike by other bargaining units within the university, UAOSU members would not be expected to perform work previously assigned to striking employees. OSU’s position remains that reference to other bargaining unit members’ workload within the UAOSU contract is not appropriate as those bargaining units are not subject to the UAOSU contract. OSU also indicated  that bargaining unit members’ workload needs should be supported by a faculty member’s supervisor, commensurate with an employee’s position description and workload assignment.

The next bargaining sessions are scheduled for Feb. 21 and Feb. 23.

The OSU and UAOSU bargaining teams met on the Corvallis campus Friday, Feb. 2, to continue negotiations. UAOSU has indicated its desire to negotiate over all policy revisions undertaken by the university. The university’s position is that UAOSU is invited to raise any concerns regarding the impact of policy revisions in appropriate forums. OSU continues to provide notice and opportunity for public comment on all policy revisions. OSU maintained that policy creation and revision remains responsibility of management, that management adheres to shared governance principles, and that discussion at the bargaining table should be centered on active proposals relating to open articles in the collective bargaining agreement.

As an example, UAOSU demanded to bargain over OSU’s recent revisions to the university’s Free Speech Policy (University Standard 576-005 Time, Place and Manner Rules), which were undertaken through established policy revision procedures and shared governance. The university’s position is that to bargain all policy matters would negate the role of the Faculty Senate, which is the elected representative of OSU’s full faculty.

The university bargaining team received initial proposals from UAOSU related to:
•    Article XI: Non-Discrimination. The union indicated at the table that they are generally satisfied with how the non-discrimination article is working, and that OSU also maintains a good policy relating to bullying. The union brought forward a proposal to include the policy related to bullying within the collective bargaining agreement as a grievable matter.
•    Article VIII: Personnel Records: The union shared an initial proposal related to personnel records that would create a requirement for the university to respond within 14 days to a records request in performance disciplinary matters.

The OSU bargaining team shared a counterproposal on Article VII: Labor-Management Meetings seeking to restore the previously negotiated minimum threshold for quarterly labor management meetings to provide ongoing opportunities for collaboration and problem-solving. OSU accepted UAOSU’s recommendations to remove some overly burdensome structural requirements of the meeting format.

OSU also responded with a counterproposal on Article XXIX: Totality of the Agreement, declining UAOSU’s proposed change that would have expanded the Employer’s notice and bargaining obligations under the agreement.

The parties reached a Tentative Agreement on Article XXVII: Notices.

The next bargaining sessions are scheduled for Feb. 14 and Feb. 16.
 

OSU and UAOSU bargaining teams met on the Corvallis campus Friday, Jan. 19,  to finalize discussion of ground rules governing negotiations and how the bargaining teams will engage in the collective bargaining process.  The teams reached agreement on final ground rules and discussed contract articles that each party intends to open as part of bargaining scheduled to begin on Jan. 23.

OSU and UAOSU bargaining teams met on the Corvallis campus Tuesday, Jan. 23, to begin collective bargaining negotiations.  The university bargaining team received initial proposals from UAOSU relating to:
•    Article IV: Union Rights. The union requested that  OSU guarantee UAOSU a right to office space on campus; access to email distribution lists; and an expanded right to information without cost to the union, among other items.
•    Article V: Dues Deductions: The union requested that OSU expand current dues deductions processes on a monthly recurring basis to include union-designated “Associate Member” deductions.
The UAOSU bargaining team also provided initial proposals with significant proposed changes to Article VII:. Labor Management Meetings; Article XXII:. Grievance Procedure; Article XXV:. No Strike, No Lockout; Article XXVII: Notices; Article XXVIII: Separability; and Article XXIX: Totality of the Agreement.
The next bargaining session between OSU and UAOSU is scheduled for Feb. 2.
 

OSU and UAOSU bargaining teams met on the Corvallis campus Friday, December 15, 2023, to continue discussion of ground rules and work to establish the parties’ agreement regarding how they will engage in the collective bargaining process.  The parties paused discussion over winter break and are working to schedule their next meeting dates in upcoming weeks with intent to finalize an agreement on ground rules before negotiations begin.

OSU and UAOSU bargaining teams met on the Corvallis campus Friday, December 1, 2023, to begin discussion of bargaining ground rules and establish the parties’ agreement regarding how they will engage in the collective bargaining process. The parties worked productively and left the table prior to finalizing the ground rules to allow further discussion. 

Ground rules are an important component of most collective bargaining processes and offer the foundation for reaching agreement. Setting and defining expectations promotes a sense of community and commonality. Ground rules cover such things as: who speaks for each bargaining team; how proposals are shared; how agreements related to contract terms are finalized and documented; agreements regarding deadlines; expectations for guests; and other matters. 

The parties will meet again in upcoming weeks with intent to finalize an agreement on ground rules before negotiations begin.

University Labor & Bargaining Team

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Emily Farrell

Emily Farrell, Lead, Director for ELR, University Human Resources

Emily is Director of Employee & Labor Relations in OSU's Office of Human Resources. She is a seasoned labor and employee relations professional who brings extensive experience in public service and a strong history of equity work, most recently as the Health Equity Administrator for one of Oregon's CCOs under the Oregon Health Plan, and previously as the Director of Senior & Disability Services with Lane Council of Governments.

 

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Jaime Zinck

Jaime Zinck - Co-Lead, Associate Director for ELR-Compliance, University Human Resources

Jaime is Associate Director of Employee and Labor Relations-Compliance in OSU's Office of Human Resources. An OSU alum, Jaime's career has been spent largely in public service in a variety of roles from training and project management to labor relations and representation. Jaime has extensive experience on both sides of the bargaining table, which both offers a holistic lens and aids navigating the important collaborative relationship between both labor and management.

 

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Andy Dong

 Andy Dong, School Head, School of Mechanical Industrial. and Manufacturing Engineering

Andy Dong is head of the Oregon State University School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering and a professor of mechanical engineering. His research addresses strategy in the design and innovation of engineered products and systems. His research aims to explain the impact of design strategy on productivity and the betterment potential of new products. His background in artificial intelligence in design has led him to collaborative work across a wide range of topics in behavioral economics, cognition, and computational fabrication.

 

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Steph Bernell

 Steph Bernell, Associate Dean, Graduate School

Steph Bernell serves as Associate Dean in the Graduate School. She has been a faculty member at OSU since 2001 and has taught over 80 courses, primarily in the areas of health policy and health economics. As Associate Dean, Steph provides guidance to faculty, unit leaders and university leadership on policy and process issues related to graduate student education.