How to get the Student Experience Survey into Canvas

As you may know UO is not conducting the Student Experience Survey this term. Raghu Parthasarathy (Physics) explains how you can do it yourself in Canvas, for feedback. I’m including Raghu’s editorial comments on why we should have collected the survey, which I mostly agree with. While our administration loves to “blame it on the union” – regardless of the truth – cancelling this survey really was the union’s fault, with help from the administration.

For summer UO will run the survey through the usual software, but results will be just for instructor use – not shared with departments etc. (If you want you will be able to opt out even from that.) I expect that this will be the procedure for fall as well.

From Raghu Parthasarathy (Physics):

As you might know, UO is not asking students to fill out an end-of-term survey about their courses this quarter. Faculty are, however, free to ask students how things have gone and get feedback on the on-line experience. There’s an easy way to do this: TEP has made the “End of Course Student Experience Survey” available, and upload-able into Canvas! (Note that one can run an anonymous survey through Canvas.) To get it, go here.

Click the “End-of-Course Student Experience Survey” box; you’ll get to this site, which has in the tabs at the top a “Download” button that downloads everything as a zip file. The https://blogs.uoregon.edu/keepteaching/student-feedback/ page has instructions for importing this into Canvas. (I haven’t tried importing yet.)

Many in my own department (Physics) are happy about this, and we hope to gain insights into the Spring student experience either using the above survey or our own questions.

Editorial comments: I find it appalling that UO is not asking students to fill in an end-of-term survey, even a survey that isn’t used for faculty evaluation. Such a survey should (perhaps) not be used to evaluate faculty, but it should definitely be used to get a sense of what students experience have been, and to get feedback that will be *extremely* valuable if we end up teaching remotely again. My sources (more than one) report that not officially having a survey is the will of the office of the provost and the union, likely to shield faculty from the possibility of being evaluated. First of all, I think faculty should be able to handle the stress of evaluation — we do, in fact, get paid for this. (And yes, it can be unpleasant.) Second, we could gather information and have the restraint not to use it to evaluate people. Third, we could limit surveys to courses taught by TTF (or even tenured) faculty, shielding the more vulnerable instructors. Fourth, we should want, more than anything, to actually assess how the term has gone from the perspective of students, to shape what we might do in the future! From conversations, there’s widespread agreement about the fourth point, and it amazes me that we don’t have a coordinated plan for this.

Feel free to forward to your departments, random other people, etc., with or without the commentary.

best wishes,

Raghu

Board of Trustees to consider unwinding Law school

5/28/2020: Actually the agenda for their June 4th meeting isn’t posted yet,  so it’s unclear if this will be among the cost-savings measures to be considered. Maybe they’ll cut baseball instead.

5/15/2020: UO Law School needs $250M to avoid financial exigency

It now costs UO’s law school about $170K to produce a law school graduate who can pass the bar exam. Over their three years they pay only about $60K in tuition – 50% off the list price. 75% of their students are from out of state.

The Law School started 2015 with a $3.3M positive carry-forward. As of March 2020 they were $5.7M in the red, on a heavily subsidized budget of $16M a year – they bring in only about $8M in tuition.

Our E&G bucket is on the hook for the $9M debt and pays for the continuing $8M deficit – including $390K for new Dean Marcilynn Burke and $290K for former Dean Michael Moffitt, who apparently knows something about contracts.

Closure can’t be far off without significant donor support. Back of the envelope it would take a $250M endowment gift, which would yield $9.5M a year after Paul Weinhold’s UO Foundation takes their cut.

Here are the numbers, from painfully drilling down into the docs on UO’s new transparency website, here.

UO joins state Workshare program 2 months late.

This program has been around for years as a way for employers to reduce hours for a group of employees, rather than layoff a few of them.  Normally it’s a mixed bag – employees have their hours and pay reduced by 20-40%, and then get back about 2/3rds of the pay reduction from the state’s Unemployment Insurance fund. But the CARES act $600 a week UI add on makes it a great deal. An employee earning say $1000 a week could take a 20% furlough. They’d lose $200 in pay, but get back ~$130 in UI, plus $600 from the CARES act supplement. Net, their gross pay increases from $1000 to $1530.

Of course it takes a while to enroll, and the CARES act funding runs out July 25th. Benefits will be retroactive to the time of application, but UO could have done this at the beginning of April. UO would have saved money and their employees would have made money. In this example, the employee lost about $4K because UO started the program 2 months late.

That said, better late than never. Details here:

https://hr.uoregon.edu/programs-services/uo-voluntary-summer-work-share-program

Update on School of Languages and Global Studies proposal

I”m posting this with a new tag, “financial exigency”, as there will surely be a series of proposals of this sort coming. Rumor has it that the Law School and CoD are the next candidates, with Law being the biggest money pit by far.

These sorts of changes are core academic matters to be approved by the UO Senate, which goes unmentioned in tonight’s email from CAS Dean Blonigen, below.

Here are some numbers, from Brad Shelton’s “Operational Metrics”, followed by the letter from Dean Blonigen. As you can see, Romance Languages (the largest of the departments involved in this potential reorganization) has costs per student credit hour that are far lower than, say, Law and Cod.

Law School: $637 per Student Credit Hour – a number which apparently ignores the ~$6M subsidy regular UO undergrads contribute to fee remissions for law school students:

College of Design: $307 per SCH:

Romance Languages: $202 per SCH:

Letter:

From: Bruce Blonigen <bruceb@uoregon.edu>

Date: Monday, May 25, 2020 at 5:30 PM
To: [lots of faculty]
Cc: Karen Ford <fordk@uoregon.edu>, CAS DD Social Sciences <adsocialsci@uoregon.edu>, DD Humanities <ddhumanities@uoregon.edu>, Lisa Mick Shimizu <lisa@uoregon.edu>

Subject: Update on the Proposal Development for a School of Languages and Global Studies

Dear faculty and staff in our language and literature departments and the Department of Global Studies,

In the past couple weeks, I have introduced a preliminary proposal for a School of Languages and Global Studies (attached) to you and visited many of the departments that would be affected by the creation of such a school.  Many of the ideas in this draft proposal came out of conversations we have had over the past couple years with department heads and program directors in these areas, as well as our initial conversations with a steering committee we began this past January.

Such a reorganization would have significant effects for all of you and understandably causes anxiety. We are also pursuing a short timeline which is not ideal and can further heighten that anxiety.  Initially, this short timeline was because we wanted to provide a compelling proposal that would convince the Provost to allow us to renovate Friendly Hall for the new School, rather than allocate the space to others.  More recently, I believe that we must move expeditiously because I am very concerned about the financial uncertainties we face and the hard decisions that may lie ahead in the near future.

A recent letter signed by many of you indicates that the process has been too top-down and has not allowed the faculty to lead the development of the proposal.  I have been leading the initiative because of the short timeline and the need to move it forward after years of conversation.  But input from faculty has also been a focus. The steering committee was formed to have representative faculty be the key drivers of the proposal development.  We also had a town hall in February and had another planned for March until the COVID crisis hit to get all of your feedback.  The short timeline has been for the reasons I indicate above, not because we wanted to quickly expedite a fait accompli.

However, in response to your letter, I am now turning over leadership of the proposal development to the steering committee.  In doing so, I have given a charge to the committee that outlines principles that the School will need to have in order to receive my approval and that of the President and Provost.  The overriding principle is that the School has to imagine and (ultimately) build curriculum that will be centered on undergraduate students who pay our bills and who increasingly pursue only those academic programs that provide clear career/professional pathways. The School also has to have a governance structure that allows its leadership to make nimble, flexible, and coordinated decisions. It cannot be a mere confederation of separate departments.

I’m posting the current membership of the steering committee below.  Some have suggested that it doesn’t have appropriate representation. I am open to suggestions for a few other members to address these concerns.  Please send those to me in the coming days at bruceb@uoregon.eduwith not only a name or two, but an explanation for how you think your nominees would help the steering committee be more representative of our faculty.

The steering committee will be working through the summer in order to get a completed proposal by the fall. Obviously, all details for such a School cannot be hammered out during this short time period – nor would that even be ideal.  The proposal will have to provide the key principles that the School will have, measurable goals and benchmarks for the School, the proposed actions/changes that will be implemented, and a timeline for the changes.  I will certainly encourage the steering committee to continue to seek input from all faculty, staff,  and other constituents as they develop the proposal further.

I know this is a difficult task during stressful times.  But the coming years are going to challenge institutions of higher education to transform quickly like no other time we have seen in our lifetime.  We will best survive, and ultimately thrive, by working quickly to turn our challenges into opportunities.  And I think the opportunities in front of us are exciting and promising, from reimagining and building curriculum together in an interdisciplinary fashion to fostering new research partnerships to aggressively seeking external support from donors.

Best,

Bruce
Tykeson Dean, CAS

Current steering committee members

Mokaya Bosire (LING)
Robert Davis (RL)
Rachel DiNitto (EALL)
Ian McNeely (GER/SCAN)
Jennifer O’Neal (IRES)
Eileen Otis (SOC)
Craig Parsons (PS)
Melissa Redford (LING)
Lynn Stephen (ANTH)
David Wacks (RL)
Kristin Yarris (GLBL)
Philip Scher (CAS – ex officio, non-voting)
Harry Wonham (CAS – ex officio, non-voting)

Committee formerly known as the Senate IAC to meet today at 3

Post-live blog:

I zoomed in for most of this. The most real part was Rob Mullens talking about possible NCAA cost-cutting measures. Cutting student-athlete scholarships was on the list, reducing the number of assistant coaches was not.

5/23/2020: The Senate turned this committee over to the President’s office back in 2016 or so, because Rob Mullens refused to work with it and as Senate Pres I was concerned that faculty might get in legal trouble for failing to regulate athletics, as happened at UNC.

Now it’s another toothless administrative group. Tune in to watch:

Intercollegiate Athletics Advisory Committee

Zoom login info: https://uoregon.zoom.us/j/92187710415
Meeting ID: 921 8771 0415

Agenda:
1. Update PAC12 work groups, fall planning — Rob Mullens

2. Academic successes/challenges in remote learning for student-athletes — Steve Stolp

3. Update on PAC12 Presidents Meeting/NIL & soliciting committee feedback/priorities —President Schill

Senate de-names covid financial planning task force over shared governance theater concerns

The decisions about UO’s financial and academic response to the coronavirus and its long term consequences are being made by Pres Mike Schill, Provost Patrick Phillips, BoT Secretary Angela Wilhems, VPBP Brad Shelton, CAS Dean Bruce Blonigen, and VPFA Jamie Moffitt in secret.

The idea that they would use this joint Senate Admin task force and its confidential meetings as anything more than a vehicle to claim Senate buy-in for whatever changes are coming was a sham, and Senate Pres Elizabeth Skowron and VP Elliot Berkman should have known that and refused to play along. Now, after the threat of a motion from former senate Pres Chris Sinclair and others to require that the meetings be open, and the charge and membership determined by the Senate, they’ve backed down and removed the Senate stamp of approval.

Dear University Senators,

Last week, we announced the formation of a joint task force that will advise the UO president on potential long-term institutional responses presented by the COVID-19 crisis. This task force was formed in response to our recent call for collaborative long-term planning that would bring together the knowledge and experience of UO faculty, staff, and administrators to find new, creative ways to accomplish our mission in the face of significant cuts to our operating budget in the coming months/years. I am writing you today in response to questions raised about how task force members were chosen and attempt to address any confusion about the relationship between the task force and the university senate.

Our goal in proposing this task force is to engage proactively with the administration to advocate for significant representation from the university’s senate and diverse constituencies in this important long-term planning effort. We view the task force as an outstanding opportunity to promote an elusive goal:  academic shared governance in the long-term financial planning of the institution. We are proud of the level of representation on the task force, which is comprised of many individuals who serve in elected, representative positions on campus, including current and former senators, and members of university academic and advisory committees. Further, the task force is comprised of a majority faculty.  Of 15 members, 9 are women.  Three members are senior academic administrators, one is a member of the classified staff, one is an officer of administration, and there will be one student member as well.

Members of the task force were identified and chosen jointly by the Senate President (myself), Senate President-Elect Elliot Berkman, University President Mike Schill, and Provost Patrick Phillips.  Together the Senate President and President-Elect generated a list of prospective members for the Task Force and the President and Provost made some edits and suggestions as well.  Together we finalized a list of candidates. All who were approached recognized the importance of this opportunity and agreed to serve. We sought broad representation from the ranks of TTF and Career Faculty, Classified Staff, and Officers of Administration across campus, with a student representative to be named in the coming weeks.  We sought individuals who would bring diverse expertise and a deep commitment to the institution-as-a-whole, while also keeping the committee manageable in size.

Though the task force members were appointed jointly by the senate leaders and administrators noted above, we want to be clear that the task force cannot speak for the senate nor substitute for consultation with the senate or any senate committees. Further, in no way does the task force replace the important work that will continue in the senate’s various committees in the coming year. On the contrary, the work ahead will intersect with many parts of the academic mission of the university, making it important to engage with these committees throughout the coming year where their expertise is relevant.

In light of concerns that have been raised, we are changing the name of the task force to the “University Task Force on Long-Term Financial Responses to COVID-19”, so as not to confuse matters and make it clear that the members of the task force have not been chosen by the senate, nor have they been formally endorsed by the senate. This name reflects the reality that the whole university will need to be part of our long-term response to the changes brought forth by the pandemic.

In closing, Elliot and I would like to express our gratitude to those of you who have worked with us to clarify the role this task force will play in the coming months. We view this conversation as yet another example of the positive outcomes that result from direct communication, constructive engagement, and shared governance and cooperation between the senate and administration.

Sincerely,

Elizabeth A. Skowron, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Psychology
Center for Translational Neuroscience
UO Senate President
University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403

http://ctn.uoregon.edu/

Gov Brown appoints former aide Connie Seeley to watch over Angela Wilhelms & troubled UO Board of Trustees

Our Trustees will meet again on June 4th by Zoom, presumably to approve another $12M Jumbotron for Uncle Phil.

Meanwhile, The Daily Emerald has the story on Governor Kate Brown’s nomination of current OHSU VP for Administration and Board Secretary Connie Seeley as the latest UO Trustee, here:

Seeley graduated from UO with a degree in political science in 1992 and currently serves as Oregon Health & Science University’s chief of staff, executive vice president and chief administrative officer, according to the application she submitted to the governor’s office.

… Seeley worked for Brown previously as her legislative director when Brown was the senate democratic leader, according to Seeley’s resume. For seven years she was also the chief of staff to Senate President Peter Courtney, who’s been the leader of the senate — which will confirm Seeley’s appointment — since 2003.

This will make Seeley the first UO Trustee with any significant higher ed administrative experience, unless you count Chuck Lillis who was a b-school dean back in the day.

Interestingly, Seeley also serves as the Board Secretary for OHSU’s Trustees. At UO that role is filled by Angela Wilhelms, where the BOT Secretary is a full time job with separate staff, controlled by Board Chair Lillis, with the job of making sure the UO President toes the line. Wilhelms had previously been Chief of Staff to the Republican side of the Legislature.

The full board applications from Seeley and the four other applicants are available on Gov. Brown’s admirably transparent public records website, here. Wilhelms and Lillis endorsed 3 of these candidates as explained by Zach Demars in an earlier story, here.

Presumably runner-up candidate Steve Holwerda, a private wealth investment advisor known for his love of Ayn Rand,  lifelong desire to be Duck Athletics Director, and fabulous Lake Oswego mansion, will get his chance to serve on the board of Oregon’s flagship public university soon, and perhaps recruit a few new rich clients for his firm.

I requested these docs from Gov Brown’s office last month:

4/25/2020 William Harbaugh UOM Under Review n/a

​I am requesting electronic copies of any communications sent between the Governor’s office and UO President Michael Schill or his office, UO Provost Patrick Phillips or his office, Duck Athletic Director Rob Mullens or his office, UO Board Secretary Angela Wilhelms or her office, and UO Board of Trustees Chuck Lillis. This request is for the dates Jan 1 2019 til the date the request is filled.

And will post a link when they are  available.

2-factor activation via DUO comes to UO

My initial reaction was “oh shit, this is going to be like Concur or the Faculty Tracking Software scheme, or Craig Ashford’s plan to save millions by centralizing all UO purchasing (say, anyone know what happened to that?).”

But I’ve been using it for about 2 months and it’s seamless. Log on as usual and if I haven’t used that service in a week my phone beeps, I hit the green button, and I’m in. Strangely you don’t need it for Duckweb, so anyone who has the 6 number password I’ve used for the past 10 years can still change my students’ grades and direct deposit my paycheck to their bank, but I assume that will be part of Duo eventually:

Dear UO faculty, staff, and GEs,
With spring term nearly complete, we wanted to express our deep appreciation for everything you’ve done to teach, work, and persist through the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
As part of our work to secure the university’s systems and data, especially during this unusual time, we will be expanding UO’s two-step login service in two important ways in the coming weeks. Action is required.
Key Points
Protect Yourself, Protect the Flock
Enrolling your Duck ID account in two-step login protects not just you but also your students, colleagues, and the university as a whole.
Enroll in Duo now by following these brief instructions. While enrollment is voluntary at this time, the deadline for taking action is rapidly approaching.

Continue reading

President Michael Schill has been very, very good to his upper admins. Faculty & staff, not so much.

Relative to other “Very High Research” public universities. I think this is what is commonly called “administrative bloat” – though these are salaries, not numbers. 2018 means the 2018-19 FY.

From the Chronicle of Higher Education, here. (You may need to create a free login with your UO id). The data comes from federally required IPEDS data submissions. UO is in orange, the 4-year VHR public university average in teal:

Admin: Upper management salaries:

Admin: Comm/Legal/Media salaries:

Faculty: (Full profs.)

Faculty: (Asst Profs):

Librarians:

Regular OA’s: