6/22/2010: In the NYTimes, Stanley Fish is outraged over what’s happening in Texas:
Now an entire state is on the brink of implementing just that bite-sized style of teaching under the rubric of “customer satisfaction.” … the plan calls for college and university teachers to contract with their customers — that is, students — and to be rewarded by as much as $10,000 depending on whether they meet the contract’s terms. The idea is to hold “tenured professors more accountable” (“A&M regents push reforms,” The Eagle, June 13, 2010), and what they will be accountable to are not professional standards but the preferences of their students, who, in advance of being instructed, are presumed to be authorities on how best they should be taught.
I’m outraged that Fish – a former Dean – has so little respect for professors like me that he thinks I’d sell out for $10,000. Wait, is that $10,000 per year?
Meanwhile, a couple of economists have actually done some substantive research on this question, and have some interesting results – which support Fish’s argument. From the Journal of Political Economy at the University of Chicago:
Does Professor Quality Matter? Evidence from Random Assignment of Students to Professors
Scott E. Carrell, University of California, Davis and National Bureau of Economic Research and James E. West, U.S. Air Force Academy
In primary and secondary education, measures of teacher quality are often based on contemporaneous student performance on standardized achievement tests. In the postsecondary environment, scores on student evaluations of professors are typically used to measure teaching quality. We possess unique data that allow us to measure relative student performance in mandatory follow‐on classes. We compare metrics that capture these three different notions of instructional quality and present evidence that professors who excel at promoting contemporaneous student achievement teach in ways that improve their student evaluations but harm the follow‐on achievement of their students in more advanced classes.
6/21/2010: This has nothing to do with UO, but how often do you get to hyperlink to a newspaper called The Log Cabin Democrat?
University of Central Arkansas faculty and non-classified employees will not see the pay increase of 2.2 percent originally pledged to them at a May meeting of the Board of Trustees.
Richard Weiss, director of the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration announced Thursday that merit raises to be suspended would include non-classified employees and faculty. Also suspended were annual career service recognition payments. The suspension applies to the fiscal year 2010-2011, beginning July 1.
(From the Chronicle.)
6/15/2010: Summertime and the posting will be light for a bit.
6/9/2010: The Louisiana Higher Ed commissioner has resigned after the Times Picayune caught her in a retirement scam involving double dipping. Legal but sleazy, and she didn’t tell the board what she was going to do. In Oregon, her boss would have helped her set up the scheme and written the contract for her. I still don’t understand how the golden parachute deals that Frohnmayer set up for John Moseley et al, passed legal review. Oh wait – Melinda Grier reviewed them. Huey Long would have been proud of those two. The later Huey, that is.
Q: Where do you get your facts? Do you watch television? Do you read books?
A: I get most of them from the Internet. I constantly sit at my computer.
From the DER SPIEGEL interview with Moammar Quadafi. No, the reporter did not ask the logical followup: Mac, or PC?
4/22/2010: The ODE Editors manage to combine most current UO issues into one opinion:
… The library parking lot is central to preserving the divide between those who work and those who drink. On any given night, good, clean, sober students exiting Knight Library in the wee hours of the morning are forced to mix with the inebriated heathens stumbling home from campus bars. As the wholesome, sober scholars weave their way through the dimly lit parking lot back to their vehicles, they risk exposure to the dark and seedy underbelly of college culture, where one is likely to encounter a veritable bevy of intoxicated hoodlums who want nothing else than to ruin the lives of the sagacious Knight Library denizens.
Library-goers can’t handle the ugly forces of peer pressure and could easily succumb to the brutal jocks loitering in Lot 16, trying to prolong their inebriation after the bars close. And, as we all know, when these two colossal forces collide, the scene is seldom pretty: Textbooks, calculators and pocket protectors lay strewn across the parking lot, the lone testament to the fracas from the night prior. The broken spirit bottles line the sidewalk parallel to the broken spirits of the academics who managed to make it home.
And, would you believe it, this happens every night. Are you scared yet? …
It’s clear the University likes to keep things under wraps, and administrators need a bigger place to dispose of those silly public records requests, inexplicit contracts and other important documents. Conveniently, Lot 16 is big enough for a bonfire pit. We probably would have been livid if we’d seen the Frohnmayer/Bellotti contract. Ignorance is bliss. …
4/18/2010: If you got an email from the Senate Executive Committee last week on the union poll, please fill it out. (The link is specific to your email address, so I can’t post it here.) I have no association with this poll but I think it is important to understand the extent of faculty support for a union and whether the faculty think their bargaining unit should include OA’s.
Also, I’m happy to run more completely unscientific polls on the RHS of the blog. Post a comment if you have an idea for one.
comments were broken for a few days – seem to be working now
4/10/2010: The Oregonian’s readers are skeptical:
Just how long does a new college president get to bear no responsibility for the continuance of bad oral contracts, an interim athletic director to mislead the public as to the amount involved and a general counsel to commit an oral agreement to written form? Suggestion: Something less than the time to send University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere, the “new kid on the block,” to Asia on university business, leaving no highly paid administrator able to answer any questions other than the time of day.
On the other hand, we should probably allow a little more than the few minutes it will take the taxpayers to realize that asking for more donations now for this bad cover-up will mean less in donations later and, ultimately, less educational services or more fees and/or taxes.
Between the coach owing apologies for his players’ poor behavior and the administration now owing millions for its poor business decisions, shouldn’t the school be renamed University of Oweregon?
As an employee of a public institution, Mike Bellotti is eligible for generous retirement benefits through PERS. Thank goodness he has this pension to make up for all the years his salary was less than he would have received had he worked in the private sector.
University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere says he wanted Mike Bellotti out as athletic director because of Bellotti’s lack of business experience and acumen. There isn’t a written employment contract anywhere stating that Bellotti should ever get a dime in case he resigns. Thus, he deserves nothing. I think the university president is the one short of business experience and acumen.
Contributions to University of Oregon athletics are tax-deductible. So even if donors finance Mike Bellotti’s $2.3 million payout, the taxpayers will still be stuck with a significant portion of the bill.
3/16/2010: If anyone learns anything interesting from these sessions, please post a comment or send an email to email@example.com. I can’t make them. I remember Frohnmayer used to hold these regularly, until the questions got too pointed.
This is a reminder that today President Lariviere is holding two sessions to meet with faculty and staff. The first is at 10 a.m. in Gerlinger Lounge and the second is at noon in the EMU Fir Room. There is no formal agenda, this is simply an opportunity to sit down and talk with the president, to ask questions and express your views. We will schedule a third session after spring break, specifics to be determined. At any time you can contact the president at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Office of the President
3/4/2010: Betsy Hammond of the Oregonian reports:
Oregon is moving its 10th-grade tests in reading, writing, math and science to the 11th grade, saying many students need another year of high school to learn the skills covered on the tests. ….
When Oregon sophomores take the tests, a lot of them fail, particularly in math. Last year, 46 percent of 10th-graders flunked that test, 45 percent failed the writing test and 42 percent failed in science….
“It does seem unusual to move a 10th-grade proficiency set of tests to the 11th grade,” he (Jack Jennings, of some DC thinktank) said. “If you thought 10th-graders could do something, and then you shift the measurement of that skill to 11th grade, it at least raises the question of whether they have lowered the standard.”
Actually, it answers the question. And we are supposed to get these kids through college? Without lowering our standards?
2/26/2010: In breaking news, we’ve now obtained summary data on UO’s cheese and egg expenditures. But many questions remain. Tillamook Cheddar? Oregonzola? Individually wrapped slices of processed american? President Lariviere is still refusing to tell the faculty. This stinks. And why are top UO administrators – you know who you are – still hiding the butter and milk expenditures?
Cheese & Eggs OR Sysco Portland Inc, $147,506.62
Cheese & Eggs CA US Foodservice Inc, $83,135.17
Cheese & Eggs OR Umpqua Dairy Products Company, $71,690.59
Cheese & Eggs WA Floyd Peterson Co, $46,224.04
Cheese & Eggs OR McDonald Wholesale Co, $27,250.17
Cheese & Eggs OR DPI Specialty Foods Northwest Inc, $8,424.88
Cheese & Eggs OR Core-Mark Distributors, $7,963.79
Cheese & Eggs OR BakeMark Ingredients Inc, $4,766.03
Cheese & Eggs OR Food Services of America, $2,374.02
Cheese & Eggs OR Costco Wholesale, $1,027.94
Cheese & Eggs OR Pacific Coast Fruit Company, $350.85
Cheese & Eggs CA Smart & Final/dba Cash & Carry, $302.06
Cheese & Eggs OR Market of Choice Inc, $98.67
Cheese & Eggs OR Irvin, Daniel $41.97
2/25/2010: Not much worth posting lately. That’s a good thing. Also good, the legislature is letting us sell bonds for a new 451 bed dorm “residence hall”. What do they call them at Hogwarts?
Senate funds University of Oregon residence hall — Daily Journal of Commerce (The first step toward increasing the percentage of University of Oregon students living on campus, according to Gregg Lobisser, UO’s director of student activities, is to stop calling student living facilities ‘dormitories.’ “When people think of dorms, they think of barracks,” Lobisser said. “The term residence hall speaks more to a new model we are exploring that integrates academics with residential life.” The next step in the process is to construct a new 451-bed residence hall. The state Legislature on Tuesday approved Senate Bill 5564, which allows the state to sell $75 million in bonds to build the hall designed by Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects on the east end of UO’s campus. But the new living facility is only the beginning of a long-term plan for the portion of undergraduates living on campus to reach 25 percent.)
One of the concerns about borrowing $235 million for the arena, according to the experts at Accredited Debt Relief, was that we’d bump up against a debt limit – looks like that’s not a problem, yet.
2/15/2010: Rebecca Woolington of the RG has a really nice story about visits to UO and LCC this week by Jessie Jackson, Seymour Hersh, and Tom Hayden. Hersh of course is the guy who exposed My Lai and then Abhu Ghraib. Jackson has a much more mixed legacy, and Hayden – honestly, I have no idea what he has done lately. I’m no economist, but apparently Ms Woolington is enough of one to ask the central question: what’s the market value on these guys?
For Jackson’s visit, the UO’s Holden Leadership Center, along with five other groups and departments, will contribute about $25,000 …
Hersh’s appearance, which costs about $15,000, …
And bringing Hayden to LCC will cost about $1,000, …
I wonder what the Stones are going to get when they play Matt Court?
Elissa Harrington from KVAL reports that Amber Garrison, UO Director of Commencement, has decided students will wear green colored biodegradable gowns at graduation this year.
Rumor has it that they are made from hemp, the miracle fiber byproduct of Oregon’s second largest industry. To honor the baby boomer parents who are paying our salaries, diplomas will be printed on EZ Widers paper. I am not making all of this story up.