Trustees get Neurons to Minds talk at Day 2 of BOT meeting

FRIDAY: 8:30 am:

Liveblog disclaimer: I’m no neuroscience professor.

2. Research Area in Focus ‐ Neuroscience: 


Chris Doe, Professor of Biology and Co‐Director of the  Institute  of  Neuroscience  (ION); 

Chris Doe starts off with a talk about how scientists can now grow self-organizing functional clusters of neurons from skin cells, and use these to study early brain-development and study drug effectiveness.

David McCormick, Dorys McConnell Duberg Professor of Neuroscience and Professor of Psychology, Yale University

McCormick takes on the middle range – going from neural activity to simple behaviors. New imaging methods let us see activation in individual neurons using the newly developed mesoscope and neurons with fluorescent.

Ulrich  Mayr,  Department  Head  and  Lewis  Professor  of Psychology;

Mayr deals with human behavior. Always looking for a new source of cheap data, Mayr has the trustees perform a simple task-switching exercise – then shows them how performance on this task is reduced, permanently, in athletes after concussions. Sneaky. Then he shows some of Mike Posner’s new work on how meditation can heal the damaged myelin.

McCormick wraps up by talking about the many potential applications of the work the Neurons to Minds research group. McCormick explains that he came to Oregon because of the opportunity to do mesoscale neuroscience, in collaboration with scientists studying the micro and human levels.

Trustees ask questions about how the university can help support this sort of research – need more data scientists? More funding?

Pres Schill says that the Knight Campus can help provide some of the needed resources but more philanthropy will be needed.

3. Tuition Structures –
UO History and Peer Practices: Brad Shelton, Senior Vice Provost for Budget  and Strategy;

Very little differential tuition at UO – really just at the HC, to cover higher costs of smaller classes.

UO takes 10% of all tuition and uses it for tuition remissions for selected students – about $32M. This is on top of endowed scholarships, which were about $7M last time I looked.

Roger Thompson, Vice President for Student Services and Enrollment Management;

Plateaus. Roger Thompson likes them – students take more courses, graduate sooner. Dean Nutter notes that it can encourage students to take too many courses, do badly.

Sarah Nutter, Dean of the Lundquist College of Business

Focuses on how to compete in the market for new students. Look at the schools we really compete with for students – that’s OSU, UA, etc. Not all AAU publics. Her LCB students told her they didn’t think a plateau was fair. Has started an experimental direct admit into the LCB for good students – this worked, increased number of new students.

4.Seconded Motions and Resolutions from Committee (pending June 1 committee action)

‐‐Seconded Motion from FFC: Unthank Hall

— Seconded Motion from FFC: FY18 Operating and Capital Expenditure Authorizations

5. Executive Session re Labor Negotiations (pursuant to ORS 192.660(2)(d))

Board of Trustees to meet Thursday, Friday

All sessions in the Ford Alumni Center Giustina Ballroom. The BOT’s hard to navigate website is here. Livecast here. Here’s what you need to know, with handy links. Live-blog if I have time.


8AM: Academic and Student Affairs Committee  Materials.

1.School and College Finances: Allocation Redesign, Provost Hiring Initiative, and Existing Gap Analyses:Scott Coltrane, Senior Vice President and Provost; Brad Shelton, Senior Vice Provost for Budget and Strategic Planning; Christoph Lindner, Dean, College of Design

2. Student Health Insurance – Model and Practices: Roger Thompson, Vice President for Student Services and Enrollment Management, and LeAnn Gutierrez, Executive Director of the University Health Center

10AM: Finance and Facilities Committee — June 1, 2017 Materials

1. Recommendation to Rename Cedar Hall as Unthank Hall (Action): Michael Schill, President

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

3. Budget Cuts and Cost Reduction Initiatives Update: Michael Schill, President; Jamie Moffitt, Vice  President for Finance and Administration

4.FY18 Budget Authorization (Action): Jamie Moffitt, Vice President for Finance and Administration

1:15 PM Executive and Audit Committee — June 1, 2017 Materials

1. Annual Audit and Risk Presentation; Adoption of FY18 Plans and Updated Audit Charter (Action):  Trisha Burnett, Chief Auditor, and Andre LeDuc, Chief Resilience Officer

2. Investment Principles (Action): Chair Lillis

3. Presidential Review – Process and Timeline Update: Vice Chair Ginevra Ralph

2:30PM Meeting of the Board — June 1-2, 2017 Materials

1. Reports

‐‐ ASUO Outgoing President Quinn Haaga and Incoming President Amy Schenk

‐‐University Senate Outgoing President Bill Harbaugh and Incoming President Chris Sinclair

