New CIO pauses IT reorg to collect data on current IT services

From the informative website:

A message from Jessie Minton, Vice Provost for Information Services and Chief Information Officer:

I am excited to announce an important change in the way the university will proceed with Transform IT. We will first inventory IT services offered across the university, and then we will restructure IT services one by one, guided in part by the recently completed IT Charter.

Previously, we had planned to focus on reworking employees’ reporting lines as a first step in implementation, but as the Blustain report notes, we have IT staff who fill many roles and run multiple services. After careful consideration of the options, I believe that by focusing first on cataloging and analyzing all IT services offered on campus, we can better manage service transitions and merge duplicative services where possible.

This change in approach comes after consulting with Dean of Libraries Adriene Lim, the Office of the Provost, and many of the university’s deans, vice provosts, and vice presidents.

To successfully achieve a service-focused restructuring, we will document and inventory all IT services on campus. Information Services will be the first unit, with UO Libraries next on the list. From there, we will progress through the university until we have surveyed all IT-related services and units. (We will publish a schedule once planning has reached that point.)

For example, the Charter outlines responsibilities for computer lab management, and the service-oriented approach to Transform IT will not modify the arrangement. At the same time, however, in this revised approach, we will consider how computer labs in schools and colleges can be supported and managed more efficiently before we make any significant changes.

The IT services you receive and the people that provide them will not change yet. IT staff should continue working as usual. Although the Charter does note several services that will change ownership, the university will not make such changes until the service inventory has been completed.

Transform IT Project Management Structure
Transform IT Project Management Structure

Guy Eckelberger and Gary Sullivan will continue to work on Transform IT. Prior to May 1st, they were both serving this project in a project management role. As this initiative shifts to focus on services, Guy and Gary will continue their work as co-program managers, providing high-level oversight for the series of projects that will be used to complete the service transitions. To effectively and efficiently gather and analyze information, and plan and execute Transform IT, I have also obtained temporary funding for two project managers and two business analysts. The business analysts will gather and analyze information on IT services and the project managers will plan for and guide us through service transitions.

The IT service research and analysis will begin as soon as at least one business analyst has been hired. I expect the service inventory and analysis work to take six to nine months.

We will post updates on this website every two weeks to keep campus informed about current Transform IT work tasks and the status of the Transform IT program.

I am both eager and excited to launch into the next phase of Transform IT. Please send your thoughts and questions to

Four Years a Student-Athlete

Patrick Hruby’s award winning long-form report has one hell of a lede:

While the NCAA’s rules governing college athletes are colorblind, the impact of amateurism is anything but—disproportionately costing black football and men’s basketball players and benefiting white stakeholders by as much as $2 billion a year. …

Today he follows up with more info on the NCAA cartel.

And here’s his earlier piece on the PAC that big-time college sports athletic directors have formed, to lobby for legislation that will protect their ability to extract money from their student-athletes, and make sure the universities don’t siphon off any football money to support academic causes:

Tom McMillen swears this is not what it looks like. Not yet, at least. A former basketball star and member of Congress, McMillen now heads LEAD1, a trade group for college athletic directors at the nation’s biggest sports schools.

Yes, McMillen acknowledges, his group recently announced the formation of a political action committee (PAC), the better to funnel money from its members to campaigns and candidates.

Yes, LEAD1 also will be holding a fall gala at the Trump Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C., where lawmakers will have a chance to mingle with campus power brokers, and the president-elect himself—a longtime acquaintance of McMillen’s—may appear.

Editors of Nature reject UO’s proposed budget metrics and merit pay plan

Nature is of course one of the most prestigious, highest impact science journals. Their editors think UO’s new plan has it backwards. Instead of making decisions about budget and pay based on what faculty have already published, they think we should give money to promising faculty, to do promising new research. Their editorial is not directly about UO’s “new new budget model” but it might as well be:

… The custom of rewarding researchers monetarily for single publications is deeply entrenched at Chinese scientific institutions. For many, it is an official policy, written in the bylaws. Zhejiang Agricultural and Forestry University in Lin’An, for example, pays a flat rate of 500,000 yuan for a paper published in CellScience or Nature. And it uses a table with equations to help calculate prizes for publications elsewhere. For any paper in a journal with an impact factor (IF) higher than 10, for example, the prize is IF × 1.5 × 10,000 yuan. According to a People’s Daily news story last year, some 90% of universities have policies of rewarding publications. And the practice is far from unique to China. Scientists in countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia can find themselves similarly rewarded.

