Debate demonstrates UO diversity

That would be UO student diversity of thought. Emerald reporter Mateo Sundberg has the report on yesterday’s debate in a packed PLC 180 classroom between the student Republicans and Democrats.

Before clicking on the link for the story here, please humor me and enter your guess in the comments as to whether the College Democrat debaters are the 4 on the left or the right of Sundberg’s photo, just because I’m wondering if everyone is as bad at predicting this as I am:

When talking about diversity, Provost Banavar often notes how boring it would be to live in a world where everyone thinks the same. So it’s good to hear that’s not the world our students live in at UO.

But what about us faculty? Back in 2006 I matched the Lane County voter registration file to a list of UO professors. Out of about 700 faculty, 506 could be matched by name in both files. Of those 506 there were 25 registered Republicans.

Here’s the distribution of Oregon and Lane County voters, compared to UO:

By college, it looked like this:

Hayward Field teardown public info meeting Th May 31st at 7PM, Agate Hall

UO will permanently close 15th, build plaza for Slusher’s Schlong. The RG has the story here,

With the usual PR flack BS:

Closing East 15th Avenue would result in the loss of 115 parking spaces used by students, employees and visitors, said UO spokeswoman Molly Blancett.

“Based on our most recent evaluations, we have a net surplus of parking spaces today and can absorb this change,” she said.

In other news, the formerly historic Bill Hayward now has an anti-teardown website, here.

Hayward Field teardown public info meeting Th May 31st at 7PM:

No, of course the UO Foundation is not hosting a public event to explain what’s going on, what with the FBI investigation of the IAAF bidding process still underway. This is from the teardown opponents:

Hayward Field East Grandstand Public Information Evening

FACILITATED BY: East Grandstand Supporters

EVENT: East Grandstand Public Information Evening PLACE: Agate Hall, 1787 Agate Street
DATE: Thursday, May 31, 2018
TIME: 7-8:30pm

TOPIC: Presentation, speakers, and interactive conversation about the Hayward Field renovation project and concerns about the East Grandstand, including discussion regarding public process, campus and neighborhood impacts, historic preservation, design, and potential impacts to the sport of track and field. The meeting is offered to provide the public with the information needed to better understand the scope and impact of this project, and how citizens can contribute to the public discussion.

Peter John Thompson (former IAAF coach)
Robert Melnick, Professor Emeritus of Landscape Architecture UO
Don Peting, Professor Emeritus of Architecture and Historic Preservation UO James Tice, Professor of Architecture UO
with other notable legal, sport, and architectural contributors.

WHO ARE WE? East Grandstand Supporters advocate for the retention of the East Grandstand and its rehabilitation as the historic cornerstone of a fully renovated, state-of-the-art Hayward Field design. Follow us on Facebook at

The university’s strategy seems to be to get the trees cut and the grandstand bulldozed quick, given the potential for indictments to cause people to think twice about what the hell is going on.

Video of UO’s initial pitch to the IAAF here:

And follow the Track and Field link below for more history and documents.

Press and profs fire President, as Trustees dithered & kept Senate in dark

That would be President Max Nikias at USC. Jack Stripling in The Chronicle, last week:

Nikias Is Standing Firm as Scandals Mount at USC. But This Is What the End of a Presidency Looks Like.

The LATimes has an op-ed here, from a USC professor:

As Max Nikias pushed USC to prominence, checks and balances were missing

… President Nikias relied on a small circle of confidants and, as his troubles rose, the circle grew smaller. The university’s Board of Trustees, mostly captains of industry, seemed awed by his fundraising ability. They ceded power to their fundraising juggernaut.

John Mork, chairman of the USC Board of Trustees, admirably donated more than $100 million for scholarships for low-income students. When a reporter on the Daily Trojan asked how he saw the leadership job on the board, Mork said his task was to serve the university and “to facilitate President C. L. Max Nikias’ good work — I’m a servant in the deal.”

