RG on Benchmarking, meeting with Gottfredson Update, 11/10/13: Back in August the Register Guard editorial board took a look at Michael Gottfredson’s first year as UO president. They weren’t impressed:
… And if a president proves lacking in either vision of his own or the ability to execute the vision of others, the board can replace him.
Gottfredson’s response to this new arrangement — he’ll be liberated in some ways, more accountable in others — will be telling. The board will expect, even demand, that he become more vocal in articulating the university’s mission, and leave behind the caution that can characterize presidents who are in some respects mid-level state bureaucrats. …
Today they take another look, after meeting with him Tuesday, just before he flew south to catch the football game with Stanford. Today’s RG editorial mostly focuses on the benchmarking data from Interim Provost Scott Coltrane, and data from the AAUP national union’s Howard Bunsis. Showing under-investment in faculty. Gottfredson does get a shout-out at the end, but there’s no evidence the editors think he’s broken out of that mid-level bureaucrat mode:
Low per-student spending is reflected in many of the other benchmarks. In 2010-11, the UO had the highest ratio of students per tenured or tenure-track faculty member — 35 to 1. The average at other AAU public universities was 23 to 1.
Five years earlier, the UO’s ratio of tenure-related faculty to students was 32 to 1. The university saw a 20 percent surge in student enrollment during that period, and almost managed to keep pace with a 19 percent increase in the total number of faculty. Nearly all of the increase, however, was among lower-ranked faculty with smaller paychecks and less job security. The UO kept professors in front of its students by watering the soup.
This conclusion is buttressed by an analysis presented in March by Howard Bunsis, a professor of accounting at Eastern Michigan University and chairman of the American Association of University Professors’ Collective Bargaining Congress. Bunsis found that from 2005 through 2012, the number of part-time faculty at the UO rose 38 percent, while full-time faculty increased by 1 percent. Bunsis also found that among nine AAU public universities, faculty salaries at the UO ranked last — except for instructors, the lowest rank examined, whose salaries ranked fifth.
We’d know more, but Gottfredson hasn’t released the performance review OUS did on him this spring, and 15 months into the job UO doesn’t even have the beginnings of a plan to deal with its problems. The early RG story on the meeting quoted him as saying:
The university increased its faculty ranks by about 20 this fall to address the problem, but it would need about 100 additional faculty to keep up with the enrollment growth of recent years, Gottfredson said.
“That’s probably our near-term target,” he said.
Probably? What fields? What’s the strategic emphasis? How are you going to reallocate funds? Not very inspirational, or even very organized.
UO releases chilling benchmarking report:
- Oregonian reporter Betsy Hammond quotes from Provost Coltrane, not President Gottfredson, taking the credit for releasing this report. So where’s our President? On his way to a football game, of course. We are so screwed.
- RG reporter Diane Dietz gets some Gottfredson quotes, from his talk to the RG editorial board. He sounds sleepy.
- University cancels former Provost’s lucrative 2 year salary, for unspecified transitional administrative job. No, of course I’m not talking about UO’s Jim Bean. This was at NC State. Despite all UO’s financial troubles, Gottfredson is going to give Bean another $500K for an administrative sinecure.
11/4/2013: The first step is admitting you have a problem. UO has now done this, sort of, with this public “benchmarking report”, posted here. Produced by Academic Analytics, it lays out a plethora of problems, in admirably blunt graphs. The report was posted today on Provost Coltrane’s academic plan website, here. UO paid quite a lot for this info – here are just some of our consulting expenditures over the past year:
This benchmarking effort is part of the secretive strategic plan that President Gottfredson will presumably be discussing with the RG editorial board, this Tuesday at 1:00. So far the UO Senate hasn’t heard a word about this report, or had any input into the development of a financial plan to address these issues. The Senate Budget Committee hasn’t even met this year. Gottfredson won’t even show the faculty UO’s budget projections, which were part of his secret performance review by OUS this spring:
The benchmarking report does not include any of the sort of skeptical inquiry into UO’s priorities and spending that can be found in the faculty union’s Bunsis Report, here.
Research funding, research output per professor, student SATs, graduation rates, PhD production. You name it, we’re at the bottom or close to it. Here’s my look at the report. The takeaway? This is more transparency than we’ve ever before had from Gottfredson, but the report is slanted so as to make the UO faculty look bad, and it omits important data about UO’s spending and donations.
Careful with this one, it’s got a truncated y-axis:
On the PhD side though, things are grim:
However these data combine giving to academics and to athletics. VP for Development Mike Andreasen has an aspirational goal of raising the academic sides take to 2/3 of the total – but the athletic department won’t cooperate with his fundraising efforts:
Q: what’s the downside to taxing the athletic donations? This last year, a 5% tax would have brought $5-6M to academics. What’s the downside? Would it hurt the core mission of teaching/research side to lose some athletic donations?
Mike Andreasen: People aren’t inspired by this sort of tax or fee. The idea is to get them excited about the UO, then inspire them to give to the academic side. We don’t want to turn off the athletic donor who might become an academic donor.
Comment: Don’t call it a fee or tax, call it an opportunity to help the students.
Mike: we’re building relationships with these people. If a donor doesn’t want to give to something, we don’t want to be in a position to turn down the gift or to aggravate them. We want to get them excited about giving.
Q: What’s your strategy to get academic donations to be a larger percentage?
Q: If we assume that most of the big donors give to athletics, it would require a big shift in culture or donor demographics of donors.
Mike: Most of the big donors are to academics. Most schools have one or two big athletic donors. Most of the athletic donors are small donors – people who donate just so that they can get tickets to the games, and they’re not interested in giving anything else to UO.
The UO Foundation has data on the split – is it possible they won’t release them to the UO President? They won’t tell the CAE much – but what they do reveal suggests that giving to UO academic causes is pretty small: