Interim Provost Bean can’t do long division

Update: Bean’s now sent round a new email, proving that at least he can read UO Matters, or has someone on staff to sound out the big words for him. His hack job apologies are not as fun as Randy Geller’s, so I’m just putting it in the comments. FWIW, no one believes the OA/UA classification scheme he’s using either. I’m no economist, but I can forecast the short-term outlook for Bean: running UO’s executive MBA program, from his condo up in Portland. Good riddance.

9/21/2012: If Bean keeps up this quantitative streak, in a few more years he (or whoever does his homework for him) may know almost as much about UO finances and staffing as the AAUP’s Howard Bunsis was able to figure out in a few days from the OUS reports. But he still can’t divide as well as a dog:

For the OA’s: (1242-1094)/1094 = 148/1094 = 13.5%, not 8.8%

Our provost could not even pass the placement exam for Math 111. Maybe something remedial, like Math 095? See the Dog’s comments for more. And the comment of the month?

The most important number, not reported at all, is the number of new provosts. Unfortunately, this number is zero. 

Stop by the UO Matters newsroom and ask our political affairs staffer (on loan from RBI – thanks, Ms Holmes!) for your free “Rob Mullens for Provost” pin.

Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost
Message for September 21, 2012
Colleagues:  

As we welcome new students to campus this week, I want to thank all of you who’ve volunteered to help students move into the residence halls. We are excited about the opening of the new Global Scholars Hall, which gives housing to an additional 450 students and offers an unprecedented academic experience. 

In my last email, I discussed how we arrived at the need for increasing our student body to combat budget shortfalls. This week, I’ll show what we did to meet the demands of those additional students through last year. While we’ve done a lot, we haven’t done enough. 

In the next few weeks, we will have final numbers of Fall 2012 faculty hires and more accurate projections of staff hires. When those numbers roll in, I’ll revisit this topic.
For now, let’s take a look at how we fared last year. 

Between 2008-2011, our student body increased from 21,507 to 24,447, or by 13.6%.
Also, between 2008 and 2011:

  • Classified staff increased from 1,483 to 1,585, or by 9.4%
  • Officers of Administration increased from 1,094 to 1,242, or by 8.8%
  • University administrators decreased by 2, or statistically remained flat
  • Tenure/tenure track faculty increased from 646 to 697, or by 9.3%
  • Non-tenure track faculty increased from 1,089 to 1,287, or by 8.5%

While we have increased the number of faculty and staff, our hiring has lagged behind the increasing demand of the greater student population. 

Faculty hiring has not kept up with the increased number of students simply because it takes a great deal of time and effort to hire high-quality, tenure-related faculty. This year, however, many of the university’s schools, colleges and departments have plans to continue their hiring. It will take several years to catch up to the increased demand.
I will continue to keep you updated on our efforts to meet student demand as the year progresses. 

I look forward to your comments at provost@uoregon.edu.
Regards,
Jim

9/7/2012: It seems that Bean – or whomever he hired to hired to help him communicate with his colleagues – is taking the complaints about lack of substance in his previous emails to heart. The comments are open:


Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost

Message for September 7, 2012

Colleagues:

Over the past few weeks we have seen public discussions of our classroom space capacity. I asked to have an analysis of seating capacity done and my office has now received an in-depth analysis of capacity net gains and losses. The basics are:

The total net gain in seats from new capital construction projects, including miscellaneous gains/losses from 1999-2012 is 1,276.
The total net gain in seats from 1999-2014 (with the completion of the Allen Hall and Straub projects) is projected to be 1,376.
Between 2008 and 2012, the UO added 492 additional seats, or 5% of available seats during 2008.
Since 2008, while seating capacity has only increased by 5%, the student body has increased by 16%, from 21,507 to 25,000.

It will take some time for the seating capacity to catch up to the growing student body, as it takes time to raise money to build buildings. The obvious question then follows, “Why did we grow so fast?”

