OSU’s Jock Mills issues helpful legislative update

May Legislative Update

With the June 30th deadline for adjournment just over a month and a half away, the Oregon Legislature is nearing a final vote on a $2 billion revenue package, is considering over 90 amendments to a comprehensive joint “carbon action plan,” and is considering various proposals for addressing housing costs and efforts to control cost increases in the state’s public employee retirement system (PERS).

Senate Republicans have conducted a four-day walkout protesting a vote on a corporate tax increase when the legislature has not yet taken steps to address PERS costs. Assuming that vote is eventually taken, the next significant step will be on May 15 when legislators receive the next quarterly economic forecast, which will include revenue projections for the next biennium. The legislature will rely on the May forecast to set the final general fund and lottery budgets for all state activities, including Oregon’s public universities.

This update reviews how higher education and Oregon State University priorities have fared since the legislature convened in late January, and the work remaining in the 2019 legislative session…

Read the Full Update

Senate to meet today


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

All times are estimates.

3:00 P.M.   Call to order

  • Introductory Remarks; Senate President Bill Harbaugh

3:10 PM   Approval of Minutes

3:11 PM     Business / Reports:

  • Update: Knight Campus and Bioengineering program; Patrick Phillips (Biology, Advisor to the President)
  • Report: Data Science Initiative; Bill Cresko (Biology, Office of the Provost)
  • Discuss: US18/19-18: Enhancing Engagement in Academic Governance; Elizabeth Skowron (Psychology, Senate VP)
  • Discuss: US18/19-20: Policy on Hiring and Promotion of Academic Administrators; Bill Harbaugh (Economics, Senate President)
  • Discuss: US18/19-19: Core Ed Distribution Requirements; Chris Sinclair (Mathematics)
  • Senate VP Elections: solicitation of self-nominees, election process, compensation; Bill Harbaugh (Economics, Senate President)
  • Report on Research Metrics and Faculty Tracking Software; Scott Pratt (Executive Vice Provost) and Ellen Herman (History, Office of the Provost)
  • Legislative Update; Melanie Muenzer (Assoc VP Vice Provost of Academic Initiatives)

4:35 PM   Open Discussion
4:36 PM   Other Reports
4:37 PM   Notice(s) of Motion
4:40 PM   Other Business

  • Executive Session: Honorary Degrees

5:00 PM   Adjourn to Faculty Club, all invited!

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

5/8/2019 update: 

With the budget crisis, you’d think this proposal would be in the trash can. Apparently not.

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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TFAB says increase in-state tuition and financial aid

The VP for Enrollment is forecasting a decline in in-state enrollment and an increase in new out-of-state students, which however will barely offset the decline from graduating students. It seems not every parent wants to send their child to Rob Mullens’s Duck branded big-time sports party school, especially one that is about to blow $12M on big-ass stereo speakers for the football stadium.

The Emerald’s Zach Demars has the story on last night’s tuition meeting here. The Trustees have already approved a small 2.9% increase for out-of-state students, apparently because they didn’t understand inelastic demand. The most likely scenario for in-state is an ~8% increase, depending on state funding. The university plans to go forward with its planned budget cuts. regardless of that funding. Which is odd.

ASUO President Maria Gallegos -Chacon and Vice President Imani Dorsey plan to issue a minority report, presumably arguing that the university should cut back on its bloated sports programs rather than soak the students again.

One bit of good news was that the TFAB endorsed a proposal put forward by some economist to use part of the tuition increase to increase financial aid for students with family incomes that are just above the cutoff for the full-tuition Pathways Oregon scholarships.

Duck AD Rob Mullens wants to spend $12M on big-ass speakers & video

While President Schill is cutting $9M from the academic budget, and about to propose 10% plus tuition increases.

You can’t make this shit up. From reporter James Crepea at the Oregonian:

“(The speakers) did not pop,” Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens said. “What happened was there was a technical difficulty back at Matthew Knight Arena in the control center. So it was not the speakers blowing. In fact, our facilities guy said, ‘I don’t know.’ They had to go check.

“Irregardless of that, we have been looking for the last two years at a sound system upgrade but when we started digging into it and seeing the costs we started looking at a bigger project that maybe we should consider because our video board is getting old. We’re still in that process of evaluating what’s the best way to do it.”

The costs of such a project could vary enormously depending mostly on how vast a structure is required to build a new video board.

Mullens said the East end of Autzen Stadium would be “ideal” for the new video board as long as the structural costs don’t get out of hand.

“It’s total ballpark — and it’s risky to put out a number, then it’s a number people get locked into — we’re probably in the $12 million range,” Mullens said.

