Prov Phillips appoints HC’s Gabe Paquette to replace Ellen Herman as VPAA:

From the Provost:
Dear Colleagues,
I am excited to announce that I have selected Clark Honors College Dean Gabe Paquette to be the next vice provost for academic affairs.
Gabe joins the Office of the Provost team where he will help us in strengthening the academic mission of the University of Oregon. Specifically, Gabe will focus his efforts on ensuring the academic success of UO faculty. This includes overseeing personnel actions such as tenure, promotion, faculty performance reviews, post-tenure review, development plans, and sabbaticals, as well as the training and development of faculty members across their careers. He will report directly to Executive Vice Provost Janet Woodruff-Borden.
Selected in a national search in 2018, Gabe joined the UO as dean of the Clark Honors College and immediately set to work. In his Honors College role, he was responsible for all academic, budgetary, operational, and philanthropic activities. Gabe also oversaw a comprehensive reform of the college’s interdisciplinary curriculum that will begin in Fall 2020.
During his tenure at CHC, Gabe increased the size of the entering first-year cohort by 25 percent. He also designed and led a unit-wide strategic planning process for the college. And he was instrumental in bringing the renowned “Calderwood Seminars in Public Writing” to the UO through a foundation grant, making the institution one of three public universities to host the prestigious seminar program.
In Gabe, we have an exceptionally capable person who has a clear and polished track record of digging into the work to find creative solutions. He is accustomed to working closely with faculty in a way that harnesses excellent teaching and connects to positive outcomes when it comes to student experience. He spent seven years at The Johns Hopkins University as a professor of history. He also served in the provost’s office, helping to convene and guide a 30-person Commission on Undergraduate Education. He was director for the Latin American Studies program. He previously held positions at Harvard, the University of Cambridge’s Trinity College, and Wesleyan University.
Gabe will start his new assignment as vice provost for academic affairs on Sept. 1. I look forward to having him in the Office of the Provost and to all he will do to help our faculty thrive.
I will spend the next few weeks working with my leadership team and meeting with faculty in the honors college, and academic and senate leadership to gather input before selecting an interim dean.
Finally, I’d like to thank the 10-member search committee, led by Chair Jane Gordon, vice provost for UO Portland. The committee included members of the faculty, staff, academic leadership, and the University Senate.
Please join me in congratulating Gabe, and I hope you and your families are healthy and safe.
Patrick Phillips
Provost and Senior Vice President
This was an 0.5 FTE job under Herman, when she was appointed 2 years ago:


VPAA Announcement

Dear Academic and Administrative Leaders:

It is with great enthusiasm that the provost’s office announces that Ellen Herman, professor of history, has agreed to join the provost’s office as the permanent (no longer interim) vice provost for academic affairs. Ellen will join the office at a 0.5 FTE and focus on promotion and tenure as well as other faculty-specific matters. Many of you will be glad to hear that Ellen is already thinking through process and system improvements!

The office still has a need for the other 0.5 FTE and will launch a search shortly for a 0.5 associate vice provost position. This position will focus on program review, oversee a few of the provost’s office direct reporting units, and work with Ellen and executive vice provost Scott Pratt on other areas of tenure-related faculty matters. We are excited about this position as an opportunity for associate or full professors, particularly those who want administrative experience while not relinquishing their teaching and research efforts. If you know of good candidates, please share the position outline, which is available at this link. The posting will be live as soon as possible with updates at the same link.

An Around the O story is available here.

Please let Ellen, Scott or me know if you have any questions.

Sincerely, Angela

Angela Wilhelms

Old Org Chart:


Faculty Union votes 461 to 34 to extend $20M line of credit to improvident UO Administration

From United Academics, Johnson Hall’s new creditors. Full text here.

Dear Colleague,

We are pleased to inform you that the membership has ratified the Memorandum of Understanding to restore Career faculty FTE, institute a payroll reduction plan, and allow faculty to resubmit requests for promotion by a vote of 461 to 34. The negotiations over this agreement were not easy, and UA leadership appreciates everyone who watched the bargaining and lent their support.

We still have work to do to change the Career contract system. We will keep you informed of the progress we are making. We anticipate asking membership to ratify an agreement on a new system in fall.

Again, thank you for your participation and activism; we will need to continue to stand and work together in the coming months. Bargaining resumes in January with additional challenges coming our way. Please feel free to reach out with any questions as we approach fall term.

Comments are down

Dear readers – My ISP updated WordPress last night, and this broke the comments feature. Nothing has been deleted, and I expect the old comments will reappear in a day or two – other sites are reporting the same problem. Strangely, you can still post comments, and see the first part of them in the “recent comments” bar on the right.

Oregon’s flagship university goes online

OPB has the news here:

Oregon State University announced Tuesday that it will move most fall classes online.

President F. King Alexander wrote in a letter to faculty and staff that more than 90% of courses will be offered remotely to “limit the density of activity on-campus and help minimize the possible spread of COVID-19 among students and employees.”

From Alexander’s email:

Choice: To the greatest extent practicable, we are providing students with the ability to decide the location that works best for them to pursue their OSU studies. If a student feels safest living at home or off-campus and taking OSU courses remotely, almost all of our instruction will support that choice. If they choose to live on campus while they pursue their studies (mostly remotely and online), they are welcome at OSU.

Easy for OSU to do, since they didn’t sell a shit-load of bonds to finance Uncle Phil’s Track & Field Championships Athlete Village, and now need students to live on campus to pay his mortgage.

UO hiding how many Duck athletes have tested positive so far

8/11/2020 update:

UO still hasn’t responded to the July 2nd request from Bloomberg News, but they’ve finally told the Oregonian this:

“UO also said it “does not possess documents” regarding the number of positive COVID-19 test results for football players, coaches or team support staff, but that if they did, they too would be exempt from disclosure.

Which fits with previous reports I’ve heard that UO is attempting to maintain plausible deniability by keeping its testing records with the Lane County Health Authority. So all we know at the moment is somewhere between 0 and 43 Duck athletes have tested positive so far.

[Post heading changed to reflect strategic miscommunication from UO].

8/10/2020 updates II:

II.I: “The University of Oregon will no longer report new cases of COVID-19 in the UO community in the Updates. Information on new cases and total cases to date is always available on the UO Case page, which is updated immediately when cases are reported to the UO and confirmed by local health authorities”

II.II: Kevin Reed’s PRO still won’t tell the Oregonian how many athletes have tested positive. Maybe it was 9, maybe not:

II.III: Mario Cristobal has been claiming it’s zero, which presumably helps him recruit unpaid players.

8/10/2020 update: Sort of makes you wonder what else GC Reed and Pres Schill would hide:

More in the Oregonian here.

In other news UO has now started releasing just a bit more data on positive cases, here.

7/21/2020: UO PR flack Kay Jarvis caught lying about Covid secrecy

Ken Goe of the Oregonian has a long report on UO’s continued failure to report aggregate data on the characteristics of students who have tested positive, here, and the various excuses they’ve used – which he’s checked up on. Some snippets:

The University of Oregon’s refusal to reveal the number of on-campus Ducks athletes testing positive for the novel coronavirus is raising questions about the school’s transparency and willingness to protect the university community.

While some Pac-12 rivals, including Oregon State and Washington, have divulged an aggregate number of positive tests for athletes, Oregon and others have not. Oregon reports only a total number of students overall who test positive.

As articulated by UO spokeswoman Kay Jarvis, the university’s shifting rationales for this have ranged from contending the release of an aggregate number of athletes to test positive would violate “state and federal privacy laws” to saying the decision was made in consultation with the “local public authority.”

The first contention, according to an attorney familiar with such privacy laws, is false. As for the second, a Lane County health official said it is up to the university to determine what to release.

“There is no trust. Zero,” said Stephanie Prentiss, who represents Oregon’s classified employees as president of the school’s chapter of the Service Employees International Union.

Prentiss said university employees have been given conflicting information from administrators about athletes who have tested positive for the coronavirus and are being quarantined on campus.

She said workers cleaning areas on campus where infected people are being isolated are inadequately trained and equipped to do that job in the midst of the pandemic. The lack of transparency and specificity, she said, has led to uneasiness and fear among university workers.

The school has designated Jarvis, Oregon’s director of public affairs and issues management, to answer questions about this policy and has declined to make others available, including UO’s general counsel.

When first asked why Oregon was refusing to release the number of positive tests among its athletes, Jarvis responded in a June 23 email by saying she could not release that information because of state and federal privacy laws.

Attorney Gunita Singh, legal fellow with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, called that rationale “absurd. It’s a classic over application of privacy laws.”

On July 10, Jarvis wrote the school is consulting closely with Lane County Health & Human Services to slow the spread of the virus and in contact tracing.

“Again, the university is not the one determining the health benefit of information released,” she wrote. “We work with the local public health authority to determine when and how that information should be released, such as if there is an outbreak or when they are unable to use contact tracing to limit the spread.”

Jason Davis of Lane County Health & Human Services confirmed the university has cooperated fully with the county.

But, he said, Lane County Health does not have a position about what UO should disclose to the greater community unless there would be an instance when “five or more athletes start to get sick, and they all seem to be getting sick from the same source or reservoir. That needs to be addressed in public.”

Otherwise, Davis said, it’s up to the school to decide what it chooses to tell the community. …

Meanwhile, 19 days and UO GC Kevin Reed’s office still can’t figure out what to tell Bloomberg News:

Faculty Union voting on pay-cuts-for-jobs deal with Admin, until midnight Tu.

8/10/2020: Dues paying members should have received this ballot in their email, around noon:

Dear Colleagues,

The United Academics Bargaining Team invites you to vote on an agreement that would restore Career faculty FTE, provide a system for a possible 12-month wage cut, and allow Career faculty who withdrew promotion files in spring to resubmit them.

Before providing the recommendation of the bargaining team, We’d like to provide an assessment of the repercussions of the various outcomes. These are brief, and more details can be found in our previous communications.

If you vote YES:

Career faculty will have their FTE restored to the same level they had in AY19-20;

Career faculty who withdrew their promotion file after it had been forwarded to the Provost may elect to have their file reviewed within two weeks of the parties formalizing this agreement;

A Progressive Pay Reduction (PPR) plan that may be implemented if triggered by a November tuition deficit or in Summer 2021, if the university experiences a deficit in excess of $15M;

The PPR will raise up to $20M over the course of 12 months.

You can read more about the agreement here:

If you vote NO:

Career FTE will not automatically be restored before the beginning of this academic year; and

The administration will have to find other ways to raise money to cover deficits.

Our recommendation:

The bargaining team recommends you vote YES. Our priority is to restore FTE for Career faculty. We recognize that the deal presented is not ideal; we never would choose a salary reduction plan for faculty. The university community is, however, facing the uncertainty of looming budget deficits. The current proposal helps the administration address that uncertainty without cutting the FTE of Career faculty.

Voting closes at midnight on Tuesday, August 11, 2020. You can vote [link removed].

In solidarity,

United Academics Bargaining Team

8/7/2020: Faculty Union will vote Mon on pay-cuts-for-jobs deal with Admin

The Administration started this process with an “ultimatum” offer to the Faculty: Accept up to 4 years of cuts of up to $25M each year for $100M total, or they would start giving career faculty 0.1 FTE renewals with no health insurance. Take it or leave it.

The faculty union negotiated, and the deal now on the table restores those jobs in exchange for a contingent pay-cut of no more than $20M for no more than 1 year.

Thanks Dave Cecil and Chris Sinclair. Details in the links below.

I will be voting yes.

From: United Academics <>
Subject: Ratification Vote on Monday
Date: August 7, 2020 at 3:35:35 PM PDT

As we described last week, we have reached an agreement with the administration that will restore Career faculty FTE, establishes a potential salary reduction plan, and allows Career faculty who withdrew their promotion case this spring to resubmit it for review.

