OUS press release on budget allocations.

9/4/2009: OUS Board Secretary Ryan Hagemann hasn’t made minutes of Board meetings publicly available since December 2005. He says he is too busy. OUS does send out press releases, however. Here is an excerpt from the latest, on budget allocations.

Higher Ed Board committee recommends 2009-10 budget allocations for campuses

Overall, the OUS 2009-2011 operating budget is 17.3% lower than it was in 2007-2009, excluding federal stimulus funding; if including federal stimulus funding, the operating budget is 8.9% lower than in the previous biennia (2007- 2009 budget represents funding prior to legislatively-approved reductions). The 2009-10 allocation is about 50% of the biennial budget in most cases. Biennial campus operating budgets for 2009-2011 are as follows (includes federal stimulus funding of $30 million): Eastern Oregon University = $32.2 million (down 7.5% from ’07-09); Oregon Institute of Technology = $38.4 million (down 10.6% from ’07-09); Oregon State University = $186.7 million (down 11.1% from ’07-09); OSU-Cascades Campus = $9.3 million (up 2.4% from ’07-09); Portland State University = $136.9 million (down 11.3% from ’07-09); Southern Oregon University = $33.6 million (down 10.7% from ’07-09); University of Oregon = $128.9 million (down 16.3% from ’07-09); Western Oregon University = $36.1 million (down 10.6% from ’07-09); and the Office of the Chancellor = $13.2 million (down 19.2% from ’07-09); and OUS industry affairs programs = $5.4 million (down 27.5% from ’07-09). The OSU Statewide Public Service program allocations are: Agricultural Experiment Station = $57.9 million (down 7.2% from ’07-09); Extension Service = $42.3 million (down 6.3% from ’07-09); and the Forest Research Laboratory = $6.3 million (down 9.6% from ’07-09). (For more details on budget allocations by category go to: http://www.ous.edu/state_board/meeting/dockets/ddoc090904FA.pdf)

President Obama and UO Matters

9/2/2009: Regular readers of UO Matters know that we spend a lot of time and money trying to pry public records from the cold grasping claws of UO General Counsel Melinda Grier and her Associate Counsel Doug Park. They resist, we appeal to Oregon Attorney General John Kroger. Sometimes he tells them to fork over the records before he has to make a formal ruling, sometimes he rules against us, sometimes we pay Doug a couple hundred bucks – a pittance, given our enormous Google ad revenue – and he sends a few pages of printout.

Once (so far) we had to make a federal FOIA for some UO records. The agency denied, we appealed, and so on. Then today, out of the blue, one of the UO Matters staff gets a phone call from a lawyer at the USDOJ Office of Information and something or another. A lady with an elegant southern accent, which really takes us back.

Lawyer: “We have reviewed your appeal, and have remanded your request to the relevant agency.”
UO Matters: “Shit! uh wait, what does remanded mean?”
Lawyer: “Sir, we’ve told them to send you the documents.”
UO Matters, “Sweet! uh wait, how much is this going to cost me?”
Lawyer: “If they try to charge you, or if there are unjustified redactions, call me.”
UO Matters: “I’ve been trying to get these for a year – what happened? Is this some Obama thing?”
Lawyer: “Yes. President Obama directed Attorney General Holder to change the way we interpret FOIA law. During our review, your appeal came up.”

I liked the way she said President Obama. You can read Holder’s memo here. It’s pretty impressive stuff. Of course, we still haven’t seen the documents.

Lawyer: “A few weeks. No, let’s set a deadline: You will have them by Sept 22.”

Now if we can only get Oregon’s Attorney General John Kroger to write that same memo to Melinda Grier!

Lariviere in Bend (updated with OUS info)

9/1/2009: Rumor is that Lariviere will soon decide if UO is going to pull the plug on its Bend programs, which graduate about 15 students a year, and run at loss to the Eugene campus of $1 million or so per year. (Update: actually 50 students, or a loss of $20,000 each). The Bend Bulletin reports on Lariviere’s visit to Bend today, without going into the history of UO’s operation there, which was set to give former UO Provost a retirement sinecure. You can find more by following the links at the bottom of this post.

The University of Oregon’s new president, Richard Lariviere, met with the Bend City Council on Monday afternoon to discuss city officials’ visions for higher education in Bend. Councilors told him that in the future they hope to have a larger university presence in Bend and just how important higher education will be to the city’s growth. … Lariviere says, “We’re now trying to get a better sense of Bend,” he said. “I want to get a better sense of how the university fits in.”

OPB reports that while in Bend Lariviere also announced his support for former OUS Board member John von Schlegell’s reform call to the governor:

In Bend, Lariviere spoke to local business leaders and told OPB that he supports a critical letter that former state higher education board members sent to the Governor.

That letter proposed turning the state university system into a public corporation. Lariviere says even though that idea may make waves, it should be considered.

Richard Lariviere: “The regulatory involvement in the state in higher education is way out of whack. And any time you layer on some set of regulatory constraints you’re debilitating the university from fulfilling its obligation to the state of Oregon.”

Cheerleading

9/1/2009: The staff here at uomatters.com tries to keep focused on numbers. UO’s numbers are really fascinating, sometimes even actionable. Just ask former Provost Moseley. But every now and then something like this comes across the screen:

The University athletic department told Duck cheerleading advisors Laraine Raish and Corine Lewis they were being let go at approximately 8:30 a.m. Monday. The mother and daughter were part-time advisors to the program and not full-time coaches, according to the athletic department.

from reporter Ben Schorzman, at the UO Daily Emerald. OK, so the cheer squad needed to sex it up a little, maybe to satisfy the fat old white guys behind Kilkenny’s $69 million media contract, so we dumped the mother daughter act? Not exactly the stuff of scandal. But wait. Sometimes it’s not all numbers. Actually, 7% of the time it’s not, if you want to be exact. So check out the comments, which are way, way NSFW. Not that UO General Counsel Melinda Grier is monitoring your internet use. I hope not, anyway. But doesn’t the Emerald censor these? Is this was Thomas Jefferson was thinking about? OK, when he wasn’t thinking about Sally Hemmings, that is.

OUS resignation letter

08/30/2009: Suzanne Pardington has an interesting article in the Oregonian today, about Kulongoski’s stalled efforts to reform Oregon’s higher ed system. Pardington writes:

Five years ago, Gov. Ted Kulongoski recruited a new slate of business leaders to serve on the State Board of Higher Education and charged them with saving the state’s university system. This summer, the last of those appointees stepped down, feeling disappointed and frustrated over the structural and political roadblocks to making the big changes needed for dramatic improvements. John von Schlegell, who resigned from the board recently, sent Kulongoski a letter this week calling for an overhaul of the way the state manages and funds its seven universities. “If people just wait around for more money and don’t change the system with pretty radical changes, we’re just dying a slow death,” von Schlegell, managing director of a Portland-based private equity firm, told The Oregonian.

von Schlegell’s letter is here. His frustration with politics and academic bureaucracy is obvious. He argues for a more independent OUS system, including an end to political appointments to the board. Meanwhile, Oregonian reporter Harry Esteve writes a scathing story about the appointment of a State Rep to a job as “academic planner” for the OUS board:

State Rep. Larry Galizio got help from Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s office to secure a job with the Oregon University System, a spokeswoman for the governor confirmed Thursday. The appointment, announced Wednesday, raised some eyebrows among Salem insiders because Galizio made a dramatic about-face and provided the crucial vote to bar a resort from being developed near the Metolius River — an outcome Kulongoski desired.

In an interview with The Oregonian, Galizio said he made no deal with Kulongoski to exchange his vote for a job. “That’s laughable,” said the Tigard Democrat. Galizio also said he never talked to the governor about working for the higher education system. What he didn’t mention, however, is that he met at least twice with Kulongoski’s chief of staff, Chip Terhune, to discuss his future job prospects.

Taylor said the phone call from the governor came before the first vote, when Galizio voted no, and had nothing to do with his getting a job. “There was no quid pro quo,” she said.

Odd, but OUS spokesperson’s Di Saunders’ PR blurb on this hiring – apparently done without any sort of search or effort to follow affirmative action principles – doesn’t get into the sordid politics. If, as Esteve says, Kulongoski is using University jobs as political payoffs, a move towards more independence would seem like a really good idea, and a really unlikely outcome.