‐‐Provost Scott Coltrane

‐‐President Michael Schill

Meeting Recessed


8:30 am   

2. Research Area in Focus ‐ Neuroscience: Chris Doe, Professor of Biology and Co‐Director of the  Institute  of  Neuroscience  (ION);  Ulrich  Mayr,  Department  Head  and  Lewis  Professor  of  Psychology; David McCormick, Dorys McConnell Duberg Professor of Neuroscience and Professor  of Psychology, Yale University

3. Tuition Structures – UO History and Peer Practices: Brad Shelton, Senior Vice Provost for Budget  and Strategy; Roger Thompson, Vice President for Student Services and Enrollment Management;  Sarah Nutter, Dean of the Lundquist College of Business

4. Seconded Motions and Resolutions from Committee (pending June 1 committee action)

‐‐Seconded Motion from FFC: Unthank Hall

— Seconded Motion from FFC: FY18 Operating and Capital Expenditure Authorizations

5. Executive Session re Labor Negotiations (pursuant to ORS 192.660(2)(d))

Universities see 15% increase in international student enrollment!

That would be in Australia, from the (London) Times.

For a cogent explanation of how higher education has been one of the U.S.’s most successful export industries – and I know how painful it must be for some of our Trustees to admit that professors have done better than timber and sneakers – see this Brookings report:

While the NYT has published a plausible scare piece on the effect of President Trump’s immigration policies on U.S. international student enrollment, and the rumors are that UO retention of international students is down, fact-based analyses won’t come out until fall. I’m guessing they’ll be grim.

USC Honors faculty residence hall adviser reveals all in shocking expose!

InsideHigherEd, here:

I moved into an apartment in a University of Southern California undergraduate residence hall as an assistant professor in the summer of 1989. …

Over the years, I’ve watched the USC student affairs function and staff professionalize, just as they have at most other institutions. Positions that were once filled by staff members from a variety of different disciplinary backgrounds are now held almost exclusively by school of education graduates from programs that focus on postsecondary education. One consequence of that shift has been a narrowing of perspectives and opinions within this group. The education profession includes a sharply defined emphasis on social justice, and most education graduate students complete courses that cover elements of John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice. Unfortunately, competing points of view such as Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State and Utopia usually do not make the reading list.

Taken to the extreme, such a homogenous background can lead to outcomes such as the University of Delaware’s controversial residence hall program, which originators saw as a treatment mechanism for incorrect student beliefs on social issues but critics like the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education have called “Orwellian.” Then there were the administrators on Yale University’s Intercultural Affairs Committee who felt compelled to offer students pre-emptive advice concerning the insensitivity of culturally appropriative Halloween costumes. USC has no staff members whose job descriptions include issuing unsolicited advice about Halloween costumes. Still, low-level tensions between the student affairs staff and me occasionally emerged over the respective roles of faculty and staff within our shared sphere and, I suspect, my libertarian views, which include a general disdain for identity politics.

My strategy for defusing conflicts with my staff colleagues was to emphasize our common ground however I could. I identified and focused on points of philosophical agreement between us, and deferred the implications of different opinions indefinitely. In general, that approach worked well. The staff could see what I was doing, and reciprocated.

My approach failed in a significant way only once. When student resident advisers were to be evaluated in part on the quality of the diversity programming they mounted, I required that any definition of “diversity” programming for and at the USC Honors House include diversity of ideas. The growing Rawls contingent on the staff was unenthused with my position, and in the end, the evaluation scheme being set up to track programming was shelved. …

UF Dean of Students fired for writing a positive letter of recommendation

It’s a common conundrum – how do you get rid of a bad administrator? Fire them, or help them move on to another university by writing a good letter? The UF Dean of Students took the later approach with her Title IX Coordinator – and it ended with both of them getting fired. Her recommendation?

“Fantastic. Incredibly knowledgeable. Amazing work ethic. Strategic. Great collaboration. My very highest endorsement!!!” Day Shaw wrote. “Hope you get him. He will be a tremendous help to you as you continue to create Florida Poly.”

The facts are in the Gainesville Sun, here. The Title IX name is familiar, he left UO’s Dean of Student’s office about 10 years ago. From InsideHigherEd here.


OSU’s State Affairs Director Jock Mills provides new legislative update

Jock has developed quite a following among those at UO who are interested in what’s happening in Salem, given that UO’s own State Affairs Office has a hard time rounding up 5 votes in the HECC. His latest:

From: “Mills, Jock” <>

Subject: [Government_Relations_Update] May Update: Revenue issues, upcoming deadlines, and more

Date: May 30, 2017 at 2:19:15 PM PDT

To: “‘‘” <>

This report provides a summary of recent actions and proposals on a wide range of issues, including a rundown of some key bills under consideration as the legislature gradually nears it July 10 deadline for adjournment. As the legislature nears adjournment, leaders are taking a number of steps to speed things up.  On Monday, Senate President Courtney announced that committees are now on “one-hour notice,” meaning that instead of waiting the normal 48 hours after posting an agenda, committees may now meet with an hour’s notice. This Friday, June 2 marks the last day committees in each chamber may approve bills from the other chamber. Following the committee deadline, policy committees may hold informational hearings, but their work in approving any further legislation is concluded. The only committees remaining in operation for the purpose of considering legislation will be the Joint Ways & Means Committee and the Revenue Committees and Rules Committees in the House and Senate.

Revenue Issues

The state’s most recent quarterly revenue forecast, issued on May 16, indicated that while still growing, Oregon’s economy is slowing down. The forecast for the 2015-17 biennium shows that revenues are expected to exceed the 2% “kicker” threshold by some $69 million, resulting in some $400 million in revenues received this biennium to be refunded to Oregon taxpayers.

Because higher income Oregonians pay more income taxes, the state’s kicker works in reverse–creating significant benefits for those with high incomes, while providing few benefits for those with low incomes. Kicker checks for 80% of Oregon taxpayers will fall below the average refund of $210. The top 20% of Oregonians will receive checks well over double the average check amount. The top 5% of income earners are projected to receive refunds well over five times the average check. Refunds for the top 1% of taxpayers will be over $4,000, while the bottom 20% of taxpayers will receive a $5 refund.

The May forecast is used to calibrate the state’s budget for the 2017-19 biennium. Given the forecast for the current biennium, legislators will need to set aside some $400 million for the kicker, while developing a state budget that still faces a $1.4 billion shortfall.

Legislators have fewer than seven weeks before the deadline to adjourn, which has resulted in both renewed calls for revenue reform and an increasing realization that there may not be time to strike a deal on a new tax structure. The debate over revenue reform is not only about whether it is needed but also about how broadly a new corporate gross receipts tax might affect business, how it might be designed to minimize the effect on businesses with narrow profit margins, how to adjust for possible imbalanced impacts on low-income Oregonians, and how to avoid “pyramiding” by which the same product is taxed multiple times.

It may not be possible for legislative leaders to garner the bi-partisan three-fifths majority need to approve a tax overhaul, causing a number of legislators to observe that a special legislative session may be needed. To avoid lengthy and disruptive deliberations, in the past, special sessions have relied on a significant amount of preparatory deal-making before legislators or the Governor calls them into session.

In view of the impending deadline for the 2017 session, last week the seven university presidents sent a letter urging the Governor and legislative leaders “to confront the painful and costly realities of inadequate revenue streams and debilitating cost drivers.”

We ask that you carefully consider and agree upon a path forward for the future, making the difficult, but necessary choices to raise revenue to invest in higher education while curbing unsustainable costs at the same time, and grow the economy. We need you to look for solutions that are politically viable and can withstand scrutiny from civic leaders, elected officials, courts, and voters. We will join you in supporting these actions.

The Oregonian editorialized that “the time has come” for a “less volatile revenue stream that can help pay down the massive unfunded pension liability created by years of bad legislative and administrative decisions.” The paper cited a proposal by Sen. Mark Hass (D-Beaverton) as “more fair and attainable than other proposals.”

Legislators appear to be making more progress in developing a health care provider tax and agreements over the taxes and fees needed to finance a statewide transportation package but it is not evident that any Republicans are ready to support a general revenue package, or what budget reductions or “cost containment” actions are needed to obtain Republican support for a tax increase.

In the meantime, the Joint Ways and Means Committee is starting to approve non-controversial state agency budgets, particularly for those agencies that rely on fees and other funds for a majority of their financing.

Higher Education Bills

Legislators are making progress on most higher education policy bills, while hitting snags on others.

Forest products harvest tax: The House Revenue Committee is expected to consider amendments toHB 2270, which renews the forest products harvest tax. The amendments would both eliminate provisions that require legislative approval to renew the tax each biennium and reduce funding for theOregon Forest Resources Institute in order to pay for firefighting costs.

Credit for Advanced Placement scores: This week, the House Higher Education Committee will consider amendments to SB 207, which, as passed by the Senate, would require universities to accept scores of 3 on advanced placement tests for college credit. Community colleges and universities are seeking provisions that ensure faculty retain control over the process by which credits for post-secondary education are considered and awarded.

Financial aid information: The House Higher Education Committee approved SB 253, which requires universities to provide information about debt burdens to students. Universities have sought clarifications in the bill that would enable institutions to provide a generic table of loan repayment information based on a model from Nebraska.

Faculty bargaining units: The Senate Education Committee is considering amendments to HB 3107,which would enable supervisors to participate in unions on university campuses. Clarifying amendments ensure that supervisors would be in separate bargaining units.

