"Big Ideas" or better pay than Missouri?

6/10/2009: Update on Frohnmayer’s Foundation slush fund: Apparently he has been in a mad rush to spend $1 million in leftover money as quick as possible. Anyone with details, post a comment. We’re guessing this money is not going to Faculty!

Provost Bean has now selected UO’s next “Big Ideas” which will … well, we don’t really know what it means to be a big idea. All of Bean’s revolve around green/sustainability/diversity. While President Lariviere has said that his own #1 priority is getting faculty salaries about the bar set by Missouri, at least one “Big Idea” proposed that UO take steps to increase faculty salaries and research support. This did not make Bean’s cut. More in the comments.


The Daily Emerald now has a news blog. They’ve posted a story on UO .lt. UM.

According to this Kansas newspaper, incoming President Lariviere will be paid $540,000 in salary and deferred compensation. Adding in the usual perks and ORP, and this will probably add up to about $600,000 using the Chronicle.com definition of total compensation. The average for all PhD granting schools will be about $500,000 next year. OUS Secretary Ryan Hagemann tells us that he and Lariviere are still negotiating, and that there is no final contract yet. We’ll post the contract when Hagemann approves it.

UO: lowest salaries for faculty – and administrators at the trough

6/8/2009: After a year on the job Provost Jim Bean discovers – from a news article in a Missouri student newspaper we posted here – that UO’s faculty are the lowest paid in the AAU. This is after he wasted a huge chunk of IR and Senate time trying to defend UO’s excessive salaries for administrators – including his own. Better late than never. The good news is the Lariviere quote – but of course Frohnmayer has promised the same thing ever since the Senate white paper came out in 2000: faculty salaries were his “top priority”. Right.

(A comment points out that Bean knew this already – he’s writing this email to make it sound like he is “shocked to discover…”. )

From: James Bean [mailto:jcbean@uoregon.edu]
Sent: Sunday, June 07, 2009 12:26 PM
To: Deans Working Group
Subject: Faculty Salaries

The Missouri article stating that UO has the lowest salaries in the AAU has caused quite a stir (we have since verified that they were correct). Low salaries were always thought of as just Oregonian. But 34 out of 34 is a whole other thing. We cannot have this. Richard’s reaction was “this is job #1.” Richard will likely have an announcement on how we are attacking this when politically feasible (after last gavel). Please communicate to your faculty that the Missouri article really got our attention. This may require disruptive solutions.

Thanks, Jim

_______________________________
James C. Bean
Senior Vice President and Provost
202 Johnson Hall
University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-1258
T 541-346-3186
F 541-346-2023

Steve Duin at the Oregonian has a post about this. In related news, on Friday the OUS Board approved emeritus status and a new contract for Frohnmayer. We’ve requested the contract, and should soon know how much we have to pay Frohnmayer to finally get him to stop being President.

6/2/2009:

OSLC has now released its latest IRS form. Page 20 shows that UO Diversity VP Charles Martinez has continued with his second job there, working 25 hours per week off campus – I think this makes 3 straight years, ranging from 25 to 29 hours per weak. This blows way past the 1 day in 7 rule that the administration applies to the faculty – but so far Martinez seems to have a free pass from Provost Bean. The NIH guidelines also seem to forbid this: his FTE is about 17 months per year. You have to wonder how he gets away with it.

The Daily Emerald has been doing good reporting about UO politics again. So far it hasn’t risen to the standard of Ryan Knutson’s Bernsteinian investigative pieces on the arena, but reporter Alex Tomchak Scott seems to know how to do an interview. See this story on the UO Senate’s version of Florida 2000. (Not in story: the Senate minutes show there was no quorum at the meeting that elected van Donkelaar either!) Check out Frohnmayer’s quotes on Tublitz – I hope Scott brought a handkerchief to wipe off the spittle:

“If anything,” Frohnmayer said, “I’ve made efforts to revitalize the Senate. If (demoralizing the Senate has) occurred, it’s occurred because of many other demands on faculty members’ time, and because frankly some people have attempted to use the Senate for their own personal agendas, including a couple that I’ve named, and that drives people away. But I don’t think it’s my doing at all. I really don’t. I’ve a clean conscience and an uninhibited mind on this.”

UO has now posted a job announcement for the new VP for Planning and Budget. Provost Bean created this position because VP for Finance Frances Dyke hasn’t been able to figure out a new budget model for UO, and just does not understand UO’s actual financial position. This was convincingly and embarrassingly demonstrated at the Furlough meeting, when she didn’t even know the faculty payroll sum. There are two obvious problems with this 1/2 FTE job, which is aimed at current faculty – apparently to give us a voice. Great idea, but as we learned from the recent Senate meeting there are just not that many people who are acceptable to the administration and trusted by the faculty. Second, Frances will still be in charge and will do everything possible to hide her mistakes and make sure this VP fails. Better to bite the bullet and just hire a new VP for Finance, and quick – IMHO.

