OSU loses a president, gains an economics professor

Members of the Oregon State University community,

I am writing to let you know that it is my intention to step down as president of Oregon State University on June 30, 2020, when my current five-year contract will be completed, and after almost 17 years since I had the great honor and joy to assume the presidency on July 31, 2003. I will continue to serve as president of Oregon State University until the new president assumes office.

The timing for this transition is excellent. We have just adopted a new chapter in our strategic plan, SP4.0, and we are guided by our common statement of aspirations: Vision 2030. Furthermore, we have recently completed a comprehensive self-study as part of a seven-year accreditation process and we will welcome an external accreditation review team to OSU in the next few weeks. We also developed a 10-year business forecast and a 10-year capital planning model to help guide university fiscal decisions. Perhaps most importantly, I have never worked with a stronger leadership team in my 16 years of service as your president, including an excellent university board of trustees.

Personally, my health is very good. Yet, I will be almost 76 years old when I step down as president, and I view my job as including my best effort to assist this wonderful university in transitioning to new leadership. Effective July 1, 2020, I will begin a sabbatical and transition to the College of Liberal Arts as a professor of economics.

Please know that my affection for each of you, my passion and commitment to the mission, vision and values of this university have never been stronger. And, I remain certain that the best is yet to come for Oregon State University and those we serve. Our graduates are our greatest contribution to the future, and my colleagues will help all of us provide for a more inclusive future to meet the educational, economic and social needs and aspirations of all Oregonians and those beyond our state, through our teaching, research, creative work and service.

Within the next few weeks, Rani Borkar, chair of OSU’s Board of Trustees, will provide further details regarding the process and timeline for bringing the 15th president to this wonderful university, including the role that each of you can play in contributing to a successful search for OSU’s next president.


Edward J. Ray, President

GTFF bargaining sleepy blog

The Twitter has a hashtag for this that’s pretty woke: https://twitter.com/hashtag/GTFF3544?src=hash

In the EMU Crater Lake room 12-? today. About 75 GE’s and the 7 member administrative bargaining team. The wifi is slow, and glancing around at the GE’s screens it’s easy to see why – they’re checking email, writing, and analyzing data. At least one dude is working with R on some interesting looking data. Maybe I can get a few pointers from him during the break.

In contrast to the wonderfully shambolic and spiteful arguments that the UAUO used to get from Sharon Rudnick and Tim Gleason, watching the calm and knowledgeable Peter Fehrs, Missy Matella, Mike Mcghee and Michael Marchman negotiate is like watching water-based paint dry on a humid day.

“I think that makes sense”

“We’ll take a look, but don’t see any problems”

“Great, let’s TA this now.” “OK.”

Constructive and polite on both sides, and the audience is getting a lot of work done too. I assume things will get a bit more exciting when they start talking money, presumably later today.

And, on cue, the subject of parental leave comes up. Admins say it’s too expensive. GE’s say it’s an important recruiting tool. GE’s asks what it would cost. Admins say they costed it out but forget what the number was.

I missed a bit, apparently the admins did not bring an economic proposal. Bummer. Apparently then someone at the table got a little mad about something. Sorry, I was grading and missed it.

About 100 GEs here now, many sitting on the floor.

Caucus break.

3:56: The bargainers return, agree to TA the infamous article 4. Applause.

Admins agree to come back week one (I think April 5) with economics. See you then.

Pac-12 Seeking $750M Investment For Schools, TV Networks

In Sports Business Daily, here:

The Pac-12 is seeking $750M from investors, considerably more than the $500M it originally discussed four months ago, according to multiple sources. The conference will distribute $700M of that investment to its 12 schools. The other $50M will go into a new entity to manage the conference’s media rights and networks. The breakdown is detailed in official bid books that the conference sent to potential investors in recent days. The bid book, which is more than 70 pages, identifies the Pac-12 media holding company as NewCo, which includes all the conference’s media rights and the Pac-12 Networks. NewCo reported an EBITDA of $286M last year, according to the bid book. The book does not outline a timetable to complete a deal, but sources indicated the process will unfold over the coming weeks. The Pac-12 did not comment. …

It sounds like UO’s share would be about $50M one time – plenty to plug the $11M current deficit and repay the ~$40M in subsidies the Ducks have taken from the academic side in the years of Pat Kilkenny and Rob Mullens’s continued plundering. Sorry, not enough left over to save baseball.

