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Gottfredson glosses over the criticism of Espy in Blonigen’s report

2/28/2014 update: The word down at the faculty club breakfast buffet is increasing dismay over President Gottfredson’s dismissive response to the Blonigen report, particularly that word “endorsing”.

2/21/2014 update: President Gottfredson and Provost Coltrane have now posted their response to the Blonigen report, here. While they now acknowledge the need to address UO’s dysfunctional research policies and practices, they give only the slightest nod to the serious problems regarding VP Espy’s leadership that are raised in the report. They’ll acknowledge “areas of discontent”, but they will not acknowledge that failures of leadership created the discontent. Gottfredson thinks the faculty will believe him when he says “the report endorses the overall approach and efforts of Vice President for Research”? This is not the message of the Blonigen report, and this is not the “truth and reconciliation” we need from Gottfredson and Coltrane in order to move forward:

… We appreciate that the report endorses the overall approach and efforts of Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School Kimberly Espy and the RIGE staff. When Dr. Espy arrived on campus in 2011, she faced an array of challenges affecting research office operations and our research mission. The report and the appendices cite the notable accomplishments of the office since 2011, and endorse RIGE’s current direction. The report also identifies areas of discontent and opportunities for improvement in research oversight. We recognize the value in highlighting these concerns and we are committed to addressing them to strengthen research at the UO. In this regard, the report provides us with a valuable framework to consider as we move forward. …

Michael Gottfredson, President
Scott Coltrane, Provost

2/19/2014: This originally came up in the Senate last year as a motion for a vote of no confidence in VP for Research Kimberly Espy. The Senate decided we needed more information and proposed a review of Espy. Under pressure from the administration this morphed into a less pointed review of Research, Innovation and Graduate Education in general. I explicitly asked if the review committee could return with a recommendation that UO needed a new VP for Research, and was told yes, that would be a potential outcome. Senate minutes here. President Gottfredson’s charge to interim Dean for Social Science Bruce Blonigen was more general, calling for a review of UO Research and RIGE. The committee had some trouble getting started, and ended up noticeably light on science PIs.

The report is now out, here, supplemental material here (page to bottom for Espy’s powerpoints), the motion is here, and for history Geri Richmond’s 2013 “Research Advisory Report” is here, and a link to the 2011 Huron report is here. I don’t have time to dig through this just now, informed comments from those who do would be very welcome.

5PM today is the deadline to file a motion for a vote of no confidence at the 3/12 Senate meeting (but they typically give a day or two grace period, and of course the Senate Exec can add a motion up to a week before the meeting.)

Update: From the report (emphasis added). While the report apparently hasn’t yet been posted on the RIGE or President’s website, or made it to “Around the O”, Senate President Margie Paris sent it to senators this morning. My view is that this is a balanced report that explains the tough situation Espy inherited, but then pulls only a few punches when explaining point by point how she has failed to deal with UO’s existing research problems, while adding many new problems of her own creation. There is more than enough here for people to make an informed vote on a motion of no confidence in VP Espy:

RECOMMENDATION 4: The communication and collaboration issues between RIGE and a number of important research communities at the UO need immediate attention. As discussed in the report, there is a wide spectrum of communication and collaboration experiences between RIGE and various groups on campus. This ranges from good working relationships to some that are clearly broken. There were enough concerns and issues that our committee recommends they be addressed in ways that go well beyond simply a call for renewed efforts for improved communication and collaboration; indeed, these issues appear to be the main impetus for this report. This is an urgent matter and will need direct attention and substantial leadership from the Provost and President in determining the best course of action.

RECOMMENDATION 6: Inform UO community of responses to this report. Many of the major themes in this report can be found in the prior reports by the Huron Consulting Group in 2011 and the Research Advisory Panel, a special committee that was organized by and reported to Provost Jim Bean, in 2013. Although there are indications that the administration has taken some actions to respond to the findings and recommendations of these reports, they have not been publicly communicated. In order to avoid another review by a special committee in the future, we strongly advise a plan to publicly communicate responses to this report.

… The repeated statements of consternation and confusion among almost all groups we interviewed about the internal policies, procedures, and practices of RIGE show an ongoing problem with transparency, which has generated a widespread lack of trust in RIGE’s dealings with the campus community. RIGE has made a number of substantial decisions regarding research activity in the research areas of the RIGE leaders, particularly the formation of the Prevention Sciences Institute, without any formal processes for oversight, except for ultimate oversight by the Provost. In order to reestablish confidence, there should be systematic and regular reviews of RIGE at the administrative level, both for the VP of RIGE and for the members of the RIGE leadership team. There should also be clear and explicit processes for oversight, particularly for issues where there may be conflicts of interest.

This is a kick-ass report. The simplest interpretation of “In order to reestablish confidence …” is that there currently is none. This will make for an easy Senate vote, and the rest of the report is full of sensible and constructive proposals for moving forward.

2/22/2014 update: According to the comments, VP Espy put her $1.25M house on the market yesterday, 2 days after the Senate report went public.


  1. wow 02/19/2014

    Basically… we have no university vision for research and goal setting. This leads to nothing being a priority.

    I would add given that’s the case, are we surprised when athletics who have clear goals dominate us in fund raising and that its easy for the admin to respond to other pet projects, but we treat research like the pet projects of each department.

  2. Vlad 02/19/2014

    indeed, sadly, We might learn something from athletics on that score.

    • Snow Day 02/19/2014

      We could learn a lot from athletics. Sometime in the 90’s, a group of people somewhere on campus decided they wanted a “Top 10” athletic program. They made a plan and executed it beautifully.

      Imagine what could happen if we did the same with the academic mission. How many lame, unfocused, uninspiring “strategic plans”, “big ideas”, “transforming Oregon” efforts have we had in that same time period around academics with no results?

      Priorities are expressed in behavior, not words.

      • wow 02/19/2014

        As much as we complain about the $5 a year subsidies atheltics gets, that should be peanuts relative to what we aspire. The problem is we need a strategic plan.

        That means
        1. Research and academics we can sell to donors
        2. Research and academics we can sell to the government

        In the best of worlds they’re the same thing. Often they aren’t.

        Its not clear are all of the clusters of excellence do 1 or 2.

        For instance geography, while a strong department, doesn’t strike me as the type of thing which gets donors contributing (except on geology side if the focus was on oil and fossil fuel discoveries), or the type of thing that is well funded by government agencies right now. There’s private consulting opportunities to be sure, I’m really interested to see how they sell geography as an exciting cluster of excellence in the capital campaign.

        • Anonymous 02/19/2014

          While I know nothing of how the powers that be might sell research to prospective donors, I would think Geography is actually an easy sell. For instance, they have a very innovative unit that has gotten a lot of press and interest recently:

          And no, I’m not associated with Geography at all. Although I do use the map feature on the UO app and own their atlas.

          • uomatters Post author | 02/19/2014

            As someone who has spent more hours than I care to remember peering through the eyepiece of a Wild T16 theodolite while listening to coordinated universal time beeps on shortwave, I agree.

  3. No Confidence in Espy 02/19/2014

    From the second to last paragraph of the report document: “The
    repeated statements of consternation and confusion among almost all groups we interviewed about the internal policies, procedures, and practices of RIGE show an ongoing problem with
    transparency, which has generated a widespread lack of trust in RIGE’s dealings with the campus community.”

    A vote of no confidence would be a straightforward way to communicate this “widespread lack of trust” with RIGE. It is indeed a strong step to take, but it seems clear that our administration has been unwilling to address these problems with anything other than committee reports. How could anybody (even supposed allies of our VPRI) have *confidence* in an administrator who has a broken relationship with broad swaths of the research community on our campus?

    • no confidence 02/19/2014

      Yes. there’s plenty in this report and the RAP report for a no confidence vote. Let’s just do it.

      • anonymous 02/19/2014

        A vote of no confidence can be the next step. Let’s give JH an opportunity to do the right thing.

  4. anonymous 02/19/2014

    Given that there were a number of RIGE-friendly individuals on the committee, this is a surprisingly forceful document. Specific examples are missing, but the broad conclusions accurately reflect some of the moist important concerns. The most important point comes in Recommendation 4:

    “There were enough concerns and issues that our committee recommends they be addressed in ways that go well beyond simply a call for renewed efforts for improved communication and collaboration; indeed, these issues appear to be the main impetus for this report. This is an urgent matter and will need direct attention and substantial leadership from the Provost and President in determining the best course of action.”

    Mr. President, Mr. Provost, please do your job!

  5. wow 02/19/2014

    Wow. If she gets fired, does that mean she has a tenured position in the psych department?

    • anonymous 02/19/2014

      Psychology could donate the line to COE

      • Charitable donations 02/20/2014

        Sometimes it is indeed better to give than to receive.

        • Anonymous 02/20/2014

          Based on the post below, psych might want to hold on to her for at least one cycle of equity adjustments first.

          • Beyond repair... 02/20/2014

            In past (aborted) efforts to raise the salaries to the mean of our comparators, her astronomical salary would have raised Psych’s mean at a cost to the department. Now that the Administration has famously given up that goal, Psych probably would benefit from having her there. With a performance review that would certainly be below average, the merit money associated with her salary could be distributed to faculty that haven’t been a drag on the whole UO research community (i.e., everyone else). But imagine the awkwardness of faculty meetings…

    • "special deals" 02/19/2014

      The amazing thing about her psych faculty position is that it is listed at the same obscene salary that she enjoys as an administrator (not typical for other high-level admins, but apparently Bean’s masterful handling of the negotiations yoked Espy’s faculty salary to her admin salary). UO admins do what they want.

  6. Conflict of Interest 02/19/2014

    So is there any truth to the rumor that the VPRI took space in the new Lewis Integrative Science Building for her own postdoc? Are UO admins allowed to feather their own nest however they please? Seems hard to believe.

  7. wow 02/19/2014

    Its shocking how little the University centrally allocates to support research. I bet this is through

    1. Weak start up packages
    2. Weak retention packages
    3. Graduate stipends have little time off for teaching
    4. Seed grants are so small (CAS typically 1k or so), its a tax to apply and it does’t help you win an NIH grant, if your internal grants amount to only 1k at a time.

    Of course internally if we spent more on research, we’d graduate more Ph.D’s, recruit better students, retain more facult, and win more grants, and rise up in the rankings. Shoot the tuition has gone up 150 million a year in the last 6 years. Where are we spending it? A few more positions, but lots of saving (when interest rates are practically zero), and pet projects.

    Here’s towards getting the capital rolling with some major realignment of what priorities with more going to support research and helping us win external grants.

  8. Anonymous 02/19/2014

    It figures there’d be a little conflict of interest mixed in. Maybe the Senate should request a legal opinion from Randy Geller on this?

  9. uomatters Post author | 02/19/2014

    The bottom line is that UO, as the marginal AAU university and now starting a major research fund drive, cannot have a VP for Research with so many obvious problems.

    Gottfredson has known this for at least a year, but has hoped some other university would take her off his hands. They haven’t. So she’ll be “returning to the faculty” very soon.

    Yes, he could have shown more leadership, but for whatever reason he prefers relegating the dirty work to the Senate, just as with Bean and soon Geller.

    • no confidence at all 02/20/2014

      …”returning to faculty” makes me sad. I really wish she would have been hired on elsewhere.

      • Beyond repair... 02/20/2014

        Yes, the whole situation is sad, but at this point, “returning to faculty” is probably the best case scenario.

  10. ridiculous 02/20/2014

    what kind of a nonsense caption is “Concerns over UO research problems drive UOM page views”? Please post the data correlating page view dates with issues cropping up around research problems. Otherwise this is bogus. I, for example, look at UOM only when I’m bored, need a distraction from grading, or feeling like I need a good laugh late at night. This is pure nonsense.

    • Data rules 02/20/2014

      dear ridiculous:
      the simple point was that it just so happened that on the day of a long awaited report detailing the grave problems with the research office, page views expanded by about 50-70% over the running average for the prior month. It’s not a complicated trend to understand if you have time during all those bored moments you allude to.

  11. duck and cover 02/20/2014

    Re Conflict of Interest’s questions above: “So is there any truth to the rumor that the VPRI took space in the new Lewis Integrative Science Building for her own postdoc? Are UO admins allowed to feather their own nest however they please?”

    The answers are “yes” and “yes”.

  12. Beyond repair... 02/20/2014

    Even the Espy SUPPORTERS on the committee signed off on a consensus report that describes Espy’s relationship with researchers using phrases like “often slow or inconsistent,” “lack of collaborative decision making,” “contentious, protracted, and sometimes completely broke down,” “clearly broken,” “lack of engagement,” “disrespectful,” “inability (sometimes perceived as unwillingness) to initiate and engage effectively in collaboration,” “ongoing problem with transparency,” “widespread lack of trust,” and “conflicts of interest.” Finally, and most importantly, “beyond repair.” Let that last one sink in. Beyond repair…
    Under the circumstances, there really is only one possible course of action — the Senate should plan for a vote of no confidence, and the President and Provost should ease Espy back into her own lab, where the further damage she can cause will be minimized and self-contained.