UO < Missouri

6/3/2009:
Quoting from this story from Missouri:

A recently released study done by the American Association of University Professors reports University of Missouri salaries for professors ranked second to last out of 34 public institutions studied, ahead of only the University of Oregon.

How far is Oregon behind Missouri? According to this study, $8,300, or more than 10%. (A reader points out this ignores possible diffs in benefit packages. True.)

Nathan Tublitz will be Senate President for 2010-2011. This email from current President Paul van Donkelaar explains the situation:

Dear Colleagues:

I write to let you know that I have heard a number of concerns regarding the manner by which the election process for Senate vice-president was postponed until the October meeting. I have sought counsel from a number of respected colleagues including Paul Simonds, the Senate Parliamentarian; Gwen Steigelman, the Secretary to the Senate; John Bonine, a Senator from Law; as well as members of the Faculty Advisory Council. I trust the judgment of this group of colleagues and although they provided differing opinions on the matter, the consensus was that based on parliamentary procedures as applied in the context of the meeting last Wednesday the vote taken should stand. In discussions with Senate Parliamentarian, Paul Simonds, the following two issues became apparent:

  1. The election became final once the votes were taken and announced.
  2. My assertion that the election was out of order because of a lack of quorum was incorrect because the absence of a quorum is generally not permitted to affect prior action.

Therefore, the decision to postpone the election until October is not valid. From a procedural point of view, my decision today does not appear to be subject to appeal, thus, there is no need to hold a meeting at which such appeals could be discussed and voted upon. As a result of this counsel, I hereby announce the winner of the vote, Nathan Tublitz, as the next Senate vice-president.

Let me add that I have learned this year that trust is something that is often in short supply in matters of internal governance at the UO. I am not an unethical person nor do I wish to be viewed as such. It truly saddens me that, despite my efforts to build trust across many constituents, my actions last Wednesday were apparently viewed with suspicion by some present at the meeting and in the broader community. All I can say is that the goal of my original assertion was not to deny Nathan the vice-presidency, but simply to ensure that a sufficient number of people voted. I would have made the same decision had the vote totals for each candidate been reversed.

Yours, Paul van Donkelaar

6/1/2009:

ODE reporter Alex Tomchak Scott reported that the Senate has decided Tublitz did win the ballot and will be President after Gilkey. Story here. The alternative candidate does not have tenure and in our view a Senate president without tenure would be too beholden to the administration and unable to provide the necessary check and balance. The latest news is that the FAC has “confirmed” this decision.

5/31/2009:

Greg Bolt has an article in the RG on overcomittment problems at UO. He mentions Edward Kame’enui’s $400,000 from Reading First, but not the $200,000 of UO money Melinda Grier spent lobbying the congressional committee (one invoice here) to get that investigation closed. Or so the timeline suggests. Charles Martinez comes in for special attention: he refuses to answer questions, but Provost Bean says he’s doing a heckuva job as Diversity VP, and it’s fine for him to ignore the 1 in 7 day rule, not run his grants through UO, have two jobs, and pull in over $250,000 – these rules aren’t for administrators! OSLC’s latest 990 form came out 5/15, but they’ve been ignoring our requests for it. As usual with Greg’s articles, you wish he would follow up on the quotes: “Really, Provost Bean – you think it is appropriate for one of your VPs to have a 29 hour per week job on the side? Would you offer the same deal to a professor?”

In fairness to Provost Bean he inherited Martinez from Provost Moseley, who had to hire a diversity VP on the quick, after he lost a discrimination lawsuit. So quick that UO didn’t even do an affirmative action compliant search. Rumor is that Bean and Lariviere intend to replace Martinez soon, hence all Bean’s effusive praise. One of the biggest problems with UO’s current administrators is they can never admit to the smallest mistake or tolerate any criticism. I’d think it would be hard accomplishing anything productive in an office where no one ever tells anyone the truth, but they really seem to enjoy it that way.

But probably the biggest conflict of interest at UO is Frohnmayer’s. Oregon law seems pretty clear:

… a public official … may not solicit or receive, directly or indirectly, any gift or gifts with an aggregate value in excess of $50 from any single source that could reasonably be known to have a legislative or administrative interest in any governmental agency in which the public official holds … any authority. (ORS244)

But half of Frohmayer’ pay from comes big time donors like Phil Knight, who certainly has a large interest in the UO President’s decisions. Phil apparently sends another $1 million or so a year to the Fanconi Foundation – except when Dave misbehaves. That’s a serious and very sad conflict of interest, in every sense.

5/30/2009:
Daily Emerald article says that at the 5/27 UO Senate meeting President Paul van Donkelaar decided after he knew the outcome of the voting for the 2010-2011 Senate President that there was no quorum and that the vote would be done over in October. The obvious interpretation is that Nathan Tublitz had the most votes, and that Paul made this decision to increase the chance of the election of an alternative he preferred. This is not a pleasant conclusion, so if someone knows more or has an alternative interpretation of what happened, please comment.

