Legislature to increase Hotel Tax to pay for Uncle Phil’s 2021 party?

Ken Goe in the Oregonian has the short version and links to additional stories:

A bill expected to provide enough state funding to honor Gov. Kate Brown’s pledge of $40 million for the 2021 World Outdoor Track & Field Championships squeaked through the Oregon House on Friday.

The bill passed by a vote of 37-18. It needed 36 votes to pass. It now heads to the Senate.

The measure would keep in place the state’s elevated lodging tax. The bill’s passage overcame vocal opposition from advocates for affordable housing and critics of the salaries of executives of Travel Oregon,. Revenue raised by the tax goes first to Travel Oregon, which is expected to pass it on to Oregon21, local organizing committee for the World Outdoor Championships.

The World Outdoor Championships are scheduled next year from Aug. 6-15 at the University of Oregon’s rebuilt Hayward Field in Eugene. More than 200 countries are expected to participate.

This will be the first time the World Outdoor Championships have taken place in the U.S.

Here is The O’s story on the bill’s passage and issues raised in debate.

And here is the R-G story: Bill for state funding of the World Outdoor Championships passes the Oregon House.

Trustees to roll dice with guaranteed tuition plan

From President Schill:

University of Oregon community members,

I have received recommendations from the students, faculty, and staff who comprise the Tuition and Fee Advisory Board (TFAB) and am now ready to receive campus input on an innovative guaranteed tuition model for undergraduates that deserves serious consideration. This tuition plan is a change from past practices, and I encourage the campus community to look closely at the new tuition model proposed by TFAB. I am strongly inclined to support the guaranteed tuition concept because it addresses a persistent challenge within higher education and provides real benefits to both current and future University of Oregon students.

I am asking the campus to offer feedback on the details of this plan so that I can make an informed and thoughtful recommendation to the UO Board of Trustees, which will set tuition rates at its regular meeting on March 17. I will be hosting a student forum on the plan this Monday, February 24, at 6:00 p.m. in the EMU Ballroom. Pizza, salad, and refreshments will be provided. If you cannot make the forum, please take time to leave electronic feedback on this form by 5:00 p.m., Friday, February 28.

A tremendous amount of uncertainty is built into our current tuition-setting model and this new approach is about eliminating that uncertainty for students and families so that they can more easily navigate planning and paying for college. It is a noteworthy departure from the traditional system that has been around for decades. Every year at the UO we go through the same process—we analyze how much university operating expenses will increase, determine how much will be covered by state appropriations, and come up with a tuition rate that will generate enough revenue to cover all or most of the difference. Annual tuition jumps have ranged from nearly 20 percent in conjunction with state budget cuts during the height of the recession to under 3 percent in years when state funding has been more abundant. The one constant has been that tuition always goes up—an average of 5.4 percent annually for residents over the last decade, 4.4 percent for nonresidents during that same period. We have an opportunity now to end that cycle of tuition uncertainty for students who enroll at the UO.

The guaranteed tuition model recommended by TFAB locks in a tuition rate for incoming students that they can count on for five years. No increases. No surprises. Students will know the cost of their education at the UO—one guaranteed price for tuition and all administratively controlled fees that does not change from the time a student enrolls to the time they walk across the stage at commencement (assuming they graduate in five years or fewer). Higher education is one of the most important investments many people make in their lifetime, and this eliminates the guesswork of predicting how much tuition will cost. It is a model used at peer institutions such as the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Arizona. In fact, the ten-campus University of California System is also considering a similar proposal.

Here’s how it would work at the UO under this proposal. For the first year of the new program, TFAB is recommending a tuition increase of 10.75 percent for new resident undergraduate students and 7.5 percent increase for new nonresident students. After the rate is set for that cohort of students, tuition would not go up for five years—the per-credit-hour rate would be locked, frozen for half a decade. We would also lock all fees for the EMU, recreation center, health services, buildings, technology support, and international student fees (if applicable), as well as differential tuition for the Clark Honors College and Lundquist College of Business. The only fee not included in the model would be the incidental fee set by the student government. If this model is approved by our Board of Trustees, we would set a tuition rate for the incoming class each year and make the same five-year guaranteed tuition promise to every cohort of new students that enters the UO. We expect the increase for future cohorts to be similar to past annual increases, under 5 percent.

