Music & Dance to hold emergency meeting to plan for GTFF strike

Our GE’s are voting this week on authorizing a strike, probably starting week 6.

Presumably other deans are also planning on how to maintain undergraduate educative production – or at least pretend they are maintaining it – should the UO administration continue its quixotic effort to cut graduate students’ health insurance and real pay.

If you have info on other college’s strike planning please post an anonymous comment or send me the emails: uomatters at gmail.

Memorial service for David Schuman 3PM next Sat at Law School

He was a speed-skater, a professor of english, a judge, a professor of law, a friend of this blog, and, in a word, a mensch.

His daughter Rebecca writes that he sustained a fall on his bike that caused the injuries that killed him. The family’s obituary will be forthcoming.

There is a brief post with some quotes from faculty on AtO here. The service will be in the Morse Commons at the Law School on Saturday the 19th at 3. It will also be live-streamed.

Pres Schill thinks UO is transparent & your comments are disgusting

Also, while he continues to let his GC Kevin Reed use fees and delays to hide public records, he’s spending tuition money on an overscripted buddy movie of himself and Provost Phillips,

and on a “transparency website” that will post the information he wants you to see in easily digestible form. Please forgive my cynicism:

Dear University of Oregon colleagues,

A few weeks ago, UO’s new Provost Patrick Phillips and I took a walk around campus and talked about some of the things we are both looking forward to at the start of a new academic year. I would like to try something new—a hybrid edition of Open Mike featuring both video and text. I hope you will indulge me and take a few minutes to watch our discussion.

As we walked across campus, one topic we kept coming back to was our shared goal of helping to build a campus culture at UO that is grounded in both academic freedom and respectful dialogue. Some believe those two ideals are in conflict, but I do not see it that way. For example, Patrick and I do not always agree—and that is a good thing—because we make better decisions for the institution when we are challenging each other’s assumptions, playing devil’s advocate, and pushing the other to consider flaws in logic or to confront personal biases. The thing I most appreciate, though, is that we have the highest level of respect for each other and know that the conversation, even if heated, is rooted in wanting the best for the UO’s future, respecting our mission, and valuing students, faculty, and staff.

Our conversation got me thinking about the principles that should ultimately bind an academic institution and community of scholars. I firmly believe the UO is a community united by a desire to serve our current students and future generations. We strive for truth and understanding, and it is only through cooperation and teamwork that we can succeed, whether in the laboratory or the classroom. It is this spirit of cooperation and the sense of a higher calling to work toward the betterment of society through our mission of research, education, and service that makes us different, that generates the special spirit that is needed for us to succeed at the highest level. Our actions should model the behavior we hope will rub off on our students.

Quite honestly, I am not sure that we at the UO have always lived up to that ideal. Our campus culture can sometimes show cracks from the voices of cynicism and discord. But I recognize that I cannot expect those who seek a culture that values both academic freedom and respect to raise their voices if I do not set the right example from Johnson Hall. For that reason, I am establishing some principles that I will personally adhere to and that I will insist all members of my administration follow in a sincere effort to maintain and improve our campus culture. I invite colleagues across campus to do the same. Here are the principles I commit myself and the other administrators to:

Honesty. I, and the people who report to me, will never knowingly lie or mislead members of our community. Trust is an essential element of any well-functioning community and honesty is the foundation of trust. Unfortunately, the university I joined in 2015 was suffering from a severe lack of trust for reasons we all understand. I have tried my best to engender trust over the past four years, but I have not been as successful as I would have hoped. I continue to looks for ways to redouble my efforts here. But trust is a two-way street. We must all call out the bad behavior of some members of our community whose main purpose is to spread falsehoods for the purpose of sowing doubt and cynicism or achieving strategic advantage. A healthy dose of skepticism is good, but character assassination and the spreading of lies and innuendo is not.