The Academic Senate sat passively by as problems unfolded. When The Times uncovered alleged misconduct on the part of medical school dean Dr. Carmen Puliafito, Nikias declined to accept individual responsibility. He ordered an independent investigation, but the report was provided only to executive committee of the Board of Trustees. The Academic Senate registered no public complaint. Last week, when the board announced yet another study in response to yet another scandal — the allegations about USC health center gynecologist Dr. George Tyndall — the plan again called for the findings to be reported only to trustees. That afternoon, the faculty representatives called for Nikias to resign.

A dramatic increase in non-tenured professors at USC has made the faculty hesitant to confront the administration, lest their jobs be put at risk. The result is fewer checks and balances on the office of president. In 2015, the trustees gave Nikias a $1.5-million bonus. The Academic Senate registered no public protest at such an outlandish handout. How can it be that a man who deserved such a bonus a few short years ago has been forced to resign in disgrace?

… To repair the storm damage at USC, we need a Board of Trustees that provides consistent oversight and does not see itself as the handmaiden to the president. We need an Academic Senate that ensures that the faculty is an equal partner in decision-making. …

William G. Tierney is Wilbur-Kieffer Professor of Higher Education, a University Professor, and co-director of the Pullias Center for Higher Education at USC.

New AAEO Director Tracey Tsugawa disappears from AAEO website

Update: If anyone knows what’s really going on, please post a comment.

Around the O has the official trust-destroying non-explanation from strategic communicator Tobin Klinger here. It’s all part of “Ensuring the University of Oregon has an inclusive and welcoming campus”:

The University of Oregon is forming a new Office of Civil Rights Compliance with the responsibility of investigating and responding to all forms of discrimination and harassment.

The restructure consolidates efforts previously housed in the Title IX and Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity offices.

President Michael H. Schill, Vice President for Finance and Administration Jamie Moffitt and Vice President for Student Life Kevin Marbury announced the restructure in a memo to academic and administrative leaders.

“Ensuring the University of Oregon has an inclusive and welcoming campus for students, staff, faculty and the community is a top institutional priority,” they state in the memo. …

Ms Tsugawa spent an hour talking to the faculty union’s representative assembly meeting on Tuesday. If she had any knowledge of this reorganization she hid it well. She did make clear her objections to the UO General Counsel Office interpretation of FERPA, her amazement at the lack of written policies and procedures she found when she arrived at UO, her belief that many AAEO practices violated due process rights, her belief that it was a mistake for UO to appoint so many administrators without open searches, and her efforts to address some of these problems.


I must have missed the job posting and open search for her replacement:

9/26/2017: Wow did she take the wrong job

Daily Emerald reporter Logan Marks has the report on new AAEO Director Tracey Tsugawa:

New Affirmative Action Director has social justice in her genes

“[I want to] make sure that we have a campus that is as free as possible from forms of harassment and discrimination, and cultivate a campus that is truly inclusive and welcoming for everyone…” Tsugawa said. “I’m totally excited about coming to Oregon – totally excited about becoming a Duck.”

Tsugawa mentioned two overarching goals for the AAEO office. One is providing prevention education and training for office staff on how to address interpersonal conflict. The other is making processes more transparent so people know what their options are. She also emphasized the importance of protecting people instead of the university.

“Our job is to protect the students, staff and faculty of the campus, not to protect the university…We need to be independent and autonomous to a degree so that we can protect people.”

Which sounds admirable, but is either disingenuous or confused. UO will be not be paying her ~$150K to protect people. Her job is to protect the university. As UO’s Discrimination Complaint and Response Policy warns:

Employees should be aware that AAEO is tasked with ensuring compliance with this policy and state and federal law.  Therefore, while AAEO will work with employees, students and campus community members to ensure that they understand their complaint options, are protected from retaliation and are provided with interim measures as appropriate, AAEO employees are not advocates for individuals participating in the process.

This policy wording was approved by the UO General Counsel’s Office and has been implemented twice by the UO President – once as an emergency policy and once as an interim policy. It is still in effect, except for situations involving sexual harassment or violence against students. Those are now handled by UO’s Title IX Office, under UO’s new student-directed reporting policy.

UO to cut down 23 trees for Hayward Field Folly – naming contest for phallus opens

The RG has the story here. More in the EW here, explaining that the city forester wants to ensure the replacements are more diverse than the current east-coast elite elm monoculture.

