Press "Enter" to skip to content

More VP for Research administrative bloat

Oregon is paying VP for Research Brad Shelton (a former UO math prof) $304K to manage UO’s $97M research budget. Four years ago we paid Rich Linton $185K.

For comparison, Michigan State is paying Steve Hsu (a former UO physics prof) $277K to manage MSU’s $330M research budget.

(Last year’s salary data, 2012 federal grant revenue from IPEDS).

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 9.02.32 PM

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 8.51.17 PM

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 8.46.22 PM


  1. Double Duck 09/07/2014

    The educrat class, which is bleeding the people of Oregon dry with their plush salaries and opulent PERS retirement benefits, looks out for Number One first–themselves.

    And they call themselves public servants.

    • honest Uncle Bernie 09/07/2014

      Whatever you think of Oregon PERS, don’t blame it on the “educrat class,” who had nothing to do with setting its rules and policies.

      And please remember that thanks to cutbacks in Oregon funding of public higher education, probably 10% or less of these “educrat” salary and benefits come from Oregon tax funds.

      • Double Duck 09/07/2014

        Really Uncle Bernie–you don’t think that the educrats lap up the PERS money very happily–and all that PERS money comes from Oregon taxpayers, if I’m not mistaken.

        One professor gets a pension–a pension mind you–of $250,000 per year.

        $20,000 per month as a pension.

        That’s about what minimum wage workers get in one year.

        • anon 09/07/2014

          Yes, the system was clearly broken when those kinds of pensions result, even if it is an extreme example. Fortunately, this was recognized and corrected so that future retirees will have a more reasonable retirement, depending on the stock market.

        • honest Uncle Bernie 09/08/2014

          No, the PERS money does not all come from Oregon taxpayers, as I said, currently Oregon tax money is about 10% of a professor’s pension benefits. If you want to learn more about how this works, you can, Uncle Bernie is even available to help!

          As for that professor with the huge pension — he accepted the deal that Oregon offered him when he moved here from an Ivy League school many decades ago. It wasn’t his fault if you Oregonians didn’t have your heads screwed on right. I am quite sure he was as surprised as you at the size of his pension.

          But — one reason it is so large is that he retired at an older age than most people.

          Another is that he worked at UO for an unusually long time.

          Again — he had absolutely nothing to do with the rules that you Oregonians set up for the pension deal you offered him.

          • Anonymous 09/22/2014

            Not to mention PvH has been worth every penny.

  2. No NSF? 09/07/2014

    Leaving aside the stunning salary, how can you appoint someone with no record of federal grants to this job? (Other than an NSF fellowship and summer award years ago.)

    • anonymous 09/07/2014

      Well, another member of the math department got appointed associate dean in CAS while being only an Associate Professor.

  3. sigh 09/07/2014

    Realistically, it’s nearly impossible to walk back these inflated salaries. There’s just no way to hire someone new, someone we hope will be more compentent than the last incompetent yoyo who left a mess, and pay them less that that joker. Gott’s salary was too high; but should Coltrane earn less for mopping up after him? It’s hard to make a case for that, or to expect altuism–in that or similar circumstances.

    So, while this outrages me (if not nearly as much as Doug Park’s salary & raise), I think the only realistic solution is to have very high expectations of these people, carry out meaningful & regular performance reviews, and enforce accountability to the point of removing people who don’t suit the job.

    The real problem at UO is that we tolerate incompetence, or semi-comptetence for too long, have no meaningful review process to improve performance on the job, and would rather tolerate poor performance than fire or demote someone–all this while salaries continue to rise. If we changed that culture, the disjunction between pay and performance wouldn’t be so great.

    And UOMatters wouldn’t be the default for evaluating either performance or salary.

    To give an example: I am so happy to be free of Espy, that frankly I don’t care what we pay Shelton. But I also heard somewhere that Shelton is responsible for the draft mission statement currently posted on the Provost’s website, which is an empty, incomprehensible, badly written piece of shit that the university should be embarrassed to have published even semi-publicly. If $304K bought us that, then he’d better have already been to the woodshed and learned some tough lessons about how it happened and how not to let it happen again on his watch, or be out of a job.

    • Anonymous 09/07/2014

      Could you please report the salary for the interim deanship of the Graduate School? Previously, it was packaged into the Research VP’s salary as Research, Innovation, and Graduate Education (RIGE). Is Shelton getting an equivalent to Espy’s salary without having GE as part of his portfolio?

      • anon 09/07/2014

        To be fair, Espy didn’t act like GE was really part of her portfolio.

    • Honest question 09/08/2014

      “There’s just no way to hire someone new, someone we hope will be more compentent than the last incompetent yoyo who left a mess, and pay them less that that joker.”

      Serious question: is this actually true?

      What would happen if we tried to hire somebody at a non-inflated salary? Would they simply refuse to take the job?

      I would assume that salaries would be driven by the external marketplace. If we’re offering a qualified candidate as good or better than they get elsewhere, are they really going to turn it down because the last person got more?

  4. Double sigh 09/07/2014

    “There’s just no way to hire someone new, someone we hope will be more compentent than the last incompetent yoyo who left a mess, and pay them less that that joker.”

    How about we just admit that these losers don’t deserve the salaries instead of hopelessly concluding that there is no option but to keep shoveling more money into the hands of the people who weren’t competent enough to *publicly and decisively* get rid of ridiculously bad predecessors like Espy?

    Wanna know how we got a VPR with no real grant experience? It was the same crack team of admins that couldn’t handle Espy who chose her successor.

  5. Anonymous 09/07/2014

    This is a stupidly excessive amount of money.

  6. $304K for an internal interim? 09/08/2014

    For Shelton? There’s just no way to justify this money. And who’s going to take over responsibility for screwing up the budget model?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *