CAS faculty pull in millions in new grant money – but is it enough to pay the Law School subsidy?

Dear CAS faculty, staff, and GEs,

As you know, the faculty and students in the College of Arts and Sciences engage in important and innovative research, often supported by external grants. We want to share this report on external funding members of our college have secured (and the research projects they support) over the past two years (AY2019-20 and AY2020-21) – two record-breaking years that highlight these important contributions by our College’s faculty to the University of Oregon.

The College brought in more than $75 million per year during this time, with funding coming from the National Institutes of Health, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and a host of other agencies and foundations.

We are proud of the scope and depth of our sponsored research, which is spread across all three divisions of CAS (humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences), and features work ranging from the environment to social issues to cancer research to linguistics and literature. The report not only provides basic information on all external awards received, but also highlights some examples of this work that makes a difference in the lives of our community and beyond.

We are proud of all the work CAS faculty, staff, and students have done in securing grants, conducting research, and providing opportunities that create a pathway to success for our students. Thank you for all you do for our College. Please don’t hesitate to share this information about this influential work with others. Take care.


Bruce Blonigen

Tykeson Dean

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19 Responses to CAS faculty pull in millions in new grant money – but is it enough to pay the Law School subsidy?

  1. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    C’mon, direct costs in that grant money can’t be used to support the law school (unless it is a grant to someone in the law school itself). Conceivably some overhead money in the grants could get siphoned off to the law school, but if anyone has any info about that, I haven’t heard, they are keeping it to themselves.

    The subsidy to the law school, however large it is, is probably coming from student tuition. But that happens all the time: undergraduate tuition is used to subsidize the graduate program, and lower division tuition subsidizes upper division courses. The CAS faculty generally think that is terrific.

    It would be great if UO dropped the law school subsidy, except that might lead to the demise of the law school, leaving UO vulnerable to getting dropped from the AAU — our membership is marginal as it is, losing a key professional school might be terminal.

    Maybe legal whiz Mike Schill will figure out a way to siphon off some of that Knight Campus endowment to cover the law school deficit. But if it’s really $10 million/year, as some claim, that would take a quarter billion of siphoning into endowment. I bet Uncle Phil has whizzy enough accountants and lawyers to stop that in a hurry.

    • Anas clypeata says:

      Heaven forfend that money from Phil Knight be used to stop the Knight Law School’s draining funds from the rest of campus!

    • uomatters says:

      The headline should have said “offset” instead of “pay”, sorry. Good headline writers are hard to find these days. I suppose I could offer better wages, but according to our provost labor supply curves no longer slope upward.

  2. Publius says:

    Wrong. Some of these grants buy faculty out of their teaching, which allows CAS to save money by hiring cheaper adjuncts. The money saved helps fund the Law School budget problems. No one objects to CAS funding its own activities; the issue is why CAS should subsidize the Law School since, to my knowledge, when the Law School was flush it did not send any of its funds to CAS.

    • What $? says:

      We have three people on grants right now and CAS didn’t give us any $ to hire anyone to replace them.

      • Publius says:

        More money to send to the law school. I was basing my remarks on when I was dept head many years ago.

  3. Underpaid_GE_Earning_$1500_Per_Month says:

    All I’m learning is that I shouldn’t help my advisor to write, win, and do the work associated with grants. Rather, I should try to win external research funding as an independent contractor (which is allowable as a GE).

    If I now can’t even pay my rent & groceries at the rate the university pays me (due to the highest levels of inflation and housing increases in my lifetime), why on earth would I want to help UO take in even more money that I won’t see?

    I appreciate Bruce reminding me how little UO cares for its lowest paid academic workers. Makes me feel even more burnt out.

    • thedude says:

      The biggest raise of my life has been and always will be when I graduated and got a 500 percent raise (making than you in a more expensive city).

      I was a student and didn’t really know what I was doing. I want to pay our students more. But mostly I want them to finish and go on to do good careers. Hope you have success in that soon.