Transfer students would also benefit from the program, paying the same tuition rate as the freshman cohort in the year they enroll and that rate would be locked for the same five-year period. What about students who take longer to graduate than five years? In the sixth year, those students would pay the tuition rate of the class immediately behind them. If they were to take seven years, the rate would bump up to the class immediately behind that, and so on if it were to take longer. Students who are called away from school to serve active duty in the military would receive an exemption on their five-year guarantee window, meaning that they could return to the UO under the guaranteed tuition program the year after they end their military service.

Additionally, this would have no impact on the PathwayOregon scholarship program, which pays 100 percent of tuition and fees for qualifying Federal Pell Grant-eligible Oregonians. For students who receive other scholarships and grants, the guaranteed tuition plan would benefit them because the real value of their financial aid packages would stay consistent during their enrollment instead of diminishing every year in the face of tuition increases.

What about current students? TFAB has recommended that we provide a higher level of assurance and confidence around tuition rates for our continuing classes. For current students, both resident and nonresident undergraduates, the advisory board has recommended that we lock tuition increases at 3 percent per year for the next four years. I am comfortable with this proposal given that such increases are much lower annually than what students at the UO have seen on average over the last decade.

I want to be clear that this program is not without risk. The difference is that, in the past, students and families bore the brunt of that risk, particularly as it related to the strong correlation between state funding and in-state tuition. Under this new plan, the risk would shift to the institution, which must manage financial resources to account for year-over-year fluctuations in state support, potentially dramatic swings if, for instance, the state or nation were to experience a recession. For that reason, we are building a reserve of $20 million, mostly funded through philanthropy, which will be dedicated to hedging against potential state budget fluctuations and ensuring that we can continue the guaranteed tuition program for generations of future students.

I want to thank the entire TFAB for its hard work and dedication. This innovative new idea is the product of nearly a dozen open meetings and hours and hours of analysis and work by a group of volunteer students, faculty, and staff who care deeply about the UO and our ability to deliver quality, affordability, and accessibility. Please take time to review the TFAB recommendations and find out more about the proposal on a frequently asked questions page. That page also has information about the TFAB’s recommendations on graduate tuition rates and fee levels.

I look forward to hearing your feedback and insights.

Thank you.

Michael H. Schill, President and Professor of Law

Bargaining MMXX-VII: What’s a professor?

12-3PM, 125 Chiles. I’ll try to live-blog it. Other bargaining posts here, Budget Buckets here. If you don’t like my blog read the official Union tweets or Facebook.

Synopsis: The Administration’s team is “doing everything humanly possible to respond to the union’s proposals”, but still doesn’t have much in the way of substantive responses. Except that they don’t want to call anyone a “Teaching Professor”.

ARTICLE 20 – Tenure Review and Promotion – Union counter to Admin proposal. Would make mid-term (3rd year) reviews of assistant profs advisory, instead of the current situation where they can be used to get rid of them early by giving them terminal contracts.

Long discussion of the diversity statements. There’s some revisionist history about why the current CBA says “should also include discussion of contributions to institutional equity and inclusion.” The original argument for this was to give women and minority faculty a place to point out their extra service and mentoring work. Now the union wants to make it mandatory for everyone. The admin team is pushing back, pointing out that these statements are often just window-dressing.

Post-tenure reviews: Union team wants department’s to develop the policies, deans and provost to make sure they are followed. Does not want a situation where faculty have to come up for tenure again every 6 years, with the administration in charge of setting the standards.

ARTICLE 40 – No Strike, No Lockout. Union counter. Faculty who agree to do work performed by a striking employee will get at least $75 an hour.

ARTICLE 33 – Sabbatical. Union counter. Takes out the admin language denying sabbaticals to people who have signed up for the TRP.

ARTICLE 15 – Academic Classification and Rank. Admin counter.

The Administration is refusing to give the title Teaching Professor to long term Carreer/NTTF with demonstrated teaching excellence, though they are open to the concept of recognizing/rewarding them somehow. This got pretty heated, mostly because Matella was unable to offer anything substantive to counter the union’s proposal.

Johnson Hall & Trustees to rerun LBJ’s Hearts and Minds campaign

Some well-paid UO administrators, presumably with the support of our puzzled Board of Trustees, want to hire a consultant to help them win “the battle”, even if it requires a “multi-year integrated public education and advertising initiative that uses emotional appeals, personal stories … to improve perception, mobilize support and a feeling of pride for the university amongst Oregonians …”

They need to pay a consultant ~$200K to tell them why the good citizens of Oregon don’t want to pay for Phil Knight’s football factory? Yes, apparently they do:

What are we paying the people involved in this?

“The University” divorces itself from expensive, spoiled faculty

Scroll down to the bottom. The rest of their email is a mix of hyperbole, charmingly self-righteous indignation and omissions (e.g. their proposal to let department heads de-tenure professors) with a few interesting but generally off-message factoids.

The University’s bargaining website, which they link to in this email, doesn’t even have links to their own proposals. Weird, even Rudnick did that. The Faculty union has posted all of theirs here.

It’s been a while since I’ve been in divorce court, but this sort of message might be more effective if The University had explained how they got their $140M number, or had actually put some economic counter-offers of their own on the table and costed them, before sending this nastygram to their life-partner and all their friends and relatives:

Sent: Tuesday, February 18, 2020 12:46 PM
To: aallist@lists.uoregon.edu
Subject: [AALList] United Academics and university bargaining update

**Sent on behalf of Missy Matella**

This message contains details on bargaining between United Academics and the university on the following main points:

    • Estimated costs of UA proposals over the contract period would exceed $140 million.
    • By year three of the contract, UA proposals would add over $55 million of recurring costs – that is more than the combined general fund budgets of the College of Design, School of Law, and the Honors College.
    • UO has presented proposals that align with our bargaining principles of faculty support, equity and inclusion, and respecting the roles of the parties at the table as well as other campus constituents.

Dear Colleagues,

As we continue February bargaining sessions with United Academics, I want to give you a status update, share more information about the costs of UA proposals, and provide an overview of university proposals:

    • Estimated costs of UA proposals would exceed $140 million.
      Based on the costing committee’s preliminary analysis and evaluation of UA proposals presented thus far, its proposals would likely exceed $140 million over the course of the contract. By year three of the contract, UA’s proposals would add over $55 million of reoccurring costs.

Given that this is more than the combined general fund budgets of the College of Design, the School of Law, and the Honors College, the university could not fund UA proposals without taking significant action to decrease its costs and increase its revenue. As many of you know, the university’s biggest cost is its personnel and its primary revenue streams are tuition and state funding.

UA estimated that its opening economic proposals would cost $40 million dollars. That estimate did not appear to include UA’s other articles with substantial economic impact – proposals related to release time, research support, professional responsibilities, and facilities and support.

    • UO proposals align with our bargaining principles of faculty support, equity, and inclusion.
      The university’s bargaining team has presented several proposals and counter proposals that reflect UO’s commitment to equitable and fair processes for faculty. This includes:

      • Adding process for appeals from promotion and expanding appeal rights to cover mid-term reviews (Article 21);
      • Providing greater clarity with respect to the review period for promotion and tenure evaluations and ensuring that only relevant and vetted information is allowed in the tenure file (Article 20);
      • Incorporating the student experience survey related to teaching into the promotion and review processes – recognizing the important work being done in this area and emphasizing the value and importance of teaching for our faculty (Article 20);
      • Changing summer session assignments to stabilize and support study abroad and increasing access to these programs. Our proposal makes it clear that summer programs, such as Global Education Oregon, can issue rules with respect to summer appointments and salary (Article 18);
      • Accepting UA’s language related to sabbatical FTE calculation that makes it easier to project and calculate sabbatical pay, which ensures fairer and more consistent calculations (Article 33); and
      • Emphasizing our commitment to educate faculty about prohibited discrimination and related UO policy by requiring non-discrimination training every two years (Article 14).
    • UA has presented 32 of its 38 proposals.
      • Proposals so far include changes to 23 articles and the introduction of nine new articles.
      • As shared previously, the breadth and scope of UA proposals is substantial and would impact and, in some instances, define roles and responsibilities for department heads, principal investigators, the University Senate, and athletics.
      • UA proposals are available at http://uauoregon.org/2020proposals/.

