obtuse announcement on research changes

10/13/2011: The administrative cleanup continues. From new VP for Research Kim Espy:

Professors Stormshak and Phillips join the Office of Research, Innovation and Graduate Education

Patrick Phillips, Professor and Department Head of Biology, joins the RIGE team as Associate Vice President for Research.  Patrick,  a member of the Institute for Ecology and Evolution, will oversee the emerging Research Development unit which includes Faculty Development activities, large-scale interdisciplinary center and institutional grant opportunities; oversight of the Office for Veterinary Services and Animal Care; liaise with the scientific community; and with the Vice President and her executive team provide guidance and oversight for Research Centers and Institutes.  Patrick’s research interests are in empirical and theoretical studies of evolutionary genetics, ecology and behavior.

Beth Stormshak, Professor of Counseling Psychology in the College of Education and Director of the Child and Family Center, joins the RIGE team as Associate Vice President for Research.  Beth will oversee research compliance issues primarily in the areas of human subjects and conflict of interest with a focus on policies and procedures.  She will also work on large-scale interdisciplinary center and institutional grant opportunities that relate to professional school researchers and act as a liaison to the professional school researchers and groups.

This is not very clear. Is Phillips a new position or a replacement? Rumor has it Stormshak will take over from Lynette Schenkel. HS compliance has not been well run. This announcement could certainly be clearer about what’s going on. Why should the faculty have to resort to rumors to find out who is running HS compliance and COI? We shouldn’t, but given that we do, comments are open. Meanwhile, here’s the most recent org chart:

Chump change

10/9/2011: Moira Kiltie of the VP for Research and Faculty Development office announces UO’s 2012 Summer research award program:

The purpose of the SRA program is to stimulate research by providing
faculty with sustained time for scholarly and academic endeavor.
Proposals may be submitted by faculty who meet the eligibility criteria.
Up to twenty awards in the amount of $5,500 each will be granted.
Awardees will be notified on or about February 15, 2012.

This could be as much as $110,000 – for a faculty that numbers 660. Wow, that’s more than $150 each! Meanwhile UO has increased spending on police by about $1 million a year. We are paying $150,000 for the NCAA investigation. The athletic department spends $120,000 on free cars for the assistant coaches. Etcetera, ad nauseam, gag me.

Hope for UO research?

8/1/2011: This job posting from UO’s new VP for Research, Kim Espy, creates some hope that UO’s research priorities are going to move away from Provost Bean’s oversold “5 big ideas” towards something more like, uh, research. Not that we have anything against trying to base our AAU status on doing benefit-cost analyzes of LED lighting for Salem, or green-washing for the kleptomaniacal President of Gabon.

The position of Associate Vice President for Research (AVPR) works directly with the Vice President for Research and Innovation.  The intent is to appoint an individual for a three year period with the possibility of reappointment for a second three year term after review and discussion with the Vice President.  The position will initially be a part time appointment but may increase in effort over time dependent on work load and the wishes of the individual in the position.  The issues addressed during each three year period may change significantly depending on circumstances.  In the AY2012 through the AY201 period, the emphasis will be on setting strategic priorities for the Office of Research and Innovation; seeking enhanced opportunities for large-scale, cross disciplinary, externally sponsored research projects and initiatives; and assistance in the oversight of Centers and Institutes. …

Where did Linton spend our research money?

6/14/2011: From the UO press office today:

University of Oregon research on human physiology — particularly blood flow’s role in helping to maintain the stability of internal organs — is getting a boost from a $400,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense for the purchase of state-of-the-art monitoring equipment. …

Researchers on the grant are Paul van Donkelaar, Li-Shan Chou, Hans Dreyer, John Halliwill, Andrew Karduna, Andrew Lovering and Christopher Minson, all in the department of human physiology, and Scott Frey in the psychology department.

Actually, Frey and van Donkelaar are both leaving UO this summer – for Missouri and Canada, respectively.

Huron report, phase ii

6/8/2011: Rich Linton and Frances Dyke have now posted the phase II Huron report, here – a 143 page powerpoint. It doesn’t make them look like very good managers. President Lariviere has fired Linton from his VP for Research job, and has hired a search firm and posted an ad for a replacement for Dyke, to start ASAP. Rumor has it that Linton will get a job running some sort of UO PeaceHealth research consortium, while Dyke will be given a sinecure for the last year of her contract. A few excerpts from the report.

The University of Oregon has a culture with a high reliance on “the Oregon Way” as a justification for inaction, acceptance of the status quo, and slow response on a variety of efforts, which fosters an environment with a lack of accountability and willingness to change.

There is a general sense of entitlement across the University of Oregon. Individuals do not recognize the limitations of their own relative skill sets or thoroughly understand their place within the organization. The broader community believes they have a right to weigh in and be updated on management decisions but do not want to dedicate the time and effort to participate in meetings or discussions on the issues.

In ORSA and the broader community, there is a strong resistance to changes in any business process and the progress can only be gradual. The slow pace of implementing change within ORSA can be attributed to a variety of factors, such as a lack of trust in the current Huron leadership and lack of appreciation for the “big picture” or best practice, based upon Huron’s experience working with other major research institutions. Staff has voiced concerns about change for change sake and “ulterior motives” of the Huron team.

I’m wondering if they have also extended the Huron contract. And yes, as a member of the “broader community” – that is, part of the faculty – I believe I have the right to be updated on management decisions!

UO flushes 2 Research Assistant positions

5/23/2011: According to all the data, what UO needs most to keep our AAU status is more GTF/GRA positions. But instead we are going to spend the money on another administrator. I love the responsibilities part. “Develop a strategic communications plan.” What the fuck does this have to do with being a research university? Here goes the rest of our ICC F&A money.

Coordinator of Communication, Fellowships, and Events
Graduate School
Posting: 11152
Location: Eugene
Closes: Open Until Filled

RANK & SALARY RANGE: $43,000-$48,000, commensurate with training and experience.

PERIOD OF APPOINTMENT: 12-month, full-time appointment

STARTING DATE: July 1, 2011

PRINCIPAL RESPONSIBILITIES:

The Coordinator will work to enhance graduate education and research by working collaboratively with Graduate School leadership and other staff in three areas: communications, events and the management of fellowships. The coordinator reports to the Vice Provost of Graduate Studies and the Associate Dean of the Graduate School.

Communications: The Coordinator will develop and implement a strategic communications plan to effectively use a variety of media to engage diverse audiences, …

Small drop in UO research rank

6/9/2011: Over the last decade UO’s research ranking dropped by 4, to #128. From the Chronicle of Higher Ed report issued yesterday, based on “federally financed research funding”.

One possible reason for the fall is our minuscule “institutionally financed research expenditure” In theory, these funds can act as seed money for federal grants. Provost Bean’s “5 pet ideas” was an attempt to do this, the jury is still out.

The main reason is that the number of tenure track faculty at UO just has not grown over this period – despite all the new students. We do have lots of well paid administrators, but they are a cost center, not a revenue center. Does the administration have a plan for adding new principal investigators? It seems unlikely. Provost Bean has repeatedly said he believes UO is “under-administered” and he’s been hard at work hiring more assistant vice provosts of this and that, instead of professors.

In other news, rumor is that VP for Research Rich Linton’s retirement sinecure job will be running the UO/PeaceHealth research consortium. No word on how the salary will compare to his current $197,280 – presumably they’ll launder it through a 501(c)(3). Meanwhile, one of the key professors on that project announced last month he is leaving UO for another university – and taking his grants with him.

Lucrative contract leads to investigation

5/3/2011: In the Oregonian. This is the DAS Facilities Division. They only paid the consultant $90 an hour. The people in charge have been placed on leave by the new DAS Director, and are now under investigation. Meanwhile, UO is paying one of the Huron consultants $250 an hour. I can’t figure out if any of their contract was bid out or not – anyone know?

Secretary of State Audit of OUS Faculty

5/3/2011: It’s a very balanced report, makes clear they understand classroom teaching is a small part of what many professors at a research university do or should do. Calls for Chancellor Pernsteiner to collect data, monitor the situation, implement some sensible policies (most of which most UO departments I know of do as a matter of course) and report back.

More paperwork. The process would be more credible if we had a chancellor with, like, a PhD. Bill Graves story in the Oregonian here, audit report here, OUS response here from our Croissant Chancellor.

Linton and Dyke: Shit happens

4/26/2010:  Read it all. Full text here.

This is an astoundingly revealing letter to the UO research community, from VP for Research Rich Linton and VP for Finance and Administration Frances Dyke. Both senior administrators are now leaving their jobs. Linton was fired did not have his contract renewed by Lariviere last year and has been replaced by Kim Espy, after a national search – she was the committee’s favorite. The search to replace Frances Dyke started last month. (A search which includes some faculty representation only after protests to Provost Bean, who had stacked the original committee.)

Strip out the self-serving soul-destroying bureaucratic double-speak in their letter (whom do you two think you are fooling at this point, besides yourselves?) and it verifies the basic story we’ve been posting for the past 2 years:

Ms Dyke and former President Frohnmayer spent too much UO research money on their own pet administrative projects, and too little on research support. Linton didn’t stand up to them, so the feds cut our ICC rate to 42% – the lowest I’ve ever heard of.

Linton then made a very unfortunate hire for head of ORSA and failed to supervise her, even after repeated warnings from the UO research community. After the collapse of the office, Linton and Dyke hired the Huron Consulting firm – at a cost of nearly $2 million, paid out of the shrunken ICC research funds that are supposed to support science – to bail the UO administration out of that hole, and help keep it all covered up. (Huron was already on site, working on a small consulting contract.)

UO Matters had to make a petition to the Oregon Attorney General and then pay UO’s public records officer Liz Denecke to get the documentation on this. Ms Denecke is trying to charge us still more money to see the Huron reports – and Linton and Dyke have ignored our request that they give these up. In their letter they say they will release the final report, already delayed by months – but don’t mention the interim reports. Not exactly transparent.

But the real question is this: Why did Linton and Dyke write this letter? It’s far more revealing than anything we’ve heard from the UO administration in years, and at the same time it is astonishingly self-serving and incomplete.

Did President Lariviere make them do it before he signed their retirement contracts – as he made Mike Bellotti sit there at that press conference and take it, in order to get his $2.3 million payoff? Or did UO’s new VP for Research, Kim Espy, insist that they clean up their own mess before they bail? Or did the Huron consulting firm get tired of looking like the bad guys, and make UO write it?

Why does it matter? Because the only hope for UO is that President Richard Lariviere is getting really, really pissed, and that he kicks some administrative ass. Now. Fire them for cause. Have Doug Tripp stand there with his Tazer while they clean out their offices. Search their pockets for the uttermost farthing. No more golden parachutes. And then start digging around for what else is buried under Johnson Hall and the Jock Box.

Thanks, I feel much better now. What? Of course I’m a team player. Sure – let’s all pull together and go in for the big win. OK, I’ll get with the program, and drop the PR requests and the FOIA too.

But where is our research money?

No Huron report

4/14/2011: Last week I asked Liz Denecke for a copy of the Huron consulting report – which the contract amendment says was to be complete by 3/15. Turns out Dyke and Huron mutually agreed to put it off until the end of June.

OK, I’ve now asked for copies of any reports that actually were prepared by Huron. 

Linton replacement hired

4/13/2011: This just in from Bean. Excellent news, she was the search committee’s top choice. And this was a real national search with real faculty on the hiring committee.

Dear colleagues,

I am pleased to announce the hiring of Kimberly A. Espy as the University of Oregon’s new Vice President for Research and Innovation and Dean of the Graduate School, effective July 1 …

UO offers up more Huron documents

4/12/2011: From what I hear Huron and Moira Kiltie have fixed the ORSA situation and it is now running smoothly. But this was – is – sure expensive, and Linton is still not telling us how it got this bad. $1,789,000 should at least buy a story. But nope – I had to pay UO $48 to get these records! “Millions for consultants, not a cent for trust and transparency!” T. Jefferson on the Barbary pirates.

However, in response to my petition to AG Kroger, UO and Liz Denecke have finally provided the missing appendix with the consultants’ qualifications, here. Clearly someone in the administration has told her to be more transparent – this time. She also gave up bit more documentation on the breakdown of costs – here, sample for January below. Still no itemized expense breakdown. At least Dr. Pernsteiner filled out the forms!

By the way, I’m down to the Old Overholt now, friends.

ORSA update from Rich Linton

4/11/2011: VP for Research Rich Linton has now issued an explanation of who is running ORSA (Moira Kiltie has just been promoted) and who all the Huron consultants are. Rich is not providing a word on the cost – but here are the contracts and $1.5 million in invoices. Another $500,000 is budgeted until June.

In case you are not following this, rumor is that this is all fallout from a botched hire and inadequate supervision. Who knows – obviously Rich is not telling, much less giving the faculty their research money back!

I’m sure the memo – emailed to all PIs – had nothing to do with our public records requests. Meanwhile, here’s the announcement of Rich’s retirement:

The following message is sent on behalf of Senior Vice President and Provost Jim Bean –

Colleagues –

Rich Linton, Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, has announced plans to step down from his position no later than June 30, 2011.  Rich has had a dramatic impact on the UO’s research enterprise and interdisciplinary initiatives during the past decade. For example, UO’s growth rate in research expenditures per faculty member over the last five years was 50%, ranking third best within the AAU (FY03-08, NSF’s latest available data). Rich has been instrumental in providing critical support of faculty recruitment and retention, graduate education, interdisciplinary centers and initiatives, research infrastructure, multi-institutional partnerships, and technology transfer.   Rich has served the institution with great skill, energy, good will and dedication.

A national search will begin presently and a search firm will be hired in the near future.  Rich and I will especially appreciate your support and assistance in this time of transition.  I wish Rich all the best as he looks toward new leadership opportunities and challenges.

Regards, Jim (Bean)

RSVP for the retirement party here. I wonder what sort of golden parachutes Linton and Frances Dyke are going to get, and how much it will cost us.