Board of Trustees holds emergency meeting to discuss budget crisis

Just kidding, of course they won’t meet about that. This is about our greedy basketball coaches.

Two days after President Schill announced that UO is facing an $11M budget crisis which will likely lead to layoffs for instructors and OAs, our Board’s executive committee will be phoning it in on Thursday at 1PM, to give fat raises to Dana Altman and Kelly Graves. Full packet with contracts here.

¿CAS? task force meeting today 1PM-3PM in the Miller Room, EMU


Maybe 1/2 the task force shows up. Elliot Berkman (Psychology) delivers the Research Subcommittee report. They are skeptical about the possibility that devolution would improve research activities, and see many possibly negatives. Kudos to Elliot for slipping “orthogonal” into an official report:

“Most research activities are orthogonal to the organization of CAS.”

He goes on to demonstrate that his committee has learned many things about problems with the organization and administration of research support at UO that can potentially be improved. None of these seem to require CAS reorganization. Here’s hoping JH will ask this subcommittee to refocus its energies from devolution to making positive recommendations focused on improving research administration and support at UO.

3/12/2019 update: Brad Shelton makes it through a ¿CAS? task force meeting

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President Schill outlines plans for $11M in budget cuts

Emailed to the campus today:

Dear colleagues,

On March 5, I wrote to let you know that the University of Oregon’s budget situation is becoming more challenging and it is imperative we move forward with efforts to reduce the UO’s annual operating costs. Since then, I have met with a variety of campus stakeholders to receive advice and guidance. Those meetings have been extremely useful in shaping our next steps, including helping identify priorities and principles to guide us. We all have a shared goal of ensuring the institution maintains a strong upward trajectory even as we grapple with state funding challenges and decreases in international enrollment.

Based on analysis by Vice President for Finance and Administration Jamie Moffitt and her team, we must reduce about $11 million in annual recurring expenditures from the education and general budget. I have provided the provost and vice presidents with cost-reduction goals for their units and asked them to develop plans for achieving those savings. We will prioritize our core academic and research activities; therefore, I have set higher savings targets for administrative units than I have for schools and colleges. Administrative functions will be subject to a 3 percent budget reduction, and decreases for schools and colleges will be in aggregate no more than 2.5 percent.  The provost’s office will do everything possible to ensure that the changes in our schools and colleges have as little negative impact as possible on academic activities and programs, including career faculty and staff.

Each vice president will have discretion for how best to deliver savings within their units, but I have asked them to consider some guiding principles and priorities, including:

  • AFFORDABILITY – We must not step back from our commitment to making the UO accessible to first generation, underrepresented and lower-income students. We will shield PathwayOregon and Diversity Excellence Scholarships from cuts.
  • STUDENT SUCCESS – To the fullest extent possible, units across campus should prioritize funding for efforts that support student success programs. Ensuring that we provide students with tutoring, mentoring, and advising are at the core of a great educational institution. Ultimately, this will help us to maintain affordability by enabling students to persist and graduate on time. We will also protect our student success investments in Tykeson Hall and the new advisors that are being hired to bring our student-to-advisor ratio to the national average
  • CAMPUS SAFETY – We will protect our law enforcement and Title IX (prevention and enforcement) initiatives from budget cuts, because we must provide a safe campus environment for students, faculty, staff and the broader community. Related programs and positions should be prioritized by individual units as they contemplate budget-reduction plans.
  • REVENUE GENERATION – Initiatives and programs that generate revenue should be priorities that vice presidents weigh in their budget-reduction considerations. For this reason, front-line fundraisers and student recruiters will be protected.  In addition, programs and efforts that support enrollment growth goals should be similarly prioritized.

Given that nearly 80 percent of our education and general fund budget pays salaries, it is impossible to achieve budget savings without impacting jobs. The UO already runs a very lean operation after decades of state disinvestment, and our staffing levels are below most of our peer institutions nationally. That means that many of our units will have to consider difficult decisions that may impact the level of service provided to the campus community. In some cases, we may need to stop doing things that are not aligned with the priorities I have identified or the UO’s teaching, research and service mission.

I will meet with and review the provost and vice presidents’ planned budget reductions. While I am not going to mandate a hiring freeze, to the extent reasonable, I have asked vice presidents to consider whether savings can be achieved by leaving open positions vacant or through attrition. In cases where it is necessary to move forward with workforce reductions, plans must be reviewed and approved by human resources and the general counsel. In close coordination with human resources professionals across campus, we will diligently work to ensure that colleagues who are impacted by budget reductions are offered a full range of support services and treated with the utmost dignity and respect.

We are entering a challenging period, but the hurdles we face are not insurmountable. We will continue to forcefully make the case in Salem that the state’s public higher education system needs a consistent and stable funding model that does not continually look to Oregon’s students and families to fill gaps in public support. The UO will continue to pursue a growth strategy that seeks to stabilize revenue swings by carefully and modestly increasing nonresident undergraduate enrollment over the next few years. And we will continue to leverage donor support to invest in academic initiatives – such as the Knight Campus, the Presidential Science Initiative and the humanities fellowship program – that expand and strengthen our world class academic and research programs. By working together, the UO can and will come out of these budget challenges stronger and with a clear focus on our very bright shared future.

I thank each and every one of you for all you do to make the University of Oregon a special place.

Sincerely, President Michael H. Schill, President and Professor of Law

Faculty tracking software vendor explains time-suck & “thought leadership programming” junket

3/18/2019 update:

So why isn’t the provost’s office being clear about what this will cost?

From the Digital Measures website here. On top of the ~$100K per year in fees, they suggest we hire or reallocate an Insight Administrator, a project manager, a technical representative, have a champion provost who “is committed to the success of the implementation and ensures the rest of the project has the time, resources and buy-in they need for the project to be successful”.

I’m hoping Provost Banavar has better uses for his time. But wait, there’s more!

Some PR flack time, a technical representative, a trainer, pilot groups, and unit representatives  who “coordinate and voices the needs of their individual units to the general project team and encourages the use of the system …”. This is starting to make Concur look user friendly:

And, if that’s not enough, their website includes this helpful template to use to convince your boss to send you to their annual conference in New Orleans, with a conference fee of just $825 & 189 per night! For “thought leadership programming”. Their words, not mine:

Need to justify your attendance?
Use our custom letter to help convince your boss, request funds for travel or just let everyone know the amazing benefits of attending Engage!

Why do we have unlimited money and time for this expensive online c.v. software, but not for raises for the GTFF or for hiring OA’s and staff?

2/11/2019: Admins to combine Faculty Tracking Software with metrics scheme

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New contract for Dana Altman will not play well in Salem budget talks

Talk about bad timing. UO’s lobbyists are at work in Salem, trying to get UO a bigger share of the state budget. If they fail, UO will have to cut staff, limit hiring, and/or raise in-state tuition.

The legislature is already asking why a university with such an expensive athletics program can’t pay the academic side’s costs without a bigger state subsidy or raising tuition. This news is not going to help:

The University of Oregon has agreed to terms with head coach Dana Altman on a contract extension, athletic director Rob Mullens announced on Thursday:

According to the school, Altman and Oregon are finalizing a deal that would run through the 2025-26 season.

“Dana and Reva Altman are an important part of our community, and we are thrilled at the opportunity to continue to build on the tremendous success we have had over Dana’s nine years as the head coach at Oregon,” Mullens said. “We are thankful for Dana’s commitment to the Ducks, and we look forward to the continued strong performance of our men’s basketball program as well as Dana assuming his rightful place in the Hall of Fame in the future.”

“Important part of our community?”

I assume Mullens means the community of greedy Duck coaches. Mullens, Cristobal, Altman and the other coaches, with a total payroll of ~$23M, gave a total of $50 to the Oregon Community Fund Drive last year:

CoD’s Christoph Lindner out, Banavar wants input on interim

It’s going to be a happy crowd down at the faculty club tonight. One faculty member noted “He made no visible relationships with anyone while he was here. It was obvious from the start he would not be here long.”

Whoever wrote the provost’s letter got unnecessarily gushy considering the damage Lindner managed to do, but it’s very encouraging to hear that Provost Banavar is reaching out to the college before making an interim appointment. Let the healing begin. Provost Banavar’s letter:

Dear Colleagues,

As you may have heard this morning, Christoph Lindner, dean of the College of Design, has accepted a position as dean of the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment at University College London. He will remain at the University of Oregon through August.

[UOM: at his $265K Dean’s salary, or his $162K faculty pay with a few classes to teach?]

While I am disappointed that the UO will lose Christoph’s leadership, vision, and passion, I hope you will join me in wishing him and his family all of the best with this next chapter. It is an extraordinary opportunity. University College London’s gain is certainly our loss.

I am grateful for all Christoph has done during his time as dean of the College of Design, including his leadership in transforming the School of Architecture and Allied Arts into the College of Design, which comprises the School of Architecture & Environment, the School of Art + Design, and the School of Planning, Public Policy and Management.

Christoph’s vision has helped enhance the prominence of all disciplines within the college. He has been a strong advocate for the enhancement of diversity in design, including the new Design for Spatial Justice initiative in the School of Architecture & Environment and the new Access and Equity research group in the School of Planning, Public Policy and Management.

I applaud the work that he and others have done to elevate the College of Design’s portfolio, creating new synergies among UO departments, working with partner institutions, and looking to 21st century opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students—all while maintaining a focus on the College of Design’s core and historical strengths.

I am grateful that Christoph will remain at the UO through August, which leaves ample time to prepare for a transition. An important next step for me as provost is to name an interim dean, and I intend to do so by the end of next week. First, though, I want to take the next several days to consult with department heads, school heads, and others in the college. If you have recommendations for the interim role, please email me at provost@uoregon.edu. I will take all of the feedback and information I receive into account, but I must receive it by no later than noon Monday, March 18.

There will no doubt be questions about the process for filling the permanent dean position. My office will coordinate this effort and I will provide more information soon. Please rest assured knowing that the search will follow standard practices, including a review of the position profile, putting together a diverse hiring committee, and hosting public presentations and interview opportunities for finalists.

For the next several weeks, our focus will be on the institutional efforts to balance our budget and identify expenditure reductions. While Christoph’s departure leaves a hole to fill, we will not have any announcements on the search in the next few weeks.

Again, let me reiterate my best wishes to Christoph, his wife, Rebecca, who is associate dean for undergraduate studies in the Clark Honors College, and their two children. It has been a pleasure having them as part of the UO community and I am grateful for all they have both done.


Jayanth Banavar, Provost and Senior Vice President

Lindner’s email:

Dear College of Design Faculty and Staff:

I am writing to share with you that I have accepted the position of Dean of The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment at University College London beginning Fall 2019.

It has been an honor to serve as Dean of the College of Design for the past three years. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your work in making the college what it is today. I am especially grateful to our talented faculty and staff, who are a vital source of the college’s success. My thanks as well to our school heads, department heads, and associate deans for their dedication in leading the College of Design, as well as our Dean’s Advancement Council for their ever-present advocacy, advice, and enthusiasm.

I look forward to finishing the academic year with you, and continuing to work with everyone to advance our academic priorities. During the coming months, I will also be working closely with the Office of the Provost to ensure that the many important programmatic and hiring initiatives in the School of Architecture & Environment, School of Art + Design, School of Planning, Public Policy and Management, and the Department of the History of Art and Architecture continue to move forward smoothly during the leadership transition. The provost will be sharing more about that transition plan shortly.


Christoph Lindner
Dean and Professor

FBI investigation shows college admissions & athletics officials taking bribes from parents & not giving faculty their cut

This is yet another outrageous example of administrators not understanding the “shared” part of shared governance, the bedrock principle behind the success of american higher education. In the NYT here:

… Authorities said the crimes date back to 2011, and the defendants used “bribery and other forms of fraud to facilitate their children’s admission” to numerous college and universities,” including Georgetown, Yale University, Stanford University, the University of Texas, the University of Southern California and UCLA, among others. One of the cooperating witnesses, according to the court documents, is a former head coach of Yale’s women’s soccer team, who pleaded guilty in the case nearly a year ago and has since been helping FBI agents gather evidence.

Some of the 32 defendants are accused of bribing college entrance exam administrators to facilitate cheating on tests — by having a smarter student take the test, providing students with answers to exams or correcting their answers after they had completed the exams, according to the criminal complaint filed in federal court.

Others allegedly bribed university athletic coaches and administrators to designate applicants as “purported athletic recruits — regardless of their athletic abilities, and in some cases, even though they did not play the sport they were purportedly recruited to play — thereby facilitating their admission to universities in place of more qualified applicants,” the complaint charges. …

Think Professors Are Liberal? Try Administrators

An NYT Op-Ed from 2016 by political scientist Samuel Abrams which just popped up in my twitter feed, because some Sarah Lawrence students are trying to get him fired for writing it:

Think Professors Are Liberal? Try School Administrators

The ideological bent of those overseeing collegiate life is having the biggest impact on campus culture.

I received a disconcerting email this year from a senior staff member in the Office of Diversity and Campus Engagement at Sarah Lawrence College, where I teach. The email was soliciting ideas from the Sarah Lawrence community for a conference, open to all of us, titled “Our Liberation Summit.” The conference would touch on such progressive topics as liberation spaces on campus, Black Lives Matter and justice for women as well as for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual and allied people.

As a conservative-leaning professor who has long promoted a diversity of viewpoints among my (very liberal) faculty colleagues and in my classes, I was taken aback by the college’s sponsorship of such a politically lopsided event. The email also piqued my interest in what sorts of other nonacademic events were being organized by the school’s administrative staff members.

I soon learned that the Office of Student Affairs, which oversees a wide array of issues including student diversity and residence life, was organizing many overtly progressive events — programs with names like “Stay Healthy, Stay Woke,” “Microaggressions” and “Understanding White Privilege” — without offering any programming that offered a meaningful ideological alternative. These events were conducted outside the classroom, in the students’ social and recreational spaces.

The problem is not limited to my college. While considerable focus has been placed in recent decades on the impact of the ideological bent of college professors, when it comes to collegiate life — living in dorms, participating in extracurricular organizations — the ever growing ranks of administrators have the biggest influence on students and campus life across the country.

… Intrigued by this phenomenon, I recently surveyed a nationally representative sample of roughly 900 “student-facing” administrators — those whose work concerns the quality and character of a student’s experience on campus. I found that liberal staff members outnumber their conservative counterparts by the astonishing ratio of 12-to-one. Only 6 percent of campus administrators identified as conservative to some degree, while 71 percent classified themselves as liberal or very liberal. It’s no wonder so much of the nonacademic programming on college campuses is politically one-sided.

The 12-to-one ratio of liberal to conservative college administrators makes them the most left-leaning group on campus. In previous research, I found that academic faculty report a six-to-one ratio of liberal to conservative professors. Incoming first-year students, by contrast, reported less than a two-to-one ratio of liberals to conservatives, according to a 2016 finding by the Higher Education Research Institute. It appears that a fairly liberal student body is being taught by a very liberal professoriate — and socialized by an incredibly liberal group of administrators.

… This warped ideological distribution among college administrators should give our students and their families pause. To students who are in their first semester at school, I urge you not to accept unthinkingly what your campus administrators are telling you. Their ideological imbalance, coupled with their agenda-setting power, threatens the free and open exchange of ideas, which is precisely what we need to protect in higher education in these politically polarized times.

They’d have to serve fentanyl before I’d watch Dana Altman coach a game

With basketball and event revenue running less than a third of Pat Kilkenny’s liars budget, the Ducks now want a liquor license for Knight Arena, because drunk football fans are just not enough:

But hey, maybe the OLCC will do a better job protecting free speech than UO’s General Counsel Kevin Reed.

Thanks to an anonymous reader for the tip.

Unions increase wages for non-unionized workers

and the decline in unionization rates is responsible for twice as much of the increase in inequality as previously believed. Declining real minimum wages also have had a larger effect on increased inequality than found in previous studies with older data.

That’s the takeaway from the first 30 minutes of today’s UO Economics seminar by Thomas Lemieux, 3:30-5:00 in 111 Lillis. This is the way Econ talks work – first they tell you the results, then they spend the rest of their 90 minutes explaining and defending the data and the empirical model they used to estimate them.

Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages: The Role of Spillover Effects

Nicole M. Fortin, Thomas Lemieux, and Neil Lloyd Vancouver School of Economics, University of British Columbia February 17, 2019

ABSTRACT: This paper extends the DiNardo, Fortin, and Lemieux (1996) study of the links between labor market institutions and wage inequality in the United States and updates the analysis to the 1979 to 2017 period. A notable extension quantifies the magnitude and shape of spillover effects from minimum wages and unions, providing multiple sources of evidence for the latter. A distribution regression framework is used to estimate both types of spillover effects separately and jointly.

Accounting for spillover effects doubles the contribution of de-unionization to the increase in male wage inequality, and raises the explanatory power of declining minimum wages to two thirds of the increase in inequality at the bottom end of the female wage distribution.


Sci-Hub links for free access to research papers

If you’re not familiar with Sci-Hub, here’s an NYT op-ed, and here are the current links for access: