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State of the University, Fall 2013

10/16/13 Update: President delivers fact filled speech to Senate, announces strategic plan, end to athletic subsidies!

Pac-12 media contract revenues from ESPN/FOX, our Pac-12 network partners, the new Rose Bowl agreement and the new College Football Championship agreement will substantially increase funding for athletics. In several years, there will be net funds transferred from athletics to the broader university community for academic and support purposes. Provost Randhawa and Athletic Director Bob DeCarolis and colleagues will determine future uses of those funds.

Oh wait, that’s from President Ed Ray at OSU. Never mind. On the down side, he also says OSU raises will be only 3% for the next few years:

Together, these factors will position us to provide an average compensation increase for faculty of 3% or more in each of the next several years beyond 2014.

Good thing UO has a faculty union.

10/15/13: From an email sent round today. Below is the State of the University address from Pres Gottfredson that Scott Coltrane gave to the Senate last week (Gottfredson was absent). For comparison, here is his speech from last year, and an excerpt:

In my view, the administrative governance responsibilities only work when important policies and practices are informed by consultation and advice from the faculty, staff and students. Such consultation and advice can only be meaningful if it takes place in a spirit of transparency and knowledge and in a timely manner. There’s not much use in consulting after the fact – or not much use consistent with these ideas of governance, anyway.  

So there’s an essential advisory role for the senate, even on administrative matters – an essential role on those matters that are central to the execution of our mission, like budget and finance, space and capital planning, athletics and of course participation in the selection and the evaluation of academic administrators.

As I’ve noted, President Gottfredson was evaluated by OUS this spring without any effort to get faculty input on his performance. The totally unscientific UO Matters poll closed last week. It suggests a fair amount of skepticism:

I emailed Coltrane with a few followup questions about last week’s speech, which he has said he will get answers to this week:

1) I notice that the budget for the Jaqua Center athlete only tutoring has increased from $1.8M in 2012 to $2.3M for 2014. As you know this money is paid by the academic side, specifically out of the Provost’s budget. I’m wondering if you know the reasons for the increase, and whether or not additional increases are forecast? 

2) You mentioned that there had been a dramatic increase in the number of “students of color”. I’ve heard that there was a recent change in the definition used to classify these students. Do you know how much of the increase is driven by this change? 

3) In 2011 the draft CAS salary proposal said 

“Step 3 (as early as FY 2012/13 and no later than FY 2013/2014), increases based on internal equity and merit. The total amount of funding made available for salary increases by the College in Step 3 will be at least the amount necessary to increase the College’s average salaries to make up the remaining distance to the average salaries of the OUS 8 comparators.  Distribution of funds to departments will be at the discretion of the dean after consultation with department heads.” 

Is this still the plan, and if so what is the new target date? 

4) You discussed planning for the new board. Who is in charge of drafting the board by-laws, and interfacing with the members, and is there a plan for involving the Senate in those discussions? 

I’ll post the answers when I get them.

10/8/2013 State of the University:

Dear Colleagues,

I hope your academic year is off to a great start. I’ve enjoyed meeting new students and welcoming our outstanding new faculty and staff members to campus at events marking the beginning of school, from “Unpack the Quack” and our neighborhood welcome walk to the annual new faculty picnic. Since the close of our previous academic and fiscal years, we’ve made significant progress on a number of fronts that affect the university, and I’m pleased to take this opportunity to share a few highlights with you. 
I frequently mention our dual obligations of access and quality that are the foundation upon which our university is built. As we now plan for the UO’s future, it is critical that we elevate both, for quality that is limited only to those with the means to afford it does not serve the public interest, and access without excellence is a hollow promise. 
We are on the right trajectory, as this year’s freshman class demonstrates. Numbers won’t be final until the fifth week of classes, but we can say with confidence that this incoming class will break records in several key areas linked to both quality and access. It is the most academically prepared class we have ever enrolled, with an average 1126 SAT and 3.6 GPA. Nearly 27 percent of freshmen are from underrepresented populations, and among Oregon freshmen, 37.6 percent are Pell eligible. Our total enrollment will hold steady at about 24,500 as planned, with about 5,200 new students, 54 percent of them Oregonians, coming to the UO. 
We are focusing intently on reducing financial barriers to attendance for Oregon residents, who continue to be hit by ongoing reductions in state funding that have shifted the burden of paying for education onto the shoulders of students and their families. This year, we increased financial aid to in-state students by 75 percent through scholarships aimed at high-achieving Oregon students, such as Summit and Apex, and the outstanding Pathway Oregon program. 
It was a summer of construction around campus, with about $300 million in physical improvements in the works. Recently launched projects include renovations and classroom expansions at Straub and Earl Halls, a major expansion of the Student Rec Center, significant upgrades and expansions of the Science Commons and Research Library and the Museum of Natural and Cultural History, and maintenance involving everything from seismic upgrades and new roofs to sewer-system improvements. Soon, the long-awaited renovation of the Erb Memorial Union will begin. 
I anticipate that such infrastructure improvements will become easier to realize as we adopt a new governance model that will provide greater flexibility in the way we manage the institution. The long-sought move to governance by local institutional boards was approved by the legislature and signed into law this summer. I am grateful to the Lane County delegation and many other supportive legislators, Governor Kitzhaber and his staff, the UO Foundation, and the UO Alumni Association for their partnership in bringing about this momentous change this spring. The governor has appointed a 14-member board for the UO that reflects a remarkable range of experience and expertise. Ten of our new board members are alumni, and all bring a commitment and dedication to the future of this university that will serve us, and the state, well. I look forward to working closely with them as we determine new ways to finance the institution and support programs and practices that will strategically focus our resources to improve access, elevate excellence, and secure our position among our peer research universities. We must develop the means to better support research, to address threats from sequestration and cuts in federal funding, and to close the innovation deficit that compromises our nation’s capacity to remain the world’s leader in innovation, creativity, and discovery. 
At the heart of the university’s ability to carry out its mission are, of course, our faculty and staff. I am pleased that we are beginning the new academic year with new contracts for our union-represented faculty and staff, and with a schedule of compensation increases in place for faculty, classified staff, and officers of administration. At the same time, I recognize the pressures that faculty and staff are feeling from successive years of declining state investment and burgeoning undergraduate enrollment. Your work with our students, in the classroom and in informal settings, is what distinguishes this university and creates the quality educational experiences that will define your students’ futures. Improving the teaching and research environment for our outstanding faculty and staff is among my top priorities, and essential to our success in realizing our aspirations of access, excellence, and innovation. 
Best regards, 
Michael R. Gottfredson


  1. Anonymous 10/15/2013

    Dog says

    I seriously doubt that point 3 above will be adhered to.
    We never even got to step 2 in this process

  2. Awesome0 10/16/2013

    These generalities sound great.

    Are there any specific that could be share for people who have to make decisions in the next two months or so?

    Like what is the 2 year plan, 5 year plan, 10 year plan etc.

    • UO Matters 10/16/2013

      Doug Blandy explained this several times during the union bargaining. Faculty don’t leave UO because of the low pay. The supply curve for peasant labor is backward bending.

    • Severinus de Monzambano 10/16/2013

      That was a golden moment. Snickers through the room, as everyone present toted up the cherished colleagues they had lost to better-paying poachers like Penn State.

  3. awesome0 10/16/2013

    He’s also said they were able to match oustide offers recently for several people getting them….

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