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Time to embrace new ways at Linfield

My first three years in Oregon have not been without challenges.

We moved here when Linfield College — now Linfield University — was facing the smallest incoming class in recent history, along with worrisome budget deficits and impending fiscal emergency. We moved here when the very idea of the value of higher education was being questioned. We moved here even though it meant being 2,900 miles away from family, friends, colleagues and any other semblance of a robust support system.

I didn’t understand why my husband had made the decision — until I met the amazing Linfield students. I heard their stories, their struggles and their hopes for a better world. I was inspired by their intellect, their commitment and their visions for the future.

I saw in them what my husband, President Miles Davis, saw — the foundation of an institution poised for change and greatness, powered by the bright young minds entrusted to our care as educators. And during these challenging times, they have remained the bright spot in our experiences.

President Davis is a committed leader with a vision for the future that is compelling, inspirational and forward-thinking. In three years, including a pandemic year, his changes have resulted in tremendous benefits for students and the creation of educational pathways that have allowed Linfield to thrive while so many universities are struggling.

He embraces the cultures, languages and stories that our students have shared with us. He has promoted a culture of grace and understanding through respect, connection and human decency.

I continue to be profoundly disappointed that these same foundational principles have not been extended to President Davis and our family by some at Linfield.

We moved here because the Linfield Board of Trustees sought to recruit a charismatic and visionary leader to facilitate needed change. What had been done for the last 150 years was no longer working.

His accomplishments include:

n Building the recognition and viability of the institution in transitioning from Linfield College to Linfield University, including the corresponding new internal structures encompassing the School of Nursing, School of Business and the College of Arts & Sciences.

n Recruiting inaugural deans of Business and Arts & Sciences.

n Facilitating new shared governance that includes a Faculty Senate.

n Acquiring a new nursing campus to support a growing demand for nursing education that resulted in added seats even during COVID.

n Supporting a new master’s of science in nursing.

n Supporting new master’s of science tracks in design and innovation, sport leadership and sports science and analytics, launching in the fall.

n Supporting unprecedented diversity in nursing students, particularly men, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

n Facilitating our pivot to adapt to a global pandemic, while mitigating risks for students, staff and faculty.

n Securing first-time Board of Trustees gifts to nursing.

n Actively engaging with faculty on select projects.

n Facilitating alignment with the New American Colleges and Universities, a national consortium of private schools.

n Facilitating a $10 million W.M. Keck commitment for a new science building.

Given all of the above, and so much more that he has done, how could anyone believe that Linfield would truly be better off in the absence of President Davis?

Naomi Pitcock is serving as an associate professor on Linfield’s Portland nursing school campus. She holds a doctorate in nursing practice (DNP) from the University of Virginia, along with registered nurse (RN), certified nurse educator (CNE) and advanced public health nursing (APHN) certifications. She is living in McMinnville with her husband.

Comments

Oregonian

"It is better to die for an idea that will live,
than to live for an idea that will die." ~Steve Biko

To the writer - you and your husband are in the middle of a tempest. You can't see clearly now, but after the dust settles and you are away from the environment, you will understand the errors that were made. The lessons for students from this turmoil may end up worth the loss.