Scroll down for the Senate agenda and live-blog.
Institutionalized News Media Updates:
Once again Johnson Hall’s administrative incompetence crowds out the important news, in this case Chuck Lillis’s speech. Alexandra Wallachy does have this in the Emerald: UO has “bad reputation” for faculty-admin relations, Lillis says. And well paid former TV journalist and UO PR flack Jennifer Winters has the spin in “Around the 0“.
Chronicle of Higher Education: University of Oregon Draws Criticism for Response to Threatened TA Strike
The University of Oregon’s Senate voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to rebuke the institution’s administration for planning for a threatened strike by graduate teaching assistants in a manner that bypasses the faculty and stands to bring about “the dilution and degradation of teaching standards.”
The Senate, which includes representatives of the faculty, student body, administration, and staff, adopted the motion in response to a confidential memorandum that Oregon’s top academic and human-resources administrators sent to deans and directors last month. …
Scott Greenstone has a good report in the Emerald on the dilute and degrade legislation, here:
By supporting this resolution, University Senate is saying two things:
– University Senate does not support the administration’s plan to change finals and called it “diluting academic standards” in the resolution. The plan includes turning final essays into multiple-choice tests, shortening long essay finals, or hiring non-GTF graduate students, officers of administration or even upper-level undergraduates.
– University Senate doesn’t appreciate the UO administration sending the plans to department heads instead of discussing the plans with the senate. University Senate wants to instead work with the university and come up with a solution together.
Originally, the plans were sent out with a stamp of ‘confidential,’ which the faculty pointed to as an attempt to hide the plans from them in the resolution. Barbara Altmann, senior vice-provost of Academic Affairs, denied this. Altmann said the watermark was “vestigial,” and that the university knew emails would be shared and faculty would learn of the plans.
Altmann says she and Blandy marked the plan as confidential, and only addressed it to deans and directors – not department heads, not faculty – because they knew that meant they’d get a lot of attention and feedback from the faculty. And these people wonder why no one trusts them?
GTF Union updates:
Senate Meeting Highlights:
1) UO will dump Blackboard course management software for Canvas. Live Spring 2015. Yea!
2) Lillis speaks, answers questions. Very honest about UO’s situation and in the Q&A. (See below.) He wants administration and faculty to cooperate more to help UO. But will the Johnson Hall administration step up to the plate? Their refusal to work with the faculty on how to deal with the GTF bargaining and strike planning is not encouraging.
3) Opposition to administration’s efforts to dilute and degrade academic standards in the event of a GTF strike. AKA “educational malpractice”: dropping essay exams, canceling classes, having students watch videos, etc. Blandy: Tries to cover his butt, it’s all about protecting our undergraduates. Altmann: THe confidential stamp was there to attract more interest for what was an initial draft. We knew it would get leaked in 30 minutes to UO Matters (WTF? It wasn’t stamped “draft”, it was stamped “confidential“. And it took me days to get it. Embarrassing. And Altmann just can’t keep from digging that credibility hole deeper and deeper.) Dreiling: Sometimes good people make bad decisions. This secret memo was a bad decision. Just Settle. Lots more discussion, Coltrane gives a weak defense of how he’s handled the situation, gets called out on mis-statements by many in the room. One speaker gives HLGR’s $300-an-hour lawyers a special mention for abusing and insulting our grad students, during the year of botched negotiations that led UO to this point.
unanimously almost unanimously (25 to3?) at 5:10, Senate then adjourns. How’s that for Senate action to help UO improve its research standing, by making clear we stand behind our grad students? Now it’s the administration’s turn to show they can work together on this important goal.
Packed room. I’ll try and live-blog a little. No promises, check the livestream link. Usual disclaimer: nothing is a quote unless in quotes.
115 Lawrence, 3:00-5:00 p.m. Livestream here.
3:00 pm 1. Call to Order
3:00 pm 2. Approval of Minutes
3:05 pm 3. State of the University
3.1 Remarks by Interim President Scott Coltrane with questions
Coltrane: Planning for strategic plan almost done. Announcements soon. Notes that UO gets $270M in federal funding a year (mostly student aid) versus $50M or so from state.