To answer that, we have to look back to Fiscal Year 2009, when we faced roughly a 50% cut in state appropriations over two biennia.

During that period, the University of Washington met its deficit by eliminating jobs for many hundreds of staff, and Washington State closed many academic departments. The University of California system reduced course offerings and reduced student places by the tens of thousands, significantly raising the amount of time to get an undergraduate degree.

In 2008-09, we held town halls to discuss the budget shortfall and how best to address the problem. Our foremost goal was to protect the faculty, staff and students in the UO community. Rather than cut courses, close departments and cut staff, the UO chose a different path: admit additional students.

We chose to spread the pain of funding cuts over a larger number of people over a longer time frame. We knew that would cause discomfort, but we believe we made the right decision to preserve staff and protect faculty and students. In fact, the increase in student body has led to the hiring of many additional faculty and staff (a future email will detail that).

While we regret that space constraints have caused some people discomfort, we have plans to renovate and build new space. Look for 373 new seats this fall in the Global Scholars Hall. In 2013, Allen Hall will bring 302 seats back to campus. The long-term plans call for building at least three new academic buildings.

The Academic Plan called for enrollment to rise to 24,500, and I promised the Senate I would not authorize increases beyond that until infrastructure caught up, and the entire community discussed the impact on our culture. We have slipped to 25,000, but I am working to keep that lid on. We have no additional capacity at this time.

The classroom crowding you are feeling is real, and it will not be completely remediated for some time. But it is not out of control. We chose this path to protect your jobs and to maximize the student experience. I hope you agree that it was the right choice.

I look forward to your comments at provost@uoregon.edu.
Regards, Jim

Bean’s academic plan actually says 24,00 students, not 24,500. Some slip. Where did the money go? Howard Bunsis of the AAUP seems to know more than Bean – and is certainly willing to say more.

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57 Responses to Interim Provost Bean can’t do long division

  1. Bat Girl says:

    I had the impression that past budget cuts had little impact on the UO because we were already at such a low level of state support and that the increased enrollment was a strategic response paving the way for a strong UO future. Instead, it turns out that the increased enrollments were a last ditch pitch to save our butts. The purpose of telling us this is to imply that we shouldn’t be such ingrates about classroom crowding? We should shut up and be grateful? Message received.

    I don’t know exactly what these beangrams are supposed to accomplish, but I thought the tone of this one was weird. At least it wasn’t about that tedious leadership retreat again though. Frankly, my confidence in the UO would be higher and my whole summer would have been better if none of these had been sent.

  2. Anonymous says:

    More students means we need more classroom space.

    But more students also means we need more faculty. And more faculty means we need more office space and, for the sciences, lab space. Therefore any discussion of classroom space needs to be linked to a discussion of office and lab space.

    Where do we stand right now? The Global Scholars Hall classrooms will be in a dorm, so they don’t come with a corresponding increase in office space. Even worse, I’ve heard that the Straub plan involves converting lab space into classrooms.

    Of course, the cheap, obvious, and bad way to treat this problem would be to just build new classrooms and then hire a bunch of adjuncts to teach in them. Without seeing a realistic plan to increase office and lab space too, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that that’s where we’re headed.

    • Anonymous says:

      Especially when JH excuse for not dramatically raising TTF lines to compensate surge in students is lack of office/lab space.

  3. Anas clypeata says:

    Note that the provost’s seat counts start in 1999, but his student head count starts in 2008. Setting the student headcount baseline in 2008 is disingenuous. Enrollment was already way up by then. You have to go further back to get a true measure of overcrowding.

    Details are below, but if you use the same student headcount baseline of 1999 that the provost uses for classroom seats, enrollment has increased by 50% (from 16,716 to 25,000), while classroom seats have increased by 14%.

