Board of Trustees to perform due diligence Mon and Tue

Since the Board’s official website is an unhelpful mess, here are the times and agendas for the committee and board meetings Monday and Tuesday, along with a few excerpts and some commentary. All events in the Ford Alumni Center. Monday meetings start at 10:30, Tuesday at 10.

I’ll try and add a little live-blogging below, as the meetings progress. Meanwhile I’ll note that UO’s federal accreditors require the Board to conduct a self-study every two years:

2.A.8 The board regularly evaluates its performance to ensure its duties and responsibilities are fulfilled in an effective and efficient manner.

While OSU’s board posts their evaluations on the internet, UO’s Board secretary Angela Wilhems is making me file a public records request to see UO’s.


10:30 AM Monday 12/3: Academic and Student Affairs Committee:

Provost’s Quarterly Report

Provost Banavar gives the Senate and Sierra Dawson a shout-out on the Senate’s efforts to reform student evaluations, highlighting roll-out of our new non-metrics, and Ginger Clark’s (USC) talk to the Senate, here.

In other news, VP for Budget Planning will be retiring Jan 1 – but don’t get too excited, he’ll still be working half-time on budget planning etc.

1. Annual Enrollment and Financial Aid/Scholarship Report: Roger Thompson, Vice President for Student Services and Enrollment Management; Jim Brooks, Associate Vice President and Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships

For some reason Roger isn’t reporting SATs, or any info on our comparators. Spending on recruiting is way up – UO is hiring more recruiters and buy PSAT data and sending out mailers. It would be interesting to see those mailers – several parents have told me they’re not very impressed.

International enrollment down, overall freshman enrollment up 6%, out of state enrollment up, first-generation enrollment up:

Ford asks about transfer student numbers. Thompson reports it’s not good.

Jim Brooks then talks about financial aid. UO seems to be engaging in much more price-discrimination, with substantial increases in merit aid: 

Despite this, because of the tuition increases UO’s discount rate has barely budged, from 10 to 11% over the past few years. Student borrowing is down, parent borrowing is up.

In very good news, PathwayOregon enrollment (low-SES Oregon residents) is way up:

Lillis asks how UO compares to AAU in terms of federal aid. Brooks not sure.

2. Student Success Initiative – Semi-Annual Report: Dennis Galvan, Interim Vice Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Studies; Doneka Scott, Associate Vice Provost for Student Success

Doneka Scott is out for health reasons, we hope she’ll back soon.

PathwayOregon’s “wrap-around” advising model has shown great success, plan is to roll this out for all students in some form through the Tykeson project.

Wilcox asks about stagnate first year retention – any evidence as to what is working and what is not? Galvan: no evidence.

3. Online and Hybrid Education – Initiative Update: Carol Gering, Associate Vice Provost for Online and Hybrid Education

She’s new, seems focused on using online to improve grad rates for regular students. No big OSU type online push:


University of Nike podcast

From Daniel Libit’s excellent college sports muckraking blog,


By Daniel Libit

For 45 years, college basketball featured two famous arenas dubbed, “The Pit,” one in Albuquerque, the other in Eugene, Oregon.

In 2010, the University of New Mexico renovated its version of The Pit, University Arena, plowing $60 million into the home of Lobo basketball, thanks largely to the generosity of state taxpayers. Lobo fans were duly proud. The next year, the University of Oregon ditched its version of “The Pit”, MacArthur Court, and moved into the brand-new, quarter-billion-dollar Matthew Knight Arena, built thanks to the largesse of its namesake’s father, Nike founder Phil Knight. That’s the difference between the haves and have-nots in Division I college sports.

Over the course of the last 25 years, Knight has given (if that’s the right word) nearly a billion dollars to Oregon, his alma mater, with nearly half of that going to athletic department construction projects. Because of him, the Ducks have been transformed from a middling Pac 10 (now 12) athletic department into the intercollegiate envy of the nation. (That photo above is of Oregon football’s $138 million Hatfield-Dowlin Complex, completed in 2013 and named for Knight’s mother and mother-in-law.)

9781612196916And yet, to read Joshua Hunt’s eye-opening new book, University of Nike: How Corporate Cash Bought American Higher Education, one finds strange commonalities between the plights of a have-not like UNM and a have like UO — and theirs are indeed both plights. Knight’s money hasn’t stopped Oregon from raising student fees to pay for athletics; it hasn’t freed its school presidents from obsessing over the fate of football and men’s basketball; and it certainly hasn’t made for a better or more sensibly administered university. Quite the contrary, as Hunt describes.

In the latest episode of The NMFishbowl Podcast, Hunt and I talk about how the pursuit of college sports tends to vitiate public universities, regardless of how much or little private money is brought to bear. You can listen to our conversation by clicking below (or download it on iTunes here):

Among other things, Hunt addresses the pushback he’s received from the family of former Oregon President David Frohnmayer; the galling obstructionism undertaken by UO’s media relations staff; and his arduous journey in trying to obtain public records from a university.

Here are some additional reading materials and useful links…

Senate meets today, 3-5PM on teaching evals, leg agenda, dual careers


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

3:00 P.M.    Call to order

3:05 PM Introductory Remarks; Senate President Bill Harbaugh

3:20 PM    Presentation on Teaching Evaluation reform; Ginger Clark, USC Associate Professor of Clinical Education and former Academic Senate President

3:50 PM      Business/ Reports:

  • Teaching Evaluation Warning Language; Bill Harbaugh (See below for draft language. Discussion, possible vote)
  • Vote: US18/19-03: Approval of Curriculum Report, Fall term 2018; Frances White (Vote)
  • Policy for faculty membership on committees, task forces and advisory groups; Bill Harbaugh (Presentation and discussion)

4:20 PM    UO’s legislative agenda; Libby Batlan & Hans Bernard, UO State and Community Affairs (Presentation and discussion)

4:40 PM.    UO’s new approach to Dual Career Support; Rhonda Smith & Melanie Muenzer, Provost’s Office (Presentation and discussion)

4:56 PM    Open Discussion
4:57 PM    Reports
4:58 PM    Notice(s) of Motion
4:59 PM    Other Business
5:00 PM    Adjourn

Draft: For discussion for Senate adoption per Also see for background.

Warning: Bias in Student Course Evaluations

Research has shown that student evaluations, particularly numerical ratings, are marred by bias against women, racial and ethnic minorities, and other groups, and are generally unrelated to teaching effectiveness. Despite these problems, numerical ratings using our current instrument may still be collected, and past numerical ratings may still be used in teaching evaluation. The UO Senate, in cooperation with the Office of the Provost, is revising UO’s teaching evaluation instruments and practices in response to this research. During this transition, numerical student evaluations of teaching should not be used as a standalone measure of teaching quality for any university purpose. Instead, teaching should be evaluated primarily using instructor self-reflection, peer reviews, and substantive written student comments, in alignment with the academic unit’s definition of teaching excellence as that is developed.


(Note: See Uttl et al. (2017), Meta-analysis of faculty’s teaching effectiveness: Student evaluation of teaching ratings and student learning are not related, Studies in Education Evaluation, at


USC senate president to talk about teaching evaluation reform

This Wed, 9-10 in the library browsing room, and 3:20-3:50 at the Senate in the EMU Crater Lake room. From Around the O:

Ginger Clark, assistant vice provost for academic and faculty affairs at the University of Southern California, will discuss improving teaching evaluation methods during a campus appearance Nov. 28.

Clark, who is also a professor of clinical education and served as president of USC’s Academic Senate, has been central to her university’s efforts to advance student learning and develop better methods to evaluate teaching. Her lecture is sponsored by the UO committee on teaching evaluation.

She will speak at the Knight Library Browsing Room from 9 to 9:50 a.m. The event is open to the UO community and anyone can attend. Faculty members and staff are asked to sign up using MyTrack.

Clark also will address the University Senate later in the day in the Crater Lake rooms in the Erb Memorial Union from 3:20 to 3:50 p.m. Visitors are welcome.

“This is a chance for our campus to hear about how we can improve the classroom experience for our students and how we can help honor faculty for inclusive, engaged and research-led teaching,” said Sierra Dawson, associate vice provost for academic affairs. “Dr. Clark is considered a national leader in this area, and I’m looking forward to our faculty having the opportunity to learn more.”

Senate President Bill Harbaugh, an economics professor, said having Clark on campus will aid the effort to improve teaching evaluation.

“We all have an important stake in improving teaching and evaluating faculty,” he said. “Our current system relies too heavily on numerical course evaluations, which have been shown to be biased by gender and race, and uncorrelated with student learning.”

At the UO, the Senate has been working closely with the Office of the Provost to rethink the ways the university conducts teaching evaluations. The joint effort, which began in spring 2017, was designed to come up with a more effective way to define, develop, evaluate and reward teaching excellence.