      • just different says:

        You do know that being financially stressed makes it harder to finish and to do good work, right? Minimum wage is $2200/month. The state might be onto something there.

        • thedude says:

          GE’s aren’t working full time. They are working at most 20 hours a week, and I work mine usually more like 7-10.

          I took out student loans for the first time my life in grad school. The extra 50k in loans means I’m paying $300 a month for 30 years, but it also made it reasonable for me to finish in 5 years especially once my partner had a baby.

          Between subsidized loans, housing, better health care than anyone else at campus enjoys, while I want GEs to get paid more (in part to help with recruiting in the future) once they are here, their sole focus needs to be on finishing and leaving and finding a good job. Any who distracts them from that (including their own union) is doing them a huge disservice.

          • just different says:

            Grad students do work full time. Please don’t play the game of undervaluing that. Expecting students to borrow to make up the shortfall for a living wage screws the students who are already most vulnerable. Oh, and subsidized loans for graduate school were discontinued ten years ago.

            • thedude says:

              Getting an education is working full time?

              What we need is fewer GE positions in programs that can’t graduate students or find them jobs when they’re done. That’s what’s screwing over students and taking advantage of them.

            • just different says:

              Make up your mind. Are graduate students apprentice academics–in which case they should be paid a living wage during their training–or are they “getting an education” that has a market value commensurate with the time, effort, debt, and opportunity cost that it requires?


              Just because you were exploited is a crappy justification for exploiting others. Something to think about while you complain about raises.

            • just different says:

              Incidentally? The income threshold for SNAP for a single adult with no dependents is $2000/month. Except that if you’re employed less than 20hr/week you don’t qualify.

              • thedude says:

                Plenty of people in grad school at my public school were on SNAP and WIC, including us at one point. Also the healthcare was so bad everybody was on Medicaid. Pushing everyone off the university health care is one way with public univs keep costs down and have higher stipends.

                And why do you say make up my mind?
                Everything I’ve said above is that grad students are part time employees working generally 5-15 hours a week with generous benefits while first taking a lot of classes, and then getting a lot of mentorship (registered credits). I do everything I can to honor that, never asking them to work anything close to their 20 hour limit (can’t say the same for other career faculty infamous for their grading expectations).

                I think we just disagree. But should we double GE stipends? I’d be happy with that, but I’d also expect our program to be

                1. Be half as big (unless the admins cough up way more money)
                2. Have better recruiting and better placements
                3. We’d all have to grade more or automate grading or get the admins to cough up way more money

    • Professor Cranky Pants says:

      Yes, underpaid GE, you should try to win external funding as you help your advisor write, win, and do the work associated with grants. A good advisor should tell you this, be happy for you if you win one, and pleased that their funding is freed to put towards other uses. Don’t pretend all that applying for their funding is holding you back from pursuing your own. If anything, you learn what a winning grant looks like.

  4. TTF says:

    Congratulations to us. One crucial thing not mentioned, though, is that CAS has hired some INCREDIBLE grant officers in the last few years. Their interventions have made our projects better, and our funding proposals successful. We are grateful for their support.

    • Dumpster fire says:

      There are “grant officers” in CAS? And they make “our projects better” and “our funding proposals successful”? I’ve never heard of such a thing. Please clue me in along with anyone else that has been missing out on this amazing (but apparently secret) resource.

  5. Omitted, again says:

    Has anyone noticed that Humanities NTTF who have won external grants from 2019-2021 are excluded from the list? I am a Humanities instructor who won two external research grants in 2019 and 2020 – not grants related to my teaching, but competitive research grants. The funding from these two grants was four times higher than the one (teaching-related) grant won by a TTF from the CAS unit I work for. Of course, neither my name nor the grants I was awarded show up on the list of external funding.
    The only reason I can find for the repeated omission of external grants won by instructors is that acknowledging the success of NTTF in securing external grants might shake the dearly held belief that only TTF engage in research.