Melody Rose, currently one of two vice-chancellors the Oregon University System, will replace her boss, George Pernsteiner, who stepped down earlier this month, as interim chancellor. Rose will be the first woman to lead the OUS system.

Rose, who holds a Ph.D from Cornell, previously taught political science and chaired that department at Portland State University. She is the author of three books and was the founding director of The Center for Women, Politics & Policy at Portland State. Rose also served as president of Portland City Club in 2011-12.

Rose takes over the seven-campus Oregon University System at a time of flux.

Lawmakers are working this session toward a new system of governance, which may result in independent boards for the University of Oregon and Portland State, and a slimmed down role for the chancellor's office, which has had a centralized administrative and finance function for the seven campuses. 

OUS spokeswoman Diane Saunders says Rose will serve as interim basis for now, because of the uncertainty about how the higher education system might look after the legislative session.

"A lot rests on the decisions made during the session," Saunders says.