New Pres and Provost to raise faculty salaries to AAU average as their “Job #1”

Unfortunately this would be our old new president and provost:

From: Provost
Sent: Sunday, June 07, 2009 12:26 PM
To: Deans Working Group
Subject: Faculty Salaries
The Missouri article stating that UO has the lowest salaries in the AAU has caused quite a stir (we have since verified that they were correct). Low salaries were always thought of as just Oregonian. But 34 out of 34 is a whole other thing. We cannot have this. Richard’s reaction was “this is job #1.” Richard will likely have an announcement on how we are attacking this when politically feasible (after last gavel). Please communicate to your faculty that the Missouri article really got our attention. This may require disruptive solutions.
Thanks, Jim
James C. Bean
Senior Vice President and Provost

Five days later, the Register Guard’s Editors essentially endorsed Lariviere’s plan to get UO faculty to the AAU medians:

The market for academic talent is national, even global. From a salary standpoint, Oregon has dropped out of the competition. The state is fortunate in having universities that continue to meet high standards, but Oregon’s advantages — a relatively low cost of living and a high quality of life — can only be relied upon to make up part of the salary deficit.

Richard Lariviere, who will become president of the UO in July, comes to Eugene from the University of Kansas, an AAU university with an average faculty salary of $91,400 — 25 percent higher than at the UO. He’s no doubt aware that higher education claimed 15.1 percent of Oregon’s general fund budget in 1987-89, but received only 6.4 percent in 2007-09. One of Lariviere’s continuing challenges will be to persuade Oregon’s governor and Legislature that underfunding higher education has consequences.

In March 2011 Scott Coltrane, at the time CAS Dean, announced his plans to implement this for CAS faculty:

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Russ Tomlin, then VP for Academic Affairs, released a detailed spreadsheet showing the plan for the entire UO, designed to get salaries to the AAU comparator averages by no later than 2014:

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I don’t have the data to show if UO salaries are still at the absolute bottom – for a while there the union was doing pretty well with the raises – but they are really, really bad. Unless of course you’re in the Knight Campus.

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19 Responses to New Pres and Provost to raise faculty salaries to AAU average as their “Job #1”

  1. honest Uncle Gangsta says:

    Ah, good, UOM is awakening to the problems presented by the KC.

  2. Powerball says:

    Seems to me that one of the theoretical advantages of a union is that it forces the execs to incorporate the priorities of the workforce into their planning.

    In other words, if the faculty had a union which prioritized salaries, maybe we wouldn’t need posts like these.

  3. Dog says:

    For the sake of the historical record.

    Only Step 1 of the CAS raise plan was implemented at
    that occurred in May 2011 – then the union took over
    the issue of raises.

    • uomatters says:

      Yeah it seems Chuck Lillis didn’t think the faculty deserved more money – administrators, on the other hand …

  4. Townie says:

    Oregon is ranked 105 in the well publicized but flawed USNews rankings.

    The next president should reduce UO’s dependence on OOS and reduce the size of the undergraduate population.

    • honest Uncle Bernie says:

      How do you think UO survives financially, if not via the out of state students. And you want to reduce the number of undergrads? That is a plan to lay off UO staff.

      • Townie says:

        UO should focus on providing Oregonians with a high quality education, comparable to other major West Coast flagship universities, at an affordable rate. Work with the state, local government, donors and alumni to achieve this goal.

        Get rid of scholarships and financial aid programs that just add more admin bloat. Charge every student one fair price.

        Cut enrollment, especially OOS enrollment.

        Fact: If you add up all the donations and capital campaign totals going back to 1992 UO brought in close to $5b. Yes I know this is misleading, but it is still eye popping.

        If OOS want a UO education they can come and pay a premium. However, the university should never seek to serve the needs of the rich OOS, who might not even donate to UO after they graduate.


        This will never happen because UO has been corrupted and mismanaged for decades.

        • Observer says:

          This is one person who doesn’t understand the first thing about university finances.

          Those out-of-state students with their high tuition are the ones paying for our in-state students. If you cut the out-of-state students, the in-state students are going to have to pay a huge amount more. Which will mean fewer in-state students can afford to enroll.

          An Oregon resident taking 16 credits per term pays $13,569 per year for tuition. An out-of-state student pays $29,373 for the same thing. The 47% percent who are out of state are contributing $15,804 per year per student over and above in-state students. That’s $138,174,372 per year contributed by out-of-state students, above and beyond the basic Oregon tuition rate. That’s the profit the UO makes from out-of-state undergraduates. You really want to cut the UO budget by $138,000,000 per year? That’s what eliminating out-of-state undergraduates would do.

          And “Get rid of scholarships and financial aid programs”! That’s a sure way to cut down on Oregon students as well. Why should an Oregon kid whose family makes $30,000 a year pay the same as a kid whose family makes $500,000 a year? That means the rich kid will enroll at the UO and the poor kid will go to community college and then to a different Oregon state university. Soon you’ll have a UO campus of a few thousand kids from wealthy families. Is that what the UO was created for?

          Get some education about how universities are financed, already.

          • uomatters says:

            Thanks for this educational and fact-based comment.

          • thedude says:

            There’s so many contradictions in their statements.

            They should charge one price to all. OOS should pay a premium (they already do). Cut enrollment, serve the population better, etc.

            None of what they say is even externally consistent and it ignore the realities of the world.

  5. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    pretty dreamy talk, raising the faculty salaries to AAU levels. Whether that is at all feasible depends on UO’s financial resources, which can only be assessed with at least a cursory look at numbers. At one time — 20 years ago, again about 10 years ago — it looked feasible. Now? Hard to see how, with the decline in out of state students, the serious inflation, the covid-related enrollment problems.

    A bigger concern right now is inflation. Faculty salaries nationwide were said to take a big hit back in the 70’s inflation, in inflation-adjusted dollars — from which it took decades to recover. The same thing is likely now, especially if the inflation continues. With the outrage over the student loan forgiveness, controls on tuition are probably on the way, or else a tight cap on loans. Either way, there is no chance that tuition will rise enough to match the 8+% inflation. Who knows how many years those inflation rates will last. I look at Jerome Powell and I don’t see Paul Volcker, maybe I’m wrong. (Look up these federal reserve chiefs, kiddos, if you don’t know.)

    • thedude says:

      This combined with a decreasing college wage premia. The only strong wage premia that exists is for parts of STEM we aren’t strong in. Computer Science, Data science, etc. Stuff we’re trying to play catch up but are WAY behind. We need more carpenters, plumbers, and trades.

      Do we really need more historians? Do we really need business people who don’t actually want to do hard work? Moreover the increasing polarization is making anyone who isn’t in the Willamette valley very reluctant to send their kids to college where professors view at as their life mission to make sure everyone graduates a democrat.

      • PreviouslyPDX says:

        Do we really need more dudes who don’t understand the value of historians and other humanities graduates? Do we really need only STEM nerds with no idea how societies function?

        • Dog says:

          Yes of course we don’t need them. The coin of the realm these days is revisionist history. Screw the historical record – its just full of bias anyway – world historical events never really happen and we certainly don’t need literature to understand the nature of the nerd man.

        • just different says:

          One argument for more people studying the humanities is that they seem to learn enough critical thinking skills to not believe mindless nonsense like “professors view it as their life mission to make sure everyone graduates a Democrat.”

  6. anon says:

    Some UO depts are pretty well paid, by the AAU public U comparison ( eg, Biology, which is arguably the most distinguished dept at UO now).
    I suggest UO consider a different group of schools to be peer institutions for salary comparison, and just admit that UO is really not of AAU caliber.
    Anyone want to suggest appropriate schools for peers?

    By the way OSU Integrative Biology dept has just received a big honor. The Univ of Chicago Press just released a new reprint volume entitled FOUNDATIONS OF ECOLOGY 2, which reprints 47 papers from the time interval 1970-1995, papers carefully chosen (a decade of work went into the choice process) to represent the modern foundations of ecological science:
    3 scientists from OSU Integrative biology have 3 papers reprinted { Lubchenco, Menge, Arnold}. A former UO biology faculty member, Russ Lande, has 2 papers in the volume, but he departed UO in the late 90s. One former OSU prof also has a paper reprinted. Oregon does quite well overall.