    Interesting what you can find on the UO web site with a little searching. Here’s a report from 2001 that says UO enrollment peaked (pre-2000) in 1988 at 18,530, and there were 10,100 classroom seats (1,000 more than in 1999, according to the provost’s count). Doing a bit of math on the provost’s numbers, I get a current seat count of 10,330 (with enrollment at 25,000).

    http://pages.uoregon.edu/emc/resources/old/EMC-reporttopresident.pdf

    And here’s your enrollment history:

    http://ir.uoregon.edu/files/enr1112.pdf

    So that’s a 34% increase in enrollment and a 2% increase in classroom seats (projected at 3% by 2014) between 1988 and 2012. If you use the same baseline of 1999 that the provost uses for classroom seats, enrollment has increased by 50% (from 16,716 to 25,000). Is it getting hot in here, or is it just me?

    Yes, it takes a while to build classrooms, but enrollment growth started more than ten years ago, not in 2008 (although look at the table yourself; you may draw a different conclusion).

    Caveat: The 2001 report may have used a different method to count classroom seats from the one the provost used. Neither this report nor the provost showed their work.

  4. Angry old lady says:

    OMG! WAIT…I have to go get my hip boots on just to read this whole pile of crap. What a load! Unbelievable pile of waste. And no mention of the millions the Administration has sucked from education….raise building funds….Why don’t they just have DF make one of those “deals” he is so good at with that sports guy? Works for athletics….

    • uomatters says:

      That won’t work for the academic side because Frohnmayer tried to repair his own relationship with Knight by blaming the WRC fiasco on the faculty. And, in all honesty, Dave had a point: some faculty did say some pretty ill-informed and nasty things about Knight and Nike during that fight.

      Personally, I wrote Knight a letter of support. I think Nike has done far more to increase living standards of people in poor countries than the well-intentioned but naive faculty and students who supported the WRC will ever do.

      Sweat-shop sneaker jobs sound bad to people who have or will graduate from college and and enjoy all the luxuries that entails. But they are a big step up from what Karl Marx called “the idiocy of rural life” that prevails in the countries where Nike does its manufacturing. That’s why Nike buys from factories in those countries – the alternative jobs are much grimmer. I say that as someone who has done a summer of piece-rate agricultural labor myself. Not a good life.

    • Anonymous says:

      The so-called “WRC fiasco” was well over 10 years ago and apparently you’re implying that Knight is one vindictive and controlling individual who will continue to disrupt the academic side in favor of athletics. Not sure you should admit you sent him a letter!

      This bit: “But they are a big step up from what Karl Marx called “the idiocy of rural life” that prevails in the countries where Nike does its manufacturing. That’s why Nike buys from factories in those countries – the alternative jobs are much grimmer.” needs citations to even BEGIN to make it credible. Are your muckraking staffers on vacation … still?

      Nike as altruistic sneaker makers? Uh, right.

    • uomatters says:

      Real hourly compensation for manufacturing worker in China more than doubled, just between 2003 and 2008. What did you do to help make that happen?

      http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/ichcc.pdf

    • Anonymous says:

      And … that’s it? What else you got?

      I’ll make an assumption that your comment “what did you do to help make that happen?” doesn’t represent the same snarky, pro Knight/Nike attitude that so permeates administration and athletic department responses when people, like uomatters, ask questions.

      I suppose that hourly compensation bump explains high price tags here locally. Imagine, Chinese workers helped build MKA! I bet they’re proud.

      Have a good weekend!

  5. uomatters says:

    Sent to me via email:

    In Provost Bean’s message, he states that the University of California students are taking LONGER to graduate:

    “The University of California system reduced course offerings and reduced student places by the tens of thousands, significantly raising the amount of time to get an undergraduate degree.”

    This is FALSE, according to the statistics on the University of California Office of the President web site.
    See: http:statfinder.ucop.edu, specifically, see the table at: http://statfinder.ucop.edu/library/tables/table_151.aspx

    In 1994, time to degree was 4.4 years; in 2002 (most recent date on this table), it was 4.2 years.

