Faculty tracking software vendor explains time-suck & “thought leadership programming” junket

3/18/2019 update:

So why isn’t the provost’s office being clear about what this will cost?

From the Digital Measures website here. On top of the ~$100K per year in fees, they suggest we hire or reallocate an Insight Administrator, a project manager, a technical representative, have a champion provost who “is committed to the success of the implementation and ensures the rest of the project has the time, resources and buy-in they need for the project to be successful”.

I’m hoping Provost Banavar has better uses for his time. But wait, there’s more!

Some PR flack time, a technical representative, a trainer, pilot groups, and unit representatives  who “coordinate and voices the needs of their individual units to the general project team and encourages the use of the system …”. This is starting to make Concur look user friendly:

And, if that’s not enough, their website includes this helpful template to use to convince your boss to send you to their annual conference in New Orleans, with a conference fee of just $825 & 189 per night! For “thought leadership programming”. Their words, not mine:

Need to justify your attendance?
Use our custom letter to help convince your boss, request funds for travel or just let everyone know the amazing benefits of attending Engage!

Why do we have unlimited money and time for this expensive online c.v. software, but not for raises for the GTFF or for hiring OA’s and staff?

2/11/2019: Admins to combine Faculty Tracking Software with metrics scheme

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New contract for Dana Altman will not play well in Salem budget talks

Talk about bad timing. UO’s lobbyists are at work in Salem, trying to get UO a bigger share of the state budget. If they fail, UO will have to cut staff, limit hiring, and/or raise in-state tuition.

The legislature is already asking why a university with such an expensive athletics program can’t pay the academic side’s costs without a bigger state subsidy or raising tuition. This news is not going to help:

The University of Oregon has agreed to terms with head coach Dana Altman on a contract extension, athletic director Rob Mullens announced on Thursday:

According to the school, Altman and Oregon are finalizing a deal that would run through the 2025-26 season.

“Dana and Reva Altman are an important part of our community, and we are thrilled at the opportunity to continue to build on the tremendous success we have had over Dana’s nine years as the head coach at Oregon,” Mullens said. “We are thankful for Dana’s commitment to the Ducks, and we look forward to the continued strong performance of our men’s basketball program as well as Dana assuming his rightful place in the Hall of Fame in the future.”

“Important part of our community?”

I assume Mullens means the community of greedy Duck coaches. Mullens, Cristobal, Altman and the other coaches, with a total payroll of ~$23M, gave a total of $50 to the Oregon Community Fund Drive last year:

CoD’s Christoph Lindner out, Banavar wants input on interim

It’s going to be a happy crowd down at the faculty club tonight. One faculty member noted “He made no visible relationships with anyone while he was here. It was obvious from the start he would not be here long.”

Whoever wrote the provost’s letter got unnecessarily gushy considering the damage Lindner managed to do, but it’s very encouraging to hear that Provost Banavar is reaching out to the college before making an interim appointment. Let the healing begin. Provost Banavar’s letter:

Dear Colleagues,

As you may have heard this morning, Christoph Lindner, dean of the College of Design, has accepted a position as dean of the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment at University College London. He will remain at the University of Oregon through August.

[UOM: at his $265K Dean’s salary, or his $162K faculty pay with a few classes to teach?]

While I am disappointed that the UO will lose Christoph’s leadership, vision, and passion, I hope you will join me in wishing him and his family all of the best with this next chapter. It is an extraordinary opportunity. University College London’s gain is certainly our loss.

I am grateful for all Christoph has done during his time as dean of the College of Design, including his leadership in transforming the School of Architecture and Allied Arts into the College of Design, which comprises the School of Architecture & Environment, the School of Art + Design, and the School of Planning, Public Policy and Management.

Christoph’s vision has helped enhance the prominence of all disciplines within the college. He has been a strong advocate for the enhancement of diversity in design, including the new Design for Spatial Justice initiative in the School of Architecture & Environment and the new Access and Equity research group in the School of Planning, Public Policy and Management.