Teach Naked

The Teach Naked movement is about not using powerpoint for lecturing – or at least not relying on it as a crutch. The Chronicle has an article on it here. Last year I started posting powerpoint slides online, but lecturing just using the blackboard. Way more fun and interactive. The students seem happy knowing that there are slides they can look at later – though I’m not sure they ever do. Margaret Soltan quotes one comment to a BBC story on this:

The worst Powerpoint presentation I ever sat through was in my second year at University. It was about the theory of Fascism and lasted two hours without a break. Plus, it had over 70 slides. Each slide was packed with information and it was impossible to keep up. I have never been so bored or learnt less.

You kids. I remember sitting through the same lecture way before powerpoint – trust me, it wasn’t any better. Plus we didn’t have any way to text friends or play video games. Now that was fascism!

Bloated administration

8/18/2009: The North Carolina News and Observer has a story about administrative bloat in the NC college system.

This decade has been good for associate vice chancellors at UNC-Chapel Hill. Their numbers have nearly doubled, from 10 to 19, and the money paid to them has more than tripled, to a total of nearly $4 million a year.

The university now admits that some of these people were in jobs that were not vital. They represent the rapid management growth in the 16-campus UNC system that has added tens of millions of dollars to annual payrolls.

Now, with a tough economy and sinking tax revenues, UNC officials and state lawmakers say these jobs need cutting first.

Oregon needs similar reporting on OUS – as it is, our Provost is still claiming UO’s administrative expenses are 38% of our peers – something he knows is completely false.

How rare is Frohnmayer’s sweet retirement deal?

8/14/2009: We’ve reported before on Frohnmayer’s amazing retirement contract. The OUS board created a new position for him, called “President Emeritus”. He keeps his $245,000 base salary plus whatever the Foundation gives him to top it off, (currently $50K as Knight chair) plus a secretary and a GTF, plus a full salary 1/2 year sabbatical, plus a 90% salary 2 month “study leave”, plus offices in the HC and the law school, plus expenses including travel. In return he agrees to teach one 20 person class per year. Furthermore, when he decides to really retire, UO still won’t be done shelling out the bucks – he will be eligible for the same golden parachute contract that he gave to his former Provost, John Moseley.

Frohnmayer’s retirement package is unusually generous even in the sycophantic world of university boards and administrators. For example, Insidehighered.com has a story on a renegotiation of the retirement contract for retired NC State Chancellor (President) James Oblinger. He was originally allowed to keep his Chancellor’s salary for 6 months, before going back to a regular faculty member’s pay (and duties!). If we read Dave’s contract correctly, his deal is good for as long as he wants it. I’m guessing that will be a really, really long time. Page one says “Further, at all times, Frohnmayer shall enjoy the privileges associated with serving as a tenured professor at the University of Oregon School of Law.” But the contract says absolutely nothing about any of the responsibilities. He can teach a class in the law school someday – if he chooses to do so.

Board Cuts Pay of Ex-Chancellor of N.C. State:

The board of the University of North Carolina System voted on Friday to immediately cut the pay of James Oblinger, the former chancellor of North Carolina State University, The Raleigh News & Observer reported. Oblinger resigned in June under an agreement in which he was promised to be paid his chancellor’s salary ($420,000) for six months, before returning to the faculty, where he would be paid as a professor. The board, amid some disagreement but facing statewide criticism over the exit packages given to administrators, voted to cut Oblinger immediately to $173,000, which is what he will earn as a professor of food science. Oblinger quit amid an escalating public debate over his university hiring the wife of the then-governor. As he quit, Oblinger stated that he did not believe he had done anything improper, but wanted the university to focus on other issues.

Oh yeah – who was NC State’s Dean when they hired the then-governor’s wife for $170,000? Linda Brady, who then left to become UO Provost.

Moseley gets audited

8/14/2009: The Oregonian has a story today about former Provost Moseley’s expense account abuse. The OUS audit report mentioned in the story is available here. In that audit report UO President Lariviere agrees to stop allowing Moseley to claim any more expenses – between Eugene and his vacation home in Bend or apparently anywhere at all – and to update Moseley’s original employment contract to reflect the fact that Moseley is now only fulfilling 1 of his 4 job responsibilities. The contract will be revised by Monday. Still unclear as to whether or not Moseley will be allowed to keep all of $124,000 0.5 FTE, and if so why in the hell he should. Either way, it looks likely that he will have to repay $9,000 or so in expenses to UO for last year, and given that there are 2 more years left on his contract, this should save UO about $27,000 total.