That might be good for researchers, and it can be a way for universities to advertise their achievements. Whether it is good for research, in the long term, is a more difficult question. The answer is probably no.

For one thing, it creates a culture in which scientists look at their research as a means to make quick cash. Instead of considering the best way to pursue and expand on experiments, scientists focus on getting the results published.

The emphasis on impact factors, as has been discussed repeatedly in these pages, is greatly overblown. Such metrics already exert undue influence on the evaluation of grants, on hiring and on promotions. Monetary prizes only further inflate the importance of impact factors, at the expense of assessing the significance of what has actually been achieved.

Perhaps more importantly, handing out prizes so soon after publication rewards science that is not yet proven. There is no reason to think that the Sichuan scientists’ discovery — a gene that confers resistance to the fungal disease rice blast — won’t stand up to the scrutiny of post-publication peer review. But what if it doesn’t? Many papers are not necessarily wrong, but their significance might have been overestimated.

Last week’s announcement that this is more a grant than a prize makes an important distinction, but it might point to a more fundamental problem in China, as well as in other countries — a tendency to base grants on past achievement rather than future potential. The rice-blast gene has tremendous practical potential, and the Sichuan scientists might be the right group to exploit it. Or they might have found, based on their research protocol, a number of other avenues for investigation that are unrelated to this gene. Whatever the case, the best way to argue that the group deserves more grant money is through a grant proposal that lays out where the research is heading, and that is fairly evaluated against rival proposals.

Don Tykeson, UO alumnus and fierce supporter, dies at 90

The RG has his obit here. I only met him once, at the Lariviere firing meeting in Portland. He was furious at Pernsteiner, Kitzhaber, and the OUS board. Here’s his op-ed from the Oregonian, published just before that meeting:

On Monday, the State Board of Higher Education will meet to discuss the fate of University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere and, by extension, the future of higher education in Oregon. It is a defining moment for Oregon — a Rose Bowl of policy with far, far higher stakes. Nothing less than Oregon’s children, Oregon’s economy and Oregon’s destiny are on the line.

… Let’s face it: The old way isn’t working anymore. We need a new way. Lariviere proposed one, and for his effort, courage and leadership, he was sacked.

No doubt he ruffled some feathers along the way. That’s what change agents and visionaries do. Surely such extreme punishment exceeds whatever perceived crime he is charged with committing. And make no mistake — the victim here is not Lariviere. He’ll do just fine. The victims are those of us he would leave behind should the board’s decision stand — we who are trying to create jobs, educate our children, grow businesses, make new discoveries and give hope to future generations.

Never in my long life have I seen outrage erupt so swiftly and passionately all across the state. UO students and faculty, who have no representatives on the state board, are mobilizing at an astonishing rate, especially considering that the announcement was made just before the Thanksgiving holiday.

At best the board’s decision is exceedingly controversial. Worse, in my view, it is tragically misguided. It is still not too late to rescind this action and halt the backlash accruing on campus and across this state. Certainly cool minds can come up with a plan that all can embrace and permit us to move forward without such a drastic outcome.

I urge the board to use the skills its very institutions teach — open inquiry, challenging assumptions and creative thinking — to support UO’s quest to save itself and, in so doing, save higher education.

Don Tykeson lives in Eugene.

Sometimes discrimination is subtle, sometimes not

The RG reports on the legal settlement of a case of the latter kind:

… While working as a professor of exercise science, Richardson advised NCU officials in May 2015 that she was an expectant mother. In response, university administrators gave her a choice: If she wanted to keep her job, she needed to either break up with the unborn baby’s father, or get married immediately. After she refused, she was fired. …

OSU’s Jock Mills and Karli Olsen provide thorough legislative session wrap-up

Read it all – many twists and turns. Obviously this has an OSU focus, but particularly towards the end it is filled with info relevant to UO etc.