Transparency. Trust can only be built through transparency. I sometimes wonder why some folks always think the administration is hiding things. I have been a faculty member at two universities and a faculty member/administrator at three others. I can say, without a doubt, that the UO is the most transparent of them all. It’s not even close. The amount of data and information that we make available is truly extraordinary. I sometimes think that the sheer volume of information on our institutional research and budget websites might hinder members of our community from finding what they are looking for. To deal with this issue, I am planning to launch a transparency website this term, an online clearinghouse where we consolidate many of the publicly available reports and data about the university into one online location. In addition, I hope to provide facts to answer some commonly held questions and clear up some persistent myths about the university. I look forward to sharing it with you in the coming weeks and, once it is live, I invite input from all of you on how we can improve it and make the tool more useful. Stay tuned.

Respect. As I stated above, one of the defining features of a successful academic community is respect. Respect for each other’s views and for our colleagues as people. Respect does not mean that we need to agree with each other; quite to the contrary. Vigorous disagreement about ideas is the hallmark of a healthy academic community. But ad hominin attacks, aspersions about motives, insults directed at colleagues, and harassment of co-workers are all signs of a dysfunctional community. We can do better here. I am disgusted by what I sometimes read online and in the comments section of local newspapers and blogs. We are better than this. If we are not, we need to be. We are faced with enough bad behavior online and in Washington, D.C.; we do not need to bring it into our university. I pledge I will do my best to treat everyone here with respect, whether in my office, in the classroom, or just walking across campus. I hope that respect will be mutual.

Grace. One of the defining elements of a well-functioning community is empathy, kindness, and, for want of a better word, grace. Over the past four years I have met thousands of our staff members, graduate students, faculty members, and administrators. I have talked to you and believe that the vast majority of our faculty and staff care deeply about our students and their futures. That is why you are here. You forgive them their mistakes and understand that life is about learning from our experiences—both good and bad. I wish that we could show each other that same grace. I have made and will make some mistakes as your president. So will other administrators. And so will you. But let’s not turn every mistake into a moment of attack. Let’s treat each other with some of the same grace we show our students. I promise I will try to do that as I fulfill my obligations as your president.

So, as we begin a new academic year, one that could have its share of tension and disagreement, I will employ these principles of honesty, transparency, respect, and grace. I will also try, to the best I am able, to throw in a bit of wisdom and humor from time to time.

Welcome back. I very much look forward to working closely with each of you this year.
Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law

Provost Phillips gives Bruce Blonigen another year as CAS Dean

No word on what sort of funding increases for CAS Blonigen was able to extract during the negotiations – but presumably they are nowhere near as as large as an external candidate would have demanded:

The following message is being sent on behalf of Provost and Senior Vice President Patrick Phillips. Feel free to email provost@uoregon.edu if you have any questions.

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that the Office of the Provost is extending Bruce Blonigen’s role as UO’s dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) through the 2020-21 academic year.

Originally, Bruce was to serve as interim dean through the end of the current academic year. But because of his valuable leadership and thoughtful direction, we are removing the interim tag and adding a year to his deanship over the university’s largest college.

Bruce has done a great job since he was named interim dean, most visibly taking over the helm of CAS as our campus prepared for the opening this fall of Tykeson Hall. His work with all of the Tykeson stakeholders ensured that the new building designed to help exploring students find their academic and career passions opened without a hitch.  At the same time, Bruce ably led CAS through the budget process and a successful round of the Institutional Hiring Plan, jumped energetically into the ongoing development work of the college, and, most of all, offered CAS stability and continuity in a time of change.

He has held a variety of roles at UO before being named the CAS Dean. He was the CAS Dean of Faculty and Operations; Interim Dean of the Lundquist College of Business; and was the CAS Associate Dean of Social Sciences from 2013 to 2016. He was also the head of the Department of Economics for five years.

As part of this change in status, CAS Senior Divisional Dean of Humanities Karen Ford will take on a new role. She will be the CAS Dean for Faculty in order to focus on faculty personnel processes and provide additional support to CAS faculty. CAS will fill Karen’s humanities position soon.

I am excited to have Bruce in this role, and I look forward to working closely with him as our university moves forward. Bruce’s experienced leadership is a benefit to CAS and the entire university. Please join me in congratulating him.

Best wishes,

Patrick Phillips

Provost and Senior Vice President

Gov. Brown back from Doha junket in time for TrackTown 21 launch

Update: No quid pro quo, move it along people. New France 24 report here, with quotes from what appears to be a confidential court transcript:

Asked what role Nike played, Coe [employed by Nike] said: “I don’t know. Very little, I would say.”

