GradGate: Senate to investigate graduate fellowship cuts, missing $11M

2/5/2015 update:

A reader passes along this Brad Shelton powerpoint, which among other things documents the $1.5M Moffitt to Moffitt transfer:

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The bottom line though, is that there’s plenty of water in the well. Or at least that’s what Brad Shelton was telling UO’s academic deans in September:

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I wonder what changed?

2/4/2015 update: The Senate Executive Committee met today. The sudden cuts to graduate fellowships in some UO departments, right in the middle of grad recruiting, got some serious attention. Senate President Kyr is going to ask the Senate Budget Committee to look into the situation and report back to the Senate ASAP.

Meanwhile, in the absence of any information from President Coltrane or Provost Bronet, the rumors are flying. Please post yours in the comments, whilst adhering to the one cuss-word limit.

Isn’t it odd how it only takes Johnson Hall 3 hours to spam the entire university with a witch-hunt email accusing a professor and two archivists of an “unlawful release” of UO archives, but when it comes to something as crucial as graduate student fellowships, they wait until departments are bringing students to campus to tell us sorry, they spent that money on something else?

Speaking of where they spent the money, the Senate Exec Meeting was attended by UO’s new VP for Collaboration Chuck Triplett, who is tasked with spying on the faculty and reporting back to Board Secretary Angela Wilhelms. Pernsteiner paid Triplett $72K, but Angela Wilhelms is giving him $130K, and didn’t even make him go through an affirmative action compliant search. No wonder he’s so happy:

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What are the chances that chief collaborator Triplett will relay the news to the Board of Trustees that UO’s spending priorities are out of whack? How much are we paying Wilhelms?

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2/4/2015: UO cutting grad student fellowships?

That’s the rumor. If true, it means Chuck Lillis has decided that it would be more fun to play with UO if it were out of the AAU. If you know something, say something.

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35 Responses to GradGate: Senate to investigate graduate fellowship cuts, missing $11M

  1. Rigoletto says:

    That’s nonsense. Where did you hear that? If anything, the opposite is probably more likely to happen.

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    • that effing Dog again says:

      Not nonsense
      it was first announced at the CAS dept heads meeting last Fall – and it was announced severely.

      There has been lots of re-negotiations on this but in some cases the program cuts are serious (and without justification – this is an arbitrary piece of crap decision).

      As far as I know as of today, this is more of a CAS issue than a UO issue and of course this is happening when we are trying to hire a new Dean of the Grad School and a new VPR. This is nuts, dog nuts.

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      • thetruth says:

        This is happening because CAS is being raided directly with money being redirecting to the law school and indirectly with the law school start undergraduate legal studies which has sucked out students from sociology and political science.

        This partly due having an interim dean in CAS. A Dean that has the job full time would advocate to get her/his college to elevate, as that is how they can move up and be a provost or president elsewhere. An interim is just going to try to not rock the boat, which means not advocating for external equity and demanding answers to the raids on CAS’s budget.

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  2. Working GTF says:

    Rebuffed in their attempt to break our union, they mean now to starve it to death.

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  3. dog says:

    Yes there seems to be a rumor to that effect. There is certainly been some initial discussion and proclamation in CAS regarding graduate student tuition waivers and TAs.

    However, in the case of my local department – we were recently informed that our GTF budget would experience only a 3-4% reduction from this year for next year. So while this rumor seems to be out there, it is not manifest itself yet, in my local experience.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    It is true. CAS initially cut our teaching slots so severely that we would have had to completely cancel PhD admissions. Negotiation restored some slots, but we are facing a smaller class size than we had planned. Faculty are unhappy to say the least. We are in the middle of our admissions process, and we have already put a lot of time and resources into it. The timing and lack of discussion are terrible.

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    • dog says:

      yes this has quite high variance across different departments and I understand that some departments have been especially penalized. None of this makes any sense to me, but then again, as the UO keeps reminding me (now on a daily basis), I really am just a senseless dog.

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  5. Working GTF says:

    Ostensibly the justification for this would be that enrollments are low (can’t imagine what other justification CAS has for cutting teaching positions), but that seems to fly in the face of the “football success = increased enrollment” rhetoric.

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    • Working GTF says:

      Continuing with this line of thought, if the justification for the egregious expenditures to send upper-tier admins on bowl junkets was that they were recruiting, and expected enrollments next year are so low it necessitates (in at least some instances, such as the one cited above) draconian budget cuts in CAS, then isn’t that an admission that the money spent recruiting students on lavish bowl junkets was wasted?

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      • duckduckgo says:

        Remember the math? They just had to find one out of state student to make it worthwhile. Take 5 years of out of state tuition, don’t subtract any costs, don’t take into account the “replacement student” revenue, and suddenly it is justified to spend $150,000 to encourage one student to enroll!

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  6. Old Man says:

    Last year, the Administration and our elected “representatives” in the FAC apparently had heart-to-heart talks about this issue, as manifested in the annual report of the FAC to the Senate (see below). Of course, most of us, including the Senate, will never know what was actually said and by whom, and what the responses might have been, since all proceedings are hush-hush. Go figure.
    “Current budget model discussions –
    the relationship between Provost’s Office and deans —
    transparency issues —
    mechanisms for including faculty in budget and policy decision-making at both university and college/school levels –budget model and its relationship to UO academic mission and academic plan —
    budget model and its relationship to research support in all disciplines — budget model and its relationship to enrollment pressures/faculty expectations in departments, colleges and schools budget model and its relationship to graduate education — budget model and its effects, including the need for on-going adjustments …”

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    • Clueless says:

      Old man, you should know better. The FAC is not meant to be representative and is not a governing body. Faculty on the FAC need to stop being part of the charade that it is.

      Consultation with the FAC is not shared governance.

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  7. Cynic says:

    Millions cut from CAS plus micromanagement of departments equals theses GTF cuts?

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  8. disillusioned humanist says:

    this has been confirmed in our department at least. enrollments are down and GTF fellowships will be cut next year, even though this seems to go against Academic Affairs recommendation that we “grow” our graduate programs.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    this has been confirmed in our department at least. enrollments are down and GTF fellowships will be cut next year, even though this seems to go against Academic Affairs recommendation that we “grow” our graduate programs.

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  10. This is how one CAS department head explained it to faculty says:

    Over the last 2 weeks, the College has exerted a lot of pressure on departments to have smaller graduate student class sizes this year. We are particularly affected … To be concrete: The target number of GTF positions we were initially given would prohibit us to accept any new students this year.

    …been trying to push back and I believe that we were able to have the original target taken off the table. However the discussion is ongoing. In the end it will be up to the President/Provost to revert some of their predecessors’ financial decisions that have had negative consequences on the CAS budget.

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    • Anonymous UO Alum says:

      I wonder how much more $$$ is being taken from CAS to prop up the Law School?

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      • uomatters says:

        I think VPFA Jamie Moffitt is giving her husband, Law Dean Michael Moffitt, about $3M a year.

        That’s about $1.5M more than historically. The new money goes for scholarships for students with decent LSAT’s, part of an desperate effort to keep UO Law from falling into the third tier. I’d know more, except VP Brad Shelton is hiding the new budget model numbers.

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        • duckduckgo says:

          Right, the budget report (https://brp.uoregon.edu/node/29) lists:
          228820 – Law Student Scholarships
          001100 – General Fund 1,302,135

          The CAS part has a -$4M line:
          223821 – CAS Budget Control AY
          001100 – General Fund (4,143,141)

          Other items of interest:
          267830 – Prov Supp Svcs for Stdt Athlet 2,013,442
          210330 – UO Ptld Administration 2,899,553
          210340 – UO Ptld Off of Vice Provost 1,042,437

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          • Anonymous UO Alum says:

            Has Law’s per student funding gone up given their declining enrollment and the secret $$$ under the table, taken from CAS to prop up them up?

