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Provost Bean is unacceptable as interim President

12/1/2011: Update: Provost Bean’s 2011 sabbatical contract is here. It’s an academic sabbatical, but we pay him his much higher administrative salary. It also turns out we’ve been making his beemer payments, $775 a month, mostly from student tuition money. In fact, we are also apparently on the hook for “all expenses associated with Jim Bean’s sabbatical.” Because there’s no way the B-School will pay for a shoddy proposal like this. Thanks Russ. Read it all. 

Provost Bean originally said he wanted to go on sabbatical for his health. You take a sick leave for your health. A sabbatical is for research. Sure enough, his sabbatical contract does not mention health – instead it gives two new, conflicting reasons. On page 4 of the pdf, in his cover letter to Lariviere, he says he wants to go back to being Provost:

Jim Bean’s got a point: UO needs a more effective Provost. But that’s not why he wants a sabbatical. On the very next page of our Provost’s sabbatical proposal he’s got a totally different story – now he wants to go back to being a professor, and teach and do research. He’s got a pretty pathetic idea of what that involves:

Bean thinks student tuition should pay for “visiting old friends”? Wait – it gets even more embarrassing:

I’m no economist, so I can’t tell you what $322,140 at a 0.60 FTE plus benefits and a free BMW works out to in dollars but I think it should be enough to find someone willing to actually *read* the literature, not just scan it. (OK, it’s $289,562.) And how much did Bean gain by claiming his Senior VP salary rather than his Professor salary, for what is, at least purportedly, an academic sabbatical? 0.60*(322,140 – 185,733) = $81,844 plus OPE at 45% = $118,674. Where did UO get that money? Mostly from our students, and a bit from Oregon taxpayers.

and here’s the BMW part:

12/1/2011: These are (mostly) my comments, but I think a substantial majority of the faculty agree. The vote of the ~50 CAS heads was unanimous for Berdahl. Sorry Jim, but that’s the way it is.

After a mixed performance as B-School Dean, Jim Bean was appointed interim Provost by Frohnmayer (2008) without a search. Linda Brady had left suddenly and he was available. Then he was promoted to Provost (2009) without a search. Just like Chancellor Pernsteiner’s career.

His tenure as Provost was also mixed, at best. Lots of efforts to make himself look good (his oversold 5 big ideas) and a repeated refusal to engage with the faculty on tough questions (e.g. athletics, Martinez firing, budgets, Bend, …). Unable to attract good administrators to UO. Kept Russ Tomlin and Frances Dyke for 3 years? John Moseley is *still* on the books as Bean’s “special assistant” at $248,941 FTE? Now that’s leadership.

One reason for the Lariviere firing was the faculty and administrative raises. Bean took one of the largest ones for himself – $15,340. Imagine if he could have gone out to the press defending Lariviere, saying “I believed these were so important to retention that I pushed them through and did not take a dime for myself.” Bean couldn’t do that, because $306,800 was not enough for him. He wanted $322,140 (and a BMW 7 series) – regardless of what it cost UO in the end.

Then this September he stepped down at the last minute as Provost – literally a few days before classes started. President Lariviere had to rummage through the Johnson Hall recycling bins for an interim replacement. I’ve never heard of someone taking a sabbatical for medical reasons – we do them for research, right? Weird. I wonder what his sabbatical contract looks like. I will find out. See link to contract above.

Now – 2 months after saying he was physically unable to be provost, he’s suddenly willing and able to take on the President’s job. I don’t trust him or his relationship with Pernsteiner and the board. I think this is a set up. So do many others. Show us the medical records Jim.

He’s been a toady for Chancellor Pernsteiner before: Watch this 2009 video of the infamous “furlough meeting” where Bean claimed that UO was in the black on our Bend satellite, that we had a lean top administration, spending 38% of what our peer institutions spend, and that we should go along with Pernsteiner’s call for voluntary faculty furloughs:

Lies and more lies.


  1. Anonymous 12/01/2011

    If you are not well enough to be provost, certainly you are not well enough to be president.

    And yes, whatever happened to sick leave?

  2. Anonymous 12/01/2011

    Dog barks a lot, even howls …

    I don’t think this particular dump on Bean is helpful at this particular time. Indeed, most of the dialogue in this forum over the last week reads like a typical after-action report with multiple fingers of blame pointing in multiple directions. I also don’t think its necessary to call into question the voracity of one’s medical records. No good can come of that.

    The past is generally an arbitrary collection of events and circumstances that screw some people and reward others. Deal with it – you can’t reverse it – you can only leverage it towards a better future – but not if your continually fixated on who to blame for the past.

    The single biggest reason that Berdahl should be chosen is that he brings an important external context with him. He was President of the AAU so he knows, in much detail, how short the UO comes up these days as it measures itself against AAU University Metrics. Much of this shortness is related to Graduate School/Research issues. The biggest thing that Berdahl could do is to come up with strategies and plans that would help move the UO closer to the AAU average. Our current direction is to be moving strongly away from this average, accelerating I believe because of OUS actions, and currently we are the only Community College member of the AAU and Community College’s can be in the AAU!

  3. Anonymous 12/01/2011

    On the outside possibility that Jim Bean will actually receive consideration for the interim Presidency, the Old Man feels compelled to report, based on his personal experience, that Jim is actively opposed to transparency in UO governance.

  4. Anonymous 12/01/2011

    Bean is ok as provost but unacceptable as interim prez: little transparency, lots of ego, not so good w/ constituencies outside old-boy DAC locker-room networks.

  5. Anonymous 12/02/2011

    Given how much the Chancellor suffered during the Mac Court session I won’t be surprised that he WILL make your fear come true – Jim Bean the interim President. I don’t know much about Bean but heard some faculty supportive his possible appointment. I do agree that Berdahl’s CV is much more attractive at this critical point to help the school in “critically condition.

    I hope that the outsiders with bad intentions do not succeed to divide UO community.

  6. Anonymous 12/02/2011

    Are we just paying for a 5 or for the more manly 7 series?

  7. Anonymous 12/02/2011

    Nice work, stupid. Now the board will appoint your buddy Frohnmayer.

  8. Anonymous 12/02/2011

    So, no one is upset that LaRiviere approved this sabbatical contract or that Berdahl was hired for 2 days a week at 94,000. I feel like I am living in an alternative universe. I am seriously re-considering my tenure at this University. I had stayed even at a low salary because of my colleagues. Now I feel quite alone.

  9. Anonymous 12/02/2011

    I understand what you meant and share your concerns regarding many questionable financial decisions at UO. I guess at this point I am concerned with something more evil and damaging. I sure had my shares of disappointment in supporting people who didn’t turned out to be that worthy.

  10. Anonymous 12/02/2011

    Its disappointing to see how self-serving many administrators are and not a place if you are looking for a Saint. For RL I have not heard bad stories of that kind. Once I saw RL having a sandwich for lunch in the cafe before a meeting at white stag building, just like a regular faculty. I was surprised when I recognized him. I guess I was used to be our administrators at much fancier lunch with others assisting them…

  11. Anonymous 12/02/2011

    I eat a sandwich from home every day and at my desk because I am too busy. Is RL to be praised for liking sandwiches. . By the way, I do not mean to be rude but the opposite of corrupt is not saintly, but honest. Can we hope for that?

  12. Anonymous 12/02/2011

    I actually think the hiring of Berdahl was the final straw for Pernsteiner. After all, what was his job going to be if not be the face of the UO in Salem lobbying for autonomy? Not to mention that $100k/year is a bargain to stay in the AAU. Pernsteiner couldn’t hope to compete with his political clout or his national reputation. Pernsteiner looks like a third-rate JC vice president in comparison. I think Berdahl as UO president (even interim) is his worst nightmare.

  13. Anonymous 12/02/2011

    Well he deserves some nightmares after all the callous, petty things he’s done.
    I like Berdahl already.

  14. Anonymous 12/02/2011

    The writing style of a man who has never allowed a word of criticism from his employees. He’s lost track of the reality of his place in academia. It’s never occurred to him that what he does might be subject to review or criticism. Sad.

  15. Anonymous 12/02/2011

    Can it be true that Bean got a 15k raise? Did RL sign all these deals for Bean because he is dependent of Provost Bean? Thinking of the timing, maybe RL hired Berdahl hoping that he could advise him out the troubled relationship with the Board and Governor? 94k is a lot but that is equiv. 245k full-time. That is not more than a salary for most deans, no? Berdahl was a chancellor and president at major schools so maybe the 94k is reasonable?

    I am thinking Davis would be a better chioce than Bean after seeing the posted info here.

  16. Anonymous 12/05/2011

    UO Matters, this is outrageous defamation of Provost Bean. Among our Provost’s many accomplishments was the hiring from Penn State of Denis Simon to be UO’s new VP for international affairs. Dr. Simon successfully … Oh, right. OK. Point taken. Never mind.

  17. Anonymous 12/08/2011

    Dear UO Matters:

    Beemer (or beamer) is the slang for a BMW motorcycle. The $775 monthly payment your blog documents is for a car, not for a motorcycle. The correct term for a BMW car is “bimmer”, or if you prefer, “ultimate driving machine” (TM)

    Get this right, or worry about a defamation lawsuit from people with considerably deeper pockets than your miserable wretch of a bimmer driving provost.

    Yours, enthusiastically.

  18. Anonymous 12/09/2011

    Funny that one of the commenters should mention Simon, the bearded vp who was never there. Readers might recall that in October Acting Provost Davis informed us of his departure, reporting that he was departing because of health and family issues. Apparently, Simon, like his former boss the Beamer, recovers real fast. Take a look at the following link!

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