The university’s bargaining team will continue its diligent work to:

    • Maintain the university’s bargaining principles—including respecting the roles of the parties at the table as well as the roles of other campus stakeholders, units, and employee groups;
    • Remain good stewards of student tuition and taxpayer dollars; and
    • Make proposals consistent with the reality of the university’s current and future economic situation.

Weekly bargaining is expected to continue every Thursday through the winter and spring terms. We look forward to positive collaboration with the UA bargaining team. You can keep track of the negotiation process by reviewing the information and updates posted on the UA bargaining webpage on the Human Resources website.

Shortly, I will send a similar email to department heads and other unrepresented faculty to keep them informed. I will continue to provide regular bargaining updates, so you are informed and aware of the key components of the negotiations and so that you can provide feedback to our team throughout this process. Your assistance and support in this effort are greatly appreciated.

Should you have any questions or concerns throughout the negotiations process, please visit the bargaining update webpage or contact me by submitting an email to uoelr@uoregon.edu.

Best regards,

Missy Matella
Senior Director, Employee and Labor Relations

The university greatly values the mission-critical work our faculty contribute in support of our academic and research pursuits. We will bargain in good faith and in accordance with our bargaining principles to identify shared interests and establish a collective bargaining agreement that serves both the university and its faculty. [sic]

Labor market outcomes by college major

From the Fed. Overall, college continues to pay off*, even looking just at early career earnings:

Of course labor market outcomes differ by major, sorted here by median wage mid-career:

Major Unemployment Rate Underemployment Rate Median Wage Early Career Median Wage Mid-Career Share with Graduate Degree
Pharmacy 3.7 28.7 40,000 115,000 58.8
Computer Engineering 2.5 20.1 65,000 106,000 39.9
Chemical Engineering 2.6 21.6 68,000 103,000 48.8
Aerospace Engineering 4.1 26.8 64,000 100,000 52.9
Electrical Engineering 4.6 22.3 65,000 100,000 44.8
Mechanical Engineering 4.3 21.0 63,000 98,000 41.0
Computer Science 4.7 23.5 62,000 95,000 32.3
Physics 5.3 31.7 48,500 94,000 68.9
Civil Engineering 1.9 17.5 60,000 90,000 37.7
Economics 4.1 39.8 55,000 90,000 42.2
General Engineering 5.0 23.5 60,000 88,000 36.2
Business Analytics 3.8 37.5 57,000 88,000 23.8
Industrial Engineering 3.4 17.3 64,000 87,000 39.7
Miscellaneous Engineering 4.3 29.4 60,000 85,000 44.1
Construction Services 6.1 34.0 56,000 85,000 10.4
Finance 3.5 37.0 52,000 85,000 30.5
Mathematics 5.8 30.6 50,000 80,000 52.2
Engineering Technologies 5.3 40.9 50,000 80,000 24.3
Architecture 4.3 26.6 45,000 75,000 37.4
Information Systems and Management 5.0 38.1 50,000 75,000 24.0
Biochemistry 3.1 33.5 40,000 75,000 70.8
Miscellaneous Physical Sciences 4.0 35.9 46,000 75,000 56.2
Political Science 4.2 51.5 42,000 75,000 51.7
International Affairs 4.7 49.7 45,000 75,000 42.6
Chemistry 3.9 35.4 41,000 74,000 65.0
Marketing 3.0 52.7 42,000 74,000 16.9
Advertising and Public Relations 3.7 47.7 40,000 72,000 18.3
Accounting 2.8 23.0 50,000 72,000 28.7
Miscellaneous Technologies 6.4 58.0 37,000 72,000 16.8
Communications 3.9 53.0 40,000 70,000 23.3
Geography 5.0 33.5 42,000 70,000 34.4
Nursing 2.0 11.4 50,000 70,000 26.4
General Business 3.7 56.4 45,000 70,000 23.8
Overall 3.9 42.9 40,000 68,000 37.5
Treatment Therapy 3.2 33.0 36,000 67,000 45.1
History 4.1 53.1 36,000 66,000 49.4
Environmental Studies 4.6 49.3 36,000 65,000 32.2
Journalism 3.7 42.5 38,000 65,000 25.3
Biology 4.6 44.6 35,000 65,000 63.2
Earth Sciences 5.3 43.1 40,000 65,000 46.1
Business Management 4.2 59.6 40,000 65,000 23.3
Medical Technicians 1.0 50.9 42,600 64,000 24.3
Philosophy 6.2 50.9 36,000 62,000 57.3
Interdisciplinary Studies 4.6 48.0 38,000 61,000 36.5
Agriculture 3.1 53.9 40,000 60,000 20.8
Animal and Plant Sciences 3.0 57.4 35,000 60,000 34.8
Mass Media 7.8 55.2 35,000 60,000 18.3
Foreign Language 4.2 46.2 35,000 60,000 50.0
English Language 5.3 50.6 35,000 60,000 45.5
Liberal Arts 6.7 58.4 33,400 60,000 27.8
Miscellaneous Biological Sciences 3.9 46.5 35,000 60,000 60.4
Criminal Justice 4.1 73.2 37,000 60,000 22.2
Public Policy and Law 1.7 62.8 40,000 60,000 44.8
General Social Sciences 4.6 52.3 36,000 60,000 37.9
Art History 3.8 56.5 38,900 60,000 41.2
Commercial Art and Graphic Design 4.9 36.2 40,000 60,000 10.9
Leisure and Hospitality 3.7 63.0 34,200 58,000 30.2
Performing Arts 3.7 65.7 30,000 58,000 37.6
Ethnic Studies 5.7 50.1 38,000 57,000 49.4
Anthropology 6.6 59.1 33,000 57,000 46.9
Psychology 4.1 49.7 34,000 56,000 50.3
Sociology 3.9 56.0 34,600 56,000 35.2
Fine Arts 5.6 58.4 33,500 55,000 22.5
Health Services 3.1 45.7 36,000 55,000 52.5
Nutrition Sciences 5.8 47.9 35,000 54,000 46.4
Secondary Education 2.3 23.5 38,000 50,000 48.4
Family and Consumer Sciences 4.3 44.6 32,000 50,000 32.5
Theology and Religion 1.0 46.9 32,000 49,000 42.2
Miscellaneous Education 1.2 17.5 37,000 48,000 55.3
General Education 1.7 22.2 36,000 45,000 47.4
Special Education 2.9 16.2 37,000 45,000 60.8
Social Services 3.5 31.5 31,300 44,200 47.4
Elementary Education 1.9 15.9 35,000 43,000 47.0
Early Childhood Education 1.7 19.2 32,100 41,000 38.2

* Your results may differ. No accounting for selection effects.

School of Global Studies: We Want Your Input!

From the CAS blog here – which now allows comments!

School of Global Studies: We Want Your Input!

The College of Arts and Sciences is considering the creation of a School of Global Studies to be located within CAS and we want your input!

We believe that such a school could offer a new and exciting structure for organizing our many globally focused departments and programs. Organized around our linguistic and regional strengths, the School will bring together units and faculty across the Humanities and Social Sciences divisions to encourage pedagogical innovation, collaborative research and teaching, and publicly engaged learning.

Continue reading

Law school to raise tuition 7% – and not pay back UO debt or $10M subsidy

Dean Marcilyn Burke will ask the Board of Trustees for a 7% increase – but it’s a shell game. She will keep the money for the law school’s own budget, including more fee remissions. So actual cost will barely change, and after scholarships law students will still pay only ~50% of the listed tuition (on average). In contrast UO only has funding to give undergrads discounts of about 10%. From the Tuition Fee Advisory Board here:

A rough estimate of the current law school subsidy is $10M per year. The latest available data is 2017-18, at https://ir.uoregon.edu/files/Operational_Metrics_LAW_01092018.pdf They spent $13.2M on personnel costs. Figure another 20% for mics, you get about $16M. Add in overhead to JH, IT, Facilities etc, and you’re at at least $20M. They brought in maybe $7M from law student tuition after the discounts, and they taught another 4800 credits to undergrads at about $220 per, averaging in and out-of-state tuition. Let’s call it a total of $8M in tuition revenue versus costs of about $20M. Through in a few offsets from donations and you get $10M in subsidies.

Why are UO’s undergrads paying $10M to subsidize law students and professors? This subsidy helps the law school recruit better students, and is crucial to keeping their US News ranking high. Cutting this subsidy would of course leave the rest of UO with more money – which it could use to improve it’s over all US news ranking. But apparently that’s not important to our administration.

The huge increase in law school scholarships started with this deal cut back in 2014 between then Law School Dean Michael Moffitt, his spouse and VP for Finance and Administration Jamie Moffitt, and VP Brad Shelton:

UO was late paying 700 GE’s last fall

From Ryan Nguyen in the Emerald:

The University of Oregon’s original estimate of how many of its graduate employees it failed to pay last October has doubled from 350 to 700 since the mistake was first announced, according to an internal university report.

The report reviews the October 2019 incident in which the university failed to pay a significant number of its 1,500 GEs. Though the university originally said that it had not paid only 350 GEs, the report states that the actual figure is double that, at 700.

… The university did not provide comment about the report before publication of this story after four business days, including questions about why the university had originally estimated that only 350 GEs had not been paid, why it missed its deadline by two days and what specific actions it would take in the future. …

Helps you understand why their union insisted on keeping control of their health insurance.


MMXX-VI bargaining: Some crap CBA articles no one really cares about

That’s the rumor from the faculty club last night. Today’s Faculty Union proposals will include Release Time, Training, and Union Rights. I have no idea what the Administration will bring to the table, they like to surprise us.

Should be plenty of space to spread your work out. Free UO Matters coffee cup to whoever gets the most grading done between 12-3PM today in 125 Chiles. My continuing series on Budget Buckets is here. No live-blogging today, try the official Union tweets or Facebook, or wait for the Union’s synopsis Monday.

In other news the state is flush with cash, because our economists underestimated income tax collections again, and death tax collections have soared. Not because the olds are dying at an unexpected rate, but because they now have all the money – until suddenly they don’t and the state finally gets its cut of the wealth they have accumulated because they were lucky enough to be born in a country where the government protects property rights and commerce, winks at anti-trust laws, makes it easy to trade campaign donations for special favors, and pays for their medicare with a regressive tax on workers.

Get your tickets to Hamilton here, page down for the data from the latest Oregon State Economist’ revenue report:


UO Senate to meet on Expedited Tenure, Test Optional Admits, Admin Hiring

Today, Wednesday 2/12/2020, Location: EMU 145 & 146 (Crater Lake rooms)

Sorry, no live-blogging this time. Expect a lively discussion over the proposal to expand the Expedited Tenure Policy to Assoc Prof hires, (vote) and the Guidelines for Academic Administrator Hiring – which would write down some minimal practices for our Administration to, hopefully, use when hiring provost and dean types. They keep coming up with new rules for faculty hiring, and the new IHP is, from the rumors, still dominated by Brad Shelton – but they don’t want the Senate to even pick a few members for hiring committees for provosts etc.

Provost Phillips will also discuss the possibility of UO going test optional for admissions (no requirement for SAT/ACT). This would be a boon to Lorraine Davis and her special athletics admits, and might help with recruiting minority/first generation students whose parents don’t know the test-prep game, or have the money to hire someone to take the test for their students. The UC Senate recently voted in favor of keeping the test requirement – but of course UC is far more selective than UO, so the argument that the tests help admit smart students with bad HS grades is less relevant to us. InsideHigherEd story here.

Meeting Agenda. To watch live streamed meetings, click: WATCH.

3:00 P.M.   Call to Order

  • Introductory Remarks; Senate President Elizabeth Skowron

3:04 P.M.  Approval of the Minutes

3:05 P.M.   State of the University

  • President Schill

3:15 P.M.   New Business

4:30 P.M.    Open Discussion

  • Guidelines for Academic Administrator Hiring: Senator perspectives

4:50 P.M.   Reports
4:55 P.M.   Notice(s) of Motion
4:56 P.M.   Other Business

  • Legislative Updates; Libby Batlan and Hans Bernard

5:00 P.M.   Adjourn

Students to protest Board in Salem, Sec Wilhelms invites economist to speak

Hannah Kannik has the protest story in the ODE here:

“We are out here plugging folks to show up to a community meeting at the end of this month,”  Pishioneri said. “We’re also getting signatures not only to be added to our email list but also to be taken up to Salem on Thursday.”

Thursday is student lobbying day, where students from all seven public universities in Oregon flock to Salem to show the importance of funding higher education, according to the UO Alumni Association website. Pishioneri said the group plans to voice its concerns to state legislators.

“[Students] fund this university and they deserve a say in how it’s run,” Pishioneri said.

Nick Keough, an ASUO senator and member of the campaign group, said they are working to get the community involved in their campaign.

“We deserve a board of trustees that reflects who we are and represent us in that capacity,” Keough said. “Right now they don’t; they represent corporate interests and continued privatization. That’s why we’re working to democratize the board.”

As a neo-liberal economist I’ve got nothing against corporate interests or privatization, so long as they serve the public good – something which UO’s insular board has consistently failed to demonstrate.

In other Board news, they’ve invited an economist to their next meeting, to explain the “demographic cliff” to them. In a nutshell, the US birthrate fell during the great recession and has not recovered, so the number of college age students will start falling in about 5 years – just when Brad Shelton’s budget model had been predicting big enrollment increases. Whoops.

The Senate’s Exec Committee asked Faculty Trustee Laura Lee McIntyre about this last year. She’d never heard of it, then got mad when we asked civil and respectfully tough questions about what she did know about how UO was planning to deal with it in future budgets. It appears she, or BoT Secretary Angela Wilhelms got the message though – as often happens during uncomfortable conversations – so they’re bringing out an economist to explain it to the BoT next month:


Dr. Nathan Grawe, a professor of economics at Carleton College and author of Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education, will visit the University of Oregon on March 17 for a presentation and Q&A session about his demographic analyses and the potential implications to higher education.

March 17, 10:30 a.m. EMU 214 – Redwood Auditorium

For decades, demographic forces have been reshaping the composition of the population of traditional-aged college students.  Now, a recent decline in fertility points to additional disruption as prospective student pools shrink in the mid-2020s.  After examining these forces and their potential to disrupt markets for higher education, Professor Grawe will share examples of how various colleges and universities are proactively engaging these demographic challenges.

If you would like to attend, please RSVP to trustees@uoregon.edu. Please also pass this information on to others in your unit or department who might be interested.

Dr. Grawe is coming to the UO at the invitation of the Board of Trustees, which will meet with him in the afternoon of March 17 at approximately 2:00 p.m. If you cannot attend the morning session but are interested in Dr. Grawe’s presentation, the Board of Trustees’ meeting is open to the public (Ford Alumni Center, Giustina Ballroom) and will be webcast (https://trustees.uoregon.edu/meetings).

Thank you, Angela Wilhelms, University Secretary & Advisor to the President

Great timing for the Administration to use it against the Faculty Union in bargaining.

Electrical Geodesics, poster child for UO biotech spinoffs, to close

This should be sobering news for those well-paid administrators who hope the rest of us will uncritically swallow their hype about the Knight Campus as an engine for economic development and good jobs. There’s no doubt it will pay off for some:

But the long-run external net benefits are far from certain.

EGI was founded by UO Psychology professor Don Tucker in 1992 – from what I can tell without any UO subsidy. It’s had a very good run. Quoting from Around the O a few years ago:

A neuropsychologist focused on the influence of anxiety, depression and other forms of emotional arousal, Tucker pioneered methods of analyzing the electrical activity of the brain. He invented the electroencephalographic geodesic sensor net, which analyzes human brain activity with scalp sensors. The medical device became the basis of Electrical Geodesics Inc., which was acquired by the European healthcare company Philips in 2017 for $36.7 million.

And now the RG reports that Philips is closing it, and laying off 60 employees:

60 to lose jobs as Philips plans closing Eugene medical technology company

… Philips said in a federal layoff notice it will close the Eugene facility, located at 500 E. Fourth Ave., the former EWEB headquarters, on or around Dec. 31. Philips said in the layoff notice it will wind down operations there over the year, terminating jobs starting March 27.

But hey, the Knight Campus will have much more impact. In fact, according to this “UO Advocates” website, it’s already created 550 new research positions – with cross-laminated timber!