More VP for Research administrative bloat

Oregon is paying VP for Research Brad Shelton (a former UO math prof) $304K to manage UO’s $97M research budget. Four years ago we paid Rich Linton $185K.

For comparison, Michigan State is paying Steve Hsu (a former UO physics prof) $277K to manage MSU’s $330M research budget.

(Last year’s salary data, 2012 federal grant revenue from IPEDS).

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AAU membership is no longer even an “aspirational goal” for UO, but Ducks ranked #3 in pre-season polls.

Update: The official UO post on the mission statement mentioned below is now getting some comments, here.

As President, Dave Frohnmayer would trot out UO’s AAU membership as a way of silencing faculty who criticized him for shifting priorities, administrative effort, and money towards his goal of running a big-time college sports factory. In 2013 Gottfredson doubled-down on the bullshit, setting an aspirational goal of getting to the top half of the AAU. UO’s academic accreditation comes through the NWCCU, which in turn is supervised by the US DOE. UO filed it’s latest report on 3/1/2013, compiled by Dave Hubin. Full of bold talk and more than a few half-truths. Read it all here. The cover page refers to our goal to be in the top half of the AAU:

But the subsidies for sports and pet projects like armed police and Portland kept growing, and sports scandals continued to suck up what little competent administrative focus the administration had. Just a year after this letter Scott Coltrane came clean with the new Board of Trustees, revealing the chilling “Benchmarking report”, which finally exposed where years of misallocated resources had left us.

The Trustees have responded with a realistic mission plan. Forget about moving up. They no longer mention even staying in the AAU as even an aspirational goal:

We aspire to lead as a preeminent public residential research university encompassing the humanities and arts, the natural and social sciences, and the professions.

Full (draft) statement here with a place for comments. Mine is that, with the board’s authority behind it, the goal of continued (or restored) AAU membership could provide some constraints on the administrative excesses and pet projects we have seen and continue to see come out of Johnson Hall. Giving up on the AAU is not just a sad recognition of reality, it’s a discouraging signal about where money and resources will be redirected in the future.

Gottfredson’s “administrative and athletic surge” rolls on

Assistant Director Of Strategic Communications
Office Of Strategic Communications For Enrollment Management

Assistant General Counsel

Assistant Basketball Coach

Head Acrobatics & Tumbling Coach

Central administration reserves grow, while Shelton starves CAS

2/21/2014 update: Speaking of bloat, here’s a nice benefit for money-losing UO basketball coach Dana Altman, to top off his $1.8M salary, bonuses, and “opportunities to earn outside income”:

During the Term of this Agreement while Altman is head men’s basketball coach, and upon presentation of proper receipts, Altman will be eligible to receive up to twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) per year to reimburse him for travel expenses incurred by his relatives and friends to attend University athletic events or for the purpose of visiting Altman.

Latest contract here:

2/20/2014 update:The news from CAS is all about how Brad Shelton’s budget model is going to hold back still more tuition for UO’s central administrators to play with next year. Meanwhile, UO’s latest report to OUS shows that UO’s reserve funds are steadily increasing, by about $12M in just one year according to the forecast. This is after payment of the first round of union raises. The next round starts July 1, and will cost ~$8M, while tuition increases and new state funding will bring in about $18M in new money. So expect further increases in reserves, and more of the same BS from the administrators about “the well is dry”.

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2/18/2014: VPFA Jamie Moffitt’s transparent reports reveal administrative bloat

Budget VP Brad Shelton is now hiding his Budget Model reports behind a password wall, presumably in response to me outing Doug Blandy’s $1M AAD 250-252 student credit hour heist. Reminds me of back when Frances Dyke was VPFA and took the excel spreadsheet explaining the accounting codes off her website, claiming it wasn’t a public record.

But new VPFA Jamie Moffitt has put that file back up, along with a plethora of simple summaries showing where Johnson Hall is spending UO’s money, and plenty more detailed spreadsheets. An admirable improvement from the obfuscation we got from her during union bargaining, presumably under orders from Randy Geller. Here are some highlights.
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UO administrative bloat

2/5/2014: The Chronicle story is here, and the Delta Cost report here.

Our administration has not posted the 2013 data yet, but casual empiricism suggests continued bloat under President Gottfredson, particularly at the higher levels, e.g. RIGE, the General Counsel’s office, “strategic communications”, and his own byzantine org chart. Keep in mind that we would all be lost without the many competent mid-level OA’s that actually run this place, and who are included in the 55% figure below.

From 2000 to 2012:

38% increase in students: from 17,843 to 24,591.

18% increase in tenure track faculty: from 605 to 715.

55% increase in administrators: from 726 to 1126.

25% increase in GTFs: from 1172 to 1470.

72% increase in non tenure track full-time faculty: from 380 to 655.

34% increase in classified staff: from 973 to 1304.

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Full data on employee counts are here, student numbers here.

Thanks to Honest Uncle Bernie for raising the question. I have some more recent data on the latest costs for executive administrators, but I don’t have time to dig into it.

2/7/2013 update: Here are a few more numbers to chew on. From Nathan Tublitz’s Transparency Tool, on Duckweb, under the Employee Information tab.

Overall VPFA budgets are up 50% over two years, Moffitt’s office is up 60%:

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VP for Budget Brad Shelton’s office has also shown remarkable growth:

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President slashes administration, adds tenure-track faculty

That would be President Steven Leath at Iowa State. From the Des Moines Register:

Iowa State University is the only school in the country to increase hiring of full-time faculty and slash staffing in all other areas over the past decade, a new report finds.

Between 2004 and 2012, ISU boosted by 41 percent the number of full-time faculty per 1,000 students, while decreasing part-time faculty and all non-teaching staff. That differs from other colleges and universities, which over the last decade have hired “an explosion of new workers” to fill administrative jobs while increasingly relying on part-time faculty and graduate students to teach students, according to the report released by the Delta Cost Project at the American Institutes for Research.

“We’re trying to intentionally run a very lean operation and put as much into direct support of students and faculty as we can,” said ISU President Steven Leath.

UO is 17th most efficient university – excluding Johnson Hall bloat, of course.

US News has come with a new ranking scheme, and we’re #17. Betsy Hammond has a slightly skeptical report in the Oregonian. And sure enough, if you go to US News you get their definition of efficient:

U.S. News has analyzed efficiency for a second time as both public and private universities continue to face tight budgets – a result of reduced state appropriations and growing consumer resistance to higher tuition. That means it’s imperative for many colleges to spend their limited resources efficiently in order to produce the highest possible educational quality.

U.S. News measures a school’s financial resources by taking into account how much it spends per student on instruction, research, student services and related educational expenditures. Financial resources have a 10 percent weight in the Best Colleges ranking methodology.

So they exclude the IPEDS spending data on central administration costs? That means paying faculty less to teach more boosts our efficiency, while there’s no penalty for a bloated Johnson Hall. Hell, by that definition, I’m surprised we’re not #1!

Gottfredson hires more branders

11/21/2013: Our President’s reaction to the grim benchmarking report from Coltrane:

Title: Sr. Director, Marketing Communications

Salary Range:  $100,000 – 120,000

Review Date:  Search will remain open until filled.  Search committee will begin reviewing applications December 20, 2013
Start Date:  As soon as possible
General Responsibilities:The University of Oregon seeks applications for the Senior Director of Marketing Communication position.  Reporting to the Associate VP, Communications, Marketing, and Brand Management, the Sr. Director is responsible for leading the University of Oregon’s marketing-communications operations, playing a lead role in the development and execution of organizational structure and practices supporting long-term communications objectives that promote the University of Oregon’s values, vision and key messages in various designed communication channels.

Posted today in the UO jobs listing, here. Another faculty line lost to administrative bloat. There’s also this:

Title:  Senior Director of Public Affairs and Communication
Department:  University Advancement
Reports To:  Associate Vice President, Communications, Marketing and Brand Management
Term:  1.0 FTE for 12 months (renewable annually)
Salary Range:  $100,000 to $120,000

and this:

Title:  Sr. Director, Marketing Communications
Department:  University Advancement
Reports To:  Assoc. VP, Communications, Marketing, and Brand Management
Term:  1.0 FTE for 12 months (renewable annually)
Salary Range:  $100,000 – 120,000

and this:

Title:  Associate Vice President (AVP) for Advancement/Executive Director (ED) UO Alumni Association
Department:  University Advancement
Reports To:  Vice President for University Advancement
Term:  1.0 FTE for 12 months (renewable annually)
Salary Range:  $150,000+
Review Date:  Search will remain open until filled.  Search committee will begin reviewing applications September 17, 2013.
Start Date:  As soon as possible

