Diane Dietz’s report on Schill’s campus conversation is here.
Some extracts, carefully selected to support my spin:
“The fact is, we have not carefully watched our central budget over the years. We should have done that. Resources shrank and we weren’t watching. We have been digging a hole for many years, and if we don’t act now, the hole will get bigger and the decisions we have to make will be more painful.”
VPBP Brad Shelton and VPFA Jamie Moffitt have been in charge of UO’s central budget for years, along with Scott Coltrane off and on. They still are – but for how much longer?
“What university in one year is really turning over all its senior leadership? We’re going to be doing that. We’re going to get great deans into their positions and a vice president for research. We’ve already changed a lot of my office. Instead of the gang that can’t shoot straight, we’re going to be the gang that really can transform a university.”
These aren’t the only optimistic quotes in Dietz’s story. Read it all. Here’s one on athletics:
“Instead of demonizing athletics and saying, ‘you know, athletics are getting all of the resources,’ and being envious of athletics, we actually want to model ourselves on athletics in that a wonderful investment of resources and careful, strong execution can lead to excellence.
One UO M commenter has some followup questions on that:
What does he mean by we should model ourselves after pursing the efficiency of the athletics department model?
Does he mean that we need to get tentpole programs that attract nation attention and donations, and that we will use revenues from those programs (football) to subsidize everything else?
Or does he mean that we need to find slave labor, that churns in and out of the university and is quickly forgotten, that will work in essence for free while we pay high salaries to a few people who supervise the work of the slave labor?
Actually, the preferred nomenclature for the NCAA’s labor model is “unpaid student internships, but with brain damage” although there is no denying the racial element in a scheme that is run for the amusement of rich white boosters, nets millions for the overwhelmingly white coaches and athletic directors, gives the mostly white and privileged “student-athletes” in the safe non-revenue sports full-ride scholarships and free travel and coaching, while the mostly black football players take the hits. The general rule of big-time college sports is that “no black man shall make money off college football”
UO’s Official Organ has their spin on the meeting here. It’s by Greg Bolt, so it’s much more accurate than the usual Tobin Klinger PR flack piece.
Liveblog of Pres Schill’s 4/12/2016 campus conversation on realignment.
President Schill’s conversation will followed by a Senate organized Town Hall on realignment, currently scheduled for 3:30PM Wednesday April 27 in the new ginormous Straub Hall classroom.
(The livestreaming link is now down, I’ll post the archived video when it’s ready).
Here’s a little live-blogging. Usual disclaimer, nothing is a quote unless in quotes.
I got here a little late, Pres Schill was addressing the need to make budget realignment now, not later. Makes sense, we’ve seen what happened in CAS when Coltrane let things slide.
Talks about the importance of on-time graduation and new initiatives to increase this via better advising and retention grants. (Interestingly it turns out these are not UO ideas, they are mandates from the state, which has also provided all the publics with funding to implement them.)
Refreshingly honest about UO’s failure in fumbling the basketball rape allegations, and his resolve to set up procedures that will encourage students to report sexual assaults and build confidence that UO will handle them well.
Shout out to the UO Board: obviously I think they are good, they hired me.
Thinks we should stop demonizing athletics and being jealous, and instead use them as a model for how to use money to buy excellence. (Great – when are faculty going to get the same bonuses the coaches get for graduation rates?)
Claims that UO has become more transparent. (Certainly he’s far more open than recent past presidents and interims, but the Public Records Office has, if anything, become a blacker black hole – more on this in a future post. The VPFA has become more transparent because of the need to report to the board, but the VPBP and the latest budget reform process is not very open.)
Classified employee: Specific complaint about income inequality in the athletics department and the many contingent staff there. How can you call this inequity a good model for UO?
Schill: Don’t know what the term equitable means (me neither). Athletics uses their budget well, tremendous focus, spirit, commitment to excellence.
Faculty: What specific programs to increase undergraduate engagement in research?
Schill: We have two new funded programs. Josh Snodgrass in CAS and another in VPRI.
NTTF faculty – Director of Composition: I appreciate your candor. We run a large award winning program serving thousands of students, with initiatives to help international students, etc. I support your efforts to increase the number of TTF. But where are we, the excellent NTTF, in your vision for UO?
Schill: In a healthy university many educational decisions are made by the Deans. I shouldn’t be making decisions about whether or not we should spend money on more econ profs or on the composition programs. This realignment process will empower the deans – with constraints regarding overall goals of more grad students and TTFs. Regarding the Q of where NTTF’s fit in, under previous presidents and provosts UO increased NTTF numbers without thinking about where they fit in. But we will never be in a situation where we do not value or use NTTFs. But the priority is to increase the numbers of TTFs. Shout-out to UAUO: We’ve established much more job security here than at other universities. (Boy has he learned a lot in the past 6 months!)
Student: Lots of recent conversation on race, but not much focus on how tuition increases effect graduation rates of minorities who are disproportionately affected?
Schill: Do you have an alternative? Student: Cut spending. Schill: We are cutting spending. You just heard an NTTF worrying about that. Student: Cut research, athletics. Schill: You’re being honest with me, I’ll be honest with you. The answer is not as simple as “just cut spending”. Look to the state legislature to increase their support. (Again, what a difference from when he arrived, and thought the boosters would provide money for academics.) We have the Pathway Oregon program for low income students, fully funds 10% of our students – 20% of our in-state students. The state just cut funding for this, UO is making up with internal funding and philanthropy. (Yeah Connie Ballmer!)
Psaki: We all agree with the lofty goals you have articulated. UO has run for a long time on a skeleton crew when it comes to teaching and research. Possible because of a shared commitment and solidarity – an excellent way of getting extra work from people. But we were struck by the way the CAS cuts were done. I know you don’t want to get into the weeds, but that’s were the devil is. The process was demoralizing – perhaps the most yucky experience I’ve gone through in 20 years here. This kind of instability hurt or ability to work for our common goals.
Schill: I am responsible for what happens at UO. You are not quite being fair to Dean Andrew Marcus and his process for managing the cuts. Marcus restructured the cuts in response to some of the concerns you raised. Any university that is not constantly rethinking how to reallocate resources so as to equate the marginal cost and marginal value product. I can’t tell you that we will not go through this again. I hope and pray that the legislature will provide more funds – we’ve requested $100M more for the next biennium. (I think it’s good to hear that Schill is expressing his willingness to work with the legislature, despite the UO Board’s efforts to hold it at arm’s length.)
Gina: I just sound sarcastic because I’m Greek. Schill: And I just sound whiny because I’m, well you know. Gina: An Attorney? (Both laugh.)
Gina: We need to fix Shelton’s Budget Model.
Schill: Yes. We are going to make the budget model about promoting academic excellence, not about rewarding Doug Blandy for online AAD 250 courses that pass out A’s like candy and suck students away from CAS Humanities. (OK, he didn’t really say that last bit, but plenty of people are thinking it.)
Meeting ends. My quick take is that Schill dealt very well with some serious questions, and that the faculty left the meeting with a sense that he’s quickly learning about UO’s problems and strengths and that there is broad support for him and his goals – and worry about how they wil be implemented.