More Coe from the transcript:

He said he had supported the Eugene bid, but insisted he knew nothing of any promises the American bid might have made to the IAAF or Lamine Diack.

Really? Here’s video of Paul Weinhold and then Sec of State Kate Brown offering the full faith and credit of the UO Foundation’s $1B endowment, and $40M in Oregon funds, here. Coe was at the meeting.

Brown’s is term-limited as Governor, wants to be a Senator, and needs more of Phil Knight’s money to finance a credible run.

10AM 10/10/2019, at the Student Rec Center. She’s still $20M short on the $40M Kitzhaber promised. Apparently this invitation was not widely shared with reporters, so I thought I’d post it:

*** MEDIA ADVISORY ***

Oregon Hosts Kickoff Event for World Athletics Championships — Coming to the U.S. for the First Time Ever in August 2021

Launch event held at the University of Oregon will feature Governor Brown and Track & Field World Champions  from present and past

WHAT
Oregon21, Travel Oregon and the University of Oregon are teaming up to host the kickoff event for the 2021 World Athletics Championships on Oct. 10, 2019, at the Student Recreation Center on the University of Oregon campus. The 18th edition of the World Athletics Championships will come to Oregon Aug. 6-15, 2021. The kickoff will welcome back athletes and representatives from USA Track & Field just returning from this year’s championships in Doha, Qatar. Governor Kate Brown will welcome guests along with other regional, national, and international figures in sports, government and tourism who will answer questions about how they are preparing for this massive, unmissable event. Hayward Field at the University of Oregon will host nearly 2,000 participants with more than 200 countries participating.

The World Athletics Championships will be the largest sporting event in the world in 2021, and this is the first time it has taken place in the United States.

WHO

  • Past and present Track & Field World Champions
  • Governor Kate Brown, State of Oregon
  • Mayor Lucy Vinis, Eugene, Ore.
  • President Michael Schill, University of Oregon
  • Local area youth track & field athletes

VISUALS/NEWS

  • Recent Track & Field World Champions donning their medals.
  • Governor Kate Brown welcoming USATF back to the U.S. following competition in Doha, Qatar
  • Announcement of location for men’s and women’s marathons 

WHEN

10 a.m. -11:30 a.m.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

10 a.m.-10:35 a.m.                 Main event

10:35 a.m.-11 a.m.                 Breakout sessions (1:1 interviews available)

11 a.m.                                    Rooftop photo opportunity of Hayward Field

WHERE

University of Oregon Student Recreation Center

1320 E. 15th Avenue

Eugene, OR

Parking information here

 

MEDIA CONTACTS

Molly Ishkanian

Weinstein PR for Oregon21

Cell: (503) 277-8370

molly@weinsteinpr.com

 

Deborah Pleva

Weinstein PR for Oregon21

Cell: (503) 250-4750

deb@weinsteinpr.com

Senate to hear from Provost Phillips today, 3-5PM

SENATE MEETING AGENDA – OCTOBER 9, 2019

Location: EMU 145 & 146 (Crater Lake rooms) 3:00 – 5:00 P.M. Livestream.

3:00 P.M.   Call to Order

Introductory Remarks; Senate President Elizabeth Skowron

3:15 P.M.  Approval of the Minutes

November 14, 2018, November 28, 2018 & June 5, 2019

3:15 P.M.   State of the University

Patrick Phillips, Provost and Sr Vice President; White Paper on 2019-2020 Academic Initiatives

Undergraduate Advising at UO; Kimberly Johnson, UGS Asst Vice Prov Advising

4:00 P.M.   New Business

Vote: US19/20-01: Renaming NTTF Committee; Elizabeth Skowron (Psychology), Elliot Berkman (Psychology), Beth Harn (Education)

Vote: US19/20-02: Revisions to Continuous Improvement and Evaluation of Teaching committee; Elizabeth Skowron (Psychology), Elliot Berkman (Psychology), Sierra Dawson (Associate VP Academic Affairs)

Vote: 3 senators to serve on Senate Budget Committee

  • Robin Clement, Business
  • Zach Fairchild, Classified
  • Vsevolod Kapatsinski, Linguistics

Vote: US19/20-03: Approval of Curriculum Report, Summer 2019; Frances White (Chair, UOCC)

Vote: member of Statutory Faculty to serve on Inter-Institutional Faculty Senate (IFS)

Bill Harbaugh, Economics

4:30 P.M.    Open Discussion
4:30 P.M.   Reports

    • 2018-19 Senate Committee Reports – Highlights

4:55 P.M.   Notice(s) of Motion
4:56 P.M.   Other Business
5:00 P.M.   Adjourn

Faculty Club survives, despite Kevin Reed’s best efforts

Dear Colleagues,

The Faculty Club opens its doors for the fall term again this week.  We’ll be following the same format as before—a happy hour with complimentary hors-d’oeuvres and a reasonably-priced cash bar, open from 5:00 to 8:00 pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Please come out and join us either day, or both days.  The crowd is cheerful and smart, and colleagues are bound to have great stories to share about their summer adventures.  And you never know who you’ll run in to: last year there were over 800 different faculty members who attended one or more sessions of the Faculty Club!

Yours, James Harper

Chair of the Faculty Club Board

+++++++++++++++++++++++

WHO: The UO Faculty Club is open to all UO faculty—tenure-track faculty, non-tenure-track faculty, library faculty, and OAs tenured in an academic department, as well as people retired from positions in these categories.  Eligible people may bring any guests they like.

WHAT: Cash Bar with beer, wine, liquor and non-alcoholic beverages; complimentary hors d’oeuvres.

WHERE: The Faculty Club meets in a designated room on the ground floor of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.  Enter at the museum’s main entrance and turn right; the club room is right off the lobby.

WHEN: Wednesdays & Thursdays 5:00-8:00 pm.  We will meet through the last week of classes in Fall Term (i.e. through December 5); activity will resume in the Winter and Spring terms.

FURTHER INFORMATION: Faculty Club Board Chair James Harper (Dept. of the History of Art and Architecture), harperj@uoregon.edu

Attempt to replace Scott Pratt continues – without cv’s or letters

This is a fairly important job. Last year it paid $245,784, or about half a provost. I have no idea why Provost Phillips hasn’t posted the cv’s or application letters for his two finalists, or why this is buried on his website, or why the faculty haven’t been notified of the sessions with faculty, the first of which occurs at the same time as a Senate meeting.

Executive Vice Provost, Academic Affairs

The Office of the Provost (OtP) has launched an internal search for an executive vice provost for academic affairs (EVPAA). The EVPAA is a senior position within OtP, is the primary point person for academic and faculty affairs, and reports directly to the provost. The EVPAA’s portfolio includes oversight of a team that promotes and advances OtP initiatives such as academic affairs, curricular matters, academic training, and professional development, online and hybrid education, and employee and labor relations matters.

Finalist A – Adell Amos

Schedule

Survey (survey will open on October 9 and will close on October 14 at 12:00 pm)

Finalist B – Janet Woodruff-Borden

Schedule

Survey (survey will open on October 10 and will close on October 14 at 12:00 pm)

Minority faculty walk out on mandatory implicit bias training

10/7/2019 update:

That’s the rumor from a generally well-informed source. Meanwhile Muenzer and Alex-Assensoh are still short three thought partners. Maybe they should try sharing more of their money? Just a thought.

9/11/2019: Search committees, meet your mandatory new admin “thought partners”:

Budget crisis? Not in our bloated Provost’s office, which has just issued new rules micro-managing whatever faculty searches get through the Provost’s Institutional Hiring Plan. All without UO Senate input or consent. I’ve added a few of the salaries of our new administrative thought partners, to give some perspective on where our limited hiring money is now going. So far as I know only one of the administrators who will now be supervising UO’s tenure track faculty searches has a PhD and has themselves been through the academic hiring process (Alex-Assensoh):

Active Recruitment Team

The ART is comprised of the following members, with their ART roles noted in parentheses:

