There is no case for the humanities

Justin Crover has a long polemic in the Chronicle. This is just a brief part of his argument:

The humanities have both left and right defenders and left and right critics. The left defenders of the humanities are notoriously bad at coming up with a coherent, effective defense, but they have been far more consistent in defending the “useless” disciplines against politically and economically charged attacks. The right defenders of the humanities have sometimes put forward a strong and cogent defense of their value, but they have had little sway when it comes to confronting actual attacks on the humanities by conservative politicians. The sad truth is that instead of forging a transideological apology for humanistic pursuits, this ambiguity has led to the disciplines’ being squeezed on both sides.

Indeed, both sides enable the humanities’ adversaries. Conservatives who seek to use the coercive and financial power of the state to correct what they see as ideological abuses within the professoriate are complicit in the destruction of the old-fashioned and timeless scholarship they supposedly are defending. It is self-defeating to make common cause with corporate interests just to punish the political sins of liberal professors. Progressives who want to turn the humanities into a laboratory for social change, a catalyst for cultural revolution, a training camp for activists, are guilty of the same instrumentalization. When they impose de facto ideological litmus tests for scholars working in every field, they betray their conviction that the humanities exist only to serve contemporary political and social ends.

Board of Trustees approves modest tuition increase, higher for Business College, big cut for Honors College

Hannah Karik has the report from last week in the Emerald here. A few students – presumably not from the Honors College – responded with brief chants of “fuck the Oregon Legislature” as they walked out. Or that’s what I think I heard.

Meanwhile the Law School is still offering tuition discounts of 50% for law students. No discussion from the trustees of that.

Meanwhile up at PSU, they’ve matched UO’s PathwayOregon with “Four Years Free” and now extended it to low SES transfers:

Low-income Oregonian college students transferring to Portland State University will no longer have to pay tuition beginning Fall 2018 if they are eligible for the federal Pell Grant and enroll full-time upon transferring.

PSU’s new Transfers Finish Free program will cover base tuition and mandatory fees for up to 15 credits per term to eligible transfer students from any 4-year college or community college.

1000 Oregon State faculty sign to support union

From their union website at Presumably this means they believe they can win a card-check election, and will start soon. Long-time readers may remember that I started out opposed to the UO faculty union, but signed the card once I realized they were going to win, and I’m now the union treasurer. Even the UO administration now agrees -with a few exceptions – that the union has been a good thing for UO.

There is, of course, an anti-union blog, with 35 members, at

  • No premier research-intensive university in the U.S.—no true aspirational peer of OSU—has a unionized tenure-track faculty. Recently, both the University of Washington and the University of Minnesota worked to successfully defeat unionization of their faculty, for reasons similar to those listed below.

I guess we’re not premier research-intensive aspirational peer for OSU. Most of their anti-union language is cut-pasted from other anti-union blogs. Berdahl and Gottfredson spent $1M or so, mostly tuition money, on anti-union consultants and lawyers to fight the UO union, including this defamatory open letter to the faculty, accusing me of being “anti-university”:

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 12.05.13 AM

From what I can tell from the emails, the letter came from UO General Counsel Randy Geller, Associate GC Doug Park, Faculty Athletics Representative Tim Gleason, VPAA Barbara Altmann, VPAA Doug Blandy, Consultant Marla Rae, HLGR’s Sharon Rudnick, William F. Gary and Kate Grado, and Michelle Cole of Gallatin Public Affairs – or at least they were in the loop.

I don’t know what OSU is doing in this regard.

Trustees to meet for a few hours Friday March 2

Board of Trustees
Meeting Agenda | March 2, 2018
Ford Alumni Center Giustina Ballroom
FRIDAY, MARCH 2 – 8:30 a.m.


1. Standing Reports
-University Senate President Chris Sinclair
– Public comment
-ASUO President Amy Schenk
-Provost Jayanth Banavar
-President Michael Schill

2. FY19 Tuition and Fees: Mike Schill, President; Jamie Moffitt, Vice President for Finance and Administration and CFO

The proposal from Pres Schill and VPFA Moffitt includes two “differential tuition” components.