A Review of the 2017 Legislative Session

With the adjournment of the 2017 legislative session last Friday afternoon, this issue provides a summary of the session, including:

  • The big picture and a prognosis for the next year;
  • How OSU’s legislative priorities fared;
  • Other bills that captured our attention and time; and
  • Acknowledgements for all the help we received over the last seven months. 

The Big Picture

As described in previous updates, the legislature entered the session with a list of “mega issues” that demanded attention in order to balance the budget and address real problems facing Oregonians across the state. Over the course of the session the items on this list ebbed and flowed, but they generally included:

  • Revenue reform (tax increases);
  • Investments in transportation infrastructure;
  • Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) reform;
  • Health care reform, including a health provider tax and bolstering the state-financed health care system that was susceptible to changes at the federal level;
  • Housing affordability; and
  • Overall cost management/cost cutting for state agencies.

Continue reading

University Health Center employees protest discrimination, favoritism

Letter in the Emerald, here:

… In a recent anonymous survey of SEIU 503 members working at the UO Health Center (UHC) – including licensed and non-licensed staff – 83 percent of respondents reported having seen specific coworkers being targeted and held to a different standard than their colleagues. 70 percent have seen disciplinary actions disproportionately impacting isolated members of their department. The vast majority of respondents believe that favoritism runs rampant at UHC in everything from disciplinary action to hiring and retention practices.

“Out of the last five people hired as medical aides, all but one are personal friends of the supervisor,” said one respondent. In many instances, long-time UHC staff members are passed over or prevented outright from applying for management roles. Experienced classified staff members at UHC often feel as though their knowledge and expertise both in the field and at UO is being undermined and belittled. …

Public records office releases names of the entities bidding on discrimination study

7/12/2017 update: 

Dear Mr. Harbaugh:

Below please find the names of the vendors who responded to procurement number 900100-00012-RFP, responsive to your request made on 07/12/2017.

• Berkeley Research Group, LLC
• Gallagher Benefit Services Inc.
• Robert K. Toutkoushian, Ph.D.
• Sibson Consulting

The office considers this be fully responsive to your request, and will now close this matter. Thank you for contacting the office with your request.

Turns out there’s a public records exemption for the full bids, if the public agency is still negotiating. I’ll get them eventually:

(6)(a) Notwithstanding ORS 192.410 to 192.505, proposals may be opened in a manner to avoid disclosing contents to competing proposers during, when applicable, the process of negotiation, but the contracting agency shall record and make available the identity of all proposers as part of the contracting agency’s public records after the proposals are opened. Notwithstanding ORS 192.410 to 192.505, proposals are not required to be open for public inspection until after the notice of intent to award a contract is issued. The fact that proposals are opened at a meeting, as defined in ORS 192.610, does not make the contents of the proposals subject to disclosure, regardless of whether the public body opening the proposals fails to give notice of or provide for an executive session for the purpose of opening proposals.

7/10/2017: Public records office stalls release of public bids on faculty discrimination study

Back in May UO sent out a “Request for Proposals to Conduct Salary Equity Study for the University of Oregon Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty Ranks” as posted below. The bidding closed at 5PM on June 9th. After a decent and proper waiting period, on June 18th I made a public records request for the bids:

From: Bill Harbaugh <>
Subject: PR request Salary Equity proposals
Date: June 18, 2017 at 10:25:52 PM PDT
To: Lisa Thornton <>

Dear Ms Thornton –

This is a public records request for a copy of all bids submitted in response to:

RFP to Conduct Salary Equity Study for the University of Oregon Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty Ranks,
UO General / Budget Control – 900100
UO Central Budget – 950001
PCS Administration – 431150


I ask for a fee-waiver on the basis of public interest.


Bill Harbaugh

On July 6th I followed up, and today I received this response:

Documents responsive to your public records request made 6/18/2017 are currently exempt under ORS 192.502 (9). You are welcome to resubmit your request once the procurement has been awarded.

Our office considers this to be fully responsive to your request and will now close this matter. Thank you for contacting the office with this request.

Really? If that’s true, they could have told me three weeks ago. But is it true? That section of ORS 192 is all about attorney-client privilege – not about bids on public contracts. A quick google search of the handy online version of the DOJ’s PR and PM Manual at says that the bids are public, once bidding is closed:

Bids are confidential, but only prior to the close of the Invitation to Bid and the time set for bid opening. See ORS 279B.055(5)(a) and 279C.365(3)(c) and (4). Once bids have been opened, they are available for public inspection, except to the extent that the bidder has appropriately designated parts of the bid as trade secrets, which may then be exempt from disclosure under ORS 192.501(2), or as information submitted to a public body in confidence, which may be exempt under ORS 192.502(4). See ORS 279B.055(5)(c).

And bidding is unambiguously closed:

I’ve sent the PRO and GCO a request for clarification, on their exemption claim, and will post the response here.

5/16/2017: UO issues RFP for study of gender and racial discrimination

More on this later, this post is just a placeholder. The RFP is here. The main output looks like a simple regression, for which UO will provide the data. I’m no econometrician, but it’s about an hour’s work – maybe two if you look at time trends, instead of just the proposed 2017 snapshot. It will be interesting to see how much the consultants’ bids come in at:

Former OUS Chancellor George Pernsteiner leaves SHEEO for Bridgepoint Education Inc.

Bridgepoint’s stock is way up since the Trump election and his appointment of Betsy DeVos, who is busy gutting the Obama administration’s crackdown on exploitative for-profit universities. Bridgepoint owns Ashford University and the University of the Rockies.

And it looks like easy money:

Appointment of George Pernsteiner as Director

On July 10, 2017, the Board, upon the recommendation of the Nominating and Governance Committee of the Board, elected George Pernsteiner to the Board, effective as of August 1, 2017. Mr. Pernsteiner will serve as a Class I director, with a term expiring at the annual meeting of stockholders to be held in 2019. Mr. Pernsteiner will serve on the Compensation Committee of the Board. In addition, the Board determined that Mr. Pernsteiner qualifies as independent under the rules of the NYSE.

Mr. Pernsteiner, age 69, has over 28 years of experience serving in several leadership posts in the post-secondary education system. Mr. Pernsteiner has been the President of the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, which represents chancellors and commissioners of higher education from every state, from September 2013 until the present, and has announced his retirement as President effective as of August 1, 2017. Previously, Mr. Pernsteiner served as Chancellor of the Oregon University System from July 2004 through May 2013. Mr. Pernsteiner has a B.A. in Political Science from Seattle University and an MPA from the University of Washington in Public Administration.

In connection with his appointment to the Board and in accordance with the Company’s non-employee director compensation program, Mr. Pernsteiner will receive a base annual retainer of $45,000 for service on the Board. In addition, Mr. Pernsteiner is eligible to receive a stock option under the Company’s Amended and Restated 2009 Stock Incentive Plan, as amended, exercisable for a number of shares of Company common stock equal to the quotient of (a) $85,000, divided by (b) the Black-Scholes value of an option to purchase one share of Company common stock, with an exercise price equal to the closing price of Company common stock on the NYSE on the date of grant. Mr. Pernsteiner may be eligible for additional stock option and restricted stock unit awards that may be granted to the Company’s non-employee directors from time to time in the discretion of the Board and the Compensation Committee of the Board.

Pi Kappa Phi frat boy gets 16 months for sexual assault

In the RG here. He’s been accused before, but the first survivor didn’t want to take him to court. The second one?

“If I don’t hold you accountable for your actions, who will?” the woman wrote in the statement, in comments directed toward Wood.

He pled guilty to sexual assault after the DA agreed to drop the strangulation charge, and was sentenced to 16 months.

Faculty union, administration negotiating for 2% raises for 1, 2 years

The current contract expires next summer, so bargaining would normally start in December. Faculty will get 0.75% across the board (ATB) and 2.25% merit pool raises in January 2018. This proposal is for a contract extension and 2% raises in 2019 and again in 2020. These would be part COLA or ATB, and part equity – which is a tough word to define.

