New auditorium to be named after Brian Doyle

2017 President's Opening Convocation speech boasts progress on diversity and mental health resources

By Dora Totoian | August 29, 2017 8:19pm
Fr. Mark Poorman addresses the University community in his 2017 convocation speech.
Media Credit: Jeffrey Braccia / The Beacon

The auditorium in the new Dundon-Berchtold Hall will be named after longtime Portland Magazine editor, essayist and novelist Brian Doyle, who passed away in May. University President Fr. Mark Poorman made the announcement at the President's Opening Convocation speech in Buckley Auditorium Tuesday afternoon. 

“Let’s continue to pray in thanksgiving for Brian’s life and his amazing, inspiring work,” Poorman said. 

In his speech to UP faculty and staff, Poorman also highlighted accomplishments of the past year and gave updates on ongoing concerns, such as faculty salary levels, review of the core curriculum and making UP more diverse. 

Ground will break on Dundon-Berchtold Hall in about a month, Poorman said, and the building is slated to open in January of 2019. The 62,000-square-foot building will be the first academic building built on campus in 22 years. Poorman noted the student population has increased 30 percent in the past decade. 

Poorman announced that the University has updated its recent benchmarking study of faculty salaries. Poorman said that faculty compensation across ranks will be evaluated as extensive conversations on the subject continue.

“I’m confident that through further dialogue we will reach a consensus on a faculty compensation philosophy that serves us well going forward,” Poorman said. 

A steering committee will be established to review UP’s core curriculum, part of the strategic plan outlined last fall, Poorman said. Twenty listening sessions have been held, and faculty members will be invited to propose ideas. 

Another aspect of the plan mentioned was the administration’s goal to boost diversity on campus. Poorman mentioned with a sense of urgency the need to “infuse our entire community with a sense of internationalization and diversity.” 

In the past few years there has been a push for greater diversity on campus. Poorman proudly noted that minority students make up 39 percent of the class of 2021. The Shiley School of Engineering also recently hired six new faculty members, five of whom are female, making 33 percent of the engineering faculty female. 

Poorman also celebrated the university’s efforts to increase access to mental health resources. They include hiring a full-time Early Alert Program coordinator, the implementation of ProtoCall and the inclusion of mental health resources on all syllabi. 

Poorman also noted the University has been chosen as the 2018 partner university for the Opus Prize, an award that gives $1 million to organizations that "champion faith-filled change."  A committee of UP faculty, students and staff will work with the Opus Prize Foundation to evaluate finalists from various parts of the world, Poorman said.