One is a $20 per credit add-on for business school classes. This was brought to the “Tuition and Fee Advisory Board” by the B-school dean, and their report here includes extensive discussion (page 4 and 5) of the pros and cons. The increase will reduce the need for increases in tuition for other UO students. The business school commits to use 20% of the new fees to reduce tuition for their low income students.

The second proposal is for a cut to tuition for Honors College students. This proposal will increase the need for tuition increases for other students. This  cut is not tied to income, or merit. The cut was not brought to the TFAB. Instead it was approved on the side, at a meeting of the Budget Advisory Group after a brief presentation by VP Brad Shelton. Not exactly transparent.

At UO discounts (scholarships) for low income and high ability students average 10% of the listed tuition. Our comparators average discounts of about 20%. This difference is part of the reason why UO’s enrollment is falling and why we are doing such a bad job enrolling low income students relative to our peers. The Honors College tuition cuts will make this problem worse.

3. Academic Area in Focus – Global Health: Josh Snodgrass, Professor of Anthropology; Kristin Yarris, Professor of International Studies, Director of the Global Health Minor

Board of Trustees holds snoozer of a meeting March 1, 2

I’ll try to live-blog some of this, and I’ll be there for the public comments Friday, but there are limits on how much of this stuff I can take.

Their website makes it as hard as possible to figure out what is going on, so here are the agendas for the committees and the BOT, with links to the meeting materials. Looks like a snoozer to me, but if you see something, say something.

As usual Jamie Moffitt does not show the Trustees any substantive data on UO’s budgetary decisions such as how much goes to athletics, the various colleges, etc. No mention of the centralization of resources which is causing College of Ed dissension. No discussion of the increasing proportion of resources going to the central administration at the cost of the College of Arts and Sciences. No discussion of the continuing subsidies for the law school and (rumor has it) the College of Design.

The Executive and Audit Committee materials do not include Internal Auditor Trisha Burnett’s report, and when the Trustees do get to see the report, at the meeting, it will avoid any specifics that might alert them to problems or lead them to ask tough questions or allow them to do their due diligence.

There are, however, shiny powerpoints from the Chief Resilience Officer and the Chief of Police, complete with photos of the new dog.

Board of Trustees | Academic and Student Affairs Committee
Public Meeting | March 1, 2018, 9:00 a.m.
All meetings in Ford Alumni Center | Giustina Ballroom


1. Accreditation – March Report to NWCCU

Banavar: No worries, all is well. No questions from the board.

2. Educator Equity in Teacher Preparation Plan – Submission to HECC (Action): Randy Kamphaus, Dean, College of Education; Krista Chronister, Associate Dean, College of Education

Chronister: No worries, all is well. No questions from the BOT. Endorsed unanimously.

3. Teaching Excellence: Scott Pratt, Executive Vice Provost; Sierra Dawson, Associate Vice Provost; Lee Rumbarger, Teaching Engagement Program Director

Starts with photo of a recent intermediate microeconomics class:

Pratt: No worries, all is excellent and we’re making it more excellent.

Rumbarger: Teaches courses on the fictional representation of teachers. (I didn’t know that, cool.)

Dawson: Fact based research on how to do more excellent teaching. Starts by asking the BOT to recall some excellent teaching they were exposed to.

Trustees seem to be enjoying this.

Rumbarger advocates for using specifics to talk about teaching excellence. Read the packet, I can’t type that fast. Many specific examples of how the TEP is promoting simple practices that improve teaching.

Dawson explains more about how AAU is now emphasizing teaching improvements, need for better student feedback and teaching evaluation procedures.

Pratt explains need for better evaluation, more emphasis on using the Teaching Excellence Program to improve faculty teaching.

Some good questions from the trustees.

4. Mental Health – Student Services and Support: Doneka Scott, Assoc. Vice Provost for Student Success; Shelly Kerr, Director of the Counseling and Testing Center; Kris Winter, Dean of Students

The Trustees are asking some excellent and skeptical questions of Kerr, regarding the survey and what it means.

5. Clark Honors College – Structural Changes and Updates: Karen Ford, Interim Dean, Clark Honors College

Sorry, I’ve got to leave. Ford did a good job presenting this to the Senate yesterday.


Board of Trustees | Finance and Facilities Committee
Public Meeting | March 1, 2018, 1:15 p.m.