    • dog 02/20/2014

      oh come on
      nothing, not even civilization itself, is actually beyond repair.

      It may take new approaches and maybe new resources but anything can be repaired – unless ,of course, you choose not
      too …

      Do I think things could be better – of course …

      Do I think things are significantly worse than under previous
      admins – Moseley, Linton, etc … NO

      The only difference is that we have a shitload more students
      without adequate resource planning and investment and that makes all things look suckass …

      • Eyewitness 02/20/2014

        Dog, you often post reasonable perspectives. But you really don’t understand the situation if you think she hasn’t left things worse than before. Do you really think the campus wide concerns about her leadership are “business as usual”? If you don’t know the facts, you shouldn’t try to downplay the concerns.

        • uomatters Post author | 02/20/2014

          Rich Linton understood there was only one way to deal with people like Frohnmayer and Moseley: spend every dime he could beg, borrow or steal on research, before they got their hands on it.

          We need a new VPR with the vision and guts to play the same game with Gottfredson and Mullens.

          • Really? 02/21/2014

            You’re making it sound as if Linton had a strategy. He had none, beyond give money through special deals to research. As an economist, I’d expect you to recognize the death spiral this put us on. Just look at the black hole ORSA was in at the time. Or at ION. Or at CAMCOR’s business model.

          • dog 02/21/2014

            thanks anon

            I believe my posts are also referring to this death spiral.

        • dog 02/21/2014

          No, I think things are worse than before, but I do not attribute that directly to the arrival of Espy – read the last page of the RAP
          report and this becomes clear and those are actually the facts.

          I am not denying the campus concerns about her leadership I am simply saying its historically unreasonable to point the single finger of blame at her. However, I agree, she could do better and that
          might happen over time.

          • Beyond repair... 02/21/2014

            Espy has been here for almost 3 years now, and yet the latest report still refers to “ongoing problems”. She’s had plenty of time to demonstrate an ability to grow in her management skills, if those abilities in fact existed, but she has continued to fail, time and again. Time for a change so that we can move on and start the restoration process.

          • Eyewitness 02/21/2014

            Dog, the RAP has been widely understood to be a toothless whitewashing of the situation. It is not relevant for the most part. Nobody is pointing a single finger of blame at Espy. However, her leadership was been a DISASTER and your “business as usual” characterization of the problems only reveals your very superficial knowledge of the situation.

            One possible reason for your lack of knowledge is that the Blonigen report neglected to list the many specific instances of poor decision-making, authoritarian behaviors, and broken relationship. But those instances are numerous and widely known.

  13. Anonymous 02/20/2014

    She didn’t really search, just applied for provost jobs that she was clearly unqualified for.

  14. caveat emptor 02/20/2014

    “Concerns over UO research problems drive UOM page views”. Leave it to a dismal scientist to infer causality from correlation.

    • uomatters Post author | 02/20/2014

      How about “concerns over economist’s claims of causation drive UOM page views”?

      • Caveat empty logic 02/20/2014

        Caveat emptor is suggesting, in case you were wondering, that UOM page views cause concerns over UO research problems.

        Obviously a brilliant logician!

  15. NSF and NIH PI 02/20/2014

    Congratulations are due to Harbaugh for pushing for this review, for the Senate for providing a mechanism to require that it be done, and to Blonigen for doing it. Let’s hold off the congratulations for Gottfredson until he acts on it.

  16. Concerned PI 02/21/2014

    I wish to reinforce the UOM comment above because it is so critical to this institution. In an environment of zero extra money and many competing hands, there needs to be a laser focus on sequestering funds and spending them directly on research. Don’t run them through any other office. For example, grad student tuition from our research grants should be directly reinvested on research, since that’s the main University benefit for these PhD students.
    ‘Rich Linton understood there was only one way ….. spend every dime he could beg, borrow or steal on research….’

    • Anon 02/21/2014

      Well, if you read the report, RL spent every dime, including 40,000,000+ dimes he did not have. He was no hero.

      • Concerned PI 02/21/2014

        I read the report. My point is to echo the view that research $$ here need to be sequestered and funneled- we can’t afford here at UO to let them get spread around.

  17. Anon 02/21/2014

    Maybe Linton wasn’t a hero, but somehow there is far more outrage, frustration and disappointment regarding Espy’s attempts to lead. That should put into sharper perspective how bad things had to get with Espy before the administration finally acquiesced to a thorough committee report detailing the horrors. Things are worse than with Linton. A big step in the right direction lies directly before us, if the president and provost are willing to take some responsibility.

    • wow 02/21/2014

      Why if the senate can do the dirty work? That worked out ok with Bean. Isn’t there a chance Espy could get a job leading SOU as President??

  18. not that it matters but 02/21/2014

    Linton was paid $185,000. Espy is paid $304,000.

  19. wow 02/21/2014

    My sum up of the report.

    “Asked and answered.”

    • uomatters Post author | 02/21/2014

      Comment of the week, President Gottfredson!

      I’ll bring your free UO Matters coffee cup by McMorran House, next time you have faculty over for dinner.

  20. Too bad 02/21/2014

    Gottfredson cares more about Espy than about UO

  21. Old Dog 02/21/2014

    Good news: KE probably isn’t going to stick around Eugene: She put her 4,592-sqft 10-acre estate home back on the market for $1.25M. Zillow has it pegged at $1.083M and the county assessor has it pegged at about $827K. She paid $992.5K for it back in July 2011. Check out RMLS #14653081.

  22. MLS 02/21/2014

    Sorry I’ve deleted these links. UOM.

    • Fool me once.... 02/22/2014

      Not holding my breath on this one, as it seems to rest on the dubious assumption that some other institution will be interested in hiring this gem of an administrator.

  23. Dear President and Provost 02/22/2014

    When will Johnson Hall administrators realize that it is difficult to move FORWARD when you spend ALL of your time circling the wagons? The nauseatingly oblivious assessment in your open letter suggests that you have no answer.

  24. uomatters Post author | 02/24/2014

    Note to commenters: I got an email asking me to delete the comment thread that started with a criticism of Espy that used a [gender neutral] sexual metaphor to describe her leadership failures. I agree this is rude, so I took it down.

  25. Apollo 02/24/2014

    Truth is, many posts cherry pick negative comments while disregarding qualifiers, ignoring pre-existing problems, and omitting progress documented in the RIGE report. RIGE made necessary and appropriate changes to bring UO research into the 21st century and the President and Provost appreciate those efforts.

    As noted in the report, before RIGE “there were no coherent or consistent processes for how the research office awarded research funds, creating a culture of ‘special deals’ for certain departments and institutes.” The report concludes, “Although the shift to the new model was extremely disruptive to many units who were privileged with ‘special deals’ under the old system, the new model is more equitable and transparent.”

    Certain posts should be ignored, especially those from individuals who, for the past decade, engaged in illegal activities (violating federal research rules, payroll abuses, and fraud) as detailed in the Register Guard last fall.

    Again, from the RIGE report, “It was clear to the committee, that many of those who were most unhappy with RIGE’s communication style were also the most unhappy with the message.” The most recent posts that were removed confirm another observation noted in the RIGE report, “gender issues play into these negative perceptions of the VP’s communication style.”

    Under RIGE, the era of ‘special deals’ and fraud are over. When problems are solved in a way that eliminates ‘special deals’, a small, yet vocal, minority of disaffected individuals get angry and, under the cloak of anonymity, use this blog for obfuscation, misdiraction, and unproductive distraction.

    • uomatters Post author | 02/24/2014

      What do you make of the final point of the report, raising questions about potential conflicts of interest involving Espy and RIGE support for the PSI?

    • dog 02/24/2014

      to a large extent I agree with Apollo and have posted similar in the past.

      However, I think there are two areas of legitimate criticism

      1. The issue of Start-Up funding has improved somewhat but, in my view, is still unsatisfactory

      2. There are continual communication difficulties between RIGE and other parts of campus which has lead to much mistrust. Unfortunately, for many mistrust appears to equal incompetency and I don’t believe this equation is warranted.

    • Eyewitness 02/24/2014

      Apollo, under an anonymous handle, criticizes other for using anonymous handles. That’s rich.

      If you were privy to the many eyewitness accounts provided to the Blonigen committee, then you would be aware of the many many concrete instances of poor decision making and failed leadership that the committee heard about from “ALMOST ALL GROUPS” interviewed (see quote in second-to-last paragraph of the Blonigen report). The consistent dissatisfaction with Espy’s “leadership” across wide swaths of campus shows the lie behind Apollo’s attempt to paint this as the grumblings of a few.

      This is not about special deals, even if is it the case that some special deals existed in the past. This is about a very poor performance by a VPRI who has shown far more self-interest than skill as an administrator for campus-wide research.

      Unfortunately for those of Apollo’s ilk, it is the era of Espy that is coming to a close. The rest of us can breathe a little easier.

      • Obvious 02/26/2014

        Of course Apollo uses an anonymous handle! After all it would be unseemly for a person on the RIGE team to publicly endorse this misleading framing of the situation.

        The funny part is that they think we can’t tell when an admin desperately fights a losing battle against the truth of RIGE’s incompetence. But we have already established that communication is not the strong suit of RIGE personnel.

  26. anonymous 02/24/2014

    Apollo’s comment represents the RIGE party line–trying to throw mud at those who had suffered from KAE’s incompetence and lack of transparency. Her primary achievement was to break relationships with a critical mass of highly successful researchers on campus. And I can assure you, I am highly successful, and I have not broken any federal rules!

    Regarding Gott’s & Scott’s meek response: Its time for that no-confidence vote!

      • dog 02/25/2014

        a shorter URL look on page 3 or 4 to see more examples

        if your interested in how many cases there are
        google on “OIG Audits of Universities” – while I agree there was an over-reaction to compliance issues here, being continually out of compliance does result in real penalties.

        • Eyewitness 02/25/2014

          Dogs may be vulnerable to the misconception that somebody is arguing against compliance. Nobody is arguing against compliance. The problems outlined in the Blonigen report center on self-interested behavior on the part of VPRI Espy, and broken relationships with broad swaths of successful faculty across campus. The very same “communication problems” grudgingly mentioned in the dubious RAP report are a major concern in the Blonigen review showing little improvement despite explicit past feedback.

          • dog 02/25/2014

            In general, dogs are idiots, this should be self evident. This dog did flag “continual communication difficulties” as in issue and this dog never said that anyone was arguing about compliance, merely that compliance can be an issue and universities have been penalized.

          • Eyewitness 02/25/2014

            That’s fine Dog. Everybody agrees that compliance can be an issue.

            But the key point here is that compliance is not *the issue* that defines the failures of Espy and her team.

            When you speak of compliance, you may be inadvertently playing into her scheme to distract the university community from her failures by highlighting a false narrative about resistance to compliance.

  27. Anonymous 02/25/2014

    We’ve heard a lot about the existence of “special deals” pre-Espy but nothing specific as to what these were. It’s laughable to suggest that the era of such deals is over given the way that Espy usurped space in Lewis without consultation for her own postdoc (!) and now for the PSI. Let’s get rid of her and move on.

  28. helpless TTF 02/27/2014

    Via Facebook

    University of Oregon Science and Research shared a link.

    This creative new video explains the growing #InnovationDeficit in the United States as funding for science, engineering and basic research declines in comparison to other nations. The UO’s office for Research, Innovation & Graduate Education, through partnerships with federal law makers and research advocacy groups, is helping UO faculty members develop funding and support for their projects.

    I am sorry but I am not sure what RIGE is doing to this end. UO is a prime example of the “Innovation deficit” with countless faculty swimming against the (or perhaps drowning in) current of administrative and athletic bloat.

  29. Peon 02/28/2014

    Re: UOM’s comment today:
    “2/28/2014 update: The word down at the faculty club breakfast buffet is increasing dismay over President Gottfredson’s dismissive response to the Blonigen report, particularly that word “endorsing”.”

    I about puked when I saw that in the email.

  30. Anonymous 02/28/2014

    I don’t think a vote of no-confidence would pass in the senate. A failed vote of no-confidence is a vote of confidence…

  31. OTS 03/01/2014

    Why should an admin get a $330,000 tenure position when they are fired?
    { prompted by many comments above}

    I was wondering if it is worth it to the academy to hand out grossly oversized tenure to SOME administrators and what is the criteria that these are based on. This is not, VPR specific, but as has been seen in the past from Bean, Lariv, Espy, etc.

    How does upper admin hand themselves a guaranteed job for life at double or triple the average professor who earned and was granted tenure by a jury of their peers and dedicated decades of service, research and instruction including the ability to get grant funding?

    Case in Point
    According to the VPR has an administrative salary of about $304,000. This compensation would seem to be reasonable if in three or four years of service a solid grant and research system was implemented and grants were on track to becoming some target (like 33%) of the university budget. Also I am told administrative pay is higher because the contracts are year to year based on performance and serving at the will of the president.

    However, when the VPR resigns the administrative position the person is guaranteed a $255,000 nine month tenured CAS Psychology Professor position. For life? If the VPR is any good at bringing in grants I think this works out to an annual compensation over the administrative pay in the $320,000 range, plus annual union inspired salary increases.

    Comparing this salary, there seems to be only about two or three professors in CAS Psychology with nine month salaries over $150,00 and I do not think any have over $170,000. Furthermore, it looks like most Senior tenured professors in the department earn at or below $90,000 far below the VPR.

    What is the reasoning for these ‘gold plated’ deals and who approves them?
    Personally, I hope our new board takes notice.

    • Anonymous 03/01/2014

      Isn’t the usual answer “market rates”? I assume the data support that conclusion given how much administrator salaries have gone up. But maybe you’re asking a philosophical question?

      • OTS 03/01/2014

        I think that for a competent VPR making it rain $300K for their administration compensation is fine.

        Does anyone know if it is “market rate” to get the guaranteed for life tenured position that is three times that of the average department tenured faculty and almost 60% more than the highest paid tenured faculty in that department?

        I almost think that the union should demand that when an admin gets one of these gold plated deals, any full professor in the department who has more seniority should also get that same salary.

        I would think that the backup tenured position should set at market rate for the experience of the person, and the department should set it. For example if the Next VPR makes $500K with only a BS in economics but brings home the bacon surpassing OSU in grants and fixes all the research issues, should they also be guaranteed the backup tenure post at $600K on day one before they prove their worth?

        Also at Coltrane did not get the auto-bump on tenure for interim provost. His tenure salary seemed quite reasonable.

  32. Anonymous 03/02/2014

    In a university community, as jacked as ours is, is there anything worse than out president continuing to think that he need only say the words, with no backing at all? “Endorsing?” Is he serious? Is he ever serious? Do his words ever have meaning? I’ve lost what hope I had.

    • Administrator 03/02/2014

      Face it you peons. You lost. We get obscene salaries and we justify them with BS about market rates and some slightly ominous words about how we serve at the pleasure of the president and could be let go at any moment. THEN, even if we screw up completely — and this is the part where our victory becomes that much sweeter — we get a DIFFERENT administrative job for the SAME PAY! (See exhibit James Bean, associate whatever of whatever it takes to rake in more than you losers!)

      Or, like my good ole buddy Kimberly who will get to laugh all the way to the bank even after “returning to the faculty” in disgrace with EXACTLY the same 12 month salary as when she had the power to leave our research programs a smoking ruin. HA!

      Go home. You LOSE. We win.

      We’ll be in our fancy landscaped yards building retaining walls out of old copies of the “shared governance” documents,

      • uomatters Post author | 03/02/2014

        So that’s where those copies of Blandy’s faculty manual went! Another mystery solved.

  33. OTS 03/02/2014

    Looking into the market. We see that Gordon Gee, earned quite a payout.

    But it seems to be based on the claim of about five million in deferred compensation and retirement. The (other) OSU gave Gee quite the golden handshake. I wonder if he gets to keep it now that he will be moving to WVU?

    I am not sure if Gee deserved this but in comparison, since only 2007 Gee’s job two (as job one for him is pissing off special interest groups) is donations and with nearly TWO BILLION DOLLARS! in donations during his time at OSU he can claim success.

    Even then his base salary (again predicated on clearing up the deferred compensations) is a little under double what VPR would get, which seems to be more than what the former Provost gets in the B-School. As a quick check did the VPR or Provost bring in half of what Gee did for OSU? If so then perhaps these are fair.

    Another way to look is the percentage of the admin salary. Again it is hard to compare as Gee is being paid to make a potential liability disappear, But the $400K salary is somewhere less than 30% of his presidential salary. This calculation would say that somewhere around $100K would be a market rate tenure for a PRESIDENT who earned $300K. The $100K would also be in line with other full professors in the department.

    Finally, it seems that the OSU board negotiated this deal after Gee ‘retired’ not when he was hired.

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