No confirmation yet to rumors that the Faculty Advisory Committee will vote to name the new phallus “Slusher’s Schlong”, now that the Bowerman family has declined UO Foundation Pres Paul Weinhold’s offer to call it “The Bowerman Blunt”.

I urge helpful readers to submit alternative names in the comments. I’ll then host a poll, and the creator of the winning proposal will be awarded some appropriately designed University of Nike© paraphernalia.

NOW: Senate to meet today at 3PM on IHP, teaching evaluations, diff tuition

Update: Teaching evaluation and improvement motion passes. Hannah Kanik has a report in the Emerald here.

Senate website here.

Location: EMU 145 & 146 (Crater Lake Rooms)
3:00 – 5:00 P.M.

3:00 P.M.   Call to Order

Introductory Remarks; Senate President Chris Sinclair [Today will be Chris’s last Senate meeting as President, as he’ll miss the June 6th meeting for a conference.]

Chris gives an excellent speech.

Institutional Hiring Plan; Jayanth Banavar

Not sure if diff tuition motion is needed. Admin is committed to consultation.

See for info on how many new slots went to law and the business school.

Jayanth thanks Chris for helping him get hired as Provost, and says many kind and true things about his excellent character, his excellent work for shared governance, and his excellent paper on “A Solvable Two Charge Ensemble on a circle.”

3:30 P.M. Approval of Minutes, May 9, 2018

3:35 P.M.   Business

Consent Calendar (Policies)

Vote: US17/18-19: Implementing A System For The Continuous Improvement And Evaluation Of Teaching, Bill Harbaugh, Sierra Dawson

Also see and a news report on the USC and UO plans at

After a discussion of the implications of anonymity and bias, the motion passed with many ayes and two nays.

Vote: US17/18-20: Process For The Determination Of Implementation Of Differential Tuition, ASUO President Amy Schenk

When a college implements differential tuition it means that, given the effective overall cap from the HECC, there’s less money for other colleges.

Passes unanimously.

4:30 P.M.   Open Discussion
4:30 P.M.   Reports
4:30 P.M.   Notice(s) of Motion
4:30 P.M.   Other Business
4:40 P.M. Executive Session


5:00 P.M.   Adjourn

UO Senate & administration among leaders in national effort to reform evaluation and improvement of teaching

When was the last time UO made in into the national higher ed press for something other than a sports scandal, a b.s. branding campaign, or because their general counsel wanted to look at a faculty member’s emails with reporters?

The UO Senate votes on the reform proposal this Wednesday. InsideHigherEd’s Colleen Flaherty has the story today:


Most institutions say they value teaching. But how they assess it tells a different story. University of Southern California has stopped using student evaluations of teaching in promotion decisions in favor of peer-review model. Oregon seeks to end quantitative evaluations of teaching for holistic model.

Research is reviewed in a rigorous manner, by expert peers. [UOM: Except for $100K a year Academic Analytics, that is.] Yet teaching is often reviewed only or mostly by pedagogical non-experts: students. There’s also mounting evidence of bias in student evaluations of teaching, or SETs — against female and minority instructors in particular. And teacher ratings aren’t necessarily correlated with learning outcomes.

ll that was enough for the University of Southern California to do away with SETs in tenure and promotion decisions this spring. Students will still evaluate their professors, with some adjustments — including a new focus on students’ own engagement in a course. But those ratings will not be used in high-stakes personnel decisions.

The changes took place earlier than the university expected. But study after recent study suggesting that SETs advantage faculty members of certain genders and backgrounds (namely white men) and disadvantage others was enough for Michael Quick, provost, to call it quits, effective immediately.

‘I’m Done’

“He just said, ‘I’m done. I can’t continue to allow a substantial portion of the faculty to be subject to this kind of bias,” said Ginger Clark, assistant vice provost for academic and faculty affairs and director of USC’s Center for Excellence in Teaching. “We’d already been in the process of developing a peer-review model of evaluation, but we hadn’t expected to pull the Band-Aid off this fast.” …

Not Just USC

Philip B. Stark, associate dean of the Division of Mathematical and Physical Sciences and a professor of statistics at the University of California at Berkeley who has studied SETs and argued that evaluations are biased against female instructors in so many ways that adjusting them for that bias is impossible, called the USC news “terrific.”