1. Quarterly Financial Reports: Jamie Moffitt, Vice President for Finance and Administration and CFO

2. Capital Project Proposal – University Health Center / University Counseling and Testing Center: Michael Griffel, Director, University Housing

Sorry, I missed this meeting. I’m sure it was a thorough 45 minutes.


Board of Trustees | Executive and Audit Committee
Public Meeting | March 1, 2018, 2:00 p.m.


1. Quarterly Audit Report: Trisha Burnett, Chief Auditor

There’s no there here:

And here it is, shown to the Trustees just before the meeting: Three pages. How can the Executive and Audit Committee do its due diligence like this?

Chuck Lillis: Trisha is doing a great job telling me things in closed meetings.

Ross Kari: Some evidence of improvements in past deficiencies.

Peter Bragdon: How have you tried to market the hotline? A little.

No mention of departure of Auditor Stephanie McGee, for a better job at another university. Lots of turnover – never a good sign in an internal audit department.

2. Enterprise Risk Management: Andre Le Duc, Associate Vice President and Chief Resiliency Officer

Not clear where the Bach Festival fits into this. UO’s spending on risk management has grown enormously – here are the employee counts, from IR. Not clear why the Board doesn’t require this sort of information in reports:

Connie Ballmer: Why is your office dealing with things like enrollment and academic quality?

Le Duc: It’s all about protecting the brand. My office needs to monitor and proactively manage everything.

3. University of Oregon Police Department – Overview and Updates: Matt Carmichael, Chief of Police

By all accounts Carmichael is doing a great job rebuilding the UOPD. And his budget is flat:

That said, I can’t help but think that somewhere far, far away there’s a poor village surrounded by landmines from some forgotten war. They could really use this dog:

Carmichael and his three students have many other good things to report, including more student shuttle services (started by ASUO, now managed by UOPD at their request) and bringing the UOPD back on campus, by putting a substation in Onyx Bridge.

Adjourn til Tomorrow.

Draft Multicultural Requirements revision proposal

The Senate wasn’t shown a copy of this for the discussion today, but here’s the draft that has been circulating on the listservs for the Town Hall meetings that have been going on, and which are scheduled for Th and Fri.

This draft will be used to focus conversations about possible changes to UO’s multicultural requirement. It is written in the language of a motion that could eventually go to the UO Senate for a vote. Ideally it will give readers something concrete to consider and revise.

Please be in touch ( if you would like to offer individual feedback. We look forward to working together on this important part of UO’s curriculum.

UO Multicultural Requirement: A Possible Revision

Section I

1.1 WHEREAS the University of Oregon has, since 1994, required two “multicultural” courses for a baccalaureate degree selected in two of three categories, American Cultures, International Cultures, and Identity, Pluralism and Tolerance.

1.2 WHEREAS the Black Student Task Force drew the campus’s attention to the degree to which our curriculum raised as a central thematic focus the study of unequal power distribution; allowed for attention to U.S. histories and communities; and emphasized resistance and resilience – rejecting a deficit model of identity.

1.3 WHEREAS the University’s response to the Black Student Task Force included the formation of a faculty-student Ethnic Studies 101 Working Group in January 2016, which ultimately recommended a shared, across-the-disciplines approach to teaching about “inequality and injustice” and developing students’ “skills to navigate a diversifying world” (BSTF memo).

1.4 WHEREAS a parallel joint committee of the Undergraduate Council and the University Committee on Courses expressed “dissatisfaction with the current categories and structure” of the multicultural requirement and identified a “diluting of the purpose and coherence of the requirement.”

1.5 WHEREAS the joint committee recommended updating the multicultural requirement category titles and descriptions to reflect “current scholarship in the field of critical multicultural education” and addressing an “imbalance in the categories” that means most UO students do not take American Cultures (AC) courses and, thus, “are not exposed to the critical conversations occurring in AC courses addressing a critical analysis of students’ cultural context and assumptions.”

1.6 WHEREAS a faculty group reporting to Undergraduate Council, the active, 12-member Working Group on Intercultural and Inclusive Teaching met across the 2016-17 academic year to consider the learning outcomes, teaching strategies, and curricular and support structures it determined best suited for building faculty and student capacities related to critical multicultural education.

