Melody Rose

Melody Rose

Nevada System of Higher Education

Melody Rose has a distinguished 25-year career in higher education. The first in her family to achieve a college degree, Rose is passionate about improving educational access for all, identifying cutting-edge innovations, and driving data-driven, student-focused change. She is currently the owner and principal of Rose Strategies, LLC. There she provides consulting services to universities, focusing on revenue development, strategic communications, sound governance, and organizational development. Before forming her firm, Rose was a higher education leader in Oregon for more than two decades, serving the Oregon University System for 19 years, culminating in her position as chancellor, and then serving as president of a small Catholic liberal arts university.

Rose started her career as a faculty member at Portland State University (PSU) in 1995, rising from fixed-term instructor to Professor and Chair of the Division of Political Science. She founded and directed PSU’s Center for Women’s Leadership, changing the face of Oregon’s public service sector. She also served as Special Assistant to the PSU President working on university restructuring before being selected as PSU’s Vice Provost for Academic Programs and Instruction and Dean of Undergraduate Studies. In that role, she advanced the university’s position in online educational programs through the creation of the PSU Center for Online Learning.

In 2012, she was named Vice Chancellor for Academic Strategies of the Oregon University System, the chief academic officer for the state’s seven public universities. During her brief service in this role, Rose worked to improve transfer pathways for community college students as the Primary Investigator on a Lumina Foundation-funded grant and helped to expand the System’s online learning inventory through an innovative agreement with the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE).

Shortly after becoming vice chancellor, the State Board of Higher Education selected Rose as Chancellor, the university system’s chief executive officer. As Chancellor, she held tuition down, secured expanded funding for the seven public universities, and supported reorganizations at the rural campuses ensuring their sustainability. She also managed an historic shift in Oregon’s higher education system that moved statewide responsibilities to a new organizational structure.

After leaving the Oregon University System, Rose was asked to lead one of the oldest degree-granting institutions in Oregon,Marylhurst University, the first liberal arts college for women in the Northwest. The venerable university had lost nearly onethird of its student body and needed turn-around expertise. Drawn by Marylhurst’s history and mission, Rose worked closely with the university’s board, rebranded the institution, shored up its failing systems, and charted a strategic course that produced significant progress. Despite the improvements, Marylhurst faced the same daunting challenges that today are overwhelming many other small, private liberal arts colleges and universities. In 2018, she recommended to the board that the university close its doors while the university still had sufficient resources to smoothly transition students and faculty to safer ground. Rose remained to help the board wind down operations, maintaining accreditation and clean audits, graduating or transferring 92 percent of students, providing severance for employees, and leaving the religious community that owned the campus free of debt, enabling them to repurpose the land for affordable housing.

Rose is also an active member of her community, serving on multiple boards and commissions, including the Governor’s Task Force on University Campus Safety and the Portland City Club. She currently serves on the Habitat for Humanity Portland-Metro East Board and is the Membership Chair and President-Elect of the International Women’s Forum – Oregon. Her work has been honored with numerous awards, including the 2018 Girl Scouts Women of Distinction Award for “courageous leadership.”

Melody received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics from the University of California at Santa Cruz with Honors and Phi Beta Kappa distinctions. She earned a Master in Public Administration, Master in Government, and Ph.D. in Government from Cornell University.