UO to lay off 75 non-tenure track faculty

Diane Dietz has the report in the RG here:

To save money, the University of Oregon is preparing to trim about 75 jobs from its non-tenured faculty, according to United Academics, the labor union representing the faculty.

Plans call for reductions of 25 positions from the College of Arts and Science, 25 from the College of Education and 25 from other university units, the union said it has learned.

The 75 faculty cuts are expected to come largely from the ranks of the career non-tenured faculty, which today number 934.

… UO spokesman Tobin Klinger said the UO has no detailed information to release at this point.

… Cuts are expected to land heavily on the Arts and Administration Department within the School of Architecture and Allied Arts.

… The non-tenured faculty had taken on a lot of the teaching load as the UO increased its student body by one-fifth between 2008 to 2012. Enrollment peaked at 24,600 and has since retreated to 23,600.

The cuts — and tuition increases — are necessary because the Legislature is providing an essentially flat budget for the state’s seven universities for the coming year.

… “Only four states in the nation provide less funding per student for higher education than Oregon, which has severely impacted the affordability and accessibility of a college degree in this state,” Schill said in a statement.

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34 Responses to UO to lay off 75 non-tenure track faculty

  1. Anonymous says:

    Dreiling’s comment, “or it’s part of a restructuring plan,” seems critical.

    If you have to make cuts, you can spread them out so everyone takes a little pain, or you can focus them by e.g. cutting programs.

    At the fall leadership retreat, Schill said that if Measure 97 did not pass, there would likely be double-digit tuition increases and the university might have to consider cutting programs. The former has already been announced. If the cuts are going to be concentrated in Arts and Administration, it sure looks like the latter too.

    There may well be a good argument for cutting programs rather than spreading out the pain. But that’s a programmatic decision that goes to the university’s academic mission – and therefore should be decided in the open, with faculty central to that process. It would be political and hugely unpleasant I’m sure, but it is hard to defend secrecy as better.

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    • AAAnon says:

      Kudos to Christoph Lindner for dealing with Patricia Lambert and the AAD problems. That’s something that no previous AAA Dean had the guts to do. The news that Doug Blandy will soon be out as VPAA must have made it easier.

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      • UO Matters says:

        When is Blandy leaving? Is he going back to teaching, or retiring?

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      • Love the Arts, but not the ArtsAdmin says:

        Total agreement here. That program was a racket–devoid of intellectual rigor and all about cashing in on the old budget model and making $$$ of gut courses.

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    • Simplius Simplicissimus says:

      …that if Measure 97 did not pass, there would likely be double-digit tuition increases and the University might have to consider cutting programs.

      Why not cutting the Athletic subsidy programs, including AD building maintenance costs (Arena, Jaqua, Shitfield etc)? The AD seems to make more than enough revenue in spite of faltering student attendance (the coaches make a decent living AND are not unionized, right?). Maybe a better incentive for coaches will be salary cuts in the case their teams don’t win?

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  2. deborah olson says:

    25 positions in the College of Education – but no details on that in the article. NTTF in SPED and Teacher Education largely run the day to day operation of the teacher training programs. Although in the past few years, the college has seen an increase in tenure track positions.

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  3. Gordian Knotts says:

    Michael Dreilling neglects to mention an important point here–if there were no union, there would be no cuts. The root of it all here is that the Governor has frozen the budget, but the union contract mandates raises. Were there no union the freeze would have been passed on to all faculty. Instead, it gets passed on to a few who suffer for us all.
    Sorry, Mike & United Academics, but you can’t have it both ways.

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    • honest Uncle Bernie says:

      Yes, I am afraid you are on to something. See my remarks below about the turnip. The raises were pretty good, no? Maybe too good. And I doubt that it would have taken a salary freeze to avert the problem. Maybe something more like raises to match cost of living increases. I know this would leave much of the faculty moaning about our “plight,” as I know well.

      And do they really need to do the cluster hires? The additional TTF?

      And don’t get me going about how the new Knight campus is going to suck money from the “old” campus unless they are very, very careful.

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      • UO Matters says:

        For the record, the raises negotiated by the faculty union in the most recent contract have not been enough to move UO faculty salaries closer to the AAU public averages. We caught up a bit after the first contract, but now we are sliding back.

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        • honest Uncle Bernie says:

          I won’t repeat all my umpteen posts about (true) total compensation — real salary + benefits — being the valid measure. By that criterion, I believe UO is, on the whole, about where it ought to be.

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          • dog says:

            Total compensation over one’s life is just a number – and given PERS 1 benefits, that number may indeed be favorable if one lives long after retirement. But

            a) fuck those golden years, I don’t believe they exist

            b) I would have rather had more money earlier in my career than later.

            The concept that I have to now live a long time so I can say, “Hey, the UO job I had was financially great …” is not something I cherish.

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            • UO Matters says:

              There’s no doubt about it – if you do the present value calcs in dog years, The Dog is getting the short end of the bone.

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            • honest Uncle Bernie says:

              dog, you sound doggone down in the doggie dumps! Try to look on the bright side. Every dog must have its day! The best may still be to come.

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          • Benjamin Hansen says:

            Unless research support is included in benefits. In which case we are WAY behind.

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            • Dog says:

              agreed completely

              my constant reliance on difficult to get, unreliable, and insufficient federal funding to perform research and train graduate students is my single biggest regret in being at the UO. I, of course, expect that this is part of my job to get grant money (which I have) but at the level of 100% compared to my situation at a previous University (which was about 60% external and 40% internal) it, is, over the years, quite taxing and demoralizing and ultimately extremely rate limiting on one’s productivity.