1.7 WHEREAS on November 11, 2016 the UO Senate resolved to “strengthen our curricula to reflect the diversity of peoples and cultures that have contributed to human knowledge and society, in the United States and throughout the world.”

1.8 WHEREAS a broad effort to update the general education requirements, which have not been significantly changed since at least the 1990’s, is beginning this year with the formation of a Senate Core Education Task Force, the multicultural requirement is in obvious need of updating and can serve as an important first step and model for future changes in this broad effort.

1.9 WHEREAS the charge of the Undergraduate Council includes: (1) Review and promote the objectives and purposes of undergraduate education and assure that all policies and procedures, curricula, personnel and teaching decisions that affect undergraduate education are consistent and defensible with the institution’s undergraduate education mission as defined in the University’s Mission Statement and Statement of Philosophy, Undergraduate Education; (3) Formulate, monitor, and respond to general academic policies, especially those which have impact on undergraduate programs across the University.

1.10 WHEREAS the Undergraduate Council passed (INSERT TITLE) on (INSERT DATE).

Section II

2.1 BE IT HEREBY MOVED that the current Multicultural requirement be reduced from the current 3 categories (American Cultures (AC),International Cultures (IC) and Identity, Pluralism and Tolerance (IP)) to 2 new categories, United States (US) and International (INTL).

US courses will draw primarily on illustrative material from the United States.

INTL courses will draw primarily on illustrative material from outside the United States.

Transnational experiences of difference, power and agency will appear in both categories.

Students will be required to take one course from each of these categories.

2.2 BE IT FURTHER MOVED that Multicultural courses in each category formed in 2.1 will explicitly address:

  1. Inequality, that is, the operation of political, economic and other forms of power to exclude, subjugate, marginalize by establishing classifications and hierarchies on the basis of social formations such as race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, nationality, sub-nationality, etc.
  2. Resistance, that is, practices of agency and solidarity in response to discrimination or inequality, especially as manifest in the histories, linguistic forms, cultural production, and scholarship of those subject to discrimination or inequality.
  3. Intersectionality, that is, the reality that human populations cannot be neatly classified into single and discrete identity categories, but instead express multiple and changing forms of identification depending on multiple and overlapping social formations, histories, legal frameworks, and cultural practices.
  4. Listening and reflection, offering tools for ethical dialogue across many perspectives, to expand students’ abilities to engage in respectful, civil conversation on deeply felt issues on campus, and in wider national and global contexts.

Today at 3PM: Senate on Honors College restart, romantic relationships, multicultural


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

3:00 P.M.   Call to Order

  • Introductory Remarks; Senate President Chris Sinclair
  • Update from Johnson Hall

3:20 P.M. Approval of Minutes, February 14, 2018 & Consent Calendar

3:25 P.M.   Business

  • Clark Honors College; Karen Ford, Divisional Dean for CAS Humanities
  • Discussion: Romantic Relationships; Sonja Boos
  • Motion Intro: Learning Outcomes; Chris Sinclair
  • Multicultual Requirement; Lee Rumbarger, Alison Gash, Avinnash Tiwari and Michael Hames-Garcia

4:50 P.M.   Open Discussion
4:50 P.M.   Reports
4:50 P.M.   Notice(s) of Motion

  • Department Honors

4:50 P.M.   Other Business
5:00 P.M.   Adjourn

And, after adjourning:

Faculty club provides opportunity to buttonhole Banavar, Blonigen, Scher

Last week’s Faculty club sessions with Sarah Nutter (Bus Dean) and Andrew Marcus (CAS Dean) were as close to capacity as I’ve seen the faculty club, although Hal Sadofsky (CAS-Science) blew it off to go skiing – which in my metrics counts as an excused absence.

This Wed we have Jayanth Banavar (Provost), followed Th by Bruce Blonigen (CAS), and Phil Scher (CAS):

Dear Colleagues,

The Faculty Club will be meeting this week, during the usual hours (Wednesdays and Thursdays 5:00-8:00 pm).

