24 Responses to What should Scott Coltrane do to put UO back on track?

  1. curious says:

    Have you read Canzano today? Lillis setting himself up as the next Prez?

    • uomatters says:

      I read it. It seems very unlikely to me. At the press conference Lillis went out of his way to emphasize the board is looking for a star who is an academic leader with a national reputation for research and administrative experience.

      • New Pres Options? says:

        Lillis is an interesting thought. I doubt he would do the job but if he did, if as chair he proves himself, open and loyal and caring about all missions of the UO, then lillis might make a great president. And if it is not Lillis then someone like him (Steve Ballmer comes to mind :)

        First lets not quibble on his qualifications: Harvard I believe proved that you do not need a PHD to be a president, and now they even hire coaches as university presidents. Just think we could have Bellotti.

        As the Chair of the first UO independent board as the laws and rules are currently written Lillis has more power than God. So if you are worried he will do the wrong thing you are too late. He already has the power to do it!

        In terms of skill set: by most accounts he was a good businessman. Although I am loathe to demote public higher education to just a commodity for the dolts, a great business man may be what we need. Many businessmen understand the value of education, at the highest levels most know they are directly subsided by the taxpayers who paid for the last hundred years of public education.

        So in answer to the original thread: If he is transparent, open, fair in his dealings, a hard ass when it comes to getting things done, passionate and caring about the public trust in general and our school and students in specific, never takes shit from the rotting mold cowering in the corners throws open some windows and exposes the lot to sunshine, and never EVER states that his “Job One” is glad-handing as the foundations fluffer… then I think he would make a great president and these are the qualities we need.

        • curious says:

          We would NEVER have had Bellotti as president mostly because he isn’t fool enough to let his name be considered. As to “lets not quibble on his qualifications”? “Lillis has more power than God”? You must be joking, and I’ll leave it at that. Back to Coltrane and what he should, would, will or can do.

        • Jose Rodriguez says:

          I think there are a number of good reasons to consider hiring someone with business experience and savvy – not because education is a “product,” but because the qualities of a good leader and administrator are exceedingly rare in an academic (in my experience). I’ve said often that UO needs a “VP of institutional efficiency” – the sort of role that could be filled by a Lee Iacocca type who can see through the BS and remind us all what the hell we’re doing here. It’s not at all uncommon to hear deans speak to the flock for hours and never once mention the student experience, and I think that’s a symptom of looking inward for decades on end. It’s also amazing to me that UO has no clearly articulated strategic vision whatsoever. Even individual departments couldn’t begin to say what they stand for, where they’re going, what kinds of students they want, etc. It’s the equivalent of opening a restaurant, flipping the sign to open, and waiting for customers. It’s just not good enough anymore.

          There are many places – small colleges in the Midwest or East come to mind – where there is MUCH more competition for students than we have here. Those places can’t afford to be so contentious and bureaucratic as UO; everything depends on creating legions of raving fans. We are not doing that. Just look at the UOAA numbers, which are appallingly low. There are so many problems that would work themselves out if we kept our focus on students and not on the minutiae of running an institution.

          I think that a lack of leadership and charisma at UO will be (and has been) filled by people, mostly faculty, who invariably will act in their own self-interest and take almost a perverse pleasure in being problem children. It’s like the kid in school who makes the substitute teacher cry. I think someone who respects academics without kowtowing to them stands the best chance of making a lasting difference. I doubt Coltrane is that person but would love to be wrong.

          • ScienceDuck says:

            Of course, if we hired a VP of Institutional Efficiency, I’m sure we would soon need 2 Associate VPs of Institutional Efficiency and an Assistant Vice President of Institutional Efficiency Implementation, and Institutional Efficiency Financial Analyst, and then we’d be ready to get good and efficient!

          • Anonymous says:

            “the qualities of a good leader and administrator are exceedingly rare in an academic”

            They’re rare everywhere. The fact that you had to reach back for a CEO who retired 22 years ago is telling.

            Let’s not romanticize the whole “run a university like a business” thing. Goodness knows there’s plenty of that among politicians already.

      • Almost says:

        Then again, the Lillis campaign sign went up 11 years ago at the former Gilbert Hall.

  2. John Maynard Keynes says:

    In my General Theory I argue convincingly for the advantages of deficit spending, if indeed one can print money.
    The new Provost asked me to confirm this recommendation for universities. I could NOT do so. “Get you finances in order!” I wrote to him, quoting from page 435. “The deficits threaten to undermine the social and academic order. Success in athletics will not suffice.”
    And more to the point: “administrative costs should NOT exceed a fixed percentage of total costs; your administrative costs are far too high given the demands of the academic mission” from page 536. Heed my words!

  3. Me thinks... says:

    To put the UO back on track:
    1. Bi-annual reviews of top administrators by a senate committee; reviews must be made public. Immediate consequences for poor performance.
    2. Total budget transparency.
    3. End athletic subsidies.
    4. For next United Academics negotiations, assemble an admin team that already works for the UO – no outside lawyers.

