President Ryan’s First Year

I recently had the privilege of sitting down with Eastern Oregon University’s new President, Kelly Ryan. She is a fun, bubbly presence, who has a huge heart for all of the students on and off campus. As a military kid, Ryan has lived everywhere, but is most recently coming from the University of Indiana Southeast, and is greatly enjoying her time so far at EOU. 

How is your first year going as president? 

“New presidency is about learning and getting to know the university and the students…and also learning how to be a part of a public serving institution.” Ryan has been enjoying getting to know the superintendents, traveling all over Eastern Oregon, and getting to know all the processes that make the university work. She emphasizes how busy she is getting to know everyone and how hard she is working to understand a new system. 

How has the adjustment been in a new place?

“A big difference is the humidity, it’s so nice to be in a place where it’s not as humid.” Ryan explains that the missions at both of the universities she has worked for are very similar, but EOU is a much smaller institution, so of course it comes with different issues. Surprisingly, “The biggest difference is the term by term system, the calendar switch has been difficult to get used to.” 

Are you enjoying being president?

“It is challenging, but there is lots of joy in it… I am a big community person, and have greatly enjoyed being able to meet everyone at EOU”. 

What has been your favorite memory at EOU so far? 

“The volleyball games were really fun, watching the students and community be so supportive of one another was really neat to see so early in the presidency,”  

What was your perspective on the campus and how things were being run when you first arrived? What are some changes you would like to see at EOU during your time as President? 

“I think we have good faculty and staff, but I am concerned about student success and campus vitality. Budget was definitely something that needed to be cleaned up in order to protect the future of EOU… A future project would be working on our brand, and how we are getting students on campus.” When Ryan first came to campus, there were a lot of interim positions, and for the future she wants to work to change that, so that we have more people who have the campus’s future in mind. 

Budget cuts and mismanagement of funds have been a big issue on campus. What is your perspective on this? 

“Next year if we had kept pace, we would have eaten up 90% of our savings, and wouldn’t have been able to retain all of the services that EOU needs to thrive… this year we have cut nearly 10% of the budget to focus on student success.” Since there has been a difficult budget situation this year, it’s not the most exciting, but she says she is “impressed with the campus’s maturity over budget issues”. 

Overall, Ryan is very excited to be a big part of EOU’s future, and wants to make several improvements for the future that focus on campus vitality and student success. Thank you so much to President Ryan for meeting with me and being willing to collaborate on this article. 

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