Faculty union releases CAS reorg survey results

Committee Chair Karen Ford says they aim to make a public report in April. That will presumably kick off a campus wide discussion on whether or not to – and if so how to – divide up CAS. Ford has said that she believes the Senate should vote on any reorganization. President Schill and Provost Banavar have said that the final decision will be up to them.

The faculty union ran a quick “what do you think” survey on this a few weeks ago. The full letter from union Pres Chris Sinclair is here. A snippet:

The results of our recent survey on the potential division of CAS into multiple schools are in. There were 93 responses and you can see numeric responses and a tally of repeated themes in narrative responses here.

The central theme in the narrative responses was of deep concern for the future of the humanities at the University of Oregon. While some respondents were cautiously optimistic, most of the respondents were humanists and, for the most part, they were the most concerned. People worry that splitting CAS may weaken our liberal arts educational mission and hinder interdisciplinary work. Some respondents believe that such a change will result in the proliferation of administrators, though the counter point is that these dedicated administrators may improve advocacy to Johnson Hall on behalf of their units.

There were fewer concerns about the process, except the prevalent question of “why?” or “why now?” Some see the process as opaque or don’t feel they have enough information to comment.

Some members in the professional schools held their newly organized schools up as cautionary examples.

Again, some members are hopeful, and many are cautiously optimistic that the process will be thorough and come to the right conclusion. Many, however, worry that the conclusion is foregone.  …

And here’s a screenshot from the report:


New faculty tracking software will implement Provost’s metrics scheme

A letter from Provost Banavar, here:

The project, called Faculty Insights, will result in a sophisticated online system that enhances our ability to capture the wide range of research and creative activities that our faculty do. The primary purpose of the system will be to manage the faculty review process university-wide – including promotion, tenure, and post-tenure review – more efficiently and effectively. Introducing a Faculty Insights system at UO will enhance our ability to streamline faculty personnel processes and make the achievements and instructional activities of faculty in all the schools and colleges more visible, within the campus community and to the broader public. The system will also support the local metrics process and the production of annual unit-level research reports.


General Counsel Kevin Reed threatens to sue reporter after DA orders Reed to give up public records

Oregon’s new Public Records Advisory Council sent its first report to the Governor a few weeks ago. The report notes many problems with Oregon’s Public Records law and with the lack of compliance of public agencies. For example,

The report then goes on to note that UO has recently made just such an intimidating lawsuit threat, apparently to a reporter. So I made this public records request to Kevin Reed last week for the docs. Still no response:

From: Bill Harbaugh <wtharbaugh@gmail.com>
Subject: public records request for GCO’s lawsuit threat
Date: December 4, 2018 at 2:17:05 PM PST
To: Lisa Thornton <pubrec@uoregon.edu>
Cc: Kevin Reed <ksreed@uoregon.edu>

Dear Ms Thornton –

This is a public records request for the General Counsel Office’s public records related to this records request, appeal and the threatened lawsuit from the GCO that are mentioned in this clip from the report of Oregon’s Public records Advocate:

The full report is here: https://sos.oregon.gov/public-records/Documents/final-prac-report.pdf

I ask for a fee waiver as demonstrated by the public interest in the use of these sorts of threats for “chilling public records requests and accountability”, as discussed in pages 9 and 10 of the report.

I’m ccing Mr. Reed, as he should have this file at hand and be able to provide it without fees or delays, and perhaps even without the threat of a lawsuit or other retaliation.

Thanks, Bill Harbaugh

CAS Structure Task Force to meet

From https://provost.uoregon.edu/task-force-structure-college-arts-and-sciences

Task force meeting schedule

The first meeting of the task force will be on December 13 from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. This meeting will be organizational in nature and is the time for task force members to meet each other, review the goals, and plan. It will be held in Friendly Hall 109.

The following dates and times for future task force meetings are set. Agendas and locations have yet to be determined but will be added once space is confirmed.

January 22: 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.
February 12: 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.
February 26: 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.
March 12: 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
March 19: 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.

The meetings are open to the public and the task force will seek input from the campus community in connection with its deliberations. We have already scheduled a meeting with the Senate and the task force chair on February 13, 2019. Input will also be solicited through an online survey and through open task force meetings, and individuals can provide feedback or ask questions via feedback@uoregon.edu.

To see the information under consideration by the task force, click on the links below.

CAS Task Force information packet – December 10, 2018



    Task force charge and outline distributed


    Consultation with stakeholders and Senate President and Vice President regarding task force membership


    President and Provost visit CAS Department Heads meeting on November 2


    Leadership announces CAS task force members


    First meeting of the task force. This is an organizational gathering where members meet each other for the first time to discuss the work.

    Friendly Hall 109 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.


    Research and information gathering as desired by task force completed by staff and shared with committee


    The following dates and times are for task force meetings.

    Jan. 22: 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

    Feb. 12: 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

    Feb. 26: 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

    March 12: 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

    March 19: 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

    *Locations for the meetings have yet to be determined but this will be updated when location information becomes available.


    Additional time for meetings as needed; window of time to draft analysis for submission / review by committee

  • APRIL 15

    Task force report due to President and Provost


    Target for decision by President and Provost about how to move forward

  • JUNE 3 OR 4

    Discussion at Board of Trustees meeting and likely announcement date

Duck players get headphones, Cristobal gets $100K and family trip

Here’s what the Duck student-athletes will get for playing in the Redbox Bowl on Dec 31, courtesy of the Sports Business Journal:

Yeah I didn’t know what a Roku is either, but it’s $34 at Walmart.

On the other hand their coach Mario Cristobal gets to top off his $2.5M base salary with a $100K bonus, and an all expense paid family trip. Contract here:

Betsy DeVos’s Title IX rules are better than the Obama admin’s

That’s the position taken by Lara Emily Barzelon in this NYT op-ed:

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s proposed regulations overhauling how colleges handle sexual assault, which may become law in January, are far from perfect. But there is a big reason to support them: I’m a feminist and a Democrat, and as a lawyer I have seen the troubling racial dynamics at play under the current Title IX system and the lack of due process for the accused. Ms. DeVos’s proposals take important steps to fix these problems.

Consider this scenario: A young black man enrolls at a state university in California on an athletic scholarship. He’s the first person in his family to go to college. His teammate’s white ex-girlfriend matches with him on Tinder, comes to his apartment, has sex with him and, they both agree, returns three days later to have consensual sex.

Weeks later, the young woman, who has reconciled with her boyfriend, claims the Tinder match raped her during the first sexual encounter. The Tinder Match adamantly denies this. Her boyfriend, who is also black, says she is lying. There is no hearing, no chance for the accused to ask her questions.

But the Title IX investigator concludes that he committed sexual assault by finding her more credible than him under the preponderance-of-the-evidence standard, under which the accuser must prove there is a greater than 50 percent chance her claim is true. …

Duck athletes 6x more likely to be reported for sexual misconduct than all students

12/4/2018: One of the trustees asked me about this, so I’m reposting it.

11/5/2018: At other big-time sports factories, the rate for athletes is just 3x higher than that for all students, all adjusting for numbers.

While it’s pretty well established about 20% of college students are subject to sexual assaults (broadly defined), there is little research on the perpetrators. (But see below.) ESPN’s “Over The Line” has just made an effort to address this, by posting data on Title IX complaints at big-time sports schools, including UO: http://www.espn.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/25080028/otl-analysis-tracking-title-ix-complaints-athletes-power-5-schools:

Starting in March, Outside the Lines made official public records requests to all 53 public Power 5 schools for data on Title IX complaints against all students and student-athletes from 2012 to 2017. Outside the Lines also requested data from the 12 private Power 5 schools that are not subject to open records laws. The requested Title IX reports covered allegations of sexual assault, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, sexual coercion, stalking or retaliation.

They note that Title IX complaints are far from a perfect measure of sexual assaults, and caution about cross school comparisons, as different schools provided different information:

Using the data to make school-to-school comparisons about which have the highest percentage of complaints or the highest number of complaints involving accused athletes should be done with caution because school officials did not always provide the exact data Outside the Lines requested. For example, one school might have insisted upon providing every complaint that had been filed with a Title IX office while another school might have insisted upon providing data only about cases that ended up in formal investigations. It is possible to determine an overall comparison of athletes to other students because, within each school, the data for athletes and students were subject to the same parameters. Outside the Lines consulted with two statisticians about its study methods.

UO only provided 3 of the requested 6 years of data:

The total of all students in Oregon’s data above represent the total for the past three years for which there is comparable athlete data. The total for complaints involving student respondents for all years is 213; that includes sex-based stalking, social media harassment, unwanted contact, unwanted touching, domestic/dating violence and sexual assault. Oregon officials noted that a respondent could be named in more than one complaint.

That said, the data they have from UO shows 113 complaints against regular students and 13 against athletes over the past 3 years. After accounting for the different population counts this means complaints against UO athletes were 6 times more likely than complaints against regular students. Here’s the table for the PAC-12:

And thanks to a helpful reader for this link:

Tuesday, December 4, 2018 – 10:00 a.m. Board Meeting

Tuesday, December 4, 2018 – 10:00 a.m. Board Meeting. https://trustees.uoregon.edu/sites/trustees2.uoregon.edu/files/for_website_meeting_packet_-_full_bot_12.04.18.pdf

1. ASUO and University Senate Reports

Food is good, teaching evals are bad.

2. President’s Report

Here’s the latest info on UO enrollment (week 4 headcount). Despite the increase in freshman admits shown yesterday, this is bad news:

3. Resolutions from Committee (pending December 3 committee action)

3.1 Seconded Motion from FFC: Licensing Agreement with Fanatics

3.2 Seconded Motion from FFC: Capital Improvement Project – Matthew Knight Arena

3.3 Seconded Motion from FFC: Gift of Real Property

4. Government Affairs – 2018 Recaps and 2019 Initiatives: Libby Batlan, Associate Vice President for State and Community Affairs; Hans Bernard, Assistant Vice President for State Affairs; Betsy Boyd, Associate Vice President for Federal Affairs

UO has managed to get $5M for this in the Governor’s budget. Why didn’t our lobbyists use their time and effort to lobby for more money for academics instead?

Batlan and Bernard have put up a post on their website about the Gov’s budget, here:

The Governor’s proposal is a tale of two budgets. One version is the required balanced “base budget” that divvies out funds based on current revenue projections. The second version is an “investment budget” that assumes the passage of cost containment and revenue reform next legislative session. …

In the Governor’s investment budget, additional academic and research funding that benefits the UO includes:

$15 million in campus public safety improvement through the creation of a statewide shared services training program for higher education institutions focusing on prevention, preparedness, incident response, continuity, and recovery;

$10 million to establish a Public University Innovation Fund at the Oregon Business Development Department (the state agency that oversees economic development activity) to support economic development partnerships with business and public universities. The Innovation Fund provides matching funds for university grant requests for applied research; and

$5 million in funding for the International Association of Athletics Federations World Outdoor Track and Field Championships, which will take place in 2021 in Eugene. This will be the first time the event has been held in the United States.

I’m not sure how giving $5M to the notoriously corrupt IAAF counts as “academic and research funding”. Allyn Ford asks why we’re not asking for the remaining $30M for the Knight Campus. Bernard: We have other priorities.

For more on the budget situation and tax increases, try Mr. Fearless’s persinfo blog:

Kate Brown has finally been elected to her OWN term as Governor, and the Ds now control both Legislative bodies with supermajorities.  That means that they can pass any revenue bills without support from a single R.   Whether this is a good thing or not remains to be seen.  On one hand, the fear of draconian anti-PERS legislation has diminished considerably, but that does not mean PERS is entirely out of the Legislative crosshairs.  The media, the employers, the Oregon Business Alliance, Nike, and others continue to agitate for PERS reform, while progressives continue to agitate for revenue reform, particularly an increase in the Corporate Income Tax.  This is going to set up a classic battle in the Legislature as business lobbyists square off against labor lobbyists, education lobbyists, School Boards to balance those conflicting interests.  There is nothing in Kate Brown’s proposed 2019-21 budget that suggests she grasps the magnitude of the issues that the Legislature will have to confront.  At first blush, it seems like the Legislature would be easy-peasy.  Pass tax increases without R support.  Governor signs bill.  Legislature distributes revenue to starving agencies.  Sine die.

But, and this is a big one that people sometimes forget.  Whatever the Legislature does can be undone with an initiative, referendum, or constitutional amendment.  And trust me, those groups are already starting to organize, and the Legislature is well-aware of their existence.  Any tax increase, except maybe on cigarettes or liquor or marijuana, WILL BE referred to the voters, and the likely outcome is defeat.  In the past, this has had some serious consequences.  The earliest any such measure could be on the ballot would be May 2020 or November 2020.  That is more than halfway through the next biennium.  Thus, any budget increases seen by agencies will disappear shortly after the vote, and this will be more havoc-producing than not having the money in the first place.  What all this means is that the Ds have complete control of the entire legislative and executive branches of State Government, but they will have to exercise that control with more caution than their progressive supporters would like.

[Lunch Break in Room 403 – Estimated 12:15-12:45]

5. Tuition-Setting Preparatory Discussion: Jamie Moffitt, Vice President for Finance and Administration; Kevin Marbury, Vice President for Student Life (Co-Chairs of the Tuition and Fee Advisory Board)

Moffit and Marbury propose 10% tuition cut, as UO’s strategic investments in Duck athletics, coaching salaries, and 2021 IAAF championships will bring in millions in PAC-12 broadcast revenue, scholarship donations, state funding, and new out-of-state tuition money.

Whoops, turns out they’re going to propose an increase, not a cut. The PAC-12 network is an expensive disaster, football fans aren’t giving for academic scholarships, and out-of state parents aren’t that excited about sending their kids to a big-time football factory, particularly without some serious tuition discounting.

6. Academic Area in Focus – Institute for Health and the Built Environment: Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg, Associate Professor of Architecture

7. Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact – Report: Bob Guldberg, Vice President and Executive Director of the Knight Campus

3:00 p.m. Finance and Facilities Committee

3:00 p.m. Finance and Facilities Committee https://trustees.uoregon.edu/sites/trustees2.uoregon.edu/files/meeting_packet_-_ffc_final_12.3.18.pdf

1. Audited Financial Statements: Jamie Moffitt, Vice President for Finance and Administration and CFO; Kelly Wolf, Associate Vice President and Controller; Scott Simpson, Partner, Moss Adams

Here’s one metric where UO is not at the bottom of the AAU – reserves:

2. Quarterly Financial Reports and Annual Treasury Report: Jamie Moffitt, Vice President for Finance and Administration and CFO; Karen Levear, Director, Treasury Operations

All these business people on the board, and the only trustee who found the error in the report is the UO staff trustee, Jimmy Murray, a librarian. Controller Kelly Wolf thanks him.

As usual these reports do not include any information on the athletics budget, or the various tax changes affecting it, or their subsidies, or their debt obligations. This is despite the fact that in the past trustees have specifically asked to see this.

Treasury report:

Karen Lavear knows her stuff: All is well. UO won an award last year for our internal bank procedures. Investments are outperforming benchmarks.Risk is low. “My job just gets easier and easier every year.”

Lavear is also the only person willing to break out athletics finances – the source of most of UO’s debt:

UO’s credit rating agencies continue to give us good ratings. And, in comparison to peers, we’re cash rich:

Debt to revenue ratio is however high.

3. Licensing Agreement (Action): Kyle Henley, Vice President for Communications

Under AD Rob Mullens the Duck brand has been losing value rapidly, so Henley wants to lock in a long-term contract before the next sports scandal. Seems prudent. Athletics’ 50% cut might even cover their likely future legal costs – except that the academic side will inevitably pay those for them:

This is for Duck crap, not crap with the O on it. That’s a different deal, with Nike.

Henley: Gen-z values experiences, not stuff. [Really? they don’t stay for Duck games either.]

Trustees are notably sceptical. This gets a bit off the rails. No one will say it, but the obvious concern is whether Fanatics will continue to provide the popular Go Ducks vodka and Jell-O jigglers:

KGW has an investigative report on the latest scandal, here:

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 10.33.58 PM

4. Capital Planning Annual Report: Michael Harwood, Associate Vice President for Campus Planning and Facilities Maintenance

If you work in PLC, you are going to die there. Harwood’s schedule goes out to 2031, and PLC isn’t on it:

5. Capital Project Lease and License Agreement (Action): Eric Roedl, Deputy Athletic Director; H.J. Cohn, Sr. Associate Athletic Director

Upgrade the graphics and “fun fan experience” at Matthew Knight Arena.

6. Capital Gift Acceptance (Action): David Conover, Vice President for Research and Innovation

A generous family wants to give UO $215K worth of beachfront land in Bandon for environmental and archaeological research. No access except hiking, but no plans to build anything.

2:00 p.m. Executive and Audit Committee

2:00 p.m. Executive and Audit Committee https://trustees.uoregon.edu/sites/trustees2.uoregon.edu/files/meeting_packet_-_eac_12.3.18_final.pdf

1. Enterprise Risk Management – Semi-Annual Report: Andre Le Duc, Associate VP and Chief Resilience Officer

I’m not seeing anything here on how much UO is paying United Academics for insurance, what the terms are, or how much of the cost reflects our various sports scandals, concussions, and the NCAA lawsuits.

On the other hand it does have a lot of buzzwords and fun figures:

2. Transform IT Update: Jessie Minton, Vice Provost and Chief Information Officer


3. Quarterly Audit Report and Suggested Amendment to Audit Charter (Action): Trisha Burnett, Chief Auditor

The Board will now get quarterly reports from our auditor. But this quarterly report is not anywhere close to what due diligence requires. Baby steps:

Burnett has held this job for about 2 years, since the previous auditor left after asking too many questions. Her report is superficial, as are the Board’s questions.

Board of Trustees to perform due diligence Mon and Tue

Since the Board’s official website is an unhelpful mess, here are the times and agendas for the committee and board meetings Monday and Tuesday, along with a few excerpts and some commentary. All events in the Ford Alumni Center. Monday meetings start at 10:30, Tuesday at 10.

I’ll try and add a little live-blogging below, as the meetings progress. Meanwhile I’ll note that UO’s federal accreditors require the Board to conduct a self-study every two years:

2.A.8 The board regularly evaluates its performance to ensure its duties and responsibilities are fulfilled in an effective and efficient manner. http://www.nwccu.org/accreditation/standards-policies/standards/

While OSU’s board posts their evaluations on the internet, UO’s Board secretary Angela Wilhems is making me file a public records request to see UO’s.


10:30 AM Monday 12/3: Academic and Student Affairs Committee: https://trustees.uoregon.edu/sites/trustees2.uoregon.edu/files/meeting_packet_-_asac_12.03.18.pdf

Provost’s Quarterly Report

Provost Banavar gives the Senate and Sierra Dawson a shout-out on the Senate’s efforts to reform student evaluations, highlighting roll-out of our new non-metrics, and Ginger Clark’s (USC) talk to the Senate, here.

In other news, VP for Budget Planning will be retiring Jan 1 – but don’t get too excited, he’ll still be working half-time on budget planning etc.

1. Annual Enrollment and Financial Aid/Scholarship Report: Roger Thompson, Vice President for Student Services and Enrollment Management; Jim Brooks, Associate Vice President and Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships

For some reason Roger isn’t reporting SATs, or any info on our comparators. Spending on recruiting is way up – UO is hiring more recruiters and buy PSAT data and sending out mailers. It would be interesting to see those mailers – several parents have told me they’re not very impressed.

International enrollment down, overall freshman enrollment up 6%, out of state enrollment up, first-generation enrollment up:

Ford asks about transfer student numbers. Thompson reports it’s not good.

Jim Brooks then talks about financial aid. UO seems to be engaging in much more price-discrimination, with substantial increases in merit aid: 

Despite this, because of the tuition increases UO’s discount rate has barely budged, from 10 to 11% over the past few years. Student borrowing is down, parent borrowing is up.

In very good news, PathwayOregon enrollment (low-SES Oregon residents) is way up:

Lillis asks how UO compares to AAU in terms of federal aid. Brooks not sure.

2. Student Success Initiative – Semi-Annual Report: Dennis Galvan, Interim Vice Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Studies; Doneka Scott, Associate Vice Provost for Student Success

Doneka Scott is out for health reasons, we hope she’ll back soon.

PathwayOregon’s “wrap-around” advising model has shown great success, plan is to roll this out for all students in some form through the Tykeson project.

Wilcox asks about stagnate first year retention – any evidence as to what is working and what is not? Galvan: no evidence.

3. Online and Hybrid Education – Initiative Update: Carol Gering, Associate Vice Provost for Online and Hybrid Education

She’s new, seems focused on using online to improve grad rates for regular students. No big OSU type online push:


University of Nike podcast

From Daniel Libit’s excellent college sports muckraking blog, UNMFishBowl.com.


By Daniel Libit

For 45 years, college basketball featured two famous arenas dubbed, “The Pit,” one in Albuquerque, the other in Eugene, Oregon.

In 2010, the University of New Mexico renovated its version of The Pit, University Arena, plowing $60 million into the home of Lobo basketball, thanks largely to the generosity of state taxpayers. Lobo fans were duly proud. The next year, the University of Oregon ditched its version of “The Pit”, MacArthur Court, and moved into the brand-new, quarter-billion-dollar Matthew Knight Arena, built thanks to the largesse of its namesake’s father, Nike founder Phil Knight. That’s the difference between the haves and have-nots in Division I college sports.

Over the course of the last 25 years, Knight has given (if that’s the right word) nearly a billion dollars to Oregon, his alma mater, with nearly half of that going to athletic department construction projects. Because of him, the Ducks have been transformed from a middling Pac 10 (now 12) athletic department into the intercollegiate envy of the nation. (That photo above is of Oregon football’s $138 million Hatfield-Dowlin Complex, completed in 2013 and named for Knight’s mother and mother-in-law.)

9781612196916And yet, to read Joshua Hunt’s eye-opening new book, University of Nike: How Corporate Cash Bought American Higher Education, one finds strange commonalities between the plights of a have-not like UNM and a have like UO — and theirs are indeed both plights. Knight’s money hasn’t stopped Oregon from raising student fees to pay for athletics; it hasn’t freed its school presidents from obsessing over the fate of football and men’s basketball; and it certainly hasn’t made for a better or more sensibly administered university. Quite the contrary, as Hunt describes.

In the latest episode of The NMFishbowl Podcast, Hunt and I talk about how the pursuit of college sports tends to vitiate public universities, regardless of how much or little private money is brought to bear. You can listen to our conversation by clicking below (or download it on iTunes here):

Among other things, Hunt addresses the pushback he’s received from the family of former Oregon President David Frohnmayer; the galling obstructionism undertaken by UO’s media relations staff; and his arduous journey in trying to obtain public records from a university.

Here are some additional reading materials and useful links…

Senate meets today, 3-5PM on teaching evals, leg agenda, dual careers


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

3:00 P.M.    Call to order

3:05 PM Introductory Remarks; Senate President Bill Harbaugh

3:20 PM    Presentation on Teaching Evaluation reform; Ginger Clark, USC Associate Professor of Clinical Education and former Academic Senate President

3:50 PM      Business/ Reports:

  • Teaching Evaluation Warning Language; Bill Harbaugh (See below for draft language. Discussion, possible vote)
  • Vote: US18/19-03: Approval of Curriculum Report, Fall term 2018; Frances White (Vote)
  • Policy for faculty membership on committees, task forces and advisory groups; Bill Harbaugh (Presentation and discussion)

4:20 PM    UO’s legislative agenda; Libby Batlan & Hans Bernard, UO State and Community Affairs (Presentation and discussion)

4:40 PM.    UO’s new approach to Dual Career Support; Rhonda Smith & Melanie Muenzer, Provost’s Office (Presentation and discussion)

4:56 PM    Open Discussion
4:57 PM    Reports
4:58 PM    Notice(s) of Motion
4:59 PM    Other Business
5:00 PM    Adjourn

Draft: For discussion for Senate adoption per https://senate.uoregon.edu/entry/?Motions=US17/18-19. Also see https://provost.uoregon.edu/revising-uos-teaching-evaluations for background.

Warning: Bias in Student Course Evaluations

Research has shown that student evaluations, particularly numerical ratings, are marred by bias against women, racial and ethnic minorities, and other groups, and are generally unrelated to teaching effectiveness. Despite these problems, numerical ratings using our current instrument may still be collected, and past numerical ratings may still be used in teaching evaluation. The UO Senate, in cooperation with the Office of the Provost, is revising UO’s teaching evaluation instruments and practices in response to this research. During this transition, numerical student evaluations of teaching should not be used as a standalone measure of teaching quality for any university purpose. Instead, teaching should be evaluated primarily using instructor self-reflection, peer reviews, and substantive written student comments, in alignment with the academic unit’s definition of teaching excellence as that is developed.


(Note: See Uttl et al. (2017), Meta-analysis of faculty’s teaching effectiveness: Student evaluation of teaching ratings and student learning are not related, Studies in Education Evaluation, at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191491X16300323)


USC senate president to talk about teaching evaluation reform

This Wed, 9-10 in the library browsing room, and 3:20-3:50 at the Senate in the EMU Crater Lake room. From Around the O:

Ginger Clark, assistant vice provost for academic and faculty affairs at the University of Southern California, will discuss improving teaching evaluation methods during a campus appearance Nov. 28.

Clark, who is also a professor of clinical education and served as president of USC’s Academic Senate, has been central to her university’s efforts to advance student learning and develop better methods to evaluate teaching. Her lecture is sponsored by the UO committee on teaching evaluation.

She will speak at the Knight Library Browsing Room from 9 to 9:50 a.m. The event is open to the UO community and anyone can attend. Faculty members and staff are asked to sign up using MyTrack.

Clark also will address the University Senate later in the day in the Crater Lake rooms in the Erb Memorial Union from 3:20 to 3:50 p.m. Visitors are welcome.

“This is a chance for our campus to hear about how we can improve the classroom experience for our students and how we can help honor faculty for inclusive, engaged and research-led teaching,” said Sierra Dawson, associate vice provost for academic affairs. “Dr. Clark is considered a national leader in this area, and I’m looking forward to our faculty having the opportunity to learn more.”

Senate President Bill Harbaugh, an economics professor, said having Clark on campus will aid the effort to improve teaching evaluation.

“We all have an important stake in improving teaching and evaluating faculty,” he said. “Our current system relies too heavily on numerical course evaluations, which have been shown to be biased by gender and race, and uncorrelated with student learning.”

At the UO, the Senate has been working closely with the Office of the Provost to rethink the ways the university conducts teaching evaluations. The joint effort, which began in spring 2017, was designed to come up with a more effective way to define, develop, evaluate and reward teaching excellence.

The Senate created a task force to develop new ways to conduct evaluations at the UO. Currently, most evaluations are based on end-of-the-term ratings by students and a long-used faculty peer review system. Neither, the task force determined, fully gauge success in teaching nor the true ability of faculty members and how they design student learning experiences.

Recent research suggests such surveys include a bias against women and people of color, and they do little in the way of shedding light on teaching excellence or learning.

The Senate approved a motion to add a midterm student experience survey and an optional 10-minute instructor reflection at the end of the term as part of the evaluation process. The optional reflection would go to departments, ensuring that the instructor’s own voice can inform evaluators’ interpretation of student feedback.

Those tools are currently being tested across the UO and likely will become available campuswide for the 2019-20 academic year.

The Senate has been a driving force behind the potential improvements, establishing a new committee to work on continuous improvement and evaluation of teaching. The committee will regularly report to the Senate, and it plans to bring a new motion by the end of the academic year that would add a student experience survey at the end of each term, replacing the current student course evaluation.

To support the work, the provost has established a community for accelerating the impact of teaching focused on teaching excellence and evaluation. The community includes faculty members and local leaders from each school or college within the university, along with representatives from all three divisions of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Several faculty members from the group are testing the Senate-approved midterm student experience survey and the end-of-term instructor reflection, along with a novel end-of-term student experience survey. That effort includes faculty members from the Clark Honors College, the Lundquist College of Business, the School of Planning, Public Policy and Management in the College of Design and the human physiology and English departments in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The movement to reform teaching evaluation reaches beyond the UO. The Association of American Universities, with 60 member campuses in the United States and two in Canada, is spearheading an effort to connect schools working on teaching evaluation reform.

Across the globe, universities in Tasmania, Singapore, the United Kingdom and Sweden are also looking for ways to evaluate and celebrate successful instruction, along with creating innovative ways to evaluate teaching.

By David Austin, University Communications

A modest proposal to moderate coaches’ compensation

These are a bit out of control – just take a look at my cousin Jim’s:

Every now and then the NCAA university presidents say they are going to try and do something about this. The NCAA then tells them that anti-trust law prevents them from conspiring to lower wages, they give up, and the coaches get still more.

Which is weird, because the NCAA specializes in evading labor market law to suppress student-athlete wages. Surely they could figure out how to work this on coaches, if the university presidents got serious.

How about this proposal, for starters: Have all the coaches work for the NCAA, not the university athletic departments. The NCAA could then set a wage as an employer, not as a cartel. Say $250K for each BCS coach, with cost of living increases. Al Roth could then run a matching mechanism where universities list their top coaches, and coaches list their top universities, and they are matched iteratively. The proper algorithm would produce an stable and strategy proof outcome where no coach would like to move to a university that would have them, and no university would like to replace their coach with another one that would move there. Since tastes and performance change, this could be rerun every few years.

Unmatched coaches could collect unemployment insurance.