On Wednesday the tone will be more literary than ever, as the English Department will be gathering at the corner tables.  Also this week the UO Senate-sponsored “Talk to Your Dean Night” series continues, with key university leaders making themselves available to discuss any and all topics over drinks & hors-d’oeuvres.  Jayanth Banavar (Provost) will be holding forth on Wednesday, and Bruce Blonigen (Dean of Faculty for CAS) will be hosting on Thursday—come chat them up and see what “makes them tick.”

Hope to see you either night, or both nights!

Yours, James Harper
Chair of the Faculty Club Board


WHO: The UO Faculty Club is open to all UO statutory faculty—tenure-track faculty, career non-tenure-track faculty, and OAs tenured in an academic department, as well as people retired from positions in these categories.  Eligible people may bring anyone they like as guests.

WHAT: Complimentary hors d’oeuvres and coffee; cash bar with beer, wine, liquor and non-alcoholic beverages.

WHERE: The Faculty Club meets in a designated room on the ground floor of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.  Enter at the museum’s main entrance and turn right; the club room is right off the lobby.

WHEN: Wednesdays 5:00-8:00 pm; Thursdays 5:00-8:00 pm, from through the end of the Winter Term.

On the Work of the University, from Prof Ken Calhoon

It’s not just Nobel Prize winning economists and the UK Research Councils who think the administration’s research metrics plan is a mistake. Ken Calhoon, head of UO’s Dept of Comparative Literature, provides a less mathematical but no less thorough dissection:

February 27th, 2018

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Mozart wrote forty-one symphonies, Beethoven only nine. I have written none, but I offer these thoughts on metrics. I apologize in advance for the naiveté, as well as the pathos.

On September 14th, at the beginning of the current academic year, University Provost and Senior Vice President Jayanth Banavar hosted a retreat for “academic leaders” in the EMU Ballroom. The highpoint of the assembly, in my view, was Jayanth’s own (seemingly impromptu) description of the research of David Wineland, the Nobel Laureate who recently joined the UO’s Department of Physics as a Knight Professor. In a manner that suggested that he himself must have been a gifted teacher, Jayanth provided a vivid and accessible account of Wineland’s signature accomplishment—speculative work aimed at increasing the computational speed of computers by “untrapping” atoms, enabling them to exist at more than one energy level at a time. With a humorous gesture to his own person, Jayanth ventured that it might be hard to imagine his body being in two rooms at once, but Wineland had figured out how, in the case of very small particles, this is possible. My own knowledge of quantum physics is limited to the few dismissive quips for which Einstein was notorious, e. g. “God is subtle but not malicious.” In any event, Wineland’s work was made to sound original and impressive. Equally impressive was the personable, humane and effective fashion in which Jayanth, with recourse to imagery and physical self-reference, sought to convey the essence of his fellow physicist’s work across all the disciplines represented in the room—and at the University.

I was inspired by the experience of seeing one person so animated by the work of another. However, my enthusiasm is measured today against the discouragement and disaffection that I and so many of my colleagues feel at the University’s current push, without meaningful debate, to metricize excellence—to evaluate our research in terms quite alien to the values our work embodies. As a department head with a long history at this institution, I must say that I feel helpless before the task of breaking our work down into increments and assigning numerical values to them. It can be done, of course, but the resulting currency would be counterfeit.

Over the course of my thirty-one-year career at the University of Oregon, I have presided over quite a few tenure and promotion cases and have been party to many more, both as departmental participant and as a member, for a two-year stint, of the Dean’s Advisory Committee in the College of Arts and Sciences. I am also routinely asked to evaluate faculty for tenure and promotion at other colleges and universities, where the process is more or less identical to ours. In past years I have been asked to write for faculty at Cornell, Harvard (twice), Johns Hopkins (twice), Washington University, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, University of Minnesota (twice), Penn State, and Irvine, among others. I mention this not to boast—god forbid!—but to emphasize that institutions of the highest standing readily recruit faculty from the UO to assist in their internal decisions on professional merit and advancement.

For such decisions at the UO, department heads solicit evaluations from outside reviewers who are not only experts in the relevant field but are also well placed. They are asked to submit, along with their review, their own curriculum vitae and a biographical sketch. Reviewers are instructed to identify the most significant scholarly contributions which the individual under review has made, and to assess the impact of those contributions on the discipline. They are also asked to discuss the “appropriateness” of the publication venues, and also to “contextualize” their remarks with regard to common practices within the discipline or sub-field. They are asked to compare, “both qualitatively and quantitatively,” the work of the individual under review with that of other scholars in the field at comparable stages in their academic careers. Finally, the outside reviewers are asked to state whether the research record under consideration would meet the standards for tenure and promotion at their home institution. These instructions, which follow a template provided by Academic Affairs, differ little if at all from those I have received from other universities.