    • Max Powers says:

      on #4-Get United Academics staff out of the room and you might just get Admin to follow suit with getting outside parties out of the room.

    • Max Powers says:

      I also think that now that you have a contract in place you are much more likely to get the outside lawyers out. The first contract word-smithing is much more critical than subsequent versions. You ought to think about more interest based bargaining rather than adversarial and I hope your admin can get there.

  4. Guest says:

    Get the school’s financial health in order and stop these outrageous salaries and perks for administrators. The school has an egregious amount of administrators per faculty and classified that is well above the national average.

    Clean out the glut and get some fresh blood in Legal Counsel so we can stop wasting millions on outside legal firms that have no business representing the school.

    Put an end to the ridiculous payouts like the one Gott received.

    Pull the plug on the police department and bring back the EPD to do the police work. The big SUV police cars, the bowl of dicks list and the spending of tens of thousands on an outside adviser to tell them how to run a police department is clue enough something needs to be done now. the department is over $1mil in the hole.

    Transparency, transparency, transparency. Come and tell the truth. People would rather hear an ugly truth than a lie from their administration. Start being up front on things and you will win your employees and the public over.

  5. Guest says:

    Allow employees a review period of their supervisors yearly and get rid of incompetent and poor leadership. Listen up when your employees are telling you that there is a problem in a department. The university could save millions by stepping in early and taking care of a problem before it turns into a lawsuit and a public embarrassment for the school. Employees are not perfect but my experience with the school has demonstrated that poor administration is the majority of the problem.

  6. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    For starters: terminate the clusterf*%# hiring plan. All of the science faculty I consider most thoughtful are against it, even if in some cases they go along for the sake of their departments.

    • Anonymous says:

      Coltrane was behind the cluster**** plan. Besides, is it really worse than the dreadful hiring plans developed within departments that are founded on political infighting?

      • honest Uncle Bernie says:

        Well, if he was behind it — and I don’t doubt this, I am well aware of this — then my exhortation becomes exceedingly relevant.

        Is the c-f*%# plan better than the departmental hiring plans? In the case of the good departments, no. My science friends — whose departments, as we know well got most of the cf positions — tell me that it was precisely the operators within their departments who hustled the positions. There are a couple of departments that honorably refused to play the game, and they are paying for their principled, idealistic stance.

        My own antennae started to go on screech alert when I read that one of the selling points for the cf hires is that they are “narrowly focused.” Bad sign! Be very suspicious when someone brags about this!

  7. guardedly hopeful says:

    Settle ASAP with the GTF and give them a good contract. Never use outside lawyers again when bargaining, whether with them, United Academics, or SEIU — use people who work for the university already. (Or else eliminate those legal positions within the U if we’re going to consistently hire outsiders to do the work that those positions were supposedly hired to take care of for us.)

    Purge the police dept, firing everyone if it turns out to be necessary, starting at the top. A leader takes the responsibility for what happens in their team and on their watch. The bowl of dickheads we have apparently hired has made me as a female staff person feel LESS safe on campus. I don’t trust them armed, I don’t trust them in their SUVs. Get your fat stomach out of your car and walk around campus and get to know your constituency so you can tell the good guys from the bad guys from the mental-but-harmless guys. Those cars and SUVs are nothing but intimidating and distancing. Remember the EPD cop who retired a year or so ago? He was always out walking his beat.

    Academics first. Johnson Hall administration should be there only to support support faculty in their endeavours to teach and do research. We have too many VPs, all hiring underlings to do each others’ work it seems. Maybe some positions could wither away as people leave or retire.

    Advocate for the most open search process possible for the next president. Although diversity is a good goal, we need to make the right hire so we should not rule out anyone in advance. But hopefully we’ll see someone fresh. The dean of libraries hire was a good start.

    More actual action on sustainability (see “get fat gut out of SUV, above) and less greenwashing talk about it.

  8. No way out says:

    Pathway to greatness for U of O:
    Say “no thanks” to Phil Knight. EVERY president has become his lap dog–including The Hat. The next president will not be different. His power leads us deeper into being a quasi-professional athletic club instead of a world class university.

  9. It's Morning at the UO says:

    1. End academic subsidies to the athletic dept.
    2. Review administrators regularly
    3. Remove the administrators who are widely known to be abusive (a wrist-slapping from JH is not enough)
    4. Offer study leaves to faculty (like they have at Cornell) (i.e. you don’t teach but you still do your committee work; it helps you catch up on reading and keeping up with your field)
    5. Bring back fighting funds for faculty retention

  10. Alum says:

    Turn UO into IU-Bloomington of the Western US.

  11. Reid Acted says:

    Transparency needs to improve. Requests for public documents need to be served promptly, without punitive fees and most importantly without the excessive and suspicious levels of redaction. It sure looks like the administration is hiding something. The cover-up is always worse than the crime.

  12. Max Powers says:

    #1-Appoint UO Matters as the Chief Transparency Officer- Perks include a jet black highlighter, reserved parking space with a $1,000/month car allowance, private residence stipend, deferred compensation package, 200k per year salary with a generous payout clause.

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