Our favorite part of the story:

Jim Bean, UO’s senior vice president and provost, said the audit identified a minor (sic) financial issue caused by a recent change in Moseley’s duties, which moved his main work location to Bend. “I’m glad someone pointed it out, and I’m glad we got it fixed,” Bean said.

No problem Jim, we at UO Matters are happy to help. Does this mean you are going to finally share the budget info for UO-Bend with your faculty?

The Oregonian has another, very pointed story about the OUS appointing State Rep. Larry Galizio as “Director of Strategery and Planning”. The story suggests this is a payoff for his vote in support of a pet Kulongoski bill.

Access to Education

8/10/2009: InsideHigherEd.com has several interesting articles today, including this on perceptions about access to financial aid for college, by Deborah M. Warnock at UW. From their summary of her paper:

  • Hispanic and Asian parents of eighth graders are less likely than white parents to think about how to finance a higher education, and black parents are more likely than white parents to think about paying for college.
  • Parents with low incomes and less education are less likely than others to have thought about how to pay for college.
  • While a majority of parents of all demographic groups who are below poverty level report that they believe they have “no way” of getting funds for college for their children, white parents in poverty are more likely to have this feeling than are minority parents.
  • Among middle and upper income families, across the board, only a minority feel there is “no way” to pay for colleges. In this economic group, whites are less likely than minority parents to feel that way.

The findings about low-income parents believing that they can’t imagine finding funds for college anywhere are “especially troubling,” Warnock writes, because “all of these families would likely be eligible for Pell Grants,” which could cover considerable shares of expenses at many institutions. So these families do in fact have resources, but don’t realize it. While studies in the 1990s found that many high schoolers and their parents were unaware of the availability of aid, the Warnock paper suggests that public information campaigns that have taken place since haven’t changed the situation and may be needed earlier.

Gov vetos cuts

8/6/2009: From the Oregonian. Combined with the tuition increases and with likely enrollment increases, UO is apparently in very, very good financial shape. It will be interesting to see how Lariviere spends the money.

Governor Ted Kulongoski today followed through on his plans to veto a last-minute budget cut to the state’s public universities.

The restoration of $13.4 million in general funds that Legislators cut in the final hours of this year’s session helped most universities keep tuition hikes to under 10 percent.

Tuition hikes for full-time undergraduates from Oregon will range from 3.5 percent at Eastern Oregon University to 15.4 percent at the University of Oregon, this fall over last fall. UO’s annual tuition and fees will be $7,428, the highest in the system.

Bill O’Reilly does UO

8/4/2009: Fox news has a segment on the lack of political diversity among the faculty at UO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3L8TEiQQ1dY It’s apparently based on journalism student Dan Lawton‘s piece in the Christian Science Monitor. Dan reports that only a handful of UO faculty are registered Republicans, and argues the University should work to hire professors with more diverse political views. Be sure and check out Provost Bean’s spirited defense of UO’s intellectual diversity, 30 seconds in.

As always, Bill O’Reilly’s reporting is based on a careful analysis of the empirical data coupled with a thoughtful discussion of the larger issues and their implications for the survival of western civilization. Except the part where he describes being a professor at UO as a “plush job”. Actually, UO faculty salaries are the lowest in the AAU. It’s the UO administrators that drive the beemers. Thanks to a reader for the link.

$1 million "Embarassment"

7/30/2009: The RG has an editorial about the Portland sign, mentioning the cost (over $1 million for the sign itself) and arguing that UO administrators should have better things to do with their time.

“The sign project is an eyebrow-raising expenditure in light of the state’s budget woes, which will mean significant tuition increases for universities across the state. And it does little to dispel criticism that the UO spends irresponsible sums on marketing and branding.”

It seems like it would be easy enough to pull the plug on this – why hasn’t President Larviviere spoken out on it?

Higher Education Productivity

Here‘s a new paper on higher education productivity. I’m no economist, but it seems to have a wealth of interesting data, broken out by state. Oregon’s cost per degree is the 3rd lowest in the country. Oregon is 9th in terms of net in-migration of people with 4 year degrees (relative to the base of people with 4 year degrees.) This would suggest that if Oregon increases college enrollment graduates will not need to leave the state.

In Oregon a student with a two year STEM degree (Science, Technology, Medicine) earns $50,784, versus $38,596 for a 4 year non-STEM degree. So when we talk about the economic benefits of higher ed we need to be explicit about what sorts of degrees we mean!

We’re enabling comments for this post, as an experiment.