              This latter part is not well considered (by Deans, etc) at the UO. Indeed, it is rather unfair for your University to expect “consistently excellent research output” if the University itself does not provide any internal support for research.

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            • Oryx says:

              Welcome to the twenty-first century, Dog. No one I know at any public university gets anything close to 40% of their research funding from the institution. And with the institution’s non-research income coming mainly from tuition, that’s a good thing.

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            • Dog says:

              yes I prefer to live in the last century …

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    • WTF! says:

      This is among the most reactionary argument I’ve seen on UOM, and several on this thread fall into that category. I doubt AAAnon has ever had a conversation with the NTTF who do a lot more than teach the extension courses that UO Matters has criticized. And blaming union raises for these cuts – why not join the morons who blame PERS for all of the woes in the state. One could just as easily blame the UO Administration for passing along union negotiated raises to all administrators and OAs. Why do you, Gordian Knotts, fail to see the empirical flaw in your reasoning – correlation DOES NOT EQUAL causation.

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  4. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    I dunno. I feel bad for the people being let go. There is only so much blood to squeeze from this turnip. PERS, new TTF hires, union-demanded raises.

    As I’ve been saying here, I get the feeling or at least the fear of a downward spiral. $1000 per year more tuition and fees for all students, before “discounts” which then necessitate about $8-9 million in cuts, e.g. the NTTF.

    Have they factored in student defections? I hope so. What if 500 students decide not to pay the freight? There goes the whole amount they save by laying off the NTTF. What then?

    What happens if/when PERS goes up again in each of the next two biennia? 10% tuition pop each time?

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    • or, blame the union? says:

      8-9 million in cuts? Strange, that is almost exactly how much it cost to give the old football coach his golden parachute.

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  5. XDH says:

    Sorry HUB, but I detect crocodile tears that you are shedding despite all of your prescient posts. PERS Tier 1 is what is going to destroy state funding to UO in the end. Do I hear any PERS Tier 1 recipients like yourself or UOM willing to give up your generous benefits? Nope…. back to lurking mode…

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    • Hippo says:

      Spot on.

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    • UO Matters says:

      For the record I was hired under Tier 1, but chose the ORP over PERS. UO puts in a lot of money for me, but it’s not exactly Bellottiesque.

      It was a stupid choice, but then I’m no economist.

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    • honest Uncle Bernie says:

      Well, XDH, I did what I could to relieve the state of obligation to me post-retirement, long ago, by choosing ORP. i.e. did what was in my power, however unknowingly — not that prescient! — to relieve the state of future unfunded liability.

      How about you?

      And even if we individually chose to donate all of our benefits to the state, what in the world would that do about PERS in the big picture? It would change nothing about the legal liability.

      I referred to PERS in my post, along with things that UO actually has some control over.

      Crocodile tears?

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  6. Dark Wing Duck says:

    Are we talking about 75 FTE here? How many of the 75 people being laid off are only teaching a class or two?

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    • Pollyanna says:

      We are being given a certain number of FTE, not individuals, to cut. So there’s no hope that we’ll be cutting people who teach just one class or two.

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  7. WTF! says:

    For each one of the posters who are avoiding the issue by blaming others or the victims: you form part of a regular chorus of whiners with no compassion for a lot of good people about to lose their jobs.

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  8. charlie says:

    this thread is amazing and not in a good way. none of you have given a thought of dumping 75 teaching positions is saying to prospective admits. but just to let you know, from folks like us that teach those thinking of attending u of owe, we’re saying why the hell would you consider going into debt to attend the joint. in the last decade, u of owe has gone into debt to the tune of over 300 million dollars for such things as basketball arenas, student spa buildouts and vanity emu re-furbishing. but when it comes to the classroom, they’re getting rid of the folks that are the ultimate reason any of you would show up in the first place. i realize that the life of the mind requires a certain amount of detachment, but it doesn’t demand that you become oblivious….

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  9. Heraclitus says:

    Call me naive, but I thought the reason we formed a union (by we I mean ttf and nttf) was for times like these. Or was it just about the money?

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    • UO Matters says:

      I thought it was because we didn’t trust Bob Berdahl, and we worried that the new UO Board would be controlled by boosters who wanted to turn us into football factory with a community college on the side.

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      • dog says:

        I believe the Union spontaneously formed when the ratio of nttf to ttf exceeded 2 to 1

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  10. Former Duck and Bobcat says:

    I’ve attended the University of Oregon and Montana State University and the priority of higher education in which the state of Oregon is pathetic. The state of Montana wasn’t my favorite place to live but at least there has been a concerted conscious effort to make education affordable at the undergraduate level. I’m not saying the faculty are paid well, but at least the university hasn’t committed itself to updating facilities on the backs of students. I almost forgot, Montana State is experiencing a building boom through alumni donations.

    What really puts a thistle in my britches is how the UO prioritizes spending. New stadiums, spending for coaches, and new non academic buildings. None of this budgetary none sense would happen in Montana. The only new money coming into Oregon is from Phil and Penny (and Lokey) and most of that money will not affect the majority of the undergraduate population. The UO will market to prospective students how it’s performing cutting edge research but will leave out the part where it will only make a difference to a handful of students who get jobs in one of the labs and only a small number students that will be able to do a project with one of the professors.

    If I were a high school senior the last place I would go is UO. I wouldn’t be willing to pay for the cost of modernizing campus for the sake of appearance. If freshman stop enrolling at UO and go else where it may bring this house of cards crumbling to the ground.

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  11. UO Matters says:

    Meh. I have two degrees from Montana State, and now I teach at UO. MSU gave me a good education, and UO gives our students a good one too.

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