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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.


  1. Anonymous 05/10/2011

    Dog Salivates over this but will be brief:

    At most sensible Research Universities, ICC dollars accumulate over years in order to provide the kind of “Internal Seed Money”. For reasons that have always alluded me, we don’t employ that strategy at the UO in a direct way. We do employ that indirectly via start up packages but in many cases, new faculty use the bulk of their startup money to simply pay themselves for 3 months in the summer continually until the money runs out. That is not the intent of startup, but whatever.

    The main point is in black and white in that table under the internal research expenditures. Its a paltry part of our budget and compares miserably with most
    other institutions in that table and I am sure most all institutions that are actually in the top 100 do much better than UO in this regard.

    128th in research and still in the AAU – that’s a neat trick to pull off.

    It is also statistically true what UOmatters said that if you hire adjuncts and NNTFs and others without PI status, then your not going to grow your research with your student enrollment. That too is pathetic and ridiculous.

  2. Andy Stahl 05/10/2011

    You might go down the hall and chat with your favorite political scientist to better understand these research dollar trends.

    Until 1997, the year before the 10-year period measured in the table, Oregon’s senior Senator Mark Hatfield was the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, a position he had held (or been chairman) since 1981. Research spending in Oregon benefited substantially as a result.

    When Hatfield retired in 1997, Oregon lost its only appropriations committee member in either the House or Senate. Since that date, no member of the Oregon delegation has served on these committees that direct government spending.

    In contrast, consider the University of Louisville’s prodigious 263% increase in federal research expenditures. Guess who chairs the House Appropriations Committee? Kentucky Congressman Hal Rogers who has served on the appropriations committee for 27 years.

    Sometimes you have to look outside your own ivory tower.

  3. Anonymous 05/10/2011

    I know far less than I should about how our faculty governance system works. But if the senate passed a resolution capping the administrator to tenure-line faculty ratio at its current level (requiring senate approval for it to go higher but not lower), would that be binding? Would it be a good idea?

  4. Anonymous 05/10/2011

    Dog replies

    Yes it would be mostly a good idea.
    Since we are a tuition driven university with increasing enrollment than various operational expenses out to scale with increasing tuition dollars.

    Certainly Faculty hires are not scaling. The Admin budget should scale directly but its far exceeded the scaling.

    As UOmatters said famously a few weeks ago – Where is all the Money Going?

  5. Frank Stahl 05/10/2011

    Anonymous wonders whether a Senate Resolution would be useful with respect to curbing Administrative Expnsions: The UO Constitution currently in place reads as follows: “7.4 If the University President concludes that it is not in the best interests of the
    University to act as requested by a resolution of the Senate, s/he shall explain to the
    Senate, in a timely manner, the reasons for inaction or for amended action.”
    Thus, “…a resolution capping the administrator to tenure-line faculty ratio at its current level (requiring senate approval for it to go higher but not lower)…” would either be acted upon or would elicit an explanation to the Senate for why not.
    It could be helpful, and certain to be fun. Any Faculty Member (active or emeritus) can submit Resolutions directly to the Senate. Others should find a Senator to do it for them. The Senate President (Nathan Tublitz: [email protected], will tell you how. If you hurry, you might get on the Agenda for this year. Otherwise, next Fall.

  6. Anonymous 05/13/2011

    We all are asking that question – where is the money going? Are we building classroom buildings? We have a new ginormous basketball arena, a study palace for athletes, and space for alumni, but no where to put the 4000 + a year students we have been adding – with 49% of them paying full bore out of state tuition. So what is going on?

  7. Anonymous 05/23/2011

    certainly there are no visible plans to build the classrooms or offices required to teach either the students we have or the rising number. this is especially true for the areas in which enrollments, degrees and majors have surged the most–but why should anything be different from the previous 20 years? will we be able to schedule classes in the two new olympic-size swimming pools planned? Is there a single VP without a new pet ‘noninstructional’ building project? are these the decisions faculty or our academic deans would make? Surely not, which is why another vp is usually, but not always a very bad idea unless the pres and provost make clear to every vp that the agendaset by faculty and academic deans, not administrative vps, will guide their decisions on campus priorities. petronius arbiter

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