    • [$197,925 a year] Melanie Muenzer* (team lead), Office of the Provost, associate vice president and vice provost for academic initiatives
    • [$253,173 a year] Yvette Alex-Assensoh* (ART senior advisor), Division of Equity and Inclusion, vice president
    • [$131,092 a year] Nancy Nieraeth* (HR recruitment expert), Human Resources, director of talent acquisition
    • Anna Shamble* (ART project manager), Office of the Provost, senior project manager
    • Ben Young (ART faculty advisor), College of Arts and Sciences, dean fellow and associate professor in Mathematics
    • TTF TBD* (ART faculty advisor)
    • TTF TBD* (ART faculty advisor)
    • TTF TBD* (ART faculty advisor)
    • [$135,000 a year] Jeslyn Everitt (legal advisor), Office of the General Counsel, assistant general counsel
    • Dan Currier (data specialist), Human Resources, interim project manager
    • Robert Garral (research specialist), Office of the Provost, interim project manager

*These members of the ART also serve as a point of contact for TTF searches. Please note that ART points of contact are not responsible for ensuring compliance requirements such as completing the search disposition summary (what happened with each candidate, such as did they meet the minimum qualifications) at the end of each search.

ART search contacts are responsible for the following:

    • Meeting with the search chair and committee at the beginning of the search
    • Approving the committee’s Search Plan
    • Offering advice and guidance to the search committee on ways to broaden the pool of candidates
    • Working with the committee to review data that describes the demographics of the available pool of candidates compared to the actual applicant pool to determine if the applicant pool is appropriately representative [UOM: UO was late again in compiling these data, but they are now posted at https://hr.uoregon.edu/employee-labor-relations/affirmative-action/affirmative-action-plans]
    • Providing guidance and serving as a thought partner to the search committee during the review of candidates including the steps to select candidates for phone or online interviews, invitations for campus visits, and final selection
    • As needed, making recommendations to the provost on extensions or continuation of searches that may be struggling to recruit candidates or have challenges during the review and selection phases of the search

Oregon Bar Assoc moves to curtail ABA cartel and UO Law

This will not be good for UO’s law school, which has survived on the basis of the ABA’s cartel on licensing lawyers, and subsidies from undergraduate tuition. The ABA Journal has the report here.

One proposal is for the Oregon Bar to license legal paraprofessionals to do work now restricted to bar members. The second would allow people allow people without an ABA-accredited law degree to sit for the Oregon State Bar exam and become regular attorneys:

Recommended by the Oregon State Bar’s Alternative Pathways Taskforce Committee in a 2016 report (starting at PDF page 115), the proposal would allow a person with at least a bachelor’s degree, good moral character, and who has completed a four-year mentorship program in a law office, legal department or court sit for the bar and be licensed in the state.

The committee notes that taking part in the four-year program could cost between $12,000 and $18,000, significantly lower than then $35,000 per year a resident would pay at the University of Oregon School of Law. (Disclosure: the author is a non-resident graduate of the University of Oregon School of Law.) Lower costs could, the committee believes, lead to a more diverse practicing bar in the state.

California, Maine, New York, Washington, Vermont and Virginia already allow people without three-year law degrees to sit for their state bar exams.

As Illinois and Massachusetts once did.

Dave Cecil calls bullshit on UO admin’s GTFF insurance scheme

President Schill badly needs a few JH insiders who will tell him when he’s being stupid. But he’s fired them all. So now it’s up to the unions:

The UO Administration has been spreading the rumor around campus that the GTFF is about to go out on strike because they love their free massages. This is bullshit.

Before I became UAUO’s Executive Director in 2014, I spent 10 years working for the GTFF. So I know their contract, their health insurance program, and what is important to graduate employees on our campus.

I hope you won’t mind a little history. In roughly 1999, the members of the GTFF fought to have a real, employment-based health insurance plan. They were able to get the administration to agree to pay for a decent insurance plan, but the one thing that admin did not want to do was administrate the plan. So the grads said they would do it themselves. The union formed a trust – the GTFF Health Insurance Trust – which has run the health care plan ever since. That means that each year, it is the GTFF and the Trust, not the administration, that contacts GEs, informs them of their benefits, signs them up, helps them when they run into problems, and works to keep the plan healthy and cheap. Just as they wanted, the administration only plays a small role.