Sought *outside* legal advice regarding Ombud confidentiality, expects to get that done via Board motion.
Will meet with Prof Freyd AAU rape before signing on to AAU rape survey.
Wants to avoid GTFF strike, but thinks administration has moved considerably. Will not let faculty participate in bargaining process, this is handled by administrators. (Seems to be trying to argue that Senate legislation on academic standards in event of strike is out of line.
Asks Senate to delay on open meetings legislation, so FAC, SBC can continue with secret meetings until Senate works out exact procedures. (Very nice to see Coltrane doing this constitutionally.)
Talks about “extravagant and uplifting” fundraising campaign event at Hayward Field and taking it on the road for Alumni. Notes $50M Ballmer gift for Pathways, etc. Gives shout-out to 160over90 branders.
Q: LCC transfer asks why research and athletics and scabs have a higher priority at UO than undergraduates, and asks why any woman would come to UO given sexual violence. A: We don’t discriminate against women. We will serve our undergraduates/ Willing to talk more with you about it.
Q from Green about “flex-time”. A: (He evades).
3.2 Remarks by Chuck Lillis, Chair of the UO Board of Trustees with questions
Chuck Lillis has been a big supporter of UO academics over the years, he’s the only board member with real academic experience, and he has some strong views on how to improve UO. Should be very interesting, and the agenda is packed with other important Senate business.
Kyr introduces: We are forming a real relationship with the board, appreciates Lillis’s willingness to come to the Senate and give “a bracing speech” and proposals to the Senate for how we can work with the board.
Lillis: I thought I knew about universities when I started, but I’ve learned a lot. Wants to talk about what Senate does, wants to convince Senate to work with the administration on UO’s “top 10 problems”. Supports shared governance – when it is done well. He believes it is disfunctional when based on confrontation. (Of course this problem’s roots are with JH and its history, and we’ll get nowhere if Lillis doesn’t read them the riot act.) Says that relationship with Coltrane and Bronet is much improved, faculty should respond positively. (Yes, we like them, but we haven’t yet seen them fix any of Berdahl and Gottfredson’s various screw-ups – or Frohnmayer’s for that matter.)
UO is good but not great, can be great.
Says search firms say UO has a reputation as a place where faculty and administration don’t get along. Problem for hiring a new president.
Biggest problem: We are weak financially, outspent 2 to 1 by other AAU’s. Last of the AAU publics. Need private money to fill gap.
Too few tenure track faculty, by about 150 (out of 750). Enrollment has grown 25%, no increase in TTF. (We’ve been telling JH this for years. Anyone remember Provost Bean’s denial? Good to hear some straight talk.)
Student quality is not good enough. More of Oregon’s top 400 HS students go to OSU than to UO. (Asks trick question about discount rates) We don’t give large enough discounts to best undergrads.
We don’t do a good enough job explaining what a research university does. Hence state disinvestment. Hence the branding effort.
Need to speed up process for approving new courses and programs. rams (This cuts both ways. Too hard to approve legit courses, but way to easy for the sleazy athletic department to slip in athlete only gut classes.) How did we get here? Distrust, coming from incompetence. (I’m not getting why this made it onto Lillis’s top ten list. What courses and programs is this really a problem for? Sports Product Design?)
Need $1.4B more for endowment: This campaign will bring in about 1/2 that. Not enough. We are a private school, financially, like it or not. The reason he agreed to serve on board, be chair. Passion for academic quality, need money for that.
Disastrous presidential turnovers: Hard to raise money without a permanent president. We had to – urgent. And board thinks current leadership team is good enough to go forward.
Need more science labs: Wants to hire 50 new science faculty, need $300-$400M for labs all gift money.
Need IT infrastructure for big data.
Asks faculty: Is the UO Senate doing anything to address the above top 10 problems? Thinks that many things the Senate spends its time on are not that important. Appreciates Kyr’s leadership on this.