I applaud the work that he and others have done to elevate the College of Design’s portfolio, creating new synergies among UO departments, working with partner institutions, and looking to 21st century opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students—all while maintaining a focus on the College of Design’s core and historical strengths.

I am grateful that Christoph will remain at the UO through August, which leaves ample time to prepare for a transition. An important next step for me as provost is to name an interim dean, and I intend to do so by the end of next week. First, though, I want to take the next several days to consult with department heads, school heads, and others in the college. If you have recommendations for the interim role, please email me at provost@uoregon.edu. I will take all of the feedback and information I receive into account, but I must receive it by no later than noon Monday, March 18.

There will no doubt be questions about the process for filling the permanent dean position. My office will coordinate this effort and I will provide more information soon. Please rest assured knowing that the search will follow standard practices, including a review of the position profile, putting together a diverse hiring committee, and hosting public presentations and interview opportunities for finalists.

For the next several weeks, our focus will be on the institutional efforts to balance our budget and identify expenditure reductions. While Christoph’s departure leaves a hole to fill, we will not have any announcements on the search in the next few weeks.

Again, let me reiterate my best wishes to Christoph, his wife, Rebecca, who is associate dean for undergraduate studies in the Clark Honors College, and their two children. It has been a pleasure having them as part of the UO community and I am grateful for all they have both done.


Jayanth Banavar, Provost and Senior Vice President

Lindner’s email:

Dear College of Design Faculty and Staff:

I am writing to share with you that I have accepted the position of Dean of The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment at University College London beginning Fall 2019.

It has been an honor to serve as Dean of the College of Design for the past three years. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your work in making the college what it is today. I am especially grateful to our talented faculty and staff, who are a vital source of the college’s success. My thanks as well to our school heads, department heads, and associate deans for their dedication in leading the College of Design, as well as our Dean’s Advancement Council for their ever-present advocacy, advice, and enthusiasm.

I look forward to finishing the academic year with you, and continuing to work with everyone to advance our academic priorities. During the coming months, I will also be working closely with the Office of the Provost to ensure that the many important programmatic and hiring initiatives in the School of Architecture & Environment, School of Art + Design, School of Planning, Public Policy and Management, and the Department of the History of Art and Architecture continue to move forward smoothly during the leadership transition. The provost will be sharing more about that transition plan shortly.


Christoph Lindner
Dean and Professor

Brad Shelton makes it through a ¿CAS? task force meeting

3/12/2019 update:

I missed today’s task force meeting because I had an important previously scheduled event forgot that this group of honest and hardworking faculty and OAs were still being forced to go through the motions.

Fortunately an always reliable source updated me on the proceedings. They agreed that my summary below of what Brad claimed about the Knight Campus in the previous meeting was accurate. They then said that this was not the first task force meeting that Brad had walked out off, for slights real or imagined. This was news to me, but not surprising news, and it explains the task force’s non-chalant reaction to Brad’s de-zooming of their last meeting.

As for today’s meeting, the elevator version is that the task force brought in a panel of deans from the various UO colleges for advice. The first question the task force put to them was something like “What improvements do you think a college reorganization might create?” This was also the second question. And the third, etc. They kept asking because no one had an answer. Which I guess is an answer.

The task force meets again Tuesday, March 19 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. in the Miller Room, EMU 107. I apologize for missing today’s meeting, and I will try and do better in the future.

2/26/2019 update. Brad Shelton tells ¿CAS? task force that Knight Campus was his and Jim Bean’s idea

This news does not seem to increase the task force’s confidence. Meeting live on zoom, here:

He goes on to claim that the proposal was “further developed by the faculty”. Someone points out that he means “some faculty”.

I zoomed in late, so I don’t know what prompted Brad to go off about this, but he goes on to claim it’s not taking resources from the rest of UO. Brad is ignoring the fact that UO made $100M in matching funds its #1 priority for legislative capital funding last biennium (and got $70M) rather than asking for money for other priorities.

This is water under the bridge, but it would be nice to have some honesty about it, as well as to see a copy of the gift letter, which Pres Schill has repeatedly refused to show.

~2:30 – Brad announces to the task force that he takes umbrage about something in my comments above, that he will have words with me later, and that he is leaving the call. The task force’s discussion of the various reorganization possibilities and their costs and benefits moves on unimpeded.

~2:55 – Karen Ford explains that, while there were some initial claims that CAS reorganization would not add to administrative bloat, Brad has since said that there would be transition costs, at least.

One NS member sums up by noting that if the task force accomplishes nothing else it has at least brought the sciences, social sciences, and humanities faculty closer together and increased their shared empathy and understanding of the issues they face.

~3:00 Ford orders the band to play La Marseillaise, meeting concludes.

2/12/2019 update: ¿CAS? task force to briefly discuss President’s assertions, consultants

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FBI investigation shows college admissions & athletics officials taking bribes from parents & not giving faculty their cut

This is yet another outrageous example of administrators not understanding the “shared” part of shared governance, the bedrock principle behind the success of american higher education. In the NYT here:

… Authorities said the crimes date back to 2011, and the defendants used “bribery and other forms of fraud to facilitate their children’s admission” to numerous college and universities,” including Georgetown, Yale University, Stanford University, the University of Texas, the University of Southern California and UCLA, among others. One of the cooperating witnesses, according to the court documents, is a former head coach of Yale’s women’s soccer team, who pleaded guilty in the case nearly a year ago and has since been helping FBI agents gather evidence.

Some of the 32 defendants are accused of bribing college entrance exam administrators to facilitate cheating on tests — by having a smarter student take the test, providing students with answers to exams or correcting their answers after they had completed the exams, according to the criminal complaint filed in federal court.

Others allegedly bribed university athletic coaches and administrators to designate applicants as “purported athletic recruits — regardless of their athletic abilities, and in some cases, even though they did not play the sport they were purportedly recruited to play — thereby facilitating their admission to universities in place of more qualified applicants,” the complaint charges. …

Think Professors Are Liberal? Try Administrators

An NYT Op-Ed from 2016 by political scientist Samuel Abrams which just popped up in my twitter feed, because some Sarah Lawrence students are trying to get him fired for writing it:

Think Professors Are Liberal? Try School Administrators

The ideological bent of those overseeing collegiate life is having the biggest impact on campus culture.

I received a disconcerting email this year from a senior staff member in the Office of Diversity and Campus Engagement at Sarah Lawrence College, where I teach. The email was soliciting ideas from the Sarah Lawrence community for a conference, open to all of us, titled “Our Liberation Summit.” The conference would touch on such progressive topics as liberation spaces on campus, Black Lives Matter and justice for women as well as for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual and allied people.

As a conservative-leaning professor who has long promoted a diversity of viewpoints among my (very liberal) faculty colleagues and in my classes, I was taken aback by the college’s sponsorship of such a politically lopsided event. The email also piqued my interest in what sorts of other nonacademic events were being organized by the school’s administrative staff members.

I soon learned that the Office of Student Affairs, which oversees a wide array of issues including student diversity and residence life, was organizing many overtly progressive events — programs with names like “Stay Healthy, Stay Woke,” “Microaggressions” and “Understanding White Privilege” — without offering any programming that offered a meaningful ideological alternative. These events were conducted outside the classroom, in the students’ social and recreational spaces.

The problem is not limited to my college. While considerable focus has been placed in recent decades on the impact of the ideological bent of college professors, when it comes to collegiate life — living in dorms, participating in extracurricular organizations — the ever growing ranks of administrators have the biggest influence on students and campus life across the country.

… Intrigued by this phenomenon, I recently surveyed a nationally representative sample of roughly 900 “student-facing” administrators — those whose work concerns the quality and character of a student’s experience on campus. I found that liberal staff members outnumber their conservative counterparts by the astonishing ratio of 12-to-one. Only 6 percent of campus administrators identified as conservative to some degree, while 71 percent classified themselves as liberal or very liberal. It’s no wonder so much of the nonacademic programming on college campuses is politically one-sided.

