President Schill takes responsibility for UO’s fragile finances

Just kidding. He’s blaming the unions. From Daily Emerald reporter Jack Forrest, here:

The somber mood was retained throughout much of the address with discussions of budget deficits and low financial reserves. At one point, Schill said some blame lies with UO’s trend to unionize.

“One of the things that produced our fragility is that we, unlike virtually all of our peer schools, tend to heavily unionize, in the faculty as well as in the staff,” Schill said. “It just means we lack some of the flexibility, some of the tools, some of the levers that other universities have. Maybe it’s worth it to have that, that’s a decision that the faculty made, but it does create that situation.”

The video is here. Rumor has it that the faculty union’s treasurer will be sending Schill an invoice for “scapegoat services”.

UO to teach Republican faculty how to write OpEds on their ideals

At least I assume that’s who this workshop is for, since they’re the most under-represented group on campus. But I doubt they’re going to find 21 Republicans to fill the class among UO’s ~1600 faculty, so maybe I’m missing something:

On February 22 and 23, 2020, the Clark Honors College, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Division of Equity and Inclusion are co-sponsoring a two-day workshop, called “Write to Change the World.” In this interactive workshop participants will explore ideas and sources of credibility; learn how to present ideas quickly and powerfully under pressure; understand when and why people change their minds; reflect on the difference between being “right” and being effective; and develop strategies for greater impact, including how to escape being pigeonholed and how to preach beyond the choir. The workshop also includes a pedagogical component, so that participants can incorporate this important part of public writing into their courses. Participants will leave with an outline of an op-ed in hand, plus three months’ access to OpEd Project journalist mentors for individual follow-up.

Recognizing that journalism is improved when a diversity of perspectives are included in public discourse, the OpEd Project and its UO partners seek to focus on the ideas and impact of underrepresented voices, including women, in order to share knowledge, resources and connections across color, creed, class, sexuality, gender and beyond.

Each of the co-sponsors will send seven participants to the workshop. Faculty members can submit applications to only one of the co-sponsors.

TTF faculty and career instructors may submit applications to the College of Arts and Sciences. Applications should include the following:

    1. A letter of application (no more than 500 words), describing how this workshop relates to your teaching and research, and how you will focus on the ideas and impact of underrepresented voices
    2. A description of the project you intend to work on during the workshop (no more than 250 words)
    3. A current CV.

Please send applications to: casdean@uoregon.eduApplications are due December 15, 2019. Applicants will be notified no later than January 15, 2020.

VPRI David Conover to retire, open national search for replacement

Dear University of Oregon Colleagues,

We are writing to let you know that David Conover is retiring from his role as vice president for research and innovation at the end of the academic year, effective July 3, 2020. David has served the university with distinction and been instrumental in promoting interdisciplinary research excellence and innovation in every corner of campus. He has determined that now is the right time for him to step down to wrap up some important research he has developed over his long and distinguished career. Upon retirement, he will hold the title of emeritus professor in the Department of Biology.

The Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation (OVPRI) supports the university’s research centers and essential core facilities, encourages innovation and economic development through strategic partnering and technology transfer initiatives, and helps identify ways to support our efforts as a top-tier research institution. The office oversees and coordinates the UO’s research proposal submissions, compliance, and contract and grant administration.

David has provided leadership around research opportunities across the university with a steady hand, an eye toward problem-solving, tenacity, and an earnest wit. He helped develop OVPRI’s new strategic plan, reduced administrative bottlenecks, and improved the ways the university uses data to benchmark and evaluate our research success.

David joined the university in 2016 and in the nearly four years of his tenure, the UO’s research and development expenditures grew almost 20 percent. For fiscal year 2018-19, the value of new research awards increased 70 percent, and federal research expenditures were up 9.6 percent. David and his team have done a great job in supporting these achievements in part by encouraging and incentivizing faculty to apply for more and larger grants.

We are committed to seeing that activity and trajectory continue under the next leader of OVPRI. We will launch an open, national search in the coming months for a new vice president to support the great work and research occurring across the campus and leverage the momentum of the last few years. We hope to be able to have the role filled prior to David’s departure next summer. Going forward, we will consult with David, his office, and campus stakeholders on next steps and will provide more information as a search plan is developed.

Please join us in thanking David for all he has done to serve the University of Oregon. We are happy that he will remain a friend and partner to the university in the capacity of emeritus professor.

Sincerely,
Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law
Patrick Phillips
Provost and Senior Vice President

Pres Schill and Kevin Reed continue work to weaken shared governance

Long story. Back in 2012 Interim UO President Bob Berdahl commissioned this memo from then General Counsel Randy Geller, on how he could disband the UO Senate and ensure its former committees were staffed with his lackeys. Snippets:

Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 1.00.28 PM

This abolitionist effort failed. President Schill has adopted a more indirect, long term approach to weakening the Senate and shared governance.

Here’s the latest example. Last year, as Senate President I appointed a faculty member to the Campus Planning Committee who was skeptical of President Schill’s plans to develop the North Campus. The CPC has no real power, it just makes recommendations. You’d think there’d be no problem having a skeptic on it. Some might welcome one.

Not President Schill, whose response to this appointment was to unleash the full force of his office against it. He had his Liaison to the Senate Melanie Muenzer, devote hours of her time, staff time, summer law student intern time, and Senate Leadership time to argue that the President appointed the faculty members of the CPC, not the Senate. Now he’s got his General Counsel Kevin Reed to issue this 5 page memo, with a 20 page appendix, supporting his effort to control who makes recommendations to him and the campus about campus planning:

Full doc here.

Uh, 12-1 Nov 22 is *an* office hour, not “office hours”

One of the criticisms of the appointment and then reappointment of Ed school Prof Laura Lee McIntyre as the faculty trustee was that she didn’t know much about CAS – and the Board had specifically said the trustee replacing Law Prof Susan Gary should be from CAS. Around the O reports on McIntyre’s efforts to learn something about the rest of the university:

Board of trustees office hours scheduled for fall term 2019

Faculty trustee Laura Lee McIntyre will hold office hours for faculty colleagues Friday, Nov. 22, from noon to 1 p.m. in the Erb Memorial Union’s Owyhee Room. McIntyre is a professor and head of the Department of Special Education and Clinical Sciences.

Senate for Wed: Schill’s State of U + Neuroscience, Diverse Heritage

Liveblog: State of the University updates from Pres Schill:

4-year graduation rate is up from about 50% to about 60. Budget situation is not good because of PERS and our heavily unionized environment. [And the failures of our board He’s going to work with Senate on a new policy for hiring academic administrators. He believes in trust and transparency. UO needs new degrees to keep up with our peers.

Senate Meeting Agenda – November 13, 2019

Location: EMU 145 & 146 (Crater Lake rooms)
3:00 – 5:00 P.M.

3:00 P.M.   Call to Order

  • Introductory Remarks; Senate President Elizabeth Skowron
  • Remarks; Senate Vice President Elliot Berkman

3:10 P.M.  Approval of the Minutes

3:15 P.M.   State of the University

  • President Schill
  • Tim Gardner, Knight Campus

3:30 P.M.   New Business

  • Election: Tenured faculty senator to serve on Senate Budget Committee: Nomination (Gina Biancarosa, COE)
  • Vote: US19/20-06: Motion re: UOCC rep to Graduate Council-voting status; Frances White (Anthropology)
  • Vote: US19/20-05: New Program Proposal: Bachelor’s in Neuroscience; Nicole Dudukovic (Psychology), Phil Washbourne (Biology), Hal Sadofsky (Divisional Dean Natural Sciences)
  • Update: Data Science undergraduate program proposal; Joe Sventek (Computer & Information Science) Bill Cresko (Dir Data Science Initiatives)

4:30 P.M.    Open Discussion

  • Committee on Recognizing our Diverse History: Updates (10’) and discussion (20’, time permitting)

4:50 P.M.   Reports
4:51 P.M.   Notice(s) of Motion
4:55 P.M.   Other Business
5:00 P.M.   Adjourn

Presidents Trump & Schill disagree over who is most transparent

It’s a tough call, really:

President Trump, 11/11/2019:

President Schill, 10/10/2019:

I can say, without a doubt, that the UO is the most transparent of them all. It’s not even close. The amount of data and information that we make available is truly extraordinary. …  I am planning to launch a transparency website this term, an online clearinghouse where we consolidate many of the publicly available reports and data about the university into one online location. … I look forward to sharing it with you in the coming weeks …

10/10/2019: Pres Schill thinks UO is transparent & your comments are disgusting

Also, while he continues to let his GC Kevin Reed use fees and delays to hide public records, he’s spending tuition money on an overscripted buddy movie of himself and Provost Phillips,

and on a “transparency website” that will post the information he wants you to see in easily digestible form. Please forgive my cynicism:

Dear University of Oregon colleagues,

A few weeks ago, UO’s new Provost Patrick Phillips and I took a walk around campus and talked about some of the things we are both looking forward to at the start of a new academic year. I would like to try something new—a hybrid edition of Open Mike featuring both video and text. I hope you will indulge me and take a few minutes to watch our discussion.

As we walked across campus, one topic we kept coming back to was our shared goal of helping to build a campus culture at UO that is grounded in both academic freedom and respectful dialogue. Some believe those two ideals are in conflict, but I do not see it that way. For example, Patrick and I do not always agree—and that is a good thing—because we make better decisions for the institution when we are challenging each other’s assumptions, playing devil’s advocate, and pushing the other to consider flaws in logic or to confront personal biases. The thing I most appreciate, though, is that we have the highest level of respect for each other and know that the conversation, even if heated, is rooted in wanting the best for the UO’s future, respecting our mission, and valuing students, faculty, and staff.

Our conversation got me thinking about the principles that should ultimately bind an academic institution and community of scholars. I firmly believe the UO is a community united by a desire to serve our current students and future generations. We strive for truth and understanding, and it is only through cooperation and teamwork that we can succeed, whether in the laboratory or the classroom. It is this spirit of cooperation and the sense of a higher calling to work toward the betterment of society through our mission of research, education, and service that makes us different, that generates the special spirit that is needed for us to succeed at the highest level. Our actions should model the behavior we hope will rub off on our students.

Quite honestly, I am not sure that we at the UO have always lived up to that ideal. Our campus culture can sometimes show cracks from the voices of cynicism and discord. But I recognize that I cannot expect those who seek a culture that values both academic freedom and respect to raise their voices if I do not set the right example from Johnson Hall. For that reason, I am establishing some principles that I will personally adhere to and that I will insist all members of my administration follow in a sincere effort to maintain and improve our campus culture. I invite colleagues across campus to do the same. Here are the principles I commit myself and the other administrators to:

Honesty. I, and the people who report to me, will never knowingly lie or mislead members of our community. Trust is an essential element of any well-functioning community and honesty is the foundation of trust. Unfortunately, the university I joined in 2015 was suffering from a severe lack of trust for reasons we all understand. I have tried my best to engender trust over the past four years, but I have not been as successful as I would have hoped. I continue to looks for ways to redouble my efforts here. But trust is a two-way street. We must all call out the bad behavior of some members of our community whose main purpose is to spread falsehoods for the purpose of sowing doubt and cynicism or achieving strategic advantage. A healthy dose of skepticism is good, but character assassination and the spreading of lies and innuendo is not.

Transparency. Trust can only be built through transparency. I sometimes wonder why some folks always think the administration is hiding things. I have been a faculty member at two universities and a faculty member/administrator at three others. I can say, without a doubt, that the UO is the most transparent of them all. It’s not even close. The amount of data and information that we make available is truly extraordinary. I sometimes think that the sheer volume of information on our institutional research and budget websites might hinder members of our community from finding what they are looking for. To deal with this issue, I am planning to launch a transparency website this term, an online clearinghouse where we consolidate many of the publicly available reports and data about the university into one online location. In addition, I hope to provide facts to answer some commonly held questions and clear up some persistent myths about the university. I look forward to sharing it with you in the coming weeks and, once it is live, I invite input from all of you on how we can improve it and make the tool more useful. Stay tuned.

Respect. As I stated above, one of the defining features of a successful academic community is respect. Respect for each other’s views and for our colleagues as people. Respect does not mean that we need to agree with each other; quite to the contrary. Vigorous disagreement about ideas is the hallmark of a healthy academic community. But ad hominin attacks, aspersions about motives, insults directed at colleagues, and harassment of co-workers are all signs of a dysfunctional community. We can do better here. I am disgusted by what I sometimes read online and in the comments section of local newspapers and blogs. We are better than this. If we are not, we need to be. We are faced with enough bad behavior online and in Washington, D.C.; we do not need to bring it into our university. I pledge I will do my best to treat everyone here with respect, whether in my office, in the classroom, or just walking across campus. I hope that respect will be mutual.

Grace. One of the defining elements of a well-functioning community is empathy, kindness, and, for want of a better word, grace. Over the past four years I have met thousands of our staff members, graduate students, faculty members, and administrators. I have talked to you and believe that the vast majority of our faculty and staff care deeply about our students and their futures. That is why you are here. You forgive them their mistakes and understand that life is about learning from our experiences—both good and bad. I wish that we could show each other that same grace. I have made and will make some mistakes as your president. So will other administrators. And so will you. But let’s not turn every mistake into a moment of attack. Let’s treat each other with some of the same grace we show our students. I promise I will try to do that as I fulfill my obligations as your president.

So, as we begin a new academic year, one that could have its share of tension and disagreement, I will employ these principles of honesty, transparency, respect, and grace. I will also try, to the best I am able, to throw in a bit of wisdom and humor from time to time.

Welcome back. I very much look forward to working closely with each of you this year.
Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law

Prof Jennifer Freyd’s work gets influential citation – from South Park

While UO’s lawyer Paula Barran – acting as the agent of President Schill and the Board of Trustees – has argued it’s OK to pay Freyd less because she doesn’t use bodily fluids or “sophisticated brain imaging” in her research, it appears that her ideas have a power of their own.

DARVO is the acronym she coined to explain a common way for bullies to respond to accusations of wrongdoing – as explained in the latest South Park episode:

Thanks to reader Dogmatic Ratios for the link. 39K views last I looked. How should this citation get weighted in Brad Shelton’s faculty metrics and merit pay increases?

Pres Schill on DACA

Dear University of Oregon colleagues,
Next week the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments about whether to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This is important to the University of Oregon because for students on our campus, and at other universities across the country, DACA helps provide a path to higher education and a better life.
In this Open Mike I will focus on DACA and not the broader set of issues concerning undocumented immigrants. Nevertheless, it doesn’t escape me that much of the current controversy swirling around DACA would not exist if Congress and the president could agree upon comprehensive immigration reform, something that appears out of reach for the time being.
Access to opportunity and fidelity to our nation’s ideals are ultimately what are both at stake next week, when the Trump administration squares off against the state of California and other plaintiffs seeking to reverse decisions of several appellate courts that blocked the government’s attempts to repeal the DACA program. The UO has signed on to amicus briefs supporting the continuation of DACA, which is important to the UO, higher education and, I believe, our nation.
Simply put, it would be wrong and negatively impact our country to uproot a person’s life based on whether they, as a child, entered our nation either legally or illegally under federal law. Today, thousands of DACA recipients are now working as professionals and are contributing billions of dollars to our economy. Rather than seeking to deport them, in my view, we should provide these Dreamers with a clear path to citizenship and ensure that they have access to the resources that will help them continue to achieve the American Dream, including access to public higher education. Our nation’s ideals and values demand that we should provide the same opportunity to today’s Dreamers that was afforded to countless generations of immigrants before them, including all four of my grandparents.
DACA was implemented by the Obama administration in 2012 to allow qualifying undocumented individuals who satisfied a set of criteria to receive renewable two-year periods of deferred action from deportation and to apply for temporary work permits. Prior to DACA, these young people lived under constant fear of being deported back to countries with which they may have had little connection or memory. Many had no hope of going to college, since they would have been ineligible for state aid, unable to obtain loans, and barred from seeking lawful employment.
DACA provides a lifeline of hope. Although accurate data is hard to come by, an estimated 120,000 DACA recipients have attended or are currently enrolled in American universities, including some at the UO. Thanks to legislation adopted by Oregon and several other states, many of those DACA students have been able to take advantage of in-state tuition at public universities. Some financed their education with private loans and many worked and continue to work part time or full time to afford tuition, room, and board. Many DACA students have thrived on our campus, taken leadership roles in campus groups, and graduated with honors. The program’s continuity has led many who otherwise would not have received degrees to complete their educations. These are people who put that education to work by enriching the civic, social, and economic fabric of their communities.
The Supreme Court will rule by June 2020 on the legal merits of the government’s position that it has the discretion to end the program. As I already noted, the UO has signed on to amicus briefs through a number of organizations of which we are a member, including the Association of American Universities, the American Council of Education, and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.
The justice of letting DACA recipients remain in the U.S. seems pretty clear to me. But I am aware that not everyone shares my intuitions about what is right or wrong. Nor should they. So, let’s examine the question from a more consequential perspective. Would we (the United States of America) be better off deporting DACA recipients or letting them remain here? The United States is experiencing an aging population. Increasingly, immigration will be important in providing us with the workforce we need to fuel the economy. We have already invested tremendous resources in educating these young men and women in our K-12 school systems. In addition, many have already gone on to higher education, a number of whom have received advanced degrees. Would requiring DACA recipients to leave the United States truly serve our nation’s best interest? I think not.
I’ve already noted that my grandparents—both maternal and paternal—came to America to escape anti-Semitic persecution and to pursue economic opportunity. I admit I am biased, but I believe immigrants immeasurably strengthen our nation. They choose to become part of our polity, often at great cost and risk to their safety and security. Immigrants provide our nation with the talent that fuels its global competitiveness. It is no accident that many of our greatest inventors and theorists have come to us from other nations. Indeed, today, the graduate students who study in our laboratories and work with our faculty to make scientific discoveries often come from abroad. And, the economically impoverished who cross our borders often contribute in manifold ways to our economy by doing needed work and by anchoring our communities.
DACA students are part of a long line of people who have migrated to, strengthened, and enriched our nation. There can be no doubt that the United States needs comprehensive immigration reform that regulates the flow of people into the nation and that makes it easier to secure our borders. That will require bipartisan, thoughtful debate. But to uproot these young people, deny them educational opportunity, and deport them violates principles of fairness and economic self-interest. It betrays the essence of our national identity and ideals.
At the UO, we will continue to support our DACA and Dreamer students by lending our name to the Supreme Court litigation, by not cooperating with efforts by federal authorities to deport students, by supporting our Dreamers Working Group and their efforts to build allies for these students, and by providing advice, services, and, where possible, financial assistance to help them achieve their dreams. It is the right thing to do. I am hopeful that the courts will continue to let this important program serve as a lifeline of hope to a group of Dreamers who know no other home than the United States and deserve access to the same opportunities as their peers.
Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law

Live up to your Mission, UO

That’s the title of this Op-Ed in the RG today by Jennifer Gomez, one of Jennifer Freyd’s many excellent students. Read it all, here are some snippets:

… However, when people from across the country hear where I am from, invariably someone will ask, “What is the matter with University of Oregon?”

