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Only one donor steps up, so UO funds cluster hires internally

Diane Dietz has the story in the RG, here.


  1. Duck Alumnus 06/14/2015

    I think it is hard to motivate people to donate towards research programs and grant generation, no matter how rich they are.

    • just different 06/15/2015

      Well, that is exactly what our $300K VPRI is supposed to be doing.

      • Duckduckgo 06/15/2015

        And why the VPRI office has its own development officer. I think he has a tough role though, given how protective the university fundraisers are.

        • just different 06/15/2015

          Holy cow–are you telling me that not only are there multiple (academic) fundraising offices, but they work at cross-purposes? Is this typical?

  2. awesome0 06/14/2015

    Bet those incoming faculty are excited by the UO’s guarantee of a 1 percent raise this year and next. Rolling out the red carpet.

  3. honest Uncle Bernie 06/15/2015

    Interesting that Harvard was able to get $400 million very recently from investor John Paulson for their applied science and engineering school — that amount of dough would really help the cluster hiring get off the ground, lol!

    I (and a lot of other people in the sciences) always thought the cluster-f*** program was an ill-advised gimmick that would lead to bad hiring decisions and program directions at UO. The one thing it seemed it might have going for it was precisely that it might be a good fund-raising gimmick.

    Seems very odd that UO’s big donors are willing to put up $20 million for a “branding” campaign but aren’t willing to put out for something of substance that might actually help to shore up the school’s shaky academic standing (relative to its AAU aspirations).

    Do they not see that UO is on the brink of a permanent severe setback to its national standing? Is there no sense of urgency? If UO gets dumped from the AAU, I doubt that subsequently raising $2 billion would be enough to compensate.

    It really makes me wonder about the quality of all the people involved (I’ll leave it up to the reader to make a private mental list; don’t neglect to consider that you might be eligible yourself. I include myself too!) It seems like UO has been walking in zombieland for years.

    • Fishwrapper 06/15/2015

      Bernie buried the lede, so here is it, up front and in bold: “Seems very odd that UO’s big donors are willing to put up $20 million for a ‘branding’ campaign but aren’t willing to put out for something of substance that might actually help to shore up the school’s shaky academic standing…”

      I was typing something similar, but this nails it.

      • uomatters Post author | 06/15/2015

        Actually, both the academic donations and the branding bucks came from the same Trustee, Connie Ballmer.

        • Fishwrapper 06/15/2015

          I had someone else in mind…

        • honest Uncle Bernie 06/15/2015

          I didn’t know that the donations all came from her. So good for her (and her husband)! I’m surprised that this hasn’t been better publicized.

          I’m not crazy about what I’ve heard so far about the PR campaign, but it is well-meant and conceivably could lead to some positive outcomes.

          I do hope the people with sufficient means step up to help UO before it’s too late. I hope that they’re being apprised about what is at stake. It wouldn’t take that much, probably no more than they already have in mind. The timing is what I think is urgent.

  4. Jack London 06/15/2015

    I found a Bible verse that might serve as a slogan for faculty who are fleeing or going on strike: “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.” (Matthew 10:14)

  5. English81 06/22/2015

    I doubt the UO will attract top students until it revamps its curriculum offerings, which seem hopelessly stuck in the ‘70s. The best and brightest aren’t studying sociology these days; their interests are in engineering and applied sciences. It’s telling that the most popular major on campus is journalism—which some reports rank as among the most useless degrees for finding gainful employment in 2015.

    I’d like to see the new President and Board establish a school of engineering and perhaps a medical school, and to put resources into computer science (which remains a backwater even though the demand is great). It always seems a fait accompli that the UO will remain prohibited from offering engineering and health science programs—in contrast, Washington State recently overcame a 98-year-old legislative prohibition and fierce opposition from the UW to establish a new medical school. It’s unclear why UO can’t take the same aggressive approach.

    The endless harping on the football program on this blog is a complete red herring; offer the right programs, put resources behind them, and top students will come.

    • anonec 06/22/2015

      There isn’t even statistics at UO…

    • that effing Canis again 06/22/2015

      @English81 – while I completely agree and have been pointlessly bitching about this for years, the key component: “put resources behind them” is very large. We need resources in both faculty expertise in these “right programs” and new physical facilities,
      buildings, better computer infrastructure, and the like. This is a few tens of millions to do this. Besides, the UO is completely mired in its own legacy.

  6. English81 06/22/2015

    @effing Canis–State disinvestment in higher education is, sadly, a national issue and not unique to UO. And with names like Lillis, Knight, Ballmer, Lokey and others interested in UO’s future, the school is better positioned than many to handle that reality. The first step was getting out from under the state’s inept and disgraceful management. And finding resources to enhance the curriculum does not seem to me to be orders of magnitude more difficult than, say, creating a national football powerhouse in the Willamette Valley. So I, for one, am cautiously optimistic about the future.

    • dog 06/22/2015

      the issue is whether or not the BOT finds tens of millions for special interest programs (Prevention Sciences, for example) or really broad curriculum reform that will lead to a more relevant education for a students.

      The basic issues, is what Derek Bok asked in 2009 – are Universities today producing responsible citizens for the actual real world?

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