Information on high school graduates: The House did not concur with amendments to HB 2147,which would require post-secondary institutions to provide ODE and the HECC information on Oregon high school graduates. The House and Senate have appointed Conference Committee members to iron out their differences.

Cultural competency: The Senate Education Committee is slated to consider HB 2864, which establishes expectations for higher education institutions to develop and implement programs that seek to improve the cultural inclusion climate for students, faculty, staff and administration from diverse backgrounds.

Impact of legislative mandates: The Senate Education Committee will be considering HB 3288, which would require public universities to report on the impact of legislative mandates as well as causes for increased administrative positions. Universities are seeking amendments to revise the “whereas” clauses in the bill.

Funding for higher education programs serving veterans: Universities continue to work with bill sponsors and Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs on SB 143 to identify uses for funds approved under Ballot Measure 96. Amendments to the bill would enable one-time funds for universities and community colleges that have established veterans programs. Institutions have indicated ongoing funding is needed to provide consistent and meaningful support for veterans.

Oregon Talent Council: The Senate Education Committee has approved HB 3437, which would wind down the Oregon Talent Council and shift responsibilities for developing a talent plan to the renamed State Workforce and Talent Development Board. The Joint Ways & Means Committee will need to approve $1 million in funding for the grant program that was previously administered by the Talent Council.

Foster children in higher education: The House Higher Education Committee approved SB 395,which would require the HECC to work with DHS and public universities and community colleges to determine the number and graduation rates of former foster children.

A number of bills have been approved by relevant policy committees and are awaiting consideration in the Joint Ways & Means Committee because they involve funding issues. These include:

  • SB 201 Retroactive Fix for Out-of-State University Employees
  • SB 214 Establishes Alternative Retirement Plans for Postdoctoral Scholars
  • SB 805 Provides a $9.4 million increase for the OSU Statewide Public Service Programs – Extension, Agricultural Experiment Station, and Forest Research Laboratory – to meet their continuing service level.
  • SB 285 Provides $4.6 million as a state match for a USDOE wave energy grant awarded to OSU.
  • HB 2582 Establishes a University Research “Fighting Fund”
  • HB 2729A Textbook Affordability (Open Educational Resources)
  • HB 2782 Provides $69.5 million in capital funding for the expansion of the OSU-Cascades Campus.

Advocacy Efforts

OSU-Cascades: Last Wednesday, May 24, the Senate Committee on Business & Transportation heard from a contingency of economic development advocates from Central Oregon in support of the full expansion of the OSU-Cascades campus. To view the hearing, click here.

Beaver Caucus: On Tuesday, May 23, a team of volunteer advocates including students, a former state legislator, alumni, and industry representatives participated in lobbying meetings with legislators. They advocated for increased financial support for all seven public universities, expansion of the OSU-Cascades campus, and restoration of funding for the OSU Statewide Public Service Programs – the Extension Service, Agricultural Experiment Station, and Forest Research Laboratory. Find more information about the Beaver Caucus here.

If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Jock Mills
Director, Government Relations

Tuition increase backstory

Reporter Max Thornberry in the Emerald, here:

…Current ASUO leadership disagrees with its predecessors.

External Vice President Vickie Gimm told the Emerald that Haaga and Fisher did not represent her because they are graduating seniors who “should not be speaking on behalf of the students who will be affected by this decision.” She said the tuition increase affects low-income students of color at UO.

The HECC disagreed. Documents show it determined that UO met the criteria of determining “clear and significant evidence of how Oregonians who are underrepresented in higher education, including low-income students and students of color, would benefit more under the university’s proposal than one that stays within the 5 [percent] threshold.”

In its report, the HECC wrote that UO guaranteed that its Pathway Oregon program would continue. Qualifying students are considered “low-income students” as one requirement is to be Pell Grant eligible. HECC noted that 42 percent of Pell Grant eligible students at UO are students of color.

UO to pay Horton for 2 years, as he closes down Duck baseball program

5/292017:  Apparently the women’s softball team did not react positively to the idea of a merger. Austin Meek has more in the RG here.

5/23/2017: UO baseball loses games, money

Kenny Jacoby has a comprehensive report in the Emerald on the increasing baseball losses – $17M so far. Attendance is so bad that Rob Mullens is offering the *faculty* free tickets. Duck spokesperson Tobin Klinger:

UO spokesman Tobin Klinger said President Michael Schill is “working to determine the best approach forward,” but suggested it is unlikely he would take any away from athletics to mitigate cuts to academics. Schill did not respond to multiple email requests for comment.

“Should it come down to re-examining the budget, it would be safe to say that we will need to think as broadly as possible,” Klinger said in an email. “That said, athletics is a self-sustaining auxiliary unit… and this exercise is ultimately about right sizing our general fund budget.”

Story here – this just a snippet: