UO grade inflation continues, after reform efforts fail

Will Campbell has an excellent data driven story with the history of UO’s failed efforts to fight grade inflation in the Emerald here:

… In 2009, when [CAS Associate Dean Ian McNeely] became chair of the Undergraduate Council, the university-wide body that oversees undergraduate education, he became familiar with grade inflation.

He decided to look into the grading culture at UO. He talked to at least five committees around campus, met with deans and the UO president, held town hall meetings and eventually published a blog in May 2010 to create a wider conversation for UO faculty about grading trends.

McNeely used a UO report from 2006 of the university’s grade statistics as evidence for grade inflation. The report found that between 1992 and 2004, the percentage of A’s awarded went up by about 10 percentage points — 31.3 percent to 41.6 percent— and the percentage of A’s and B’s together went up by seven points — from 65.6 percent to 72.6 percent.

McNeely published a report the next month with three proposals to take action against inflation. The report states that McNeely proposed each department develop specific grading standards, or “collaborate and decide on their own general description on an A, B, C grade, and so on,” he said.

He and the undergraduate council also wanted each department to evaluate the grading habits of its professors. That way department leaders would be able to safeguard against inflation. McNeely’s third proposal suggested that students’ transcripts show what percentage of the class received the same grade. “So that would almost be an incentive for professors not to inflate grades because then it might look bad on a student’s transcript,” he said.

The first proposal passed in the senate, but McNeely said that not every department complied. The other two proposals failed on the senate floor.

Currently, McNeely is unaware of any administrative initiatives to combat grade inflation, he wrote in an email to the Emerald. …

There’s much more, read it all.

The Emerald also has an interface that lets you look at grades by course and instructor here. For example,  here’s one of the infamous AAD 250 Gen Ed classes that VP for Academic Affairs Doug Blandy set up:

co-VPAA Doug Blandy runs secret search for AVPAA

Doug Blandy needs to get with UO’s new transparency and shared governance movement. Here’s the job posting for his new Assistant VP: http://jobs.uoregon.edu/unclassified.php?id=5300:

… Academic Affairs has a strong role in advising and communicating with all departments/units and colleges in the interpretation of academic practice and policy. The assistant vice provost supports the office on many academic faculty matters.  The assistant vice provost represents Academic Affairs to the administrative leadership of the university, the schools and colleges, Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity, Human Resources, and United Academics.  The person in this position will participate in meetings and serve on committees involving faculty or programmatic issues.

There were three candidates out this week. I asked for the names of the people on the search committee. They won’t tell me. There was no notification given to the Senate nor any opportunity for Senate participation in the day-long interviews. Blandy’s staff person asked me not to post the finalist’s names or c.v.’s even though there is nothing in the search announcement suggesting confidentiality. Against my better judgement, I won’t.

Presumably Blandy has an inside candidate, and the faculty will be told who that is whenever it suits Blandy.

Reminds me of when Gottfredson hired Chuck Triplett – though at least they posted a job ad this time. In related news, the Senate will take up the matter of faculty participation in hiring and review of administrators in January.

Susan Anderson to replace Barbara Altmann as co-SVP for Academic Affairs

Around the 0 has the excellent news, here. In a welcome break from past practice, the report by UO spokesperson Julie Brown doesn’t ignore Anderson’s union work, and includes this quote:

“Her experience as an accomplished humanities researcher, department head, engaged member of UO Senate committees and involvement with the first collective bargaining agreement with United Academics will be a wonderful addition to the team,” said Scott Coltrane, interim president.

Anderson will be co-SVP of Academic Affairs with Doug Blandy. Two years ago they were on opposite sides of the faculty union bargaining table. I’m losing track of how many faculty union leaders are now working as administrators. Blandy is even telling new faculty he thinks they should sign a union card.

I don’t know why, but UO paid Altmann $19K less than Blandy:

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Barbara Altmann leaves UO to be Provost at Bucknell

Bucknell is a small liberal arts college in the lovely town of Lewisburg, by the banks of the Susquehanna on which I spent an idyllic youth messing about in boats. Will Interim President Coltrane appoint a new Interim VP for Academic Affairs or leave it for Doug Blandy to run on his own?

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From: John Bravman and Kim Daubman <president@bucknell.edu> Date: Mon, Mar 16, 2015 at 11:51 AM
Subject: Introducing Bucknell’s Next Provost

Bucknell University

Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues,
Kim and I write with the exciting news that the search for Bucknell’s next provost has concluded, and it is our great pleasure to introduce to you Barbara Altmann.

Barbara holds her doctorate in medieval French language and literature from the University of Toronto. She comes to Bucknell from the University of Oregon, where she currently serves as senior vice provost for academic affairs. In that capacity Barbara oversees the university’s undergraduate studies as well as its curriculum and program development. Prior to that, Barbara served as the director of the Oregon Humanities Center, a role in which she managed internal research and teaching fellowship programs for faculty, and served as a liaison with other state, national and international humanities centers. Barbara was also the head of Oregon’s Department of Romance Languages, which comprises 45 faculty and 1,000 majors and minors in 12 different degree programs.

Barbara stood out during a national search that drew applications from a large pool of highly qualified candidates. She was among 11 finalists interviewed off-site, and one of four whom we invited to visit campus. During her time here, Barbara met with several groups comprising nearly 80 individuals representing our students, faculty and staff. Barbara’s unique blend of scholarship and administrative experience, coupled with her enthusiasm and passion for an undergraduate education steeped in the liberal arts elevated her to the clear consensus choice for each and every group. You can read more about your peers’ experience with Barbara in this news story. In addition, you can download a PDF of Barbara’s curriculum vitae here, which captures in much greater depth her impressive scholarship and accomplishments.

