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Q: How long, Provost Coltrane, how long?

9/23/2013: A: Seven years and $70K, best case scenario.

Interim Provost Scott Coltrane’s email about the new faculty contract is here. He offers to answer questions. I’ve got a few, and I’ll keep you posted on the answers. You’ll have a chance to ask him yourself during the public presentation he will have to make as candidate for the permanent UO Provost job.

Meanwhile, here’s the math on how long it will take to get to comparators, and an estimate of what you’ll lose meanwhile – about $70,000, lower bound.

The faculty union did what it could. But while Gottfredson was happy to pay Sharon Rudnick and her consultants $1M, his word is that “the well is dry” when it comes to faculty pay, and Coltrane now seems just fine with that:

The original faculty union proposal, of 1.5%, 8%, 9% (which Gottfredson’s team laughed at) followed by a second contract at 6%, 6%, would have got us to the AAU average by 2016 – just 3 years later than the Lariviere proposal:

The next contract will need to be 10%, 10% to reach this goal, which the administration has purported to want to achieve since the 1998 Senate White paper.

In the scheme of a $800 million budget, we’re not talking about a lot of money. But it’s not going to happen unless we spend the next 18 months exposing Johnson Hall’s money wasting activities, and convince the new UO board that faculty are more important to their university’s future than more administrative bloat, sports subsidies, and expensive White Stag distractions.


  1. Anonymous 09/23/2013

    This is sobering.

  2. awesome0 09/23/2013

    Maybe we should assume the trend in the raises will persist.

    1.5 to 3.5 is a 2.0 increase

    3.5 to 6 is a 2.5 increase

    So extrapolating out, the next raises will be
    6+3=9, 9+3.5=12.5

    We’ll catch up and surpass everyone quick. Heck with salaries like that, we might even become “the best university in the world”

  3. Anonymous 09/23/2013

    we are not an average AAU school – we are at the bottom – so I always find this calculation/comparison odd. I hope this will help us get better though.

    • UO Matters 09/23/2013

      Dave Hubin told our accreditors that it’s UO’s goal to become an average AAU public university. But then Hubin’s told a lot of people a lot of things.

    • Anonymous 09/24/2013

      Well, to be fair… Hubin has also NOT told a lot of people a lot of things. Funny, that.

  4. awesome0 09/23/2013

    I would say it could also happen if administrators act strategically to improve the UO’s standings. Hiring more faculty, having a consistent merit program to reward high achievers, and improving infrastructure seems like the sort of thing our administrators would aspire too, provided the board sets up a merit/punishment structure to reward our administrators for improving the university.

  5. Old Grey Mare 09/23/2013

    You are forgetting that the goats will multiply as well. Worked for Jacob.

  6. vlad 09/23/2013

    I agree with last several commenters ( except UOM, I don’t view ‘goal’ and promise’ as necessarily equivalent), and while continued vigilance is necessary, we should alsoprobably take the ;old man’s’ long-standing advice to grease and work the gears of shared governance and call off the all-out impaling campaign until we see whether both we and the administration can revive shared governance in the new board structure. On pay, the old white paper goal of 95% of AAU is still pretrty ambitious and might be a good place to start. Perhaps between contracts, the senate structure can figure out how to coordinate efforts with the union, at least in broad goals? Otherwise shared governance will consist only of haggling at the bargaining table every several years. Finally, the pres and interim provost were not here for the first five of the last ten years, years that squandered our greatest resource, the goodwill of faculty and staff, so maybe we can help thhem understand what happened and what we hope for from them now? They might need hope nearly as much as we do. (of course there’s no real accounting for Geller, God save us)

  7. honest Uncle Bernie 09/23/2013

    vlad —

    The “old white paper goal of 95%” was for total compensation, not just salaries. By that criterion, UO has probably met the old white paper goal, maybe exceeded for asst and assoc profs.

    Sadly, most faculty are not aware of this — UO actually has basically met the old white paper goals during the period between 2000 and now!

    Amazingly, the UO administration, if it is aware of this at all, has done a miserable (or nonexistent) job of publicizing it — to the detriment of UO, the faculty, and said administration itself.

    Unless you include superior UO pension benefits — starting with the 6% pickup, which everyone gets — salary comparisons are meaningless.

    For example, add 6% to the 2014 assoc prof salary in the first table above, you’ll see that UO is above 95%.

    For those who don’t think the 6% pickup counts, imagine having it taken out of your paycheck each month, as is done in almost all other state pension programs.

    And if you’re among the half or so of TTF who are Tier 1, the 6% doesn’t begin to include all the extra pension benefits at UO.

    • Anonymous 09/23/2013

      hUB says (something not working with the buttons here):

      You’re only looking at Tier 3, for younger people. It is true that it’s worth looking at what new people are getting in retirement benefits at other schools. I don’t have that data; it’s stuff the administration and/or union should be gathering with their professional staffs.

      As I’ve argued here repeatedly, average retirement benefits at UO are AT LEAST about 17%. Again, that’s averaged over everyone. That’s 7% above the 10% at other schools.

      It’s true that Tier 3 people, at 12% (or 14% if they choose to be in PERS — it IS a choice) are not getting as much as Tier 1 people get, or even as much as Tier 1 people got back in the old days.

      But retirement benefits are under attack everywhere, so I wouldn’t assume (without real knowledge or data, if you have any, I’d like to know) that new people at other public universities are getting that 10%.

      BUT — even if we go with 12% for Tier 3 vs. 10% at other schools, that 2014 figure in the first table above is nearly 94% — close to that 95% white paper business. Much better than it was a dozen years ago!

      Again, if anyone has real data on pension benefits for new hires at UO compared to new hires at other public universities, would be interested to know. Johnson Hall should be able to help you.

  8. Anonymous 09/23/2013

    Most of my peers at other universities get generous summer pay for doing department work, etc. Even if they are not even close to the AAU. At UO, not so much. So if we’re counting benefits, let’s count summer pay too.

    • Anonymous 09/23/2013

      Dog Says

      The issue of summer salary at the UO is an important one and needs to be part of the overall discussion.

      For one, the amount of “internal” money (e.g. the Summer Awards Program) at the UO is incredibly tiny for a research University. At one of my former institutions that summer awards program was 10
      times larger than the UO, while the size of that University was 1.5 UOs.

      Our academic salaries at the UO have always been low due to inadequate state baseline funding. This was the case 30 years ago and is worse now. The one thing the UO always has had the ability to control is the amount of funds available for partial funding of summer salary. Imagine if all TTF got
      just one month of summer salary – that would be essentially a 10% increase in annual pay and greatly improve morale. Due to a series of clerical errors I personally have been lucky in terms of external
      grant funding for summer salary. As a consequence, I don’t care too much about by AY salary.

      Given our Athletics vs Academics imbalance, the single biggest effective change would be to tax
      athletic donations at a sufficient level so that we have on order of at least $1 million annually available
      for summer research awards.

  9. Anonymous 09/23/2013

    Many people would kill me for saying this, but I actually think that faculty compensation is more of an issue than it should be, things having improved a lot; and things like infrastructure, including flagging library acquisitions, internal seed money for research transitions (post tenure), as well as startup packages, are things that UO should focus on more. (I doubt that “taxing” athletics is going to get us anywhere; for starters, I don’t believe it’s going to happen.)

    • Anonymous 09/24/2013

      Completely agree.

    • UO Matters 09/24/2013

      Too bad the administration has no process for establishing spending priorities, except the black box of Johnson Hall. Maybe the Senate should start its own planning process.

    • Oryx 09/24/2013

      I also totally agree with Anon above. Can we request a moratorium on posts (and comments) about salaries? First, everything that can be said has been said, and repeated ad nauseum. Second, and more important, salary is nowhere near the top of important issues for me and for other colleagues I talk to. Faculty lines, the existence of startup funds, new and better classrooms, attracting high-performing high school students to enroll as undergraduates, a reduction in strange and senseless research-related bureaucracy, to name just a few things, are all far higher on the list of things we need to focus on to keep the university moving forward.

    • Awesome0 09/24/2013

      So why hasn’t Johnson hall had a “Mission Accomplished” moment on salaries?

      Revealed preferences suggest it hasn’t happened yet, otherwise they would be celebrating and touting this as a victory. The silence suggest otherwise.

      In any case, I agree, we have a contract, lets work our butts off for the next couple of years. In the meantime, new lines, more (and better) GTF’s which means more (and better) GTF support, better start up funds, and better teaching and research facilities which brings us back to :

      Replacing PLC!!!!!

    • Anonymous 09/24/2013

      The admin will now say, “Sorry, you can’t have all that other important stuff – we gave all our money to salaries.”

      I agree with UOM. Now its time for the Senate to insert itself in very serious ways into the budgeting process.

    • Anonymous 09/24/2013

      Absolutely! Go for it. What is the first step? How should the Senate start to educate itself and the public regarding budgeting?

    • Anonymous 09/24/2013

      They can start by requesting a detailed accounting of all the “Special Assistants” and “Associate Deans” and ‘Vice Provosts” we are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to and the value they are adding to the University. They need to provide evidence that all these ‘Special Assistants” and “Associate Deans” all over campus aren’t just padding the last three years of their salaries to jack up PERS income.

    • Anonymous 09/24/2013

      I vote for:
      Priority 1. CLASSROOMS – what is the plan?? Why is this not the Number 1 fundraising priority?
      Priority 2. Research support/bureaucracy – much hairier issue, but every one of those Associates means another pet project, and another siphon away from fundamental issues of research costs. It is expensive to do research here.

    • Anonymous 09/25/2013

      to Awesome() — as to why Johnson Hall hasn’t tooted their horn about success in meeting white paper goals, etc. — they may not be aware of it — do you think Gottfredson even knows what the white paper is/was? Or does even Coltrane know?

      Second, their communication and political skills are so lame, and have been for years and years.

      Maybe someone who knows the history of all this, perhaps participated, can explain it?

  10. Anonymous 09/26/2013

    Am I reading your table correctly? When an employee is represented, such as at UO, they are less well compensated than their counterparts that are not represented? And the value of benefits is equal? Plus AAU folks don’t have the added expense of union dues? Perhaps this is what made Linda Blair’s head spin? It is a well documented fact that all dead people at one time breathed air, therefore the rest of us should stop breathing air immediately.

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