Provost Woodruff-Borden et al. deliver ultimatum to exploitative Elsevier

Dear University of Oregon community,

I write with an important update on the status of our institutional negotiations with Elsevier, a major provider of scholarly content through UO Libraries. This follows earlier campus updates about collecting input and entering contract negotiations, and many months of engagement from our researchers across campus through town halls, meetings, our faculty senate library subcommittee, and online open feedback forms.

The cost of access to Elsevier’s journals package is the UO Libraries’ single-largest annual expenditure, taking up approximately 10% of the entire collections budget, with annual price increases that have vastly outpaced inflation and squeezed other collections and services. These unsustainably high and escalating costs ignore modern realities, such as the increasing prevalence of open scholarship, and undermine our very purpose as a public research institution—to advance the creation and dissemination of new knowledge.

Working in partnership with Oregon State University and Portland State University, with whom our agreement is shared, our librarians have pushed hard to break the status quo, advocating for our scholarly community and making reasonable proposals to Elsevier throughout the spring and summer.

These proposals have offered a fair price for access to content and data for researchers, and sought to advance a more open, inclusive, and sustainable future for scholarly publishing, as outlined in the UO Libraries’ common negotiating goals this past March. The Oregon State University faculty senate endorsed these principles in May, and they reflect the values in UO’s Open Access Scholarship Policyadopted by our faculty senate in March 2021.

Elsevier’s response and counter proposals to date have failed to meaningfully address these goals or provide a clear rationale for pricing beyond profit-seeking at the three institutions’ expense. The pace of negotiation has further been delayed by Elsevier’s slow response times and repeated postponement and rescheduling of negotiation meetings.

As a result, no deal has been reached, and our libraries have little choice but to allow our current contract to lapse. We stand alongside institutions such as the University of Washington, which just weeks ago announced a similar failure to reach agreement with Elsevier and will also enter 2023 with no big deal package in place.

Our three institutional libraries agree that further negotiation with Elsevier this year will not be productive, and all three will pause further engagement with Elsevier until they can assess the impact of the contract lapse. We intend to reopen negotiations together in 2023. Our librarians will continue to gather feedback and input from our campus communities to inform proposals and to push for a fair and sustainable resolution.

What this means for you:

  • Our contract with Elsevier will