Kim and I greatly appreciate all those who dedicated their time to this very important process, and in particular the hard work of our colleagues on the search committee. We could not be more pleased with the outcome. Barbara is set to officially join us on August 1, but we hope to coordinate another visit to campus sometime this spring.

I also want to express my deep gratitude to Mick Smyer for his immeasurable contributions to Bucknell since becoming provost in 2008. It is all but impossible to appreciate everything that Mick has done to advance Bucknell, but Bucknell is far better because of him, and the impact of his service will be felt evermore. Mick was recently awarded fellowships by both the Australian government’s Department of Education and Stanford University’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. Both will support his current research: “Graying Green: Climate Communication for a Graying World.” After a sabbatical, Mick plans to return to the Bucknell faculty.

At this moment in Bucknell’s history, we find ourselves on a path to great success. The challenges before us are formidable, but the opportunities are unparalleled. Together, we can forge one of the strongest, most distinctive undergraduate learning environments in the country. Adding Barbara to our community is an important step forward in that journey.

John C. Bravman,

Kim Daubman,
Faculty Chair

Eleventh hour talks to be held today

11/25/2014 update: The GTFF has sent its leadership team to meet with the State appointed mediator, presumably for the last time. No word if the UO administration has sent anyone with the power to cut a deal, or just $300-an-hour zoning easements attorney Jeff Matthews and the usual low-level administrators. Meanwhile UAUO President Michael Dreiling has an op-ed in the RG in support of the grad students:

Why do we support the federation?

On Nov. 5, UO President Scott Coltrane explained to the University Senate why attracting, supporting and retaining graduate students is essential to meeting our academic ambitions. The UO is doing poorly in this respect.

Recent data show that our total number of graduate students has declined. Many universities with which the UO competes already provide paid sick leave for their graduate employees. The UO cannot afford to fall further behind them. Better pay and a humane sick leave policy would make the UO more competitive, and we urge the administration to move on these proposals.

He’s got a point. UO needs more grad students to stay in the AAU, as Board Chair Chuck Lillis discussed in his meeting with the faculty Senate. It’s not happening, and we all know pay and benefits are part of prospective students’ decision. Here’s the last 10 years or so of enrollment data (includes professional students). We lost 100 or so last year alone:

11/24/2014 update: Unions post updates on strike, what to do about grades, AAUP support

The United Academics faculty union’s website includes some useful info about grading, and a letter of support from the AAUP for the “dilute and degrade” legislation and opposition to the administration’s confidential strike plans, here. This message is particularly strong:

The campus is caught up in confrontation and brinksmanship. Regardless of where anyone stands on the issues between the GTFF and the administration, we all have right to expect our administration to provide creative leadership in these difficult times. We are not getting this leadership from our colleagues in Johnson Hall.

The GTFF grad student union post is here, and among other things they have a letter of support from a major German trade union, reassuring the UO administration that:

“Parental leave, maternity protection and sick pay are not equivalent to socialism, but are self-evident principles.”

Now that this matter of principle has now been cleared up, perhaps the UO administration will finally agree to a deal with the GTFF. Rumor has it that the mediator from the Oregon LRB is willing to try one more time, tomorrow.

11/22/2014 update: Blandy and Altmann’s admin costs up $1.1M or 50%, in just two years

And Scott Coltrane doesn’t know where to find the $300K to settle with the GTF’s?

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And from what I can tell UO’s General Counsel’s office has spent another $150K on outside lawyers in the last two months, suggesting that HLGR’s Sharon Rudnick and Jeff Matthews may be approaching $250K in billings for the GTFF bargaining. (Dave Hubin’s Public Records office is still hiding the invoices, which I paid him for almost 2 weeks ago.)

11/22/2014 update: The well known Crooked Timber blog follows up on the Chronicle report with a complete dissection of the UO administration’s dissembling about the grad student strike, here.

11/21/2014: $530,000 in Vice Provosts not enough to figure out “X” grade

For some reason UO has *two* “Senior Vice Provosts of Academic Affairs”, Barbara Altmann and Doug Blandy, each pulling in paychecks of ~$190K, plus a regular VP of Academic Affairs Ken Doxsee, paid ~$150K. But apparently three’s not enough to do the job. While we all know Blandy has some unusual but lucrative ideas about what an A grade means,

it seems that Academic Affairs is also now confused about the X grade:

Continue reading

$360K a year provost sweetens offer to $14K a year grad students – or does she?

This just in. Has $360K a year (plus $775 a month for her car) Acting Provost Frances Bronet decided to ignore the advice of her $300 an hour HLGR lawyers Jeff Matthews and Sharon Rudnick (and Randy Geller and Dave Frohnmayer?) and sweeten the GTFF deal?

Apparently not. This “flex-time” is something virtually every department already gives as a matter of course:

Colleagues and students,

I’d like to update you on the latest status of negotiations with the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation. The University of Oregon has announced that it has expanded an already robust offer to include guaranteed flex time, officially recognized in the contract.

Under this new contract provision, it is guaranteed that all GTFs who need to take up to two weeks off due to a family or major medical situation will be able to flex their hours in order to do so. They also will have the ability to work with their departments and the Graduate School to explore whether more extensive schedule changes can be accommodated over the life of their contract. During the period that GTFs are exercising flex time, they will still receive full salaries, tuition and fee waivers, and health insurance coverage for their entire family.

Complete details are available here.

This new flex time proposal is an important complement to an already substantial package. This package also includes:

A nine percent pay increase, over two years, on minimum graduate student salaries. This is the largest negotiated pay increase since 2006;

Full tuition waivers;

Significantly reduced fees (a GTF pays only $61 per term); and

Full family health, vision, and dental coverage with the university paying 95 percent of the premium. This is by far the best healthcare package for graduate student teachers in Oregon and across comparable AAU institutions.

We respect the right of GTFs to conduct a legal strike and hope to reach a fair and equitable agreement quickly. For complete details of the current offer, please visit http://provost.uoregon.edu/gtff-negotiation.

This is a critical time for the University of Oregon. We recognize that there are thousands of undergraduate students who are looking to the university to finalize grades so they can graduate, secure financial aid, or solidify their registration for winter term. As this offer demonstrates, we do not want our ongoing negotiations to negatively impact anyone, especially our students. We are working on contingency plans designed to ensure that there is as little negative impact as possible.


Frances Bronet

Acting Senior Vice President and Provost

11/16/2014 update: VPAA Doug Blandy blames deans, department heads, and faculty for secret strike plan to degrade academics Continue reading

Doug Blandy switches sides on union

9/25/2014 update:The faculty union had lunch today with the new faculty hires. They were in the middle of their orientation, which ends tonight with a BBQ in the Alumni Center. I remember Frohnmayer used to invite the new faculty to McMorran house – not sure when that tradition ended. Anyway, from what I could tell most of the new faculty signed cards, and they reported that the administrators who had talked to them – Barbara Altman, Ken Doxsee, and Doug Blandy – were uniformly positive about the union’s influence on UO. Blandy even sat there at the table as the union reps collected cards from the new hires. Quite the switch from last year:

10/17/2013: Plenty of water in Gottfredson’s well – for Jim Bean

At the faculty union bargaining session on 9/6/2013, the UO administration’s chief negotiator and famed tobacco company lawyer Sharon Rudnick presented President Gottfredson’s final offer on faculty salaries, saying

“The well is dry. Hear me please. The well is dry. This is an incredibly rich offer.”

UO’s VPAA Doug Blandy sat there, nodding his head. Two weeks later the union bargaining team accepted it.

Why was the well so dry? In part because, just a week before, Blandy had signed off on this contract with former interim Provost Jim Bean, guaranteeing Bean about $1M in salary and benefits over the next three years. Dave Hubin’s public records office sat on this request for a month, until after the faculty had ratified the CBA. How’s that for good faith bargaining?

That’s on top of Bean’s odd 2010 sabbatical, and what we paid him after the Senate forced him out in February.

Bean’s new job is Associate Dean for “Experiential Learning” at the LCB. A newly created position. Sounds like a great idea – undergrad internships and so on. You might think there’d have been a job posting and an open, Affirmative Action compliant search for an important, well paid job like this – especially given UO’s troubled history with these administrative golden parachute appointments. I’ve got a public records request in. We’ll see how much Dave Hubin tries to charge for the documents.

VPAA Doug Blandy pulls off daring $1M student credit hour heist

UO VPAA Doug Blandy:

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3/4/2013: Basically it’s another version of Michael Moffit’s CnC scam – but 5x bigger, thanks to the miracle of online education. And while the instructors in those CnC courses kept to pretty much the same curve as the rest of UO, 60% of the students in Doug Blandy’s courses got A’s – more than twice the normal percentage. It’s a long story, sorry:

Arts and Administration, a.k.a. AAD, is a longstanding MA program for arts administrators. Totally legit – but not very lucrative. For years they’ve also offered a few UO undergrad courses – AAD 250, 251, 252:

Starting somewhere around 2006, when Doug Blandy took over as AAD Director, the program started adding many new online versions of these classes, taught with underpaid adjuncts.

Let’s do some math: For 2011-12 they taught about 2100 students, 4 credits each. Under the Shelton/Bean budget model, AAA gets ~$112 per credit, maybe a bit more given all the “self-supporting” online and summer courses. Let’s call it $1,200,000 or so.  Gotta pay the adjuncts though. For the first one I checked, pay was $15,000, for 0.49 FTE. Slick – no benefits to worry about. Assume that’s for 4 courses, so labor costs are about $4000 a course. 44 courses or so a year, that’s $200,000 for labor, tops. So it looks like AAA and Blandy’s AAD program have been pulling down close to $1,000,000 a year, net, from this scheme.

But why would our undergrads go for these AAD courses? Wouldn’t they take art appreciation courses in the Art History department, from a professor with a respected research program, like, say, this one, or this one, or this one?

Well, no. The AAD courses satisfy both Arts and Letters *and* multicultural requirements. The legendary twofer. And even better, you can do the AAD courses online and get a friend to take the exams for you. And regular Art History courses are hard. The average grade is 2.9. Less than a 3% chance of an A+.

But in the AAD courses, as of Fall 2011, the average undergraduate grade was 3.4. This is almost the highest for any UO department, outside the Education school and Military Science. 19% of students got an A+.  60% of the students got an A:

Last year, when Russ Tomlin’s job opened up, the faculty wanted Barbara Altmann. Instead Interim Provost Lorraine Davis and Interim President Bob Berdahl handed it off Doug Blandy.

