OSU claims UO stole cluster hire plan from them

7/20/2014: In the RG, here. This is silly, the idea has been around forever. OSU does seem to be ahead on implementing it though. But hey, the Beavers can’t beat the Ducks at spending money on sports!

6/28/2014: RG reports on surreal mismanagement of UO research efforts

I’m no humanities professor, but I think surreal is good description. If I was a law professor, maybe I’d use a different word.

Mike Gottfredson has been on the job almost two years, during which his administration has repeatedly dropped the ball on what to do about UO’s research problems. This spring he rushed through the “Clusters of Excellence” or “Cluster Hires” plan. Not a good sign when they can’t even agree on the name.  Diane Dietz has the story in Sunday’s RG – with some blunt facts and quotes – on this latest effort.

I guess you can say it’s better than Jim Bean’s Five Big Ideas – although Gottfredson and Coltrane apparently decided to give Bean his big slice of this little pie a bit early. A full sixth of it, by my math.

Will this be enough to keep us in the AAU? In March 2013 Gottfredson and Dave Hubin told UO’s accreditors that the plan was to get UO into the top half of the AAU. Later Gottfredson backdated UO’s 2009 draft “academic plan” to make it look like it had been finalized. That plan is all about our place in the AAU. It wasn’t until November 2013 that UO finally came clean, with the terrifying “Benchmarking report” that we paid Academic Analytics to prepare. Then we suddenly stopped talking about the academic plan. Now Scott Coltrane doesn’t seem to think we can even stay in the AAU – he’s removed any mention of the AAU from UO’s new mission statement. Apparently the Trustees are going to go along with that.

How did we get to this place? Years of mismanagement by Dave Frohnmayer and his cronies, coupled with hostility and indifference from the OUS board. The new UO Trustees are our only hope, but there’s no evidence yet they are up to the job. Meanwhile it’s amazing to see how many of Frohnmayer’s administrators are still on the ever expanding Johnson Hall dole. And how much is Frohnmayer himself billing us? I don’t know, UO redacts that from the HLGR invoices.

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15 Responses to OSU claims UO stole cluster hire plan from them

  1. Anonymous says:

    I think “feckless” would also work here.

  2. Steve says:

    Like every article you post on this site, this article is complete bullshit. You don’t identify a single instance of “surreal mismanagement of UO research efforts”; the issues Detz identifies in the article you cite shows merely that UO hired adjuncts and non tenure-track faculty to keep up with rising enrollment and that, partially as a result, we have fewer PHD and Master’s graduates than our AAU peers (but is that adjusted for state funding and overall size of the institution? How has that changed over time? Why is it necessarily a bad thing?). You don’t even attempt to identify where the actual mismanagement was; all you do–all you ever do–is smear. If you think there’s something wrong, why don’t you use your prodigious talents to point out solutions instead of spewing empty vitriol?

    • uomatters says:

      Follow the links.

    • charlie says:

      What are you, some kind of child? Someone has to point out solutions for you, rather than coming to your own conclusions based on the data, which if you read all of the links, is readily available? Anyone with a basic capacity for critical thought would realize that the massive problems at U of O aren’t unique, but part of the larger issue of turning unis into cash cows for Wall Street money palaces and politically connected construction magnates. The JH satraps have followed the same unsustainable model of leadership used by every other uni administrative hack, lard up the balance sheet with debt, hire flacks, put temps in the classroom in order to pay for said debt and flacks.

      U of O uses it membership in AAU as PR fodder. Somehow, the bright lights at JH missed the fact that institutional mismanagement is one of the prime reasons they’re going to lose membership. If you had been paying attention for any length of time, that would have been readily apparent. Stop yapping at bloggers, and start doing something about it….

      • Hedgehog says:

        In a way, you are making Steve’s case. Given that the financial problems public universities face are structural and widespread, and the fact that the inadequate and desperate responses made by administrators are also widespread–what exactly is the specific failing of the UO and its administrators? And–it’s a reasonable and fair question–what exactly is to be done in the face of these facts? There are reasons administrators make the choices they do. If we just attack administrators without finding ways to change the conditions that structure their choices, it’s just going to be repetition compulsion all over again.

        We’ve gotten rid of the hostile OUS board that was a major factor in limiting the choices the UO could make. It’s a serious challenge now to find the next steps that will keep the research and scholarly side of the university alive and healthy–including the humanities–given the places the university has to go looking for funding. How that will sort out and what specifically can be done is not a childish question.

        • uomatters says:

          Yes, not a childish question. Any solution requires more resources devoted to teaching and research. Instead, UO has been spending money on administrative bloat, athletics, pet projects that mainly benefit administrators, strategic communications, and “branding”.

          Compare the careful planning, money, and administrative effort that has gone into this sort of fluff over the past 15 years with Johnson Hall’s feckless indifference to research and increasing the numbers of tenure-track faculty. The money devoted to these cluster hires is $1.5M, out of a $850M budget – and it looks like $245K of that $1.5M for next year will go to one overpaid administrator, Jim Bean. And that ignores what we paid him last year.

        • chuck says:

          Sorry, but there is nothing that says that unis must have more admins than profs, there is nothing that says that unis must allow ever increasing numbers of unqualified students onto their campuses, there is nothing that says that the uni must go into hundreds of millions of dollars in debt to fund non-academic building such as student rec centers, basket ball arenas, ERB, or the like. In many cases, that debt has been thrown onto the backs of students, despite the fact, as in the case with the rec center, students repeatedly said no to any more expense. “Desperate” admins have an altogether different agenda than does the public/student body, that is, to please the institutions and elite that I pointed out in my initial post.

          Further, please stop with the bullshit that admins are desperate, not with their PERS, not with their bloated salaries, not with their work schedules. You have NO idea what desperate is until you start talking and taking into account the millions of loan sodden students/grads, who have no capacity to pay off the debt, which the ‘desperate’ admins, through their policies, have placed on the backs of these kids. That’s where desperation resides, not in places such as JH, nor any of the other uni admin buildings. They based policies on the bigger fool theory, that there will always be another idiot, willing to believe the PR nonsense spewed by their marketing minions, and willing to take on whatever amount of debt necessary to live a fleeting middle/upper middle class existence. The falling enrollment numbers underscore the bankruptcy of admin thinking, meaning that it will be the public that will have to shoulder that debt. Please, just stop….

  3. nom says:

    It’s amazing how many have identified “the problem and the answer”: there isn’t enough money being thrown at a multitude of situations. Or clusters.

    • dog says:

      The other issue is that we are trying to be “strategic” with out adequately consulting with the external world. This is the typical UO insular, “we know best”, approach that has not gotten us anywhere and is largely the reason for the institution being where it is at currently. The one glimmer of hope I have with the Independent board involves them issuing some marching orders that require us to pull our heads out of our collective asses.

      • nom says:

        Agreed. Yet is it that there’s not enough consulting with the external world, or that a revised, well thought out and discussed mission statement and plan has not been performed?

        UO is already split between general academics and it’s glitzy sports alter ego, and now it lookz to become a trident of interests with the addition *really important faculty* and their privately funded clusters. But of course, the “we know best” approach would say “enough” to all that … it’s all good. (eye roll). As for the board … not sure. Interesting times ahead.

        • Anonymous says:

          There is no indication that the board has any interest whatsoever in the academic goings-on at UO. All the board cares about IMO is a winning football team; the current administration will be trusted to implement anything necessary for UO to retain its lofty academic standing*.

          It’s a win-win for the trustees. They have power without donating money, and they can run UO like a private business until they get bored. Then some other big donor takes their place. On and on it goes, until the Ducks either win a national championship in football (highly unlikely to happen) or the NCAA ceases to exist.

          *in the minds of those who do not seek outside opinions.

          • uomatters says:

            There is no evidence, yet, that the board cares about football.

          • dog says:

            Its much too early to pronounce judgement on what the board cares about. My informal interactions suggest that they are not particularly happy with the current trajectory of the UO, specifically the lack of critical mass faculty and new kinds of degree programs.

            Of course, I could be full of shit as well, time will tell.

            I do agree with UO matters, so far the board has not come to any meetings as UO sports cheerleaders.

  4. Cat says:

    cats do not always understand dogs:
    what are “critical mass faculty”?

  5. dog says:

    critical mass faculty in emergent new areas of funding and
    investigation.

    Nominally the clusters of excellence was supposed
    to deal with this – not clear that it has.

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