Closing: Wants UO to be a top-ranked research university.
Tublitz: Thanks for talking to us so directly. Faculty mostly share your list. You need faculty help. Are you going to reach out to faculty?
Lillis: Yes. We’re doing that already. I don’t know the history, but new administration is committed to shared governance. I will meet with any of you about this.
(Sorry, I’m not doing a good job blogging the Q&A.)
3:40 pm 4. New Business
4.1 Announcement by Andrew Bonamici, Director of Academic Technology
UO will dump Blackboard course management software for Canvas. Live Spring 2015. Yea!
4.2 Motion (Legislation): Opposition to Efforts by Academic Affairs to Dilute and Degrade Academic Standards in the Event of a Graduate Teaching Fellows Strike; Monique Balbuena (Senator, Clark Honors College); Jane Cramer (Senator, Political Science); John Davidson (Senator, Political Science); Diane Dugaw (Senator, English); Deborah Olson (Senator, Education); Gina Psaki (Senator, Romance Languages); Gordon Sayre (Senator, English)
Opposition to administration’s efforts to dilute and degrade academic standards in the event of a GTF strike. AKA “educational malpractice”: dropping essay exams, canceling classes, having students watch videos, etc. Blandy tries to cover his butt. It’s all about protecting our undergraduates. Altmann: Confidential stamp was there to attract more interest. We knew it would get leaked in 30 minutes to UO Matters (WTF? It wasn’t event stamped “draft”, just “confidential“. And it took me days to get it. Embarrassing.) Dreiling: Sometimes good people make bad decisions. This secret memo was a bad decision. Just Settle. Lots more discussion, Coltrane gives a weak defense of how he’s handled the situation, gets called out on mis-statements.
5:10 PM. Legislation passes
unanimously almost unanimously (25 to3?).
Meeting then adjourns with plenty left to do, starting with legislation to set up a Senate committee to fix the administration’s sexual assault prevention failings:
4.3 Motion (Legislation): Committee on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence; Randy Sullivan (Vice-President, University Senate & Co-Chair of the Task Force to Address Sexual Violence and Survivor Support)
4.4 Motion (Resolution): Senate Support to Uphold and Implement a Confidential Ombuds Program and Office; Committee on Respectful Workplace (Carla McNelly, Chair), UO Ombuds Search Committee (Carol Silverman, Chair), UO Senate Task Force to Address Sexual Violence and Survivor Support (Carol Stabile and Randy Sullivan, Co-Chairs), Officer of Administration Council (Teri Rowe, President)
4.5 Motion (Resolution): UO Foundation Fossil Fuel Divestment; Jane Cramer (Senator, Political Science); John Davidson (Senator, Political Science); Helena Schlegel (Senator; Undergraduate, Spanish)
4.6 Motion (Legislation): Proposed Revisions to Student Conduct Code Dealing with Sexual Misconduct, Part 3; John Bonine, Professor (Law) and Caroline Forell, Professor (Law)
4.7 Motion (Legislation): Proposed Revisions to Student Conduct Code Dealing with Sexual Misconduct, Part 7; John Bonine, Professor (Law) and Caroline Forell, Professor (Law)
4.8 Motion (Legislation): Proposed Revisions to Student Conduct Code Dealing with Sexual Misconduct, Part 8; John Bonine, Professor (Law) and Caroline Forell, Professor (Law)
4.9 Motion (Legislation): Proposed Revisions to Student Conduct Code Dealing with Sexual Misconduct, Part 9; John Bonine, Professor (Law) and Caroline Forell, Professor (Law)
4.10 Motion (Legislation): Change of Membership for the Graduate Council; Joe Lowndes, Professor (Political Science) & Graduate Council Chair
4:55 pm 5. Open Discussion
4:55 pm 6. Reports
4:55 pm 7. Notice(s) of Motion
4:55 pm 8. Other Business
5:00 pm 9. Adjournment