Law School Dean Michael Moffitt up for mandatory 5-year review

It’s not going to go well. Moffitt was a compromise internal hire, after an external search went bad. His academic record was mediocre, and he has not been a success as dean. This 2013 NY Times story, in which he bragged about lucrative revenue from undergraduate courses and “living in a business school case study” turned sour within days, after this blog raised questions about what courses Moffitt was talking about. It turned out that most of the revenue was coming from iffy “Sports Conflict” courses, which the law school faculty had never heard about, much less reviewed. Whoops. The UO Senate’s Committee on Courses quickly shut Moffitt’s case study down.

While all US law schools have had a bad 5 year stretch UO has faired worse than most. Already running in the red, it was saved in 2014 only by an extraordinary $10M bailout package by none other than Dean Moffitt’s wife, UO VP for Finance and Administration Jamie Moffitt.

At least the Moffitt’s money is not going to inane branding campaigns. Instead, the law school is offering full scholarships to students with decent LSATs, in a so far successful effort to game the US News rankings. But this $10M will only last for another year or two, at which point Dean Moffitt is supposed to have prepared a plan to pay the money back to VPFA Moffitt. Sure he will:

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As might be expected, the law school faculty are skeptical of Moffitt’s leadership, while presumably grateful for his wife’s money. Last year they came within a vote or two of approving a “no confidence” motion. And it’s never good to have the million dollar Rob Illig on the other side. Adding to Moffitt’s troubles is this preliminary result from UO Psychology Professor Jennifer Freyd’s sexual assault prevention survey:

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Fortunately UO’s new president knows a thing or two about the job market for good law school deans.

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6 Responses to Law School Dean Michael Moffitt up for mandatory 5-year review

  1. thedude says:

    Of course, the law school are not members of the faculty union, yet their financial situation is putting the rest of university in a tough economic bind, particularly CAS.

  2. Duckduckgo says:

    I wonder how that $10M stacks up in helping retain AAU status when its burden has put a crimp on faculty hires in CAS. Maybe a jump in USNews ranking is better than increasing grant funding, graduate student numbers, papers published and citations.

  3. Reality Check says:

    RE: “Last year [the faculty] came within a vote or two of approving a ‘no confidence’ motion.”

    This is inaccurate garbage. A small group of disgruntled individuals does not equal a near majority of the faculty. Sorry.

  4. Dog says:

    The Law school is running a significant budget deficit AND losing significant students. Doesn’t really matter whose “fault” it is – no unit within a University should remain in that state for very long.

    • brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr says:

      This is a situation that all law schools across the country are facing. Law school applications are down almost 50% nationwide (from 2000). This problem is not unique to UO.

      • Dog says:

        I don’t care much about the student loss and agree that’s a national issue, I care about the (large) subsidy that essentially CAS is providing to the Law School – even though it has no undergraduates. Seems to me that the law school could be responding better to this situation than it is, and that starts at the top.