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      • charlie says:

        Read this just the other day:

        http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/02/04/law...

        Article addresses the poaching of students by higher tier law schools from lower ones. Has this been an issue with U of Owe Law School, you know, the one where profs are giving up making a million bucks in order to teach in Duckland? If you hand out more scholies to keep current students from bolting, don’t they need to get the money from somewhere? Just askin….

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  11. dog says:

    Must be part of our new Branding campaign – we don’t need to stinkin’ graduate students …

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  12. Hedgefox says:

    Cutting graduate programs back is simply suicidal. Ours has already been cut back, and the low numbers are threatening the structure of our program. It’s mind-numbing how the departments just roll over on this. I absolutely do not get it. Folks seem to be reacting and adapting, just taking the losses and surviving the day. Is there a cultural problem in the departments and CAS, a diminished commitment to the research university ideal? Where is the fight?

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    • dog says:

      @hedgefox

      “Diminished Commitment” R Us

      On the positive side, I do think now that this has come to light, and no one will support CAS on this (I hope) that much of this will be rolled backed. There has already been substantial push back from some departments.

      Trouble is that this has to happen soon as departments right now are getting ready to make offers to new incoming grad students.

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  13. Unpopular opinions 'r us says:

    Hmmm…enrollment is falling so the budget is declining and, in theory, we need fewer GTFs. Is Johnson Hall in charge of creating attractive programs or is that our charge? The kids have to want what we have to offer. We have to build it, so they will come.

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    • uomatters says:

      Nice try. VP for enrollment Roger Thompson has been telling us that the “kids”, as you call them, would come because of the football team. And Rob Mullens has been using that argument to justify his millions in subsidies, taken out of student tuition. Money that could have been used for academic programs.

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      • thetruth says:

        Wasn’t there a law school page that basically advertised our law programs based UO athletics last year? Do you have the screen shot saved? Look at how well that worked….

        “Kids”, especially after they graduate aren’t going to be fooled again. Some get baited into “studying what they are passionate about” as undergrads, but they aren’t fooled twice. If the program sucks, they won’t go, unless its free.

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    • duckduckgo says:

      I think that a university has a responsibility to engage in a broad range of disciplines. This may mean subsidies to areas that may not have a self-sustaining critical mass. These programs have secondary benefits through interdisciplinary work and to just enable our students to not be limited in their interests. Obviously, there are limits to what can be supported, but I hate to see an attitude that each program is on its own without any consideration of the impacts of their reducing activities.

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      • that effing Dog again says:

        Bean Counter ‘R Us

        why invest in the scholarship of ideas when you can simply count butts in seats as the coin of the realm?

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  14. AnonGTF says:

    So counting benefits this Tripllet costs the same as 6 GTFs.

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  15. that effing Dog again says:

    ir/enrollments

    1. We are down 360 students (1.5%) – most all of that are resident UGs

    2. We are up in Non-resident UGs

    all in all revenue neutral compared to last year

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  16. just different says:

    From Shelton’s slide 8:

    FY14 was a very difficult financial year for almost all of the schools and colleges.

    Collectively, the schools and colleges spent $15.5 million more, in the general fund, than they were allocated through the budget model.

    There are a number of reasons why, but the primary reasons were to redress the major imbalance across campus in general fund reserves and to prepare the way for more central strategic investment.

    Could someone please translate this into English for me?

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    • Translations R Us says:

      When the one in charge can only understand numbers, then numbers is all that will spew out. It’s a very precise but extremely narrow vision in which students become tuition dollars and research institutes become ongoing costs balanced only by their current profitability. This is our just desserts for placing a modestly successful mathematician without any major grant experience (who struggled to even become a full prof) into the driver’s seat of all research at UO.

      Bean counters. Except…that Bean’s mistakes don’t count.

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