During the last bargaining session the administration flip-flopped between raises for internal equity, external equity, and gender/racial equity. At one point they refused to talk about external equity. Then they refused to talk about gender/racial equity. Then they agreed to a working group on gender/racial equity, but not external equity. They’re currently in the process of hiring a consulting firm to study that.

Speaking of which – where are the bids? Three weeks and no reply to this simple public records request?

From: Bill Harbaugh <>
Subject: PR request Salary Equity proposals
Date: June 18, 2017 at 10:25:52 PM PDT
To: Lisa Thornton <>

Dear Ms Thornton –

This is a public records request for a copy of all bids submitted in response to:

RFP to Conduct Salary Equity Study for the University of Oregon Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty Ranks,
UO General / Budget Control – 900100
UO Central Budget – 950001
PCS Administration – 431150


I ask for a fee-waiver on the basis of public interest.


Bill Harbaugh

Here’s today’s letter from UAUO Pres Michael Dreiling regarding the contract extension:

Possible Collective Bargaining Agreement Extension

As the Spring term was coming to a close, I had a conversation with President Schill about the possibility of extending our current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) by a year or two. The central idea was that we would come to an agreement about a new raise package for those years and leave the rest of the CBA in place until we could bargain a full Agreement.

I talked this idea over with our Executive Council and we all agreed it made sense to explore this idea with the UO administration. There were several factors that contributed to our thinking, but the main one concerned the unstable and uncertain budgeting future at the UO. We reasoned that locking in positive salary gains now, with no reductions to benefits, was something worth considering.

Dave Cecil and I have met with President Schill and VP Bill Brady twice now and we have the outlines of a proposal. Essentially, we’d be looking at a 2.0% raise in January 2019 and January 2020. In each year, the 2.0% would be divided between a COLA raise for all faculty and an equity raise for faculty who are entitled to one. We are still working out the details with the administration on how best to distribute equity money, but we are insisting on a mix of gender and diversity equity adjustments, adjustments based on our external comparators, and inversion/compression adjustments.

Agreeing to a two-year contract extension would delay bargaining for many needed non-salary improvements to the CBA. This concern weighs on our minds. The EC thought, however, that we will be in a better position to bargain with our new Provost after we have had a chance to build a relationship with him, and he has had a chance to acclimate himself to the university. We are confident that over the course of the next two years, he will learn that our concerns are shared by a great many people at UO, and he will want to work with us to solve them.

There is nothing final about any of our discussions, and I wanted to include you in the conversation as soon as was practicable. I welcome your feedback about this idea. Any agreement we reach with the UO will have to be ratified by the membership, so look for your opportunity to vote. We hope to have a proposal for you to vote on later in the summer.

In solidarity,
Michael Dreiling
UA President

Goats scab and take union jobs at U Mich

The highlight of the 2013 UAUO faculty union bargaining was when the administration made us a “take it or leave it” offer that included a one-time $350 lump-sum payment, which Sharon Rudnick and Tim Gleason thought would be irresistible to our underpaid adjuncts and split the union.

I checked craigslist and blogged that you could buy a goat for $350 (a nice one) and this became the running joke for bargaining – Rudnick had to threaten to close the sessions if a certain professor didn’t stop playing goat noises on his cell phone. You know who you are. Shameful.

David Cecil and Mike Mauer pretended they didn’t understand take it or leave it, and went on bargaining for another month, getting us another percent or so. Then they took the goat too. The union celebrated with a goat roast:

But it turns out not all university unions love their goats. Inside Higher Ed reports:

Goats. They’re cute, they’re used in yoga classes, they’re … taking union jobs?

That last charge is being leveled by a labor union against Western Michigan University. The institution recently brought in goats to clear overgrown brush and weeds from a wooded 16-acre lot, according to local media. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1668, however, says that the university’s use of goats violates the union’s labor agreement with Western Michigan.

The union has a contract to cut the grass at Western Michigan. While the goats aren’t being used to trim the grass, their use wasn’t discussed with the union ahead of time, and the union says they’re taking jobs that could have gone to Local’1668. …