6/11/2009: One thing that will inevitably come up when discussing the fact that UO’s pay is last in the AAU and 10% below that of Missouri is benefits. Administrators claim that UO’s benefits are better than average. What they really mean is that UO pays more for benefits than other places do – very different from having better benefits! In particular, looking at costs does not account for things like regional differences in health costs, or more generous but not fully funded (hence cheaper) retirement programs at other schools. We’re not aware of any study that makes an accurate comparison. Also keep in mind UO’s retirement program is now much less generous than it was (although more expensive) and that cuts in health benefits are on the way. Administrators will also argue that Eugene has low housing costs. Maybe back when they bought in, but Eugene is no longer a cheap place to live.
A reader just alerted to me to a good table that includes pay and pay+benefits, posted by the AFT/AAUP Union people, using the same data as the Maneater article. Personally I think the AAU comparisons are not justified: we are not in that league anymore. But if we use all PhD granting the basic result that UO full profs get 81% of peers while UO senior administrators 120% is depressingly robust and controls for all these factors.
How did we get to this situation? Easy: For the past 15 years President Frohnmayer has been in charge. He determines how to allocate money between instruction and administration. He is not an academic and he could not have cared less about our ability to hire and keep the top faculty needed get UO back to Carnegie VHR status. But he was willing to pay top dollar for sycophant administrators and a raft of inane pet projects. We hope Lariviere does care and if he doesn’t prove it right away UO needs a union.