Each year, the GTFF works with their health insurance provider to keep the costs as low as possible, then they bargain with the administration over how much the university would contribute to the plan. Some years cost increases were low, so bargaining was easy. Some years the costs were high, and bargaining was difficult. Some years, the university was under a state-wide public employee wage freeze, so the two parties were able to agree to health insurance benefit increases or lower costs for GEs in lieu of raises.

This year, unfortunately, the administration came to bargaining with a complicated scheme whereby they would raise wages if the GTFF would agree to significant cuts to their health insurance subsidies. This was not the first time the administration had proposed this idea. In previous rounds of bargaining, the administration had explained to the GTFF bargaining team that GEs don’t actually need decent health insurance because they are young and healthy and that GEs would rather have the money in their pockets than health insurance. Every time, the GTFF bargaining team told them that these things were not true, and they knew this because they talked with GEs every day. In fact, the health insurance was one of the few things the UO had to offer prospective GEs. Every time the GTFF has been given the chance, the GEs have chosen to protect their health insurance, rather than grab raises. This time is no different.

Over the last several years, many administrators have latched on to the idea that GE health insurance is too good, especially the massages. You may have heard that GEs get 50, 75, or 99 free massages every year. It seems outrageous. It would be, if it were true. The GTFF health insurance plan guarantees to each GE exactly 36 insurance-subsidized massages every year. GEs have a co-pay of 10% for each massage. The insurance-covered massages did increase to 36 from 20 last year, because their new insurance company threw them in for free to entice the Trust to switch from their old insurance. GEs actually use the massage benefit so infrequently that the cost difference between offering 20 massages and offering 36 massages is negligible.

So what do GEs use their insurance for? It’s been a few years since I worked with them, but I can’t imagine it has changed much. The three big cost drivers are prescriptions, mental health, and emergencies. These are things that the administration is not going to talk about when complaining about the cost of GE health insurance.

The GTFF is not contemplating going out on strike to protect their free massages. So why are they talking strike? Because this year, the administration has decided to back out of their 1999 agreement and wants control of the health care plan. Or, as the administration puts it, they want “cost containment.” They claim that GE health insurance it too expensive. This is why they talk about all those “free” massages; the implication is that if the GTFF would just give up their massages, the cost of the plan would be reasonable. This is, as I mentioned above, bullshit.

What the admin wants to do is have an agreement whereby the GTFF Trust would pay the majority of any future cost increases either by raising the premium costs for GEs or cutting their benefits. This sounds not just petty, but mean. What kind of pinchpennies raise health insurance premium costs for workers earning roughly poverty wages? How soulless do you have to be to raise the co-pays for prescriptions or mental health visits for those same workers? Of course our pals in administration would never do such a thing, so they invented the crisis of “too many free massages” to explain their actions.

The GTFF is talking strike because they know that accepting the administration’s proposal would mean that, should the Trust experience a medium-sized cost increase, GEs will face cuts to core services or large premium increases. A large cost increase – driven by a few large emergency claims – would force the GTFF Trust to radically restructure the plan. The GTFF is talking strike because they simply cannot agree to pay for a big increase.

The simple truth is that the administration would like to pay less for GE health insurance. This is understandable. That the administration would like to pay less for GE health insurance by making GEs cut benefits or pay more is unconscionable. That’s why the GTFF is being forced to go consider going out on strike.

The leadership of UA has made it clear to both the GTFF and the administration that faculty believe that GEs deserve decent benefits and decent salaries for the hard work they do. Classes and labs cannot run without them. I hope GEs do not have to go out on strike to protect their health insurance, but if they do, I know faculty will stand with them.

In solidarity, Dave Cecil

Mission statement of the month

From the Duck’s job ad for a new Director of Sports Science:

Department Summary
The University of Oregon Intercollegiate Athletic Department’s primary purpose is to provide a unique opportunity for student-athletes to be developed, tested, and encouraged to reach their maximum potential in every aspect of their lives. 

Required: “A discreet, professional and confidential approach.” PhD preferred.