In response to these requests, we typically receive narratives, often three and four pages in length, in which reviewers—in accordance with the instructions but also with the conventions of professional service—not only discuss the candidate’s work in detail but also contextualize that work in relation, for example, to the evolving nature of the field, to others working on the same or similar material, not to mention the human content of that material. (I am usually asked to review the work of scholars working on the history of German literature and thought, as well as literary and film theory.) Looking back over the reports I have authored, I see that they contain phrases like “body of work,” “breadth of learning,” “intellectual energy,” “daunting command,” “surprising intervention,” “dazzling insight,” “staggering productivity,” etc. These formulations are subjective. As such, they are consistent with the process whereby one mind comes to grip with another. I am inclined to say that this process is particular to the humanities, but Jayanth Banavar’s lively and lucid presentation of David Wineland’s research would prove me wrong. It conveyed excitement.

What distinguishes the humanities from the sciences and many of the other, empirically oriented fields is that our disciplines are not consensus-based. We disagree among ourselves, often sharply, on questions of approach or method, on the validity and importance of the materials studied, on how arguments or interpretations should be structured or conceptualized. These disagreements may take place between departments at different universities, or within a single department. Disciplines within the humanities are in flux, and we suffer the additional burden of finding ourselves in a social and cultural world whose regard for humanistic work is markedly diminished. We often scramble to re-define our relevance while the ground shifts beneath our feet. To seek a stable set of ostensibly objective standards for measuring our work is to misrecognize the very essence of our work. These same standards risk becoming the instruments of this misrecognition.

In any case, the process of review for tenure and promotion, as formalized by Academic Affairs and by the more extensive guidelines which each unit has created, and for which each unit has secured approval both by its respective college and by Academic Affairs, already accounts for such factors as the stature of a press or journal, the rigor with which books and articles are reviewed, the quantity of publications balanced against their quality, and the impact which the faculty member’s research has had, or may be expected to have. But why the need to strip these judgments of their connective tissue? And for whom?

Curriculum vitae – “the course of [one’s] life.” When I was an undergraduate (at the University of Louisville, no less), I was greatly influenced by an historian of seventeenth-century Britain, Arthur J. Slavin. The dean of the college, he had been a friend of the mathematician Jacob Bronowski, recently deceased at the time, best known for his PBS series The Ascent of Man. One episode of the series begins with a blind woman carefully running her fingers over the face of an elderly, gaunt gentleman and speculating as to the hard course of his life. “The lines of his face could be lines of possible agony,” she says. The judgment is subjective, but accurate: The man, like Bronowski a Polish Jew, had survived Auschwitz, the remnants of which provide Bronowski with a physical backdrop for the dramatic and moving summation of an episode dedicated to the ramifications of the Principle of Uncertainty, which had been formulated by Werner Heisenberg just as all of Europe was about to fall victim to a despotic belief in absolute certainty. “It is said that science will dehumanize people and turn them into numbers. That is false: tragically false. Look for yourself…. This is where people were turned into numbers.”

I don’t mean to overdramatize the analogy, or even really to suggest one. I am more interested in Bronowski’s general statement that “[all] knowledge, all information between human beings, can only be exchanged within a play of tolerance. And that is true whether the exchange is in science, or in literature, or in religion, or in politics, or in any form of thought that aspires to dogma.” The dogma we are faced with today is that of corporate thinking, which is despotic in the sense that it mystifies. We in this country are inclined to think that people who have amassed great wealth know something we don’t—that they have the magic touch. It is from them and their public advocates that we hear the constant calls for governments, universities, prisons, hospitals, museums, utilities, national forests and parks to be run more like businesses. Why? (And which businesses? IBM? TWA? Pan Am? Bear Stearns? Enron? Wells Fargo?) Why is the business model the presumed natural guarantor of good organization? Why not a symphony? an eco-system? a cooperative? a republic? a citizenry? Why is the university not a model for business? Businesses certainly benefit from the talent we cultivate and send their way, outfitted with the knowledge, the verbal agility, the conceptual power that make up our stock in trade.

Our current national political scene presents us with constant images of promiscuous, self-reproducing wealth. Within this context, which is an extreme one, it is urgent that we as a collective make our case, and in terms commensurate with our self-understanding as researchers, thinkers, writers, fine artists, and teachers, not in terms that conform so transparently to the prevailing model of worker productivity.

Those who maintain that inert numbers are the only means we have for communicating our value have already been proven wrong by our own provost. I call upon our president, our provost and our many deans to bring their considerable talents, their public stature, as well as their commitment to the University, to bear on our cause. Many of us, I’m sure, are ready to support you.

With respect and thanks,


Kenneth S. Calhoon, Head
Department of Comparative Literature
University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-5242

UO submits Conditional Use Permit to City for North Campus

2/28/2018: Yesterday, after a last-minute meeting between the administration and faculty opponents, the UO administration submitted its request to the city for a Conditional Use Permit that would allow it to put lighted astro-turf playing fields [sorry, I meant “outdoor classrooms”] and some buildings between the railroad tracks and the Willamette. Franklin Lewis has the story in the Emerald The city’s very transparent planning website has the proposal details at

The city planning office notes:

… Once the application is received, the City will have 30 days to determine whether it is complete. If it is not complete, the applicant can either submit the missing information/materials within 180 days, or tell the City to deem it complete based on what they already provided. Once the application is deemed complete, we will prepare public notice and the public involvement period will begin.

Conditional Use Permits follow a type III review process and will include a public hearing. You can see the basic event flow for this type of review here. Also, this CUP review will be based on meeting the approval criteria specifically for the Riverfront Park Special Area Zone (found at Eugene Code 9.3725). The most effective testimony makes a clear case as to how a project does or does not meet the applicable criteria for approval.

You can get updates by emailing GIOELLO Nick R <> and asking to be added to be added to the list of interested parties.

2/14/2018: Campus planning wins award for euphemism of the month

Continue reading

CAS faculty meet today at 2PM for “Metrics, Humanities, and Social Science”

Dear Humanities and Social Science faculty,

Please join your colleagues Scott DeLancey (Linguistics), Spike Gildea (Linguistics), Volya Kapatsinski (Linguistics), Leah Middlebrook (Comparative Literature), Lanie Millar (Romance Languages), and Lynn Stephen (Anthropology) for a discussion of metrics for measuring our departmental research quality and the quality of our graduate programs. The panel will briefly summarize work done in some of our departments to identify what we value in our own work, ways to measure how well we achieve goals we value, and how we might take leadership in moving comparator institutions towards identifying and measuring their goals in comparable ways.

Tuesday, February 27 2:00-3:30 pm Gerlinger Lounge

Thanks to Lanie, Leah, Lynn, Scott, Spike, and Volya for their willingness to lead a timely discussion as we all consider how to create meaningful and useful metrics for our departments and disciplines.

Karen Ford and Phil Scher

Lost and Found database

FROM UOPD Lost and Found information:


I wanted to take a moment to let you know about the new UOPD lost and found page:

In addition to our voicemail (541-346-3232) and e-mail reporting, we now are utilizing an online reporting system for lost and found property.  This system allows someone to submit a report that they have lost something and the system automatically checks to see if there is a match in the inventory.

If you have someone inquiring about lost and found, could you please direct them to the website?

If you have lost and found items you wish to send to UOPD you can either send the items via campus mail or, for larger lost and found collections, contact us via e-mail or phone to arrange to have the items picked up.

Questions?  Please let me know.


Sincerely, Royce Myers


Where’s the money going?

I have no idea. I’m sure the Trustees don’t either. For that matter the Deans seem pretty mystified too.

Here’s a little data I was able to pull from the spreadsheets at, showing the “total expenditure budget”. I’m sure it doesn’t tell the whole story of how Johnson Hall decided to allocate the 21% increase in spending from FY15 to FY18, but for now it’s all I’ve got. Planning for the FY19 budget is supposedly already done, but I haven’t seen any numbers.

If you have more info please pass it on.

 FY15  FY18 % change
100100 –  President Administrative Operations  $3,904,358  $3,353,192 -14%
102000 –  General Counsel  $2,167,164  $2,948,103 36%
106000 –  Office of the University Secretary  $783,214  $784,836 0%
120000 –  Senior VP and Provost Operations  $5,087,183  $3,676,749 -28%
150001 –  Academic Extension  $19,231,972  $20,234,765 5%
200100 –  Academic Affairs  $13,662,469  $9,539,764 -30%
210325 –  UO Portland  $4,744,467  $5,606,571 18%
211000 –  VP for Equity & Inclusion  $3,677,529  $4,422,260 20%
212000 –  Vice Provost for Budget & Planning  $1,010,706  $1,167,880 16%
221000 –  Architecture & Allied Arts, School  $22,188,657  $26,949,161 21%
222000 –  Arts & Sciences, College of  $179,290,406  $165,710,841 -8%
224000 –  Honors College  $4,478,698  $6,534,086 46%
225000 –  Business, College of  $31,587,391  $45,642,349 44%
226000 –  Education, College of  $35,288,116  $44,010,083 25%
227000 –  Journalism & Communicatn, School of  $26,261,065  $24,844,249 -5%
228000 –  Law, School of  $19,922,636  $11,936,620 -40%
229000 –  Music and Dance, School of  $13,088,690  $15,528,412 19%
250000 –  Library  $28,705,301  $30,130,618 5%
262000 –  Enrollment Management  $22,936,867  $28,904,313 26%
262010 –  VP Student Life Administration  $5,769,242  $20,906,688 262%
263000 –  Information Services  $22,564,767  $28,230,231 25%
264000 –  International Affairs  $14,622,063  $16,130,006 10%
265000 –  Graduate School  $2,510,852  $5,388,307 115%
266900 –  Physical Education and Recreation  $13,507,039  $12,946,971 -4%
267000 –  Undergraduate Studies  $6,757,702  $7,524,382 11%
267500 –  Counseling & Testing Center  $4,713,500  $4,722,473 0%
267600 –  Career Center  $1,773,108  $1,931,545 9%
267900 –  Dean of Students & AVP Stdnt Life  $9,213,399  $3,651,752 -60%
400500 –  Budget and Finance Division  $834,648  $834,648 0%
410000 –  VP Fin & Admin Operations  $3,302,783  $7,380,976 123%
410310 –  Institutional Research  $654,201  $794,763 21%
410500 –  Campus Planning, Design & Constr  $2,498,911 -100%
410600 –  Office of Internal Audit  $596,256  $811,538 36%
410800 –  Enterprise Risk Services  $3,200,331  $4,805,055 50%
420000 –  Budget and Resource Planning  $867,096  $904,966 4%
422111 –  VPSL Holden Center  $706,583  $785,966 11%
425000 –  Student Union, EMU  $16,128,118  $20,043,628 24%
430000 –  Business Affairs Office  $27,160,932  $74,627,454 175%
432000 –  Purchasing & Contracting Services  $1,370,300  $1,959,954 43%
433300 –  Printing & Mailing Services  $4,904,223  $5,768,424 18%
440000 –  Human Resources  $7,535,311  $9,862,787 31%
440500 –  Affirmative Action  $780,862 -100%
450000 –  Campus Operations  $48,197,233  $49,575,907 3%
460000 –  Police Department  $5,644,855  $5,213,831 -8%
460509 –  Parking and Transportation  $1,980,545  $4,191,019 112%
470000 –  University Housing  $66,774,698  $80,026,521 20%
480000 –  Athletics  $104,001,882  $115,656,341 11%
490000 –  University Health Center  $19,081,659  $19,640,974 3%
500100 –  University Advancement  $26,197,240  $18,009,619 -31%
500200 – University Communications  $11,867,189 #DIV/0!
600000 –  Research  $41,046,060  $59,293,226 44%
900100-UO General / Budget Control  $41,663,697 #DIV/0!
910000-UO General Business Operations  $809,089 #DIV/0!
913698-UO Building/Property Management  $4,932,616 #DIV/0!
Grand Total  $902,913,288  $1,092,817,393  21%