Judge McShane dismisses Professor Freyd’s pay discrimination lawsuit

5/3/2019 update: The EW’s Camilla Mortenson has a brief report on the case here. The full opinion is at http://uomatters.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/093-19-05-02-Opinion-Order.pdf. The full docket is here.

4/11/2019 update. Arguments about to start. More later.

4/8/2019 update: UO’s attempts to dismiss Freyd lawsuit include redefining “Professor”

Full disclosure: I am not a lawyer.

Continue reading

Duck AD Rob Mullens looking to leave too

5/2/2019 update:

The Oregonian’s James Crepea has the scoop here:

Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens is a candidate for the recently vacated position at Texas A&M, according to a source with knowledge of the search. …

Which is sort of odd, because when he got his last raise he said he wanted to stay in Eugene and raise his family here.

7/7/2017: Rob Mullens’ secret $10M 8-year porkalicious contract & perverse incentives

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Adriene Lim is a finalist at Nebraska, Juan-Carlos Molleda at BU

5/1/2019 update:

Thanks to a reader for the tip on Lim. https://news.unl.edu/newsrooms/today/article/finalists-named-for-libraries-dean-search/ The rumor on Molleda leaving is now widespread, apparently he’s their favorite or close to it.

Both are, from what I hear, widely respected for how they have handled some tough times at SOJC and the Libraries.

I will edit comments on this post more carefully than usual, so please avoid any unsubstantiated statements about either.

There are also rumors about two other deans deciding to spend more time with their families, but those may be wishful thinking.

4/18/2019: That’s the rumor tonight, from several sources. Details when I have more.

UO closes controversial Confucius Institute, after DoD pressure

4/30/2019 update: Now official, according to reporter Michael Tobin, in UO’s newspaper of record, here.

Meanwhile the UO’s Twin Eden’s partnership with Gabon continues under the leadership of former Ambassador Eric Benjaminson – at least according to the official UO PR website here.

4/22/2019: Or at least that’s what the University of Kentucky’s PR flacks – apparently more on the ball than our Around the O ones – are reporting:


HECC steps in for failed university boards on capital construction

The latest evidence of the failed promise of Oregon’s independent boards:

HECC Embarks on First-Ever 10-Year Strategic Capital Development Plan for Public Universities

To learn more about the project and university stakeholder meetings, see www.oregon.gov/highered/10-year-capital-plan

Salem, OR – The Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) has embarked upon an in-depth process  to develop the first-ever 10-year comprehensive strategic capital plan for Oregon’s seven public universities. Launched in February of this year, the HECC concludes its first phase of statewide campus meetings this week, and will sponsor a second series of regional focus groups with campus leaders, businesses and community representatives to inform the project this June. The 10-year plan will provide a target public university capital portfolio through 2029 and will be used to guide the Commission in its recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature on the prioritization of state-funded capital projects for years to come.

Ben Cannon, executive director of the HECC, said, “This is a critically important project for the campuses and for the hundreds of thousands of students they serve through their many facilities, classrooms, and research spaces. The plan will guide our Commission’s priortization of capital projects in biennial budget recommendations for the next decade, and will inform state leaders in their challenging decisions to align taxpayer-supported bonding with Oregon’s transformational goals to expand college opportunity and success for all.”

The plan is being developed in partnership with the public universities and with the expertise of SmithGroup, a planning and design firm with extensive national experience in strategic fiscal planning in higher education. After the first series of campus meetings concludes this week, the HECC and its contractor will have finished the first phase of data gathering, conducted in extensive collaboration with the public universities, to ensure the availability of data for analysis. The next set of campus visits will be held June 10 through 28, and will be focus-group style meetings to invite input from business and community representatives to assess the needs of each of the seven public universities and their regions.

Jim Pinkard, HECC director of postsecondary finance and capital, said, “Through recent university visits,  consultations on university strategic planning efforts, and expert input, we are building the knowledge base that will inform this plan. We are optimistic by the learner-focused lens that our partners are already bringing to the table in the planning process and look forward to deepening our understanding through local focus group meetings this June.”

The 10-year strategic capital plan will be a high-level summary of the state’s capital needs for public universities based on demographic, economic, industry, and other environmental factors, dividing the targeted portfolio by region of the state. It will divide the existing and potential future capital portfolio according to ideal usage and utilization, estimating space need for different academic disciplines and functions. Staff anticipates the initial phase of work to be completed by the end of September 2019. The HECC will first use the final deliverable and the data and analysis behind it to guide its prioritization of public university capital requests for the 2020 Legislative Session.