The 12-to-one ratio of liberal to conservative college administrators makes them the most left-leaning group on campus. In previous research, I found that academic faculty report a six-to-one ratio of liberal to conservative professors. Incoming first-year students, by contrast, reported less than a two-to-one ratio of liberals to conservatives, according to a 2016 finding by the Higher Education Research Institute. It appears that a fairly liberal student body is being taught by a very liberal professoriate — and socialized by an incredibly liberal group of administrators.

… This warped ideological distribution among college administrators should give our students and their families pause. To students who are in their first semester at school, I urge you not to accept unthinkingly what your campus administrators are telling you. Their ideological imbalance, coupled with their agenda-setting power, threatens the free and open exchange of ideas, which is precisely what we need to protect in higher education in these politically polarized times.

They’d have to serve fentanyl before I’d watch Dana Altman coach a game

With basketball and event revenue running less than a third of Pat Kilkenny’s liars budget, the Ducks now want a liquor license for Knight Arena, because drunk football fans are just not enough:

But hey, maybe the OLCC will do a better job protecting free speech than UO’s General Counsel Kevin Reed.

Thanks to an anonymous reader for the tip.

Unions increase wages for non-unionized workers

and the decline in unionization rates is responsible for twice as much of the increase in inequality as previously believed. Declining real minimum wages also have had a larger effect on increased inequality than found in previous studies with older data.

That’s the takeaway from the first 30 minutes of today’s UO Economics seminar by Thomas Lemieux, 3:30-5:00 in 111 Lillis. This is the way Econ talks work – first they tell you the results, then they spend the rest of their 90 minutes explaining and defending the data and the empirical model they used to estimate them.

Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages: The Role of Spillover Effects

Nicole M. Fortin, Thomas Lemieux, and Neil Lloyd Vancouver School of Economics, University of British Columbia February 17, 2019

ABSTRACT: This paper extends the DiNardo, Fortin, and Lemieux (1996) study of the links between labor market institutions and wage inequality in the United States and updates the analysis to the 1979 to 2017 period. A notable extension quantifies the magnitude and shape of spillover effects from minimum wages and unions, providing multiple sources of evidence for the latter. A distribution regression framework is used to estimate both types of spillover effects separately and jointly.

Accounting for spillover effects doubles the contribution of de-unionization to the increase in male wage inequality, and raises the explanatory power of declining minimum wages to two thirds of the increase in inequality at the bottom end of the female wage distribution.


Sci-Hub links for free access to research papers

If you’re not familiar with Sci-Hub, here’s an NYT op-ed, and here are the current links for access:

UO crime wave?

As President Schill considers where to cut, one obvious place is the UOPD budget. While UO has its problems, a crime wave is not one of them. The most easily accessible data I can find is here, and it shows a continuing decline in violent crime, and no increase in property crime or quality of life crime in the areas surrounding the UO campus (the initial spike is from when reporting started.)

Pres holds budget crisis Town Hall, asks faculty & OA’s to take pay cuts

That would be former President Dave Frohnmayer, in April 2009. The previous year Frohnmayer had negotiated a $150K raise for himself, and at the time of this public meeting he was negotiating a golden parachute retirement contract that  included a paid sabbatical which he used to restart his legal career at the Harrang, Long, Gary and Rudnick law firm.

Highlights include former Interim Provost Jim Bean lying about how UO’s administrative costs were 38% of our peers, and the news that given the crisis the athletic department would contribute $100K to help the library buy books. Rob Mullens soon put an end to that.

Frohnmayer and his stooges endured many sceptical questions from the staff, OA’s, and some faculty. Other faculty took this as an opportunity to indulge in some administrative brown-nosing. Watch it all:

Pres Schill on Addressing Budget Challenges – What should we cut?

Pres Schill’s email sent 12:42 PM 3/5/2019

Dear University of Oregon campus community:

Over the last few months, we have communicated with a wide variety of campus stakeholders to let them know that the University of Oregon is going into a difficult budget cycle. Vice President for Finance and Administration Jamie Moffitt has given many presentations articulating the increasing expenses that are putting pressure on our FY 2019–20 budget. We have been clear that without additional state support—a requested $120 million for all of Oregon’s public universities—we will be unable to hold resident undergraduate tuition increases at or below 5 percent and would likely be forced to look at budget cuts.

While I hope that the legislature will provide public universities in the state with the funds we requested, it is now evident that, even if the state does fulfill the request, we will need to reduce expenditures over the next two years. In addition to rising costs attributable to personnel, PERS, and health care, we are experiencing the full impact of a substantial reduction in international student enrollment. The UO enrolled large classes of students from abroad as recently as the 2015–16 academic year. Since that time, however, like many other American universities, the numbers have begun to fall off. Over the last three years, international enrollment has dropped by almost 1,000 students, representing more than $32 million in recurring tuition revenue. This decline should stabilize over the next few years as revenues slowly increase from our domestic enrollment growth initiatives.

As a result, unfortunately, we will need to reduce annual operating costs by between $10 and $11 million. While some of these reductions can be implemented immediately, some will take more than one year. Vice President Moffitt, Provost Jayanth Banavar, and I will spend the coming weeks seeking additional advice and input from campus stakeholders about how to manage this situation without eroding the tremendous progress we have made in many areas across campus over the past few years. We also want, as much as is possible, to protect programs and services that are vital to our core academic and research mission. It is my intention to come back to all of you in less than a month with a more detailed plan about how we will move forward.

Given that almost 80 percent of the UO’s general-education budget comprises salaries, the reality is that any cost-reduction efforts will affect jobs and people. I recognize that this news will cause anxiety among many in our campus community, but I believe it is important to be transparent about what lies ahead. I can assure you that we will look at every available option to mitigate the human impact of budget cuts on our campus community.

Finally, I want to address what can sometimes feel like an incongruent narrative that exists as we contemplate budget cuts at the same time that we have construction cranes busy all over campus helping to build Tykeson Hall, the Knight Campus, Hayward Field, and an addition to our student health center. The vast majority of construction projects and programmatic investments we are making across campus are the result of targeted donor gifts, specific state capital allocations, or auxiliary funding sources. The reality is that these projects and investments—which generally involve little to no general fund dollars—are the very thing that will keep the UO on a path toward excellence even as we wrestle with the volatility of state funding and international enrollment.

Thank you for your hard work and dedication to the UO. By working together, we will be able to weather the challenges that are ahead of us.

Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law

Please add your suggestions on what to cut in the comments. Here are some sources for information:

Staffing levels: https://ir.uoregon.edu/faculty_employees, e.g.:

UO employees can log into duckweb, go to Employee Information, Financial Transparency Reporting, and wade through reports like this:

And for info on how much the academic side is subsidizing athletics, see here.

Live: Full BOT meeting, 10AM EMU Redwood room

– Call to order, roll call, verification of quorum – Approval of December 2018 minutes (Action)

Meeting materials here.

– Public comment

Community Member David Igl asks why there are still no interpretative materials posted at Deady Hall, and provides his usual claims that the 1920’s KKK was not, at its inception, a racist organization. I’ve responded to this before, at http://uomatters.com/2016/09/professor-frederick-dunn-was-not-tricked-into-joining-the-kkk.html.

1. ASUO and University Senate Reports
-ASUO President Maria Gallegos

Calls for an advisory board to develop a holistic plan for UO tuition and growth. In an admirable first for the ASUO, rather than complain about the tuition increases, Gallegos proposes working with the administration and faculty and donors to increase scholarships, and with the legislature to increase state funding.

Gallegos reports that as she meets with the legislature, she finds that even local legislators do not trust the UO administration or the board to make sure that any new state funding will actually go to students.

-University Senate President Bill Harbaugh

The usual drivel from Harbaugh, who sold out to the administration for a few course releases and $10K here and there, about how we should all work together in harmony to improve UO.

2. President’s Report

Apparently Roger Thompson reports that interest from prospective students is at an all time high. Sure. There will be cuts, about $10-$12M.

Pres Schill opposes legislation to disarm campus police. Making efforts to bolster humanities, using part of the $50M unrestricted gift he brought in. Knight Campus and cooperation with OHSU going well. Thanks the staff who worked to get UO through the snowstorm, keeping students fed and warm etc.

3. Tuition and Mandatory Fees (does not include resident, undergraduate tuition) (Action): Michael Schill, President; Jamie Moffitt, Vice President for Finance and Administration and CFO; Kevin Marbury, Vice President for Student Life

Out of state tuition to rise by $990 because $1000 looks bad
From a 02/04/2019 post

You can’t make this stuff up. Zack Demars has the story in the Daily Emerald on the “deliberations” of the Tuition Fee Advisory Board, here:

… One of the major considerations by the board was public perception: The board settled on 2.97 percent to keep the advertised increase slightly below $1,000 per year so as not to deter potential new students, who are needed to increase the tuition-paying population.

The proposal, which only impacts out-of-state undergraduate students, would increase the cost of a single credit by $22 next academic year. For a full-time student taking 15 credits a term, that shakes out to an increase of $990 a year, an increase slightly larger than last year’s 2.49 percent nonresident increase.

TFAB will consider and propose changes to resident tuition in the spring, after more data is available about how much the state legislature will contribute to the university, which of two revenue proposals the state will approve and how many new students enroll next year. …

Since I try to avoid meetings where the decision has already been made behind closed doors, I skipped this. But there appears to have been no discussion of price elasticities, discount rates, differential tuition, or what the point is in spending money on out-of-state marketing, branding, recruiters, and subsidizing Rob Mullens’s big-time athletic enterprise if our tuition setting process boils down to this.

And since it apparently does, why not go to $999? That extra $9 would bring in about $90K, recurring – enough to pay for half a brander.

The most recent estimate I’ve seen for the elasticity of demand for out-of-state students is 0.5. So increasing tuition 10% would decrease the number of students 5%, and increase revenue. But instead the university is going to give non-resident students a break, then come back and balance the budget by increasing in-state tuition.


7% increase for law school tuition, which still can’t balance its books, much less repay the ~$10M subsidy Jamie Moffitt gave to former dean Michael Moffitt.

Board Chair Chuck Lillis – who has lost several ERISA lawsuits for raiding his companies’ retirement funds – gets in a dig in about how the state is making the students pay for PERS. For a more intelligent view of what’s going on with PERS and what to do about it, try here.

Lots more on potential cuts, etc. Pres Schill will send out a memo this afternoon.  Talk about salary/hiring freezes. I’ll post more on this later.

Recess for Lunch: Estimated 12:30-1:30 p.m.

4. Resolutions from Committee (pending March 4 committee action)

4.1 Seconded Motion from ASAC: Student Conduct Code

4.2 Seconded Motion from FFC: Slape Terrace Naming

4.3 Seconded Motion from FFC: ZIRC Renovation Project

5. Academic Area in Focus – Comic Studies: Ben Saunders, Professor of English

Prof Saunders gives a great talk, and it’s pitched at just the right level for our Trustees:

6. The UO’s Economic Impact Report: Tim Duy, Professor of Practice, Economics

Professor Duy has a tough act to follow, but I’m sure the Board will enjoy 45 pages of LaTex, 63 tables, and the cautionary language about not overinterpreting his work:

Meeting Adjourned

Rob Mullens paid $2.5M to get rid of Leavitt, will pay Andy Avalos $2.45M

3/5/2019 update: As Milton Friedman often said, it sure is easy for Rob Mullens to spend the University of Oregon’s money. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a contract that pays an employee 70% of a year’s salary if they voluntarily quit. WTF? Reporter Gabriel Ornelas has the story in the Daily Emerald:

2/14/2019:  The RG’s Ryan Thorburn has the Leavitt story here.

Meanwhile UO is considering layoffs for underpaid NTTF.