Yes, the man behind this online grade inflation scheme is now UO’s Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. Strange – but quite rewarding for Mr. Blandy, whose pay has gone from $78K in 2008 to $180K last year:

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RG compares online efforts at UO and OSU

11/25/2013: Diane Dietz has an excellent, thorough story in the RG today. The bottom line? OSU has a very organized, extensive effort, and is now giving OSU degrees to on-line only students with no indication that the students were never on campus. Presumably this is part of the reason for their recent enrollment increases. OSU tuition is actually higher for the online courses.

UO has a few programs with online classes, but no central direction. At UO, online education was another of Jim Bean’s pet projects, so the disarray is hardly surprising. Economics comes in for special mention as the [CAS] department with the most online students. They report the online courses are more difficult than the regular ones, and they tend to be taken by good, motivated students who want a faster pace. There’s no mention in the story of VPAA Doug Blandy’s AAD 250-252 courses and his daring $1M credit hour heist – 65% A’s! [AAD now has about 1500 UO students taking these online courses – great for their GPA’s.]

Please post a link and comments if you know of any particularly good general studies or reports on on-line ed – there’s a lot of stuff in the Chronicle etc., but I haven’t dug through it.

Students propose higher tuition, faculty raises

6/10/2013, at the University of Washington:

Students on the advisory committee, along with student-government leaders, said if lawmakers won’t give more state dollars to higher education, students would support a 3 percent tuition increase for in-state undergraduates — or about $322 — in 2013-14, and another 3 percent increase the next year. Total tuition and fees are currently about $12,400.   

A tuition increase of 3 percent could pay for a 2 percent raise for faculty and staff in the next school year and a second 2 percent the following year.   

Administrators affirmed the importance of the faculty salary issue. “Our No. 1 concern is compensation. After four years, we really are at the risk of losing some talented people,” said UW budget director Paul Jenny.  

UW administrators admit that low pay is a problem for retention. Here at UO, VPAA Doug Blandy regularly denies that faculty are leaving UO over low pay, despite the fact that a full professor at UW is paid about 12% more than at UO. UO pay actually fell last year for assistant and associate professors. More data here.

Child porn update: Union Bargaining VIII for 2/7/2013.


Prof. Barbara Altmann accuses faculty union of supporting child pornography. 

Update #4 on the Admin blog, for today 2/7/2013:

In perhaps the most extreme section, the Union proposed that “[t]he content of faculty profiles in social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc) shall not be considered during any evaluation of a faculty member.” What if a bargaining unit member is using social media to threaten and intimidate colleagues? What about in a case of child pornography?

I’m no child pornographer, but I’m guessing if I was, and posting it on Facebook, the Dean would be the least of my worries. Ok, maybe it’s not really Barbara writing this garbage – maybe JH is just putting her name on something written by one of their law firms, or Randy Geller. Her blog invites people to email her and ask her questions. So what the hell, lets see who is behind the Johnson Hall child porn ring:

Subject: public records request: union child pornography 

Date: February 7, 2013 7:21:59 PM PST
To: Lisa Thornton , David Hubin
Cc: Barbara Altmann , Randy Geller , Doug Blandy , Tim Gleason , James Bean , doug park  

Dear Ms Thornton:
This is a public records request for a copy of any emails containing all of the words “child”, “pornography” (or porn) and “union”, sent or received by Michael Gottfredson, Randy Geller, Doug Park, Tim Gleason, Doug Blandy, Barbara Altmann, or Jim Bean, from 1/1/2013 to the present.  

I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest, as demonstrated by the “bargaining update #4” on this topic, posted by Professor Altmann on the official UO administration information blog at http://uo-ua.uoregon.edu/ 

Today’s Bargaining session:

Thursday 2/7/2013, 8-12 AM, 450 Lillis: Be there. Word is that Sharon Rudnick will buy all the faculty who show up Voodoo donuts out of her $3200 daily take, or roughly what our students pay for 16 credits of in-state tuition.

Live blog disclaimer: My interpretation of what people said, meant, meant to say, or what I wished they’d said. Nothing is a quote unless in quotes.

Prelude: UConn has a faculty union and is in the middle of a big push to be the next university to get into the AAU, including hiring of hundreds of tenure-track teaching and research faculty. UO hired a total of 17 new TTF last year (net) and our research plans are in total disarray, thanks to Interim Provost Jim Bean’s incompetence,lack of focus, and distraction by athletics.

Live-blog: No donuts. WTF? And why does everyone on the admin team have the same smile? Is this why they don’t let Geller show up anymore – he can’t do it?
Doug Blandy
Sharon Rudnick
Tim Gleason

Today’s Cast: No Blandy, no Cecil, no Altmann, no Geller. Where is Geller – still working for Gottfredson?

Scene I:

Rudnick: You’ve been talking out of two sides of your mouth when you say you will talk with the deans but don’t accept that they will talk with faculty. “I don’t mean to be judgmental but it seems you have a schizophrenic view of things.” Mauer: We need a certain amount of trust.

Academic freedom and responsibility:
This should be good – presumably Geller’s had a hand in it after being read the riot act by Gottfredson over his prior attempt at a university policy. Rudnick: I’ll let Tim Gleason talk about this. Then she keeps on talking… We took this from the UF CBA and the AAU Red Book and Oregon law. Gleason: I don’t have much to add. Freedoms and responsibilities. Mauer: We can find the policy on-line? Rudnick: Yes. (Actually, No. A substantially revised policy is currently up for Senate approval, probably in April, but Geller has been sitting on it for 18 months. Check this link for an old redlined version, this was a huge fight with the Senate Executive last year, Geller wouldn’t appear to defend it, much to Dave Hubin’s embarrassment.) Rudnick: Starts lecturing Mauer about faculty, gets that loud angry thing going again. Does this work for her in court? Gleason: Def of disruptive is based not on content, but on how disruptive the context is in which the speech is made. Mauer: These other clauses look good. Mauer: What about g): “Seek change only in ways that don’t obstruct the functions of the university.” (Me: Frohnmayer, Lariviere, and Berdahl all accused much of pretty much exactly this for running UO Matters, requesting “too many” public records, etc.) Same with Geller and his GC Emerita Melinda Grier. Gleason: I don’t think we mean’t this to address civil disobedience. Rudnick jumps in again: nothing in this article would prohibit that. Mauer: pitch a tent outside JH? Rudnick: that would be OK. Mauer: We’ll see what happens when the Dalai Lama appears. Green: Suppose students and faculty block catering trucks from getting to a donor dinner (because the donor got rich off Philip Morris work). Gleason: Say it’s trespass. This policy would be irrelevant because that would be civil disobedience. Rudnick: Nothing in this policy would discourage that, but we could have our cops arrest you and then fire you for illegal activity. Pratt: Suppose the admin decides they want a particular program or course content, but faculty disagreed. (I’m thinking the sports conflict program in law). Would that constitute obstruction? Gleason: That wouldn’t be obstruction. Pratt: Better if it said obstruct “mission of university” rather than “functions of the university”. Rudnick: OK.

(Commenter: “Nothing in this Article affects the University’s right to determine for itself on academic grounds who may teach, what may be taught, how it shall be taught, and who may be admitted to study.” Me: That’s new. by “the University” they mean “the Administration”. Sneaky one, Gleason.)

Rudnick: What faculty say in public must be said with restraint. (WTF?) Threshold for university to take action is very high – must show person is not fit for position because of their conduct. (Me: Both Frohnmayer and Berdahl have used my statements on this blog to accuse me of being a bad social scientist – Berdahl while he was Interim President. This clause seems to protect them, and to allow UO to discipline me for my speech?)

The bargaining team has been hammering Rudnick and Gleason on this, they keep backing down, but they are going to need to revise this language a lot.

Blandy enters. ~20 faculty also show up. You missed the nasty part, guys.

Mauer: Can you identify yourself as a UO professor when making protected speech? Green: What about a blog. Rudnick: Should have a disclaimer (whew, I’m good). … Mauer: Lets move on for now and come back to this.

Article 12: Admin’s response on NTTF evaluation and promotion. 

Rudnick: I’m just going to walk through to justify my $400 an hour, then Blandy will answer questions since he only gets $75 – what we charge you for a stenographer. (Lots of productive back and forth here, Rudnick’s decibel level is appropriately modest, for once.) Rudnick: We’ve finally figured out librarians. We talked to the librarians, they want to stick to annual. Mauer doesn’t miss a beat “You consulted with them how?” Rudnick: Uh, we talked with their dean, who said everyone was happy over there. (Lots of unusually productive back and forth on this between Rudnick and Mauer, she’s earning a little of her pay this time. Say $150.)

Mauer: Break time. Rudnick: I’ll make a donut run.

Scene II: Still no donuts.

Art 38: University counterproposal on Jury duty.

Art 15: Union counterproposal on Grievance Procedure. 
Mauer: Union must have the right to file grievances on behalf of members. E.g. an individual is reluctant to file for fear of retaliation. More than one person might be effected, more efficient for union to file one, rather than many. This is standard procedure. Rudnick: We want to be sure a grievance is about an actual problem that has an impact (OK) and we want to talk to the faculty who are being impacted (what if they want the union to do it?) Don’t want a grievance over, say a difference in interpretation that doesn’t lead to action. Mauer: First is fine, Second not, Third craft some language for us, not a problem. More talk on dates.

Art 16:  Union counterproposal on Arbitration. 
Mauer: going through this line by line, … agree, disagree, …

Next time: Mauer: You’ll be prepared with more counters next time? Rudnick: yes.

The end. See you in 2 weeks.

Live blog bargaining, Act V: 1/22/13

Updates, posted on request of VPAA Doug Blandy and Jean Stockard.

UO Matters said to Blandy:

Hi Doug – a bit about your claim UO has not engaged in retaliation, here: http://uomatters.com/2013/01/live-blog-bargaining-v-12213.html

Blandy replied:

Bill, That was not my claim. I stated that when people come forward with a grievance I believe the institution is on notice to be hyper-vigilent that retaliation does not take place. D.

Jean Stockard (PPPM Prof, see below) says:

Blandy’s statement is certainly contradicted by my experiences when I tried to help students from another country (actions that were both morally and legally required). The evidence we gathered through my legal case indicate that he was centrally involved in both the planning and execution of very severe retaliation.

I asked Blandy if he wants to respond to this, nothing yet.

Live blog disclaimer: My interpretation of what people said, meant to say, or what I wished they’d said. Nothing is a quote unless in quotes.

The central scene was the administration’s claim that UO does not retaliate, so the union needn’t worry about putting protections in the contract or making them subject to binding outside arbitration. Bullshit:

I’m thinking about the Jean Stockard case – former professor in PPPM. Just a few years ago UO paid her a $500,000 legal settlement, because the administration retaliated against her for sticking up for some Korean students who were getting screwed by a UO foreign exchange program. The retaliation ranged from substantial (hence the penalty) to the petty – like cutting off her uoregon.edu email address. UO did not admit to the retaliation in the legal settlement, as the Oregonian reported here. That’s quite a bit different from a baldfaced claim there was none. 

And, from Law School prof emeritus Cheyney Ryan, in the comments:

Doug Blandy is aware that his own office has engaged in retaliation. (He and I have communicated about it.) In the fall of 2011, his predecessor Russ Tomlin issued a public statement charging me with “causing turmoil” by bringing sexual harassment concerns to the attention of the administration. My attorney estimated that Tomlin’s action violated 19 federal, state, and university policies on, among other things, retaliation. When I brought this to the attention of his superiors they did not argue; a resolution was reached within a week. I had lots going for me, though–I was a very senior faculty member that had just been offered a post at Oxford University. Faculty need protection from retaliation like this, which is why they need a union.

Why sacrifice your credibility to support Rudnick, Doug? Surely you will want it for something more important, someday.

Then there’s this threat from Randy Geller, sent to Senate President Rob Kyr and IAC Chair Brian McWhorter this summer, threatened retaliation for meddling with his efforts to sneak Rob Mullens’s drug scheme through without faculty or public review:

… Your allegations about the University’s rulemaking processes are offensive and false , as are the comments made publicly by members of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee. I ask that you apologize in writing to President Berdahl, Rob Mullens, and me. I also ask that you censure the members of the IAC who have published offensive and defamatory comments.

Randolph Geller  

General Counsel
University of Oregon

I wonder if Gottfredson ever reprimanded Geller for doing this? And then there’s Bob Berdahl’s attempt to smear my reputation as professor, retaliation for posting these news reports on him.

Imagine what happens if you are non-tenured? No, don’t. Safer to keep your head down, given Blandy’s role in promotion and tenure.

Cast of Characters:
Geller seems to have been permanently banned, Mauer is off this week.
Rudnick present @ $400, also an earnest looking Blandy, sour-faced Gleason, 2 Harrang staffers – at $75 each?

1/22/13 Live-blog:

Barbara Altmann – or whoever is writing the official administration blog for her, has posted a statement about the bargaining, here.

Sharon Rudnick does not start by telling the bargaining team about how she gave up $400 an hour in tobacco company billings by spending her Monday honoring MLK, washing the feet of homeless vets suffering from PTSD on the downtown mall. Very classy move, keeping her good works quiet.

Professional Responsibilities: Admin caves, will agree to union proposal for every unit having its own written collaborative policy on responsibilities, with Dean or Provost having ultimate responsibility. They cave again: overload decisions may be grieved (not arbitrated by outsider.)

Psaki: Glad to hear you agree admin should have policies and abide by them. Deans are too busy, units must draft, and deans will modify and approve. Rudnick: Looking very weary, we give up on this, we will not dictate policies, faculty will have voice. Blandy: Allows for lots of faculty input. Green: Doesn’t specify a process. Rudnick: Yes, it’s possible a Dean could run around the faculty. Gleason: Sure, but he wouldn’t last long. (Really? Faculty review Deans around here?) Pratt: Current policy on tenure policy is that dept faculty vote to approve any policy. Why not do that here? Rudnick: This doesn’t prevent that. Pratt: Fine, why not require that? Rudnick: confused. Gleason: Difference between contract and policy. Current practice should continue. (He *really* doesn’t want al these great current practices made part of the agreement! Cecil: Would the process and outcome be grievable if it violated current policy and practice? Rudnick: No. faculty just make recommendations, Dean and Bean can ignore them. Cecil: What if Dean decided not to follow current policy. Grievable? Move on.

Dues deduction:
Rudnick: Not that changed. Admin will not do political deductions. Union needs to deal with the religious objections, not the admin. (I’m not clear on the fair-share part. Has the admin agreed to this yet? I don’t think so.)

Rudnick: Admin (she’s given up claiming she’s the UO for now) would let employee and union decide how to procede – internal, grievance, arbitration. Cecil: Here you will have to agree to allow arbitration. Davidson: Start with internal process, then choose between arbitration and court. Rudnick: right. Rudnick runs circles around Cecil on how to determine a standard for unlawful versus lawful discrimination/consideration. Adopt Oregon or ERB law or something specific – can’t just say “you can’t discriminate”. Green: Is there a place online where UO states its sexual harassment policy? Blandy: Yes, several places.

Break time. Back.

Art 15, Grievance Procedure: 

Long discussion about grievances. The union wants to be allowed to file grievances on behalf of members. The admin wants to require a specific faculty member or group to come forward. Suppose it’s a case of a department systematically paying females assistant professors less. They would be unlikely to be willing to file a grievance, because of all the possibilities of systematic retaliation, e.g. when they come up for tenure. Note that this retaliation could even be outside UO – branded as a troublemaker in their field. Green wants union to be able to act on their behalf. Rudnick does not – people must be willing to accept the consequences of filing a grievance.
Blandy denies UO has ever retaliated, “not in our culture” – not clear if he is clueless or disingenuous – looks very sincere. Chuckles from the room.
I’m thinking about the Jean Stockardcase – former professor in PPPM. Just a few years ago UO paid her a $500,000 legal settlement, because the administration retaliated against her for sticking up for some Korean students who were getting screwed by a UO foreign exchange program. The retaliation ranged from substantial (hence the penalty) to the petty – like cutting off her uoregon.edu email address. Note that UO did not admit to the retaliation in the legal settlement, as the Oregonian reported here
Does Doug Blandy really think he would have got his $170K VP for Ac Affairs job if he’d complained about something substantial to JH sometime earlier in his career, got no satisfaction, made the complaint publicly, and embarrassed, say, Jim Bean? Or that this will never happen again with Bean’s replacement?
More discussion of timelines. Boring, except union wants 365 days for discrimination, admins want a month or two. This came up in the 2008 Presidential election – Republicans wanted tight deadline, Obama wanted a looser one.

Art 16: Arbitration: Important, but I’m snoozing. Read it yourself. Rudnick doesn’t want to let grievant, witnesses use work time to resolve work time. Admin will let them have time off, but union must pay for the time!? Cecil: What exactly is your problem with this so I can craft compromise language?
Davidson: Suppose a faculty member pleads guilty to smoking pot. Could they be fired? Could that go to arbitration? Cecil: Give an example. Rudnick: Suppose you forge a parking pass. Arbitrator reinstates. That’s stealing, UO is not required to re-employ them. Davidson: Suppose I publish a critique of Knight’s labor practices. Arbitratable or not? Rudnick: May be different points of view?
Q from the floor: Suppose a fac member is convicted of producing and selling drugs. Fire em? Rudnick: Could, if the law says there’s a connection to ability to perform job. I think it would affect your ability to be a professor. (Suppose it was civil disobedience?) Under admin’s language you could be fired, go to arbitration, but arbitrator could not order UO to reinstate you. Cecil: That will depend on what the “discipline” section of the contract says. Pot – soon legal under Oregon law, but probably not federal. Can you be fired for that? We’ll know soon.
Rudnick: Will call Cecil about Thursday – union has some counters to counters, Rudnick may have more counters.

Update: Bargaining session III, 1/8/13 live-blog

1/9/13 Update: 

Subject: counterproposals
Date: January 9, 2013 9:16:03 AM PST
To: Tim Gleason , Doug Blandy

Hi Tim and Doug, can you send me a copy of the administrative counter proposals? I’d like to add them to the info at http://uomatters.com/2012/12/facultyadministration-bargaining.html so that people can make comments. 

I’ll post their response. Note that the union is posting all the proposals they have put on the table within a few days, from whence I got the info for the CBA discussion pages in the link.

On WednesdayJan 9, 2013, at 11:27 AM, Doug Blandy wrote: Bill, The university is planning to post counter proposals at http://uo-ua.uoregon.edu/  D.

Update: Blandy said he’d hired a consultant to fix Tomlin’s faculty handbook problem. Interesting. Let’s see what info they’ll share about that:

Subject: faculty handbook consultantDate: January 8, 2013 9:17:35 PM PST
To: Doug Blandy , Barbara Altmann
Hi Doug and Barbara –
At the bargaining session today there was something about UO hiring a consultant to work on the faculty handbook/Ac Af website problem. I’d appreciate it if you could send me info on what work has been contracted for, name of the firm doing it, and an estimate off the cost. I’d like to post it on UO Matters, I think many faculty would be interested.

Quick direct response from Doug, which I certainly appreciate, explaining I got it wrong:

Bill, Academic Affairs has not hired a consultant to work on the faculty handbook. We are working (consulting) with the UO library’s Interactive Media Group on developing a web based equivalent of a faculty handbook. The IMG routinely works with UO faculty and units towards the development of web based projects. 

So, correction: It’s an internal media service just to do the web design for the handbook site:

Live-Blog Disclaimer:

These are my summaries of my interpretation of the meaning of the statements of the various people, with some opinion inserted, sometimes in ( ) sometimes not. Not quotes unless in quotes. These are my opinions, not those of the union or its committees. I have not been part of any of the union bargaining team meetings.

For the anti-union view of the sessions, see here. For the admin’s view see the “Around the O” here. No, sorry, don’t. Neither has any real information. Just keep reading UO Matters.

Geller is AWOL again. For info on what our students are paying Rudnick, see here. She showed up with a helper lawyer today, too, wonder what that’s costing us.


This will have to wait til the Thursday session concludes. Very briefly, Rudnick has been doing some homework, now seems to understand the basics of academic rank etc. She spent a fair amount of time trying on a helpful, charitable persona. This would go over better if each little story wasn’t costing us $20:

Rudnick chit chat’s about her beautiful hand-made South African AIDS charity necklace, which she offers to sell off her neck, for the cause. Ambiguous how Maimonides would treat this one:  

We are obligated to be more scrupulous in fulfilling the commandment of charity than any other positive commandment, because charity is the sign of a righteous man.” Moses Maimonides, 1135-1204  

It’s good to promote self-sufficiency, but it’s very bad to brag about your charitable activities, especially while doing business. Not that I’m an expert on prestige motive for charitable giving:


Rudnick: Severability is OK. Mauer: Let’s sign and date. Historic day – something has been agreed to. Something else also OK, missed it.

Strike and Lockout:

Rudnick: Suppose SEIU strikes – can’t have it that faculty don’t do any work typically done by them – e.g. copying.


Rudnick: We are going to try and “consolidate” this on AcAf website. We will not do a hard copy – too much work for us! Policy changes will be posted ut we wil not be responsible for notifying faculty. WTF? No notice of a policy change unless we have a statutory requirement to do so? Sneaky shit.

Mauer: Why not just agree to a format? Rudnick: We just don’t want to promise anything that would be clear. Mauer call’s her on it. Green: What happens when a policy is changed? How do faculty track what’s been changed (e.g. changes in tenure rules).  Rudnick: Doesn’t get it how badly Tomlin screwed this up. (This is not a good place to pick a fight. Just give up on this, admins. You screwed it up, lost credibility, here’s a chance to fix it.) Blandy: We will keep an archive, honest. We did a survey! We publish e-news! Rudnick starts lecturing us and Green on what should be in the contract, what shouldn’t. Bizarre. “We are not willing to write down those levels of details in the contract”. Mauer: This proposal doesn’t come out of thin air. Find the right balance. Rudnick: Blandy’s hired a consultant to figure out how to do this. OMFG. Mauer asks specifics,  Blandy has been working on this for 10 weeks and is working on a dynamic format for this. He’ll go back and ask about archives. This was the whole point for bringing this up – they are losing credibility quickly on it.

Workload, Professional responsibilities.

Rudnick leaves the room, she’s going to bring out the Geller on this one. Comes back, chit-chat about Rudnick’s beautiful hand-made south african AIDS charity necklace, she offers to sell it for charity. Ambiguous how Maimonides would treat this one. Good to promote self-sufficiency, very bad to brag about your charitable activities, especially while doing business. Not that I’m an expert on prestige motives for charitable giving.

Geller arrives, looking shaky. Rudnick: Classification, rank, title. Goal is to define carefully here. E.g. Clinical or Prof of Practice is a NTTF with … details go in the person’s job description. Don’t want to necc put those in contract, so we’ve taken some detail out of your proposal.

Lecturer: Primary responsibility … Researcher Assistant classification goes away for new hiring but will be grandfathered in. Lots of details here, need to see printed copy. Formalize “Acting Assistant Professor” if you are hired into a TT job but haven’t quite finished writing that dissertation. Lecturers could do graduate instruction, Instructors would do undergraduates, mostly. Blandy: No bright line. Titles like “distinguished” are fine. Lots of nuts an bolts stuff here, they are all working it out constructively I think.

Wake up people: Rudnick: Espy is planning on moving Research Assistants(?) out of the faculty, and as Cecil points out then move them out of the bargaining unit. This move should make a lot of the anti-union people happy, my impression is that union support is strong w/in this group. Geller: No new hires as Res Assistant. Mauer: If new people are R Assoc, it’s OK. If new people doing same type of work are R assistants (therefore out of unit) big concern. Rudnick will go back to Espy, quickly, to get more info on what she is planning.

Break for caucus. They’re back, sans Geller.

Mauer: More on your new “adjunct” classification. Rudnick: Departments could give give any title, based on current practice. They have no rank. Three year cap on how long you can be an adjunct. Up or out?

Rudnick, Section 3: Def of career NTTF: Clinical prof, prof or practice, research prof, librarian, lecturer, instructor. Cecil: need to add back current Research Assistants. Can be hired as an adjunct, then can move into NTTF.

Post-docs? Lots of confusion. Rudnick: fall w/in existing classifications or set up a new one? Confusion reigns. Rudnick: Where do you put the Yoga Instructor? Cecil: As instructors. We want to make them career NTTFs. Back to Post-docs. Rudnick: hire as adjuncts? We agree adjuncts should not be permanent part time employees – up or out.

Rudnick: As we go forward you will see that we are OK for grievances about classification etc, but will not allow outside arbitration for academic matters. Also, we will simplify grievance procedure.

Mauer: Why restrict someone from applying for promotion from adjunct until they’ve had 3 years FTE? Rudnick: Admin could promote someone on their own call though.

Cecil: So university could keep people for three years , let them go, hire another person for another 3 years, etc? Rudnick: That’s not our intent. Lots of back and forth on this, pretty cooperative.


Rudnick: Appointment comes in writing from the Provost, not verbal. Other information will be given separately within reasonable time. Seems good, speeds up hiring. Pratt: For TTF, offers usually include informal offer info – time til tenure, etc. Need to put that into this section too. All agree.

Rudnick: Info must include at minimum: professional responsibilities, expectations about performances, criteria and procedures for evaluation, promotion, tenure and post tenure reviews …

Rudnick: Section 3. Distinction between funding-contingent (grant) vs not contingent. Suppose it’s not funded from a grant: 1 year appointment for lowest rank, up to 3 years. If it’s grant contingent, no promises beyond one year (except for TTF).

Rudnick is saying that they will not commit to permanent NTTF contracts or automatic renewal. Will commit to May 1 or 15 renewal dates, but without penalty, unenforceable. Email for appointment/denial letters. Check those spam filters.

More on the 3 FTE limit on adjunct appointments.

Rudnick: Tenure – usually 6 years unless negotiated shorter clock, credit for prior service will be in the appointment letter. Anderson: Need to spell out hires that come in with tenure. Rudnick: whoops, we do.

Denial of tenure. Rudnick: 12 month final contract.

Mauer: Librarians? Rudnick: 1,2,3 year contracts dependent on rank, rather than current practice. Cecil: So everyone will get a year shorter contract than they do now? Rudnick: We’ll look into that.

Mauer: What did you delete regarding future employment rights of adjuncts? Rudnick: Yes. Contracts expire, no notice required. Not willing to make a contractual commitment, but policy is not to give 0.49 appointments. (Tough one – lots of people *want* 0.49 appointments. Others don’t. Rudnick wants flexibility, on this – leave it out of CBA. I agree with her, but I don’t know how much abuse there is in other departments. Cecil: Wants to put it in contract that admin won’t do this to avoid paying benefits. Me: But what about the (perhaps small number) of people who want exactly that – a job with no benefits, rather than no job with no benefits.

Mauer: Sec 15 and 16, credit for prior service.