    I am familiar with two changes in the UC system that shortened time to degree: reducing the cost of summer session, so more students could attend summer quarter, and hiring MORE academic advisors, so students are monitored more closely and counseled to make smart course selections to get them to graduation

  6. Anonymous says:

    “maximize the student experience”– Oh! That’s rich! WE have no chairs for you to sit on, but that is a part of our maximized student experience program- in State students pony up $9258 & out of State students pay $28,653 for tuition only, fees & housing/food not included.
    If I were forking out that kind of money, I would expect decent classrooms or reasonable size.
    Bring in the fire marshall to determine max capacity, not the “Bean” counter ( word play/pun intended ).

    The U of O is maximizing cash flow, and should be prohibited from overselling space they do not have.

    Either that, or else start using that monstrosity of a building they call the Matt Knight arena & see about setting a Guinness book of World records “largest lecture hall class ever” it has 12,369 seats has those jumbotron screens. Could work!

    Maybe students who get A’s can win a parking spot in the underground garage?
    Seriously– look at the events calendar for Matt Knight arena…. a whole lot of blank space.

    How about the RG front page story saying the MBA programs need to jack up tuition prices just because other schools charge more!

    “They were at tuition levels north of $65,000 or $70,000 (for two year degrees). We were lagging at levels half or less than that,” he said. “If you want to be taken seriously, you can not be priced half somebody else’s offering, because you simply will not be considered.”

    At half price, it’s impossible to sell the program as a Mercedes, he said.

    This year’s turbo tuition boost takes the two-year program cost for newly enrolling students to $41,766, up from $33,420.

    I bet those students expect above average accommodations- as they should.

    You might say things are looking up @ the U of O…. well tuition rates are up, anyway.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dog says

      actually Fire marshall codes are in play for determining max
      capacity for most all classrooms now. However, those codes just
      take into account students divided by square feet of the room space and not square feet of seating space.

      If anyone in this forum needs a reminder of just how non-innovative we are in classroom re-design, visit the most recent classroom re-design – 110 Fenton, and ask yourself if this redesign is more appropriate to 1910 than 2010 …

    • Anonymous says:

      Say what you will about the design, but the HVAC noise level in the renovated Fenton lecture hall is much too high. Very disappointing.

  7. Anonymous says:

    and to think 110 Fenton unless I’m mistaken, was the site of the ‘trial’ in animal house.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Dog on Math asks

    I wonder how going from 646 faculty to 697 = 9.3% ??? (its actually 7.9%) – I am not nitpicking about the difference – since its small
    in either case, but why publish the mathematically incorrect number?

    Others:

    the 13.6 % increase for students is correct

    but the NTTF increase is 18.2% not 8.5% (or formally smaller than
    the TTF increase)

    Seriously, divide two numbers and quote the right result.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The most important number, not reported at all, is the number of new provosts. Unfortunately, this number is zero.

  10. Anonymous says:

    And Lorraine left Bean in charge of dealing with the Union? The bargaining team is going to rolling on the conference room floor, laughing their asses off.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dr. Bean, you say that the university cannot afford these proposed faculty wage increases. Please show us the percentage increases in the costs of UO Police, athletic tutoring, administrative sabbaticals and JH salaries and car payments for 2008 to the present.

      No credit unless you show your math.

    • Anonymous says:

      Where did Bean say, “that the university cannot afford these proposed faculty wage increases”?

      No credit if you’re just making things up.

  11. Bat Girl says:

    Is the Provost lying (again)? The latest Beangram (both the original and the corrected version) states that:

    “Faculty hiring has not kept up with the increased number of students simply because it takes a great deal of time and effort to hire high-quality, tenure-related faculty.”

    This suggests that tenure-track faculty lines have been distributed to departments, but that departments have just been too busy to fill them. Or, that searches have been conducted but have failed due to inability to hire well. Is there any other interpretation? Does any of this ring true? Neither of these options seem very likely to me. Nobody has come by our department and said “There are so many new students now, here’s a new faculty line. Go for it!” But maybe this is the case elsewhere?

    • Anonymous says:

      Most of the science faculty search requests were denied. The new hires aren’t even keeping up with people leaving.

    • uomatters says:

      Some were denied, some failed, and we lost some top people.

      Classes start Monday, and our Provost doesn’t know how many TT faculty we have.

  12. Correction: This replaces an earlier version that contained incorrect data.

    Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost

    Message for September 21, 2012

    Colleagues:

    As we welcome new students to campus this week, I want to thank all of you who’ve volunteered to help students move into the residence halls. We are excited about the opening of the new Global Scholars Hall, which gives housing to an additional 450 students and offers an unprecedented academic experience.

    In my last email, I discussed how we arrived at the need for increasing our student body to combat budget shortfalls. This week, I’ll show what we did to meet the demands of those additional students through last year. While we’ve done a lot, we haven’t done enough.

    In the next few weeks, we will have final numbers of Fall 2012 faculty hires and more accurate projections of staff hires. When those numbers roll in, I’ll revisit this topic.

    For now, let’s take a look at how we fared last year.

    Between 2008-2011, our student body increased from 21,507 to 24,447, or by 13.6%.

    Also, between 2008 and 2011:

    Classified staff increased from 1,483 to 1,585, or by 6.9%
    Officers of Administration increased from 1,094 to 1,242, or by 13.5%
    University administrators decreased by 2, or statistically remained flat
    Tenure/tenure track faculty increased from 646 to 697, or by 7.9%
    Non-tenure track faculty increased from 1,089 to 1,287, or by 18.2%
    While we have increased the number of faculty and staff, our hiring has lagged behind the increasing demand of the greater student population.

    Faculty hiring has not kept up with the increased number of students simply because it takes a great deal of time and effort to hire high-quality, tenure-related faculty. This year, however, many of the university’s schools, colleges and departments have plans to continue their hiring. It will take several years to catch up to the increased demand.

    I will continue to keep you updated on our efforts to meet student demand as the year progresses.

    I look forward to your comments at provost@uoregon.edu.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • Anas clypeata says:

      He’s using a misleading baseline AGAIN. See my message above.

      Since 1999:

      Student head count has increased by 50% (see above)

      Classroom seat count has increased by 14% (see above)

      Tenured/Tenure-related faculty head count has increased by 14% (613 to 697, from ir.uoregon.edu)

      Sure, it takes a long time to hire people and build classrooms, but 13 years? I could see a 2-3 year lag as reasonable, but 13 years is just plain bad performance.

    • uomatters says:

      Presumably that’s the source of the math errors. He got his RA to comb through the data looking for a baseline that made things look as good as possible, then got the numbers confused. Bean used them to spin his story, and never bothered to look to see if it really made sense. Sort of like with the 38% furlough claim, or the stuff last year about student faculty ratios, or the classroom numbers. He’s a hopeless embarrassment.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dog to Anas C

      I think your 14% number is likely correct. What I am trying to track down explicitly is how many seats were lost in
      Gilbert Hall demolition (I believe it was about 1400) and how many were gained back by Lillis Construction (I believe that
      was about 1250).

      I also believe that the provost’s baseline does not include
      the number -1400

      can you shed any more light on this?

  13. Anonymous says:

    The mistake seems a bit too convenient. He overstated the growth in tenure track faculty (9.3% versus 7.9%) and *severely* understated the growth in non-tenure track faculty (8.5% versus 18.2%)…

  14. Anonymous says:

    all very sad and had to have confidence in someone who prides himself on his math skills. I suspect Bean has yet to internalize the problems that arise from the influx of new students and the ability of the teaching faculty to meet them…Canis Minor, not the brightest of the constellations.