“Treating student satisfaction and engagement as what they are — and I do think they matter — rather than pretending that student evaluations can measure teaching effectiveness is a huge step forward,” he said. “I also think that using student feedback to inform teaching but not to assess teaching is important progress.”

Stark pointed out that the University of Oregon also is on the verge of killing traditional SETs and adopting a Continuous Improvement and Evaluation of Teaching System based on non-numerical feedback. Under the system, student evaluations would still be part of promotion decisions, but they wouldn’t reduce instructors to numbers. 

Elements of the program already have been piloted. Oregon’s Faculty Senate is due to vote on the program as a whole this week, to be adopted in the fall. The proposed system includes a midterm student experience survey, an anonymous web-based survey to collect non-numerical course feedback to be provided only to the instructor, along with an end-of-term student experience survey. An end-of-term instructor reflection survey also would be used for course improvement and teaching evaluation. Peer review and teaching evaluation frameworks, customizable to academic units, are proposed, too.

“As of Fall 2018, faculty personnel committees, heads, and administrators will stop using numerical ratings from student course evaluations in tenure and promotion reviews, merit reviews, and other personnel matters,” reads the Oregon’s Faculty Senate’s proposal. “If units or committees persist in using these numerical ratings, a statement regarding the problematic nature of those ratings and an explanation for why they are being used despite those problems will be included with the evaluative materials.”

The motion already has administrative support, with Jayanth R. Banavar, provost, soliciting pilot participantson his website, saying, “While student feedback can be an important tool for continual improvement of teaching and learning, there is substantial peer-reviewed evidence that student course evaluations can be biased, particularly against women and faculty of color, and that numerical ratings poorly correlate with teaching effectiveness and learning outcomes.”

More than simply revising problematic evaluation instruments, the page says, Oregon “seeks to develop a holistic new teaching evaluation system that helps the campus community describe, develop, recognize and reward teaching excellence.” The goal is to “increase equity and transparency in teaching evaluation for merit, contract renewal, promotion and tenure while simultaneously providing tools for continual course improvement.” …

Provost to answer questions about whatever, at 11AM Tuesday town hall

Strategic Communication’s infrequently visited Around the O website has the announcement here:

Provost Jayanth Banavar will host a spring term town hall from 11 a.m. to noon in Gerlinger Lounge on May 22.

The event is the latest in a new series of such events, designed to create dialogue around specific issues or broader topics the campus community wishes to discuss with the provost or other academic leaders.

“A quality back-and-forth between leadership and our students, faculty and staff is essential to our pursuit of excellence across all we do,” Banavar said. “There is a lot happening at the UO and it is important to both receive and share information on a regular basis.”

There is no specific topic for the May 22 event; the provost will be available to answer questions about the Institutional Hiring Plan, online education and other topics.

“I view these town halls as a place where campus community members can share what’s on their minds and begin the kinds of conversations that will foster greater understanding and partnership,” Banavar said.

Dean of Students retracts blunt statement about frat member’s death from alcohol

Reporters Michael Tobin and Francisca “Frankie” Benitez in the Emerald here. The paragraph from the original, unsigned statement:

As devastating as this sudden passing is, it is important to point out that this tragedy is connected to an unauthorized tradition among many college students. Students from many institutions have a history of demonstrating poor life choices during visits to Lake Shasta. These activities are contrary to the values of the university and fraternity and sorority organizations.

Around the O has now redacted that paragraph and issued this apology:

Yesterday, the Division of Student Life issued a statement about the passing of one of our students, Dylan Pietrs, who died Saturday at Lake Shasta. The intent was to quickly respond to a tragic situation and provide resources to support the community members affected by Dylan’s passing. That statement should have reflected that our focus was and remains on assisting Dylan’s family and friends as they deal with this news.

We have heard from a number of you and greatly appreciate your perspective that the statement came across as insensitive. As the leader of the Division of Student Life, I offer my apology. While I didn’t know Dylan personally, he was a member of the Duck family and right now we should be focused on responding on the loss of a member of our family.

We have updated our statement and again express our condolences to Dylan’s family and friends. The Division of Student Life remains committed to assisting members of our community in dealing with this tragedy.


R. Kevin Marbury, Vice President, Student Life

The wording in the first statement shows how seriously Marbury took this student’s death, and that he wanted to use this tragedy as a warning to other students, and to the frats. This is certainly needed. An outright ban might be more effective in the long run, but that is about as likely as banning football, which has its own well documented negative effects on our students:

We consider the relationship between collegiate-football success and non-athlete student performance. We find that the team’s success significantly reduces male grades relative to female grades. This phenomenon is only present in fall quarters, which coincides with the football season. Using survey data, we find that males are more likely than females to increase alcohol consumption, decrease studying, and increase partying in response to the success of the team. Yet, females also report that their behavior is affected by athletic success, suggesting that their performance is likely impaired but that this effect is masked by the practice of grade curving.

This paper considers the degree to which events that intensify partying increase sexual assault. Estimates are based on panel data from campus and local law enforcement agencies and an identification strategy that exploits plausibly random variation in the timing of Division 1 football games. The estimates indicate that these events increase daily reports of rape with 17–24-year-old victims by 28 percent. The effects are driven largely by 17–24-year-old offenders and by offenders unknown to the victim, but we also find significant effects on incidents involving offenders of other ages and on incidents involving offenders known to the victim.

Senate Exec Coordinator Betina Lynn talks about surviving Thurston school shooting

In the RG here:

…She feels “inspired” by the group of students from Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., who have taken a lead role in the national discussion on school shootings and gun violence, and she hopes their efforts may help them deal with the aftereffects of witnessing a mass killing.

“They’re not being silenced, and I think that is going to be helpful to their long-term healing,” Lynn said. …


UO Trustee Connie Ballmer in the NYT, on why she donated $20M to encourage students to go to college

From a David Leonhardt piece here:

“You hear people say, ‘Well, a four-year degree isn’t needed,’ ” Connie Ballmer, the philanthropist and wife of the former Microsoft C.E.O. Steve Ballmer, recently told me.

“But then if you turn to them and say, ‘What do you want for your child?’ they wouldn’t dream of not having their kid go to a four-year college,” she continued. “They said it’s not needed — but they need it.”

Ballmer is right. The boomlet of skepticism about college comes disproportionately from upper-middle-class people who have the luxury of airing hypothetical concerns about education, without having to worry that their own children will be influenced by them. Yet the misplaced skepticism can do real damage to poor and working-class teenagers who hear it and take it seriously.

The evidence remains overwhelming: College is the single most reliable path to the middle class and beyond. No, it doesn’t guarantee a good life. Nothing does. But earning a good living without a college degree today is difficult.

College graduates earn vastly more and are far more likely to be employed. They live longer, are more likely to be married and are more satisfied on average with their lives. These relationships appear to be at least partly causal, too. If you want more details, you can read some of my previous columns or dig into a long trail of academic studies. …


Department of disagreement. A good example of skepticism about college is an op-ed that ran in The Times this week, called, “College May Not Be Worth It Anymore,” by Ellen Ruppel Shell, a Boston University professor of journalism. I disagree with it, for all the reasons mentioned above. More important, the authors of the research cited in the piece disagree with it.

One of them, Tim Bartik, an economist at the Upjohn Institute, wrote on Twitter: “It draws the wrong conclusions from our work, and omits some important findings.” He wrote a series of tweets with further explanation.

The research by Bartik and his colleague Brad Hershbein finds huge returns on four-year college degrees for all students, including those from lower-income families. For a typical student, a degree is worth about $500,000.

Librarians crush Bach Festival in early Ducks Give results

With only 9 minutes in on this 24 hour altruism challenge, your $19M contribution to really old music could make the difference!

Or if you’re not into the books v. music war, you could go here, click the “I want to view additional options” and donate to SAIL, which will spend your money on UO summer camps to encourage low income first generation students to go to college, and give them some money to eat  in Carson with the other students if they do.

I don’t know why this dollar challenge doesn’t include a direct link for SAIL, like Duck athletics gets for donations to subsidize their coaches salaries: