Some idle gossip

It’s been a while since the latest Beangram. Someone told me he sent out something about online education a few weeks ago, probably got caught in my spam along with the Nigerian offers. Today there’s this from Indiana University – an $8 million initiative to develop online courses. Given the millions that Bean and Moseley have blown on Bend and Portland, I really hope Gottfredson has the sense not to put him in charge of anything expensive like this. Meanwhile, people are talking about  Gottfredson’s plans to devise something dramatic to try and keep UO in the AAU. Maybe along the lines of what Susan Herbst is doing at U Conn?

Here’s a news story on the evaluation of Kent State President Lester Lefton, by student journalists Rex Santus and Doug Brown. The board hired an outside firm to do the evaluation, then made a public report that all was well and paid him his full $100K bonus. The actual report from the evaluators was more critical, and was kept hidden, until the student journalists got it with a public records request. How can you pay a guy a $100K performance bonus out of public funds and try to hide the basis for the payment?

Here at UO top administrators are supposed to get regular annual evaluations, and more comprehensive evaluations on either a 3 or 5 year cycle, no one really knows which. The faculty handbook said every 3 years, but Russ Tomlin deleted the handbook from the academic affairs website, sometime before his own review led to his resignation. Provost Jim Bean will not tell me who else has been evaluated or when. He will say that the schedule for this year’s evaluations has not yet been set:

On WednesdayAug 29, 2012, at 8:50 AM, James Bean <> wrote:
Each year we determine who is due, and our capacity to do them, then choose.  We have not settled on those for this year but will do so in the next month.  Jim

Not exactly consistent with the rules, eh? Here’s hoping he and Randy Geller are tops on that list. 9/7/2012.

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9 Responses to Some idle gossip

  1. Anonymous says:

    Eight million dollars could increase the number of TT faculty; it could help provide adequate lab start-up funds for new recruits. Why not use that as a fund for targeted science hires?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Dog says.

    Why limit to science faculty?

    Target this money to learning in the classroom makes more sense…

  3. uomatters says:

    To be clear the $8 million number is what IU-Bloomington has budgeted, not UO. What could UO afford? I’m guessing that Jamie Moffitt has a pretty good grasp of the budget by now. Whether she is willing to reveal anything about it to the UO faculty is another question entirely.

    • Anonymous says:

      We could find half that immediately, jock box subsidy and newly bloated dips budget. On the latter though, the appointment of an experienced Eugene dips lieutenant is a good move. if he has even half the good judgement, mettle and honesty of his distinguished father, a long time member of our faculty, we will be well served indeed.

  4. Anonymous says:

    enjoyed the usual blather from the U Conn consultants on how to save money: revamping information-technologies services and centralizing purchasing, an area in which the consultants said the university could generate more than $20-million in savings. revamp IT and centralize, you bet always works like a charm to save millions. of each would need new VPs assistant, associate vps and staff.UConn prez is right on ‘good ideas depend on the faculty’, so my first suggestion to her would be to run the consultants report up against the judgement of the faculty.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Yes, my critical comments were only directed at the consultant advice to save millions by centralizing

  6. Anas clypeata says:

    Centralizing IT saves money in theory, if you assume that distributed IT services are provided in reasonable quality and quantity and that centralized IT would maintain those levels. That is a terrible assumption at the UO, however.

    The current distributed model provides a poor level of service to many faculty, staff, and students; any sensible centralized CIO with a reasonable amount of authority and budget would immediately act to bring all IT services up to a standard approaching that of our peer institutions. The cost of doing this would exceed any savings from centralizing.

    Smart centralizing would have many benefits, but at the UO, saving money is not one of them. Nobody should labor under that illusion.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Dog agrees

    Centralizing IT saves money only when professional support people are involved. 10% of a professional support person is usually worth 200% of an amateur. Given the rapid growth of OpenSource tools, our reliance on anything proprietary is insane. I voiced this opinion several times over the last couple of years or so. Hopefully it had something do to with the removal of Harris. The UO has a long way to go to repair things.