The Senate created a task force to develop new ways to conduct evaluations at the UO. Currently, most evaluations are based on end-of-the-term ratings by students and a long-used faculty peer review system. Neither, the task force determined, fully gauge success in teaching nor the true ability of faculty members and how they design student learning experiences.

Recent research suggests such surveys include a bias against women and people of color, and they do little in the way of shedding light on teaching excellence or learning.

The Senate approved a motion to add a midterm student experience survey and an optional 10-minute instructor reflection at the end of the term as part of the evaluation process. The optional reflection would go to departments, ensuring that the instructor’s own voice can inform evaluators’ interpretation of student feedback.

Those tools are currently being tested across the UO and likely will become available campuswide for the 2019-20 academic year.

The Senate has been a driving force behind the potential improvements, establishing a new committee to work on continuous improvement and evaluation of teaching. The committee will regularly report to the Senate, and it plans to bring a new motion by the end of the academic year that would add a student experience survey at the end of each term, replacing the current student course evaluation.

To support the work, the provost has established a community for accelerating the impact of teaching focused on teaching excellence and evaluation. The community includes faculty members and local leaders from each school or college within the university, along with representatives from all three divisions of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Several faculty members from the group are testing the Senate-approved midterm student experience survey and the end-of-term instructor reflection, along with a novel end-of-term student experience survey. That effort includes faculty members from the Clark Honors College, the Lundquist College of Business, the School of Planning, Public Policy and Management in the College of Design and the human physiology and English departments in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The movement to reform teaching evaluation reaches beyond the UO. The Association of American Universities, with 60 member campuses in the United States and two in Canada, is spearheading an effort to connect schools working on teaching evaluation reform.

Across the globe, universities in Tasmania, Singapore, the United Kingdom and Sweden are also looking for ways to evaluate and celebrate successful instruction, along with creating innovative ways to evaluate teaching.

By David Austin, University Communications

A modest proposal to moderate coaches’ compensation

These are a bit out of control – just take a look at my cousin Jim’s:

Every now and then the NCAA university presidents say they are going to try and do something about this. The NCAA then tells them that anti-trust law prevents them from conspiring to lower wages, they give up, and the coaches get still more.

Which is weird, because the NCAA specializes in evading labor market law to suppress student-athlete wages. Surely they could figure out how to work this on coaches, if the university presidents got serious.

How about this proposal, for starters: Have all the coaches work for the NCAA, not the university athletic departments. The NCAA could then set a wage as an employer, not as a cartel. Say $250K for each BCS coach, with cost of living increases. Al Roth could then run a matching mechanism where universities list their top coaches, and coaches list their top universities, and they are matched iteratively. The proper algorithm would produce an stable and strategy proof outcome where no coach would like to move to a university that would have them, and no university would like to replace their coach with another one that would move there. Since tastes and performance change, this could be rerun every few years.

Unmatched coaches could collect unemployment insurance.

Remember the Hat Day: November 21

2018: Is UO better off now than it was in 2011? Better off than if Kitzhaber hadn’t fired Lariviere? Better off with our independent Board of Trustees? I don’t know. The Board has not delivered yet.

I do know that I continue to be amazed and inspired by how then Senate President Rob Kyr and the faculty, students, and UO supporters handled Lariviere’s firing and the subsequent chaos.

2017:  I think nostalgia for Lariviere peaked under Mike Gottfredson, and has fallen to historical lows under Mike Schill. Here’s the post from 2015, with a few updates:


Break out your hats and mark the day. On November 21st 2011, three four five six years and four five UO presidents ago, OUS Chancellor George Pernsteiner and Board Chair Matt Donegan came down to UO with their ultimatum and told Lariviere to resign, for trying to implement his “New Partnership” plan to combine $1B in state bonds and $800M in private donations to create a sustainable funding model for UO, run by an independent UO Board. The endowment income would have, in theory, produced enough income to more than replace the state’s annual appropriations, and have allowed UO to keep in-state tuition low.

He also ignored the governor’s call for a pay freeze, and passed out a round of secret raises to faculty and staff. Lariviere refused to leave, so they fired him, on instructions from Governor Kitzhaber. Nigel Jaquiss broke the news on the 22nd.

Six years later, where are the principals in this sad event?

UO President Richard Lariviere: Now president of Chicago’s Field Museum, and apparently well on his way to completing a turnaround of that troubled institution.

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Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber: Resigned after getting caught trying to destroy his email archives, and found guilty of violations of Oregon ethics law.

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OUS Chancellor George Pernsteiner: Still living at Treetops and using Oregon students’ tuition money to pay for his kids’ maid service. Just kidding, the croissant chancellor went on to a $300K sinecure as president of SHEEO, a little known non-profit higher ed policy group in Colorado. He’s now retired from that, and is on the board at Bridgeport, a scandal ridden for-profit university system.

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OUS Board Chair Matt Donegan: After a very nasty divorce he sold his timber business, then sent out some feelers on restarting his political career. The response was not good, and he’s dropped out of public life to work on counting his money.

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(Bridget Burns and Chuck Triplett at the 2011 Mac Court meeting.)

OUS Board Secretary Chuck Triplett: Triplett’s role in setting up the secret discussions that led to the board’s decision to fire Lariviere may never be fully known, unless I can get my hands on the OUS digital email archives. Meanwhile he has parlayed his $72K job for Pernsteiner into a $130K job for UO, and then a promotion from Scott Coltrane. All without an affirmative action compliant search. He’s currently JH liason to the UO Senate – an appointment made without consulting the Senate with which he is supposed to liase. He’s currently UO liason to the HECC, the putative replacement to OUS.

Pernsteiner’s Chief of Staff Bridget Burns: She and Triplett were quite the team. After OUS collapsed she set up a consulting business, which just got a $9.8M grant from the DoE. According to her website,

… she led the successful legislative effort to free Oregon’€™s seven universities from state agency status, for which she received the national award for innovation in government relations from colleagues spanning the national higher education landscape at AASCU, APLU, AACC, and CASE.

Wow, and to think Mark Haas and Mike Gottfredson have been claiming all the credit for SB 270.

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UO Senate President, Protector and Defender of the University, Slayer of Chancellors, and Professor of Music Robert Kyr: “Mr. Pernsteiner, answer the question as a human being would answer it.”

Kyr is now back at his regular job, composing and teaching music theory.

Provost Banavar appoints members to CAS analysis task force

The original timeline is here. Two of the 22 members are UO Senators, elected by the Senate CAS Caucus. Karen Ford, chair of the task force, has agreed that the UO Senate should vote on any reorganization of CAS.

Sent on behalf of Provost Jayanth Banavar


Dear Colleagues,

President Michael Schill and I are pleased to announce the membership of the task force that will be analyzing the structure of the University of Oregon’s College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) to determine if the combination of disciplines is best suited to deliver on our mission of excellence in teaching, research, scholarship, and creative work.

Last month, we informed the university community that we were creating the task force and charging it with looking at the advantages and disadvantages of the current structure of CAS, particularly in relation to possible other structures (e.g., two colleges or three colleges). Part of that discussion will include an examination of the current internal CAS structure, the relative advantages and disadvantages of the structure, and determining whether we have the most effective organization to meet our liberal arts mission.

The task force also will be asked to determine whether changes relating to other schools or colleges at UO might make sense in the context of the issues being examined. In other words, are there benefits to having some parts of CAS more tied to any of the professional schools, or vice versa?

To arrive at the membership, we solicited input from across the university and many people made recommendations that influenced our final decision. We appreciate all the feedback and are grateful to those who have volunteered their time on this important endeavor.

The task force members are:

Elliot Berkman, CAS, Natural Sciences, Psychology, Associate Professor
Tina Boscha, CAS, Humanities, English, Senior Instructor
Melissa Bowers, CAS, Humanities, English, (OA) Department Manager
Ben Brinkley, CASIT, (OA) Director
Karen Ford, CAS (Task Force Chair), Humanities, English, Senior Divisional Dean and Professor
Pedro García-Caro, CAS, Humanities, Romance Languages, Associate Professor
Spike Gildea, CAS, Humanities, Linguistics, Professor
Monica Guy, CAS, Humanities, Environmental Studies, (OA) Office Manager
Bruce McGough, CAS, Social Sciences, Economics, Professor/Department Head
Betsy McLendon, CAS Advisory Board member
Juan-Carlos Molleda, School of Journalism and Communication, Professor of Communications/Dean
Gabe Paquette, Clark Honors College, Professor of History and International Studies/Dean
Craig Parsons, CAS, Social Sciences, Political Science, Professor/Department Head
Mike Price, CAS, Natural Sciences, Math, Senior Instructor
Tyrone Russ, CASIT, (Classified Staff) Buyer
Brad Shelton, Office of the Provost, Natural Sciences, Math, Executive Vice Provost
Janelle Stevenson, CAS, Natural Sciences, Biology, Graduate Student
Joe Sventek, CAS, Natural Sciences, Computer & Information Science, Professor/Department Head
Richard Taylor, CAS, Natural Sciences, Physics, Professor/Department Head
Frances White, CAS, Social Sciences, Anthropology, Professor/Department Head
Rocío Zambrana, CAS, Humanities, Philosophy, Associate Professor
Undergraduate Student, TBD (invitation pending)

Teri Rowe, the department manager for Economics and Sociology, will provide staff support to the task force.

As you can see, we have a robust, experienced, and capable group who will work together for this analysis. We expect the analysis to include discussions about whether we are maximizing organizational design to achieve and grow academic excellence, whether any changes to the current design would weaken current advantages or mitigate existing problems, whether changes would impact interdisciplinary work and collaboration, how changes might impact (positively or negatively) various departments and disciplines, structural/administrative issues relative to the current or a new structure, and other relevant issues.

The task force will begin its work this fall. As we move forward, it’s critical for all of us to support the effort in a positive and constructive way. We have heard a variety of thoughts and theories about why we have organized a task force: a branding effort or a cost saving effort; an attempt to drive institutional resources to the Knight Campus; or simply an effort to boost certain disciplines by abandoning others. These are simply untrue.

The fundamental premise is: What structure will allow us to best deliver on our goal of excellence in teaching, research, scholarship, and creative work?

Meetings of the task force will be open to the public, and we will give regular updates on the group’s progress on the provost’s website and through other communications. You are always welcome to share thoughts, questions, and ideas through

Sincerely, Jayanth Banavar Provost and Senior Vice President

Univ pays $35K to bail from Foundation’s appeal of public records decision

That would be the University of New Mexico. Daniel Libit has the story here:


By Daniel Libit

The University of New Mexico continues to run up a tab for its anti-transparency past.

As part of a recent settlement agreement, the school has agreed to pay $35,000 of my legal fees in order to be dismissed as a defendant in a public records lawsuit I filed against the UNM Foundation.

You can read the full agreement here.

In May, Judge Nancy Franchini ruled in favor of my lawsuit, which contends that the UNM Foundation should be subject to the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act, even though it is established as a separate, non-profit organization. The Foundation, which is not a part to the settlement, is appealing Franchini’s ruling.

The suit was filed last year after the Foundation refused to turn over financial records and internal emails related to the WisePies naming-rights agreement for University Arena.

The University of New Mexico’s Board of Regents was named as a co-defendant, since it is the body that established and has ultimate control over the UNM Foundation. The lawsuit alleges that the Foundation “is an arm” of the University, as codified in a Memorandum of Agreement between the two entities.

Grad student union unequivocally condemns University for hosting speaker

Turning Point is a well-funded right-wing agit-prop group that regularly tries to get me to repost links to their poorly written and researched stories about left-wing agit-prop professors, e.g. a recent one about the fact that no UO faculty give money to Republican candidates. (The $5K that Chuck Lillis gave to Ben Carson doesn’t count, since Lillis is just a trustee.)

Even worse, they didn’t cite my earlier, seminal work on this. Desk reject. I tell them that I’ll repost their stuff if they’ll add me to their Professor Watchlist of dangerously liberal faculty, which would give me some street cred with the faculty, but I think they’re on to me.

TP sponsors a UO student group, which brought a speaker to campus Friday. The Daily Emerald has the story here:

… Cabot said that it is hard to stay conservative on campus with social and academic pressures, but those who are end up more informed politically. He said he worries that liberal students are not being exposed to ideas from all areas of the political spectrum.

“When [liberal students] do finally hear conservative ideas, they don’t know how to handle them,” Cabot said.

As is demonstrated by this op-ed from the GTFF grad student union exec committee, here:

The elected leadership of the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation unequivocally condemns the University’s hosting of Cabot Phillips’s “Liberal Privilege” tour. For over forty years, the GTFF has committed itself to fostering an environment of academic freedom, rigorous debate, and the life of the mind for graduate employees and the wider campus community. Phillips and his associated organizations “Campus Reform” and “Turning Point USA” are only interested in cheap political theater at the expense of UO’s students and employees, not good-faith exploration of political ideas. …

For the record, I hope this means that GTFF is not going to be engaging in cheap political theater by chanting and drumming all over campus next time they go on strike.