  15. Anonymous says:

    So the numbers change but not the message? In that case, the “data” is irrelevant if you can tell the same story no matter what the data says. Does he think people will just swallow this line of BS?

    This all feels very forced. Like someone is saying, “Jim, you need to communicate this now”

  16. Anonymous says:

    Hilarious. UOMatters gives me a literal LOL at least once a week. Thanks!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Let’s not forget the conditions under which the Beaner was hired. For example, with no legitimate search undertaken, he certainly wasn’t the best available at the time.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I for one commit to helping my provost get back in shape before bargaining season.

    Q1: Assuming that you will give yourself another salary increase for 2013, would you rather give yourself an increase so that your 2012 is 95 percent of your 2013 salary, or an increase such that your 2013 salary is 5 percent higher than your 2012 salary? Quickly now… quickly… which is it? Quickly. I heard a snicker from the union’s bargaining committee… they’re starting to laugh… quickly… stay calm… what’s the answer? Quickly.

  19. Anonymous says:

    You math people should stop making fun of our Provost. Calculating percentage changes is complicated. I was told that it involves not just division, but also something called subtraction. You didn’t mention that in the post now, did you! And be honest – the order is important too, right?

    Provost Bean spent his entire research sabbatical trying to learn the latest methods for doing this correctly – $300,000 plus travel expenses. OK, maybe he didn’t get it exactly right his first try, but that’s what peer review is all about, right?

  20. Anonymous says:

    Funny stuff. Ha ha. My bottom line is that I am personally insulted by the fact that President Gottfredson expects me to come to work on Monday for a provost whose incompetence has been so obvious to so many of us, for so many years. What does it take to end this?

    • Anonymous says:

      Let’s be clear. We do not work ‘for’ him. I like how Dartmouth describes the position… “The Provost is responsible for overseeing the overall academic integrity of the entire institution. In consultation with faculty, officers and Trustees, the Provost is responsible for all strategic plans and initiatives, particularly those that transcend a single faculty, and for coordinating institutional academic, financial and facilities planning.”

      I do laugh a bit when I think of Bean being measured against such a charge. How sad. How sad that he has the respect of so very few, stands only to strangle what vision Gottfredson has for this place, and yet continues in office. Come on President Gottfredson… send him to pasture down in Creswell. The reboot button for this place starts with his exit. Bean and Geller together would be even better.

    • Anonymous says:

      Look at it this way: United Academics in effect elected Geller to replace Bean as the guy who runs this place. That ought to tell you something.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s ridiculous. The union gives faculty the power to negotiate – something we did not have before. The “sky is falling” statements about the union are very tired and juvenile. Grow up and participate or get out of the way.

    • Anonymous says:

      So too is the arch rhetoric of the union boosters tiresome. So far I don’t see any forward motion to get out of the way of.

    • uomatters says:

      We’ll have a new post sometime next week on union matters, I’d appreciate it if people would reserve this thread for discussing the incompetence and venality of our Provost.

      Thanks, UO Matters.

  21. Anonymous says:

    A good first step would be a Senate vote of no confidence in Bean and Geller this fall.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Run-of-the-mill incompetence doesn’t rise to the level of no confidence. However, it does seem appropriate that a motion be put forward that the position of provost has an EEOC-compliant national search. The Oregon Way of promoting local friends is holding us back. This University is run like a Third World country.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are correct, Sir, for my lack of confidence need not have any backing beyond my lack of confidence itself. The provost has lost the ability to command the confidence of faculty, period. Take it to the senate, make it all official sounding, add it to the history of this place, always to be repeated when he-who-shall-not-be-named is named.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Fishwrapper sez:

    Good Lord.

    I can’t succeed in the world of wit as the memorandum and its correction have achieved.

    Oh my. Turns out it’s pathos. Even worse.

  24. Anonymous says:

    With three highly paid special assistants, including 2 former provosts, why isn’t JB running his Beangrams by them for review before he makes a public fool of himself? What are these special assistants for anyway?

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