People reference the ongoing lawsuit of Freyd vs. University of Oregon regarding sex discrimination under The Equal Pay Act, Title VII, Title IX and Oregon’s state sex discrimination statute. Professor Jennifer J. Freyd is being paid tens of thousands of dollars less per year than her male counterparts. UO responded by filing for summary judgment, which Judge Michael McShane granted. In doing so, the judge denied Freyd the opportunity to have a trial and present her case to a jury. McShane’s reasoning is, “The evidence establishes that her four male colleagues perform significantly different work than that done by Professor Freyd.”

This appraisal runs counter to the detailed guidelines for all professors that was put forth by the UO psychology department. The university has additional guidelines for professors as well.

The case is not over as Freyd’s legal team has appealed the summary judgment to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The goal of this appeal is to have the right to go to trial so a jury can make a determination on the case.

Importantly, Freyd has some powerful players on her side: The American Association of University Professors filed an amicus brief in support of Freyd’s case; Equal Rights Advocates and 47 women’s and civil rights organizations filed another amicus brief in support of Freyd’s case; and the American Association of University Women has adopted Freyd’s case as one it will support as it moves through the appellate process.

… Though I can’t prevent UO from its behavior in this case, there are people at UO right now who can. From President Michael Schill to General Counsel Kevin Reed to the board of trustees. It’s not too late. UO could still choose to live up to its mission of equity and inclusion. If for no other reason, UO could remember that its reputation as a top public university is on the line. Gender equality matters at universities like UO.

The world is watching.

Jennifer Gomez, Ph.D., UO Alumna, is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute for Child & Family Development at Wayne State University.

 

 

Who will pick UO’s next President?

Phil Knight, acting through BoT Secretary Angela Wilhelms and Chuck Lillis, or whoever replaces him as BoT Chair. InsideHigherEd had the story on what happened last time, here:

… In an interview, Lillis disputed a newspaper account from the meeting that said he created a process that “reserves broad powers for himself — and a select group of others” by allowing him to conduct the search with an “assist” from the committee members. The Register-Guard said Lillis’s plan gave him sole authority to rank and even eliminate finalists. In an interview Friday evening, he said he’s not on the search committee, would be involved only as a member of the board and would not be “directly involved” until there are some finalists. (Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect further information on the chairman’s broad powers in the following three paragraphs.)

But, the plan voted on by the board clearly gives Lillis more power than he let on.  The search plan approved by the board – which Lillis drew up – gives the chairman power to interview all the search committee’s finalists and a host of other powers.

“The chair is authorized to narrow the field of candidates after consultation with the committee, and is also authorized to rank the candidates,” the plan says.

Inside Higher Ed last week requested all documents that outlined the search plan but was not provided with the actual plan, which has was brought to the site’s attention on Monday by UO Matters, a blog that carefully follows the university. The plan clearly contradicts the chairman’s characterization of his powers in the Friday interview. A spokeswoman for the university, Julie Brown, said Monday the omission was “not intentional.” …

Faculty Club celebrates 3rd anniversary

Dear Colleagues,

The Faculty Club—your very own “study break” from midterm exam grading—is open during the usual hours this week, Wednesday and Thursday from 5:00 to 8:00.

Last week’s Halloween celebration was festive, with a spooky “signature cocktail” and more than half of the attendees in costume. The prize for best costume was shared by Christopher Minson and Andrew Lovering, (Human Physiology), who arrived in oversized, motorized inflatable Toy Story character costumes—clearly out-gunning the competition.

This week we celebrate the third anniversary of the re-founding of the Faculty Club. Yes, our first gathering was in November 2016, the day after that historic presidential election. On that day, and ever since, the club has provided a venue for brainy peers to digest and discuss the craziness of the world. We’ll mark the anniversary with a special toast Thursday evening.

As always, please remember that all faculty members are able and encouraged to bring guests—we hope to see you one or both nights this week.

Yours, James Harper
Chair of the Faculty Club Board