Just to be clear, we think the biggest problem with the Senate is that it has no input into basic budgeting decisions: like how much money will UO spend on academics, how much on administrators, how much on CAS, how much on Bend and Portland. The Senate doesn’t even have any credible information about current expenditures, because Frohnmayer, Bean and Dyke lie with impunity to the Senate and to the Senate Finance Committee about how they spend UO’s money. This problem needs to be fixed. Until it is the Senate does more bad than good, because it lets the administration claim their most bizarre and self-serving decisions have the consent of the faculty.

5/29/2009:
A few days ago we got a knowledgeable comment on our claim that the number of senior administrators was increasing. It said we were exaggerating: “this sure looks like a one-for-one replacement, distracting us from the more serious issues of the huge growth in Associate VPs, support staff, and so on.” We still think the number of senior admins has increased: We’ve added or will add VP for Diversity Martinez, and a VP for budgeting, and old VP’s Moseley, Davis, and Williams are still paid 1/2 time. But point taken otherwise.

Another reader then pointed us to UO’s institutional research site, here. It turns out there’s a lot of data on admin expenses. Still digesting, but the commentor seems correct that there has been big growth recently, much bigger than what has gone to the instructional side. More evidence as well that Provost Bean’s frequently reported 38% claim is bogus even according to the official UO data – which he presumably takes a look at every now and then!

The Commentor writes back: Yes, I have known about the IR site for years and often go there to get the actual facts – not that having real facts actually does any good around here. People hear only what they want to hear – helluva of a way to plan. In any event. To me one of the most striking features of the raw data, and one which most faculty and adminstrators don’t realize is true is that the actual number of tenure and tenure-track faculty has been essentially constant (631 +/- 17) over the last 15 years. Thus despite claims of “new programs” and more favorable faculty to student ratios, the plain truth as that has been no growth in these kind of faculty positions for the past 15 years. That defines institutional stagnation.

5/27/2009:

This Daily Emerald story by Ben Schorzman challenges the frequent claim that UO’s Athletic Department is self-supporting. It turns out the state gives the Ducks $1.2 million in lottery money every year. If that money went to academics, athletics would be in the red. It’s a pretty interesting read. He’s got a related story here. Mr. Schorzman asks lots of questions, and I hope this is the beginning of some good reporting from the Emerald on athletics and money.

5/24/2009:

In 2006 UO Provost John Moseley retired and was given a 1/2 time $124,000 a year sinecure as Director of UO’s Bend Programs. He wanted this because it allowed him to pad his PERS account and because he has a vacation home on the Deschutes. It turns out he’s been billing UO for his trips there – as these UO mileage reimbursements show. One reader pointed out that “Between June and Sept 08 JTM racked up $4441.75 reimbursable dollars for mileage, at about 50 cents per mile that’s 8800 miles. It’s about 125 miles one way from JTM (Eugene) to JTM (Bend) so that’s about 35 round trips in a 4 month period or 9 round trips a month.”

In the summer? Does UO-Bend even offer summer courses? Any OSU-Cascades meetings that Moseley actually attended? 9 per month? UO-Bend graduates 15 students a year. Moseley’s travel expenses alone are over $500 per graduate. Add in his salary and benefits and this one part of the administrative costs for Bend are already well over $10,000 per graduate. And Provost Bean claims this program is “in the black?”

5/22/2009:

We’ve been wondering what happened to the voluntary Fourlough program. After a lot of publicity and the hyped town hall meeting, the web site was never updated with new information or the promised FAQ. We finally received the email below on 5/20 from Provost Bean. In it he makes no attempt to encourage people to enroll or to donate money, and he does not re-iterate any of the claims he made at the 4/14 meeting, such as: UO’s administrative expense ratio is 38% of peers, Bend is making money, and the Portland programs are not a drain on Eugene. We’ve asked him about all these claims, and he has been unable/unwilling the document any of them.

The following message is from Senior Vice President and Provost Jim Bean –

Colleagues:

The voluntary salary reduction program is still moving forward, and I thought this a good time for an update. As of May 14, 435 faculty and staff had contributed nearly $462,000 to help with the budget rescission this year. FTE reductions attracted 271 individuals contributing $327,000 and outright gifts attracted another 164 for $135,000. Of the 2,581 eligible staff, 17% participated. Among officers of instruction and research the participation rate was 9%, while among officers of administration it was slightly above 27%.

I sincerely thank all of you who chose to be part of the solution. The $462,000 contributed helped defray the $8.6M rescission (take-back) of state funds this year. For those of you in schools and colleges, your gifts reduced the take-back from your unit’s budget.

Regards, Jim