In order for our agreement to be finalized, it must be ratified by a vote of the membership. If you are receiving this email, our records indicate that you are a member of United Academics in good standing. If this information is incorrect, please let us know right away.

As a member in good standing, you will receive an email at noon on Monday, August 10, with a link so you can vote. Your vote will not be tabulated with your name, so your vote will be via secret ballot, as required by the UA bylaws. Polling will close at midnight Tuesday, August 11.

In order to cast a fully informed vote, you can read the text of the agreement, review a bullet point summary, get answers to some frequently asked questions, or watch the Town Hall held earlier this week.

We also have an agreement, in principle, to changes in the Career faculty contract system with the administration, though many details need to be worked out before we will be ready to bring that agreement up for a vote of the membership. We anticipate that vote happening in fall.

The bargaining team recommends a “YES” vote on this agreement. We are very happy to have restored Career FTE, which we know was the primary concern of the membership. The salary reduction deal is not one we would have agreed to in normal circumstances, but we are not in normal circumstances.

Please look for the email with a link to your ballot on Monday. Please vote.

Universities lobbying OHA and Gov Brown to resume football practice

James Crepea in the Oregonian, here:

“We’re still trying to figure out if we can return to practice,” [Duck AD Rob Mullens] said on Oregon’s in-house radio show Friday, his first public appearance in since May 15. “So if we can’t return to practice then obviously that has an impact. If we are able to get to that and then we are able to return to competition, then obviously that would be depending on whatever the local and state guidance was. Whatever we do from an event standpoint will be under the guidance of the Oregon Health Authority and Lane County Public Health.

… Contact sports, including football, are not permitted under current OHA guidelines.

“My understanding is that the universities are working with the Oregon Health Authority and local public health on how to safely hold walk-through practices while complying with current health and safety guidelines,” [Gov. Brown Spokesperson Charles Boyle] said. “We continue to be in close communication with them about how Oregon’s college football teams can safely prepare for the season while protecting players, coaches, and their communities from COVID-19. If necessary, my understanding is that OHA can modify their guidance regarding sports training if it is safe to do so, without an additional executive order.”

An OHA spokesman did not respond to an inquiry from The Oregonian/OregonLive as to whether the agency would amend its guidelines to allow the Ducks and Beavers to practice later this month.

Should the Board’s search for our next Pres be open or closed?

President Schill was hired by Board Chair Chuck Lillis after a closed search (which additionally minimized faculty input, and gave Lillis sole power to pick the one finalist.) This report from the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information is the first attempt I’ve seen to examine the consequences of such closed searches:

The most common argument for a confidential university executive search is that the school will not get the “best” candidate if it opens up the search, because good candidates would be wary about applying due to the possibility their interest in the job would be revealed to everyone. Would-be candidates are alleged to be afraid that if they apply for a job and do not get hired, that they will seem like “damaged goods” in future job pursuits, or that their interest in another job will result in retaliation at their home institutions.

… The closed searches did garner a larger percentage of chief executives than the open searches did (23.0 percent > 10.8 percent). So proponents of closed-door searches are probably correct that some sitting presidents or chancellors hesitate to risk disturbing relations back home (or to incur the embarrassment of a public rejection) by allowing themselves to be considered publicly. It’s worth noting, however, that even with a secret search, universities do not end up hiring a sitting chief executive more than three-quarters of the time.

Closed searches resulted in slightly more deans (9.7 percent > 8.5 percent) and government officials (7.3 percent > 4.6 percent) while open searches resulted in more hires from executives who were not the top executive, such as an executive vice president or provost (44.6 percent > 38.8 percent). Interestingly, the most pronounced difference between open and closed searches was in the likelihood of hiring a candidate from the business sector as opposed to someone currently working in higher education; closed searches resulted in hiring a business executive 10.6 percent of the time, while open searches produced a candidate from the business community only 1.8 percent of the time.

… Statistically, there does not appear to be support for the contention that being publicly considered for a university presidency is likely to produce severe professional harm. The most common outcome for those who sought presidencies and were not chosen is to be hired for a different presidency, which suggests there is no widespread “damaged goods” perception. Almost all of those who did not attain another presidency within a short time either remained in their current positions, secured other university executive positions, or (as with Johnson, King, Panchanathan and others) left campus for prestigious executive positions elsewhere.

Oregon Supreme Court upholds modest PERS cuts

Ted Sickinger has the story in the Oregonian here:

Employees hired after Aug. 28, 2003 who make more than $30,000 a year are now sending 0.75% of salary to support the pension fund, with the remaining 5.25% of salary still flowing to individual accounts.

The employee cost-sharing is expected to offset about $300 million in employer contributions statewide. It is expected to reduce employees total retirement benefits by about 1% due the the reduction in ending balances in their individual accounts.

The impact of Senate Bill 1049 falls mostly on longer-term employees, as well as those at the very top of the state’s pay scale.

The law redirected a portion of the required retirement contributions that employees make to an individual, 401(k)-like account that supplements their pension benefits to support the pension fund.

Employees making more than $30,000 a year and hired on or before Aug. 28, 2003 are now required to send 2.5% of their salary to support the pension. The remainder of their required retirement contributions – another 3.5% of salary – will still flow to the individual account.

This seems confusing, but what is actually happening is simple: PERS is reducing the amount of money that goes into employees’ individual accounts and putting it into the overall pension fund, so that the state (and school districts, universities, etc) can reduce their own payments to that fund, and the supreme court has now decided that’s OK.

For more see “PERS by the Numbers” here. For those who remember how generous PERS was to people like Lorraine Davis and, famously, Mike Bellotti, it may come as a shock to see that the average 30 year retiree is now barely getting 50% of their final salary:

For example, Lorraine Davis, who retired in 2004, has been getting more than her final salary ever since:

While Brad Shelton has to scrape by with only 67% of his:

The Oregonian’s database of payouts is here.


“The university will not retaliate against anyone based on their response to this survey.”

I can’t imagine why our provost would feel the need to put that in writing. I think the gist of his email is that faculty can now opt out of in-person teaching, whether they are obese or not:

Dear Colleagues,

I hope that you and your families are enjoying the summer. I am writing to update you on in-person instruction and to ask that you provide updated information about your availability to teach in person this fall. Please read this message in its entirety and respond to the survey link at the bottom before the close of business on Friday, August 14This survey is specifically for instructional faculty and graduate employees (GEs). We are communicating with other employee groups, managers, and supervisors to support them in their roles at the university and continued planning for the fall.
As outlined below, we continue to develop means to support safe and effective in-person delivery of courses, where our facilities and scheduling allow. Surveys of new and continuing students repeatedly show that in-person instruction is a central component of their decision to join us in the coming year. Additionally, we are dedicated to providing equitable access to education, including to students with disabilities and students for whom, for many reasons, a remote modality creates a real obstacle for accessing their learning.
We appreciate that for us to be successful, our top priority is to provide a safe and supportive environment for everyone on campus. Toward that end, we have been meeting regularly with a safety committee composed of representatives of our various labor groups, and have been hearing their concerns and ideas. Thus far, our first action has been to open up the campus to support the research and scholarly activities of our faculty and staff. We are well underway in opening research spaces in a very deliberate and careful manner—thus far without incident—and hope to shortly expand access for faculty to their offices and creative spaces.
The second stage is to assess whether we can move forward with a curriculum that has a significant portion of instruction done in-class or through a combination of in-person and remote (hybrid) mechanisms. We have made substantial investments in technology and safety measures to provide a classroom environment that is safe and supportive of both in-person and remote delivery modalities. Specifically, teaching in person will be supported by:
  • Provisioning of masks and face shields to all instructors.
  • Plexiglas partitions within the classroom lectern area.
  • Enhanced daily cleaning and availability of student-use “clean-up” wipes.
  • Video cameras and microphones in each classroom that allow recording and/or simultaneous streaming of lectures and in-person/remote classroom discussions.
  • Requirement that everyone in a classroom wear face coverings (accommodations will be provided for students who cannot for medical reasons wear face coverings).
  • Restricted in-person class sizes to allow for physical distancing requirements.
  • Clearly delineated occupancy information that enforces physical distancing requirements within the classroom (verified by the Fire Marshal).
  • Extended transition times between class periods to allow appropriately spaced transitions into and out of classrooms.
  • Instructors will be provided guidance and a centrally defined remediation approach to follow related to the expectation for face covering use in the classroom.
Safety procedures for more specialized spaces, such as teaching laboratories and studios, are being developed at the unit-level and approved centrally through the Incident Management Team.
More broadly, we will also be implementing a comprehensive virus testing program for individuals both on and off campus. The university has built substantial on-campus capacity for testing, now has a certified testing lab, and is in the process of gaining FDA authorization for several new techniques that should make testing much less costly and much easier to implement. More details on this plan will be forthcoming over the next month.
Updating Your Status – In-person Instruction
To more accurately understand our capacity to make this work, we are asking you to update your availability, given the safety measures that are being put into place, by specifically stating if you are willing to provide in-person instruction in the fall. We recognize a number of factors have changed over the last two months that might impact your ability and decision to teach in person, including the fall plans of 4J and other school districts within the state. We also recognize that other aspects of your personal circumstances may have changed as well. Please complete the in-person instruction survey at your earliest convenience. Your survey responses and our use of them are applicable to the fall term 2020 only. Decisions for winter term will be made at a later date.
This survey is in addition to the earlier UO Fall 2020 Request to Continue Working 100% Remotely Survey. All instructional faculty and GEs who did not already complete the prior survey—or who want to change their response to the earlier survey—should complete this survey in order to record your new response to either be remote or teach in person in the fall. If you filled out the prior survey your response will remain unchanged unless you now indicate a change to your prior response. We ask that you take into consideration the safety measures that the university has put in place before making your decision.
Submissions will be received and managed by the Office of Human Resources and will only be accessible to those with a need to know to perform their work. Responses will be compiled and submitted to academic leadership for planning purposes on or around August 16. Thereafter, your department head will follow up to confirm receipt and approval of your request and communicate other applicable information, if any. The university will honor any request to teach remotely during the 2020 fall term and will not retaliate against anyone based on their response to this survey.
This is clearly a challenging time for the entire UO community. By continuing to build upon our core values of respect and mutual support, the entire community will be able to face—and overcome—this challenge together. I thank each of you for your ongoing manifold contributions to this effort.
Patrick Phillips
Provost and Senior Vice President

Pres Schill proposes Pac-12 borrow millions to pay Mullens, coaches

That’s right, he’ll mortgage future income to pay Rob Mullens and the coaches now. Why not? They’ll all be gone when the bill comes due – just as Dave Frohnmayer is.

Meanwhile the faculty is on its own. Jon Wilner has the scoop in the San Jose Mercury, here:

The Pac-12 is planning a mammoth loan program that would provide an escape hatch for cash-strapped athletic departments in the event the football season is canceled because of coronavirus, according to internal documents and conference sources.

Football accounts for the majority of each department’s revenue, generating in excess of $50 million dollars in ticket sales and media rights alone.

The loan program would be large enough to cover that loss for each school, if needed:

According to a series of emails obtained by the Hotline through public records requests, the loan would provide a maximum of $83 million for each university at a rate of 3.75 percent over 10 years.

… Schill, who succeeded DiStefano as chair of the conference’s CEO Group on July 1, responded:

“I didn’t either. I did know that Larry was going to investigate putting together a loan. I guess he went with Raine. I hope the terms reflect work and not a finder’s fee that is outside the norm.”

(Through a spokesperson, Schill declined to comment, and Scott was not available.) …