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Economist to bring Trustees up to date on UO’s continued decline relative to AAU

When the UO Board of Trustees took over from the OUS in 2014, UO faculty were on average paid 92.4% of pay at our AAU public university comparators. As of 2021 UO pay had fallen to 84.1%, and it is now declining not only in relative terms, but also in real dollars.

The public portion of the Trustees meeting starts at 9AM with public comments, and it will include a report from UO Economist Keaton Miller on this problem.

Video link here, official board agenda (which does not mention this dismal fact, much less propose a plan to address it) here.


  1. honest Uncle Bernie 12/05/2023

    Wasn’t there a program long ago, jointly of the administration and faculty, to bring faculty pay up to competitive AAU levels? That sure faded away without leaving a trace. UOM mentions 2014 as a higher level than today — as I recall, 2014 was near a peak in UO enrollment, in the wake of the Great Recession.
    It seems to me it is going to be very hard to pay the faculty with coming enrollment challenges and state pressure to keep a lid on tuition.

    As far as I can tell, the UO Board has been completely ineffectual, even oblivious to questions of institutional quality. It is not just faculty salaries (which of course are related to quality) — it’s also quality of the student body, accolades going to the faculty — when was the last time a UO faculty member got elected to the National Academy of Sciences? If I missed something, please inform me. The one big development has been the “Knight Campus” which doesn’t seem to be all that great a success. It’s not just that nobody cares, nobody even seems aware.

    • uomatters Post author | 12/05/2023

      Alice Barkan
      Member (elected 2020)
      University of Oregon
      Primary: 62, Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences
      Secondary: 25, Plant Biology
      Chris Q. Doe
      Member (elected 2017)
      University of Oregon
      Primary: 22, Cellular and Developmental Biology
      Secondary: 28, Systems Neuroscience
      Charles B. Kimmel
      Member (elected 2022)
      University of Oregon
      Primary: 22, Cellular and Developmental Biology
      Secondary: 27, Evolutionary Biology
      Brian W. Matthews
      Member (elected 1986)
      University of Oregon
      Primary: 29, Biophysics and Computational Biology
      Secondary: 21, Biochemistry
      Michael I. Posner
      Member (elected 1981)
      University of Oregon
      Primary: 52, Psychological and Cognitive Sciences
      Secondary: 28, Systems Neuroscience
      Eric U. Selker
      Member (elected 2012)
      University of Oregon
      Primary: 26, Genetics
      Paul Slovic
      Member (elected 2016)
      University of Oregon
      Primary: 52, Psychological and Cognitive Sciences
      Secondary: 64, Human Environmental Sciences
      Franklin W. Stahl
      Emeritus (elected 1976)
      University of Oregon
      Primary: 26, Genetics
      Peter H. von Hippel
      Member (elected 1978)
      University of Oregon
      Primary: 21, Biochemistry
      Secondary: 29, Biophysics and Computational Biology
      David J. Wineland
      Member (elected 1992)
      University of Oregon
      Primary: 13, Physics

      • honest Uncle Bernie 12/05/2023

        It looks like there are 4 recent ones that I was not aware of. Thanks for the info! I wish that this information was more highly publicized. And also, David Wineland is also a Nobel prize winner in physics. This is the “branding” that UO should be pusing!

        • Anon 12/09/2023

          Biology faculty member David McCormick is a member of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM,2015), [ the rebadged NAS- Institute of Medicine].
          UO has a long history of world class excellence in Neuroscience (as well as developmental biology, molecular biology), so its not surprising it could attract a scholar like McCormick.
          There is no secret sauce to building a world class faculty….if that is what you want.
          The latest NEW school to become a member of AAU is the University of Utah, and their School of Biological Sciences is light years ahead; their 40+ faculty members includes 7 members of NAS, and 1 noble prize winner [ who did the prize winning work at UU] . About the same # are members of AAA&S. One of their faculty, Toto Olivera, is a world renowned biochemist & neurobiologist, a member of NAS, NAM, American Philosophical Society, and AAA&S; Heck his home country , the Philippines, just issued a postal stamp with his face…under their program to celebrate living legends. And he also did the work at UU.

      • anon 12/06/2023

        And from 2018-2021, 3 UO faculty have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences :
        Alice Barkan, Judith Eisen , Karen Guillemin.

        4 more were elected in 2014-2015. Slovic, McCormick, Rothbart, Doe

        • uomatters Post author | 12/06/2023

          Given that the American Academy of Arts and Sciences was founded by John Adams, one of my ancestors, I feel obligated to report that the once prestigious organization has declined into a irrelevant who’s who of aging business donors and retired university administrators (e.g. Phil Knight, Bob Berdahl) sponsoring a variety of pompous and ineffectual programs. While the Berlowitz scandal has apparently faded from memory (and been erased from their website) I think the real academics are there just to provide a veneer of credibility.
          Perhaps you are confusing it with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which is the real deal.

          • anon 12/08/2023

            I was aware that you once wrote a blog post on the ‘scandal’ at the AAA&S. Your post then was quite over the top, much too negative & critical, and it seems to me this comment is too. Just ask Geri Richmond, who until quite recently played many leadership roles at AAA&S, including being head of the membership committee. I suggest folks check it out for their selves.
            No, I am not confusing it with AAAS, although Geri was a leader there too [ President, in fact].

          • Canard 12/10/2023

            They do have a very nice headquarters building.

    • Dog 12/06/2023

      For the record it was the external equity pay raise(compared to AAU) in CAS initiated largely by M. Nicols , and consisted of 3 phases of pay raises.
      Phase 1 occurred in May 2011 ; subsequent phases did not occur as the union formed and this program was terminated.
      Under phase 1-all full profs in my dept. got a 6.9% pay raise

      • honest Uncle Bernie 12/06/2023

        The program I am thinking of was about 10 years earlier, as I recall. But you are right about 2011 as well. I think that was kind of the last gasp of the pay advancement movement. It’s ironic, to say the least, that with unionization, UO has apparently slipped back.

        • thedude 12/07/2023

          The admins could have helped on this. They could have used the union negotiations as a chance or excuse to leverage larger raises to bring salaries up to par to focus on the long term dare I say “excellence of the university”. Instead they’ve focused on cost minimization and the union has largely focused on career advancement and stability of NTTF (which is good and overdue) while just paying lip service to the total amount of compensation its bargaining unit members get.

          Not surprisingly, faculty at other AAU schools have not followed us down the path of unionization. This is the union’s last chance to make due on decade’s worth of promises….and Scholz’s chance to show he care’s about recruiting and retaining top notch researchers.

      • thedude 12/06/2023

        The union has largely failed tenure track faculty since 2014. I hope that much is becoming clear to all of them.

        If they fail again right now (when the university is in its best position financially since 2014) I’m turning in my card.

  2. Anonymous 12/05/2023

    Geri Richmond (2011)
    Currently on leave as Under Secretary for Science and Education at the Department of Energy.
    [UOM: editorialization deleted on the grounds that I can.]

  3. Kissinger's Ghost 12/05/2023

    Professor Miller’s presentation was not bad for an economist, but the most impressive part of the meeting was the many concrete instructions the graduate students gave to the Trustees about how they could solve the problems of the Middle East.

    • uomatters Post author | 12/05/2023

      I liked the part where he told the Trustees that the salaries they are paying us put UO dead last in the Big 10. Gives them something to talk about in the Fiesta Bowl skybox.

    • honest Uncle Bernie 12/05/2023

      huh!!?? Please say more!

      The students have a plan for the Mideast? They are going to fight Hamas? Or maybe the IDF? Go Ducks!

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