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.

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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.

Thinking about CAS

Since the CAS Dean’s blog does not allow comments, I’m reposting it here. I will note that, unlike the other Deans, Bruce Blonigen and the CAS leadership regularly meet with the CAS Senators in the “CAS Caucus”:

CAS Leadership Update

Continuing our approach to sharing the top items that CAS leadership is currently working on, here is this week’s leadership update. At our recent weekly leadership team meeting, we considered the following items:


We discussed and finalized our proposed expenditure cut plan for the College as requested by the Provost’s Office. This plan was informed by conversations with all of our advisory bodies of faculty and staff in the College, including the CAS Senate Caucus (the CAS faculty and staff who are UO Senators), the Heads Council (two elected heads from each division), the Managers Advisory Committee (two elected department managers from each division), and the entire group of department heads and managers. We are thankful that we were given a relatively modest cut as a College though it is more a challenging exercise because of the expenditures that will come online when Tykeson Hall opens this fall.

We will be discussing our proposal with the Provost over the next two weeks or so to finalize the plan.


Carol Stabile, who is coordinating the development of our new Tykeson Hall operations with our partners in the Division of Undergraduate Education and Student Success and the University Career Center, gave us an update and had a number of discussion items about Tykeson Hall.

As we near completion of construction on Tykeson Hall, we look forward to officially opening the building. We currently plan to open to the public in Fall 2019. Right now, we are working on creating strong partnerships between Tykeson Hall advisors and advising in CAS units through CAS working group meetings and smaller meetings with department heads, managers, and advising staff. We are also working on developing rich materials about our CAS majors that will allow our new colleagues in Tykeson Hall to understand our many units. We look forward to the partnerships that will allow Tykeson Hall to enhance student success on our campus.

Fellowships and Awards

We spoke with Research and Development Services (RDS) about the support they provide in helping faculty apply for prestigious external fellowships and awards. Increasing the nominations and awards that our faculty garner is a major goal for all of us and we talked through various strategies to achieve that goal. We also shared some suggestions about additional support faculty would find helpful. We appreciate RDS taking the time to collect input and continually improve their services.

Effective Meetings Training

The deans spend a large portion of their time each week in a variety of meetings. With that in mind, we held a session on how to improve meetings. Suggestions included making sure to set agendas and sharing materials in advance, assigning times to agenda items, setting clear expectations for the meeting (e.g. communicate goals, ask people to put away laptops and cell phones, use white boards and notetakers, etc.), and following up after the meeting with outcomes and action items. We hope to be able to implement some of these things to help us use meeting time more effectively.

Writing Circles

CAS plans to hold three writing circles in Tykeson Hall in fall term. These circles provide time for faculty to focus on their writing goals in a small group setting with support from other faculty and the faculty member leading the circle. We will send a notice in May to give faculty the opportunity to sign up if they are interested.

PSU President Shoureshi runs afoul of Oregon transparency law

Even a half-competent university general counsel knows how to use Oregon’s anemic public records law to help his president hide public records from the public. Trust me on this.

The fact that PSU’s general counsel is not willing to do that for President Rahmat Shoureshi means Shoureshi’s days are numbered.  Jeff Manning has the latest in the Oregonian, here.

Pres Schill to hold confidential internal search for new Provost

Dear University of Oregon campus community,

In the weeks since Provost Jayanth Banavar announced his intention to step down on July 1, I have personally consulted with dozens of faculty members and administrators on how to proceed in the coming months. In addition, I have engaged in dialogue with groups such as the Faculty Advisory Council, Senate Executive Committee, Deans Council, and Academic Council. I am grateful for all of the advice I received.

We are at a critical time as it relates to our academic mission, a time that requires robust leadership from a provost. This fall, we will open Tykeson Hall and need to ensure that the resources put towards student success bear fruit. Similarly, the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact is set to open next year and much needs to be done to hire faculty, create new programs, and develop meaningful and effective connections to our schools and colleges. Similarly, our nascent data science program needs support from the provost, both to hire faculty members in departments across the campus and ensure cross-disciplinary collaboration. In addition, the provost and the vice president for research and innovation are working with dozens of faculty members to fashion a campuswide academic initiative on resiliency and the environment. We will also begin searching for two new deans this fall (College of Arts and Sciences and College of Design), and having a permanent provost likely will be highly relevant to candidates.

Sustained leadership from the provost will also be required to successfully negotiate bargaining agreements with the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation and United Academics this summer and in fall. Finally, despite the fact that the recently announced budget reductions for most academic units were modest, some schools/colleges and the museums will need help in adapting to them.

Virtually all of the people and stakeholder groups I spoke with were concerned that a long, drawn out search for the provost commencing next fall would impede or slow our progress in moving each of these initiatives forward. The challenge of seeing these efforts through to timely completion would be exacerbated if we hired someone from outside our university, since a national search could take more than a year and then a new leader would require six months or more to get up to speed.

A secondary observation expressed by some was that, over the past four years, we have repeatedly hired academic administrators from other universities, and that the time is ripe to grow and promote academic talent from within. Finally, some mentioned that the substantial cost of an external search for the provost, which could exceed $200,000, seems out of place when we are cutting budgets, raising tuition, and considering workforce reductions.

While I have generally favored external, national searches in the past for top academic and administrative positions, I am convinced that we do not have the luxury of time, and need to act swiftly. I have decided to commence an internal search for a provost immediately, with a goal of identifying a new provost from among our own ranks by the time Provost Banavar steps down. I have asked incoming Senate President and Professor of Psychology Elizabeth Skowron and Professor of Geography Alec Murphy to co-chair the search committee. The committee will be comprised of members who hold a tenure-related or career-faculty appointment (TTF or NTTF) at the UO, with the exception of one member who will be an officer of administration selected from the provost’s portfolio. Over the next few days, we will consult with Senate leaders to recruit two senators to the committee.

This will be a confidential search, though we will provide multiple opportunities for finalists to be interviewed by a variety of campus constituencies. I will ask the search committee to provide me with a report on each finalist’s strengths and weaknesses, and after reviewing feedback from the community, I hope to announce a decision in mid-June. If it turns out that we are unsuccessful in this effort, we will begin a national search in the fall.

I would very much like to encourage anyone who is interested to consider throwing their hat in the ring. We will launch a search website shortly, which will feature the job description and qualifications. A letter of interest and CV should be submitted to search@uoregon.edu no later than midnight on Tuesday, May 14, 2019.

I would like to thank everyone for giving me the benefit of their wisdom on how we should proceed with the provost search. And, I offer a special thanks to Elizabeth and Alec for taking on this responsibility.

Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law


University to redirect Museum funds to Frohnmayer’s Steam Plant?

The RG’s Christian Hill has the story on the $26M redo of the EWEB steam plant, here:

… With a mix of commercial debt, equity from investors and tax credits, the team estimates a $4.1 million funding gap and likely would seek public dollars for the project…

A project like this needs some tenant guarantees to lock in funding, and it appears developer Mark Frohnmayer has found one:

Naturally there’s a tie-in to the UO Foundation’s tax-payer subsidized IAAF 2021 championships as well.

Senate to meet Wed 4/24 to discuss and vote on academic matters


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

All times are estimates.

3:00 P.M.   Call to order

  • University update; Provost Banavar
  • Introductory Remarks; Senate Pres Harbaugh
  • Senate committee review report; Senate VP Skowron

3:30 PM   Approval of Minutes

3:31 PM     Business/ Reports:

4:50 PM   Open Discussion
4:51 PM   Other Reports

  • Legislative update; Robert Garral (OtP)

4:58 PM   Notice(s) of Motion

  • Core Ed Distribution Requirements; Senator Chris Sinclair

4:59 PM   Other Business
5:00 PM   Adjourn to Faculty Club, all invited!