11/21/2013: Gottfredson off on more road trips

Two weeks ago it was Palo Alto for a football game. Last week it was to DC, for a meeting of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, arranged by Kimberly Espy. This week it’s Portland to meet the UO Trustees who were too busy to come visit the campus they will soon be running, then Tucson for another game. Schedule here. Rumor has it that Gottfredson applied for the UA Presidency back in 2012 but didn’t make the final cut, hence his faux pas about the “great University of Arizona” during his campus visit to UO, as sole finalist for the UO President. The UA job went to Ann Weaver Hart, who seems to be doing great.

Latest admin contracts

9/25/2013 update: A simple request like this used to take a few days. Almost 2 weeks, and still no response.

9/16/2013 update: Another year, and a few more boxes and arrows. The new and improved org chart is here. Dave Hubin has said “If we get a request for a contract, we’ll just sent it out.” Let’s check up on that:

Subject: public records request, admin contracts
Date: September 13, 2013 8:28:04 PM PDT
To: Lisa Thornton
Cc: Dave Hubin
Dear Ms Thornton – 
This is a public records request for copies of the current employment contracts for
  • Interim Dean Scott Coltrane
  • Former Dean Jim Bean
  • VPEI Yvette Alex-Assensoh
  • VP for Advancement Michael Andreassen
  • VPSA Robin Holmes
  • VP for Enrollment Roger Thompson
  • VP for R Kimberly Espy
  • VPFA Jamie Moffitt
  • General Counsel Randy Geller
  • Senior VPAA Doug Blandy
  • VPAA Barbara Altman
  • Journalism Dean Doug Blandy
  • Pres Chief of Staff Greg Rikhoff
I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest.

10/4/2012: Forthcoming in the NYT’s Sunday Magazine’s education supplement:

Eugene, Ore: Just eleven months ago the sudden firing of beloved President Richard Lariviere devastated morale on the University of Oregon Campus. But now faculty and student leaders are crediting new President Mike Gottfredson and Interim Provost Jim Bean with initiating a bold new plan for UO’s future.  

“With Richard, everything was outside the box. Gottfredson, on the other hand – well, let’s just say he has spent two months doing some tidy work with his org chart” said one former faculty Senate president. 

The new union leadership has been equally supportive. “After seeing this I’ve got new hope for UO’s future. Sure, competitive pay, space, graduate student support, and some respect from the administration would be nice, but this visionary org chart has already convinced two of my colleagues to reject lucrative outside offers at top 20 schools.”

 One department chair, who asked not to be quoted by name, said “I was one of the 50 out of 50 department heads who voted to tell Pernsteiner and Kitzhaber we did not want Jim Bean to be interim President. But when he showed up at the leadership retreat on Monday and unveiled this we were blown away by all the boxes and how the lines came together right at the source of UO’s past failures. The long silence in the room spoke volumes. Bean has earned his right to be the bottom in that big box.”

Great news for UO finances!

9/10/2013: The latest US News rankings are great news for UO’s finances:

The University of Oregon moved up in the rankings — jumping six rungs to No. 109 on the list of about 1,376 colleges nationally.

And Christian Whithol of the RG reports on still more good financial news for UO: Eugene’s latest city subsidized student rental – aimed at some pretty well off students:

The company, which has been promised a $4.55 million property tax break by the city, has submitted new and more detailed plans that show a wealth of upscale amenities for the 139-foot-high building. They include a pool and hot tub on the roof and, on a lower story, a fitness and leisure complex that would feature another hot tub, golf simulator, billards room, piano room, steam room, two tanning rooms, a sauna, yoga room and lounge.

According to Zillow, rents in Eugene are well below the levels in our competitor college towns such as Boulder, Seattle, Phoenix, and LA. In contrast to those towns, the increase in the supply has kept rents level in Eugene, despite the increase in the number of students. The new construction coming on line this fall should lead to rent decreases – judging by the reports of unhappy local landlords.

Because parents look at these rankings and at total cost of attendance, this means that UO has plenty of room to continue out-of-state tuition increases, while staying competitive for students.

So expect another round of raises for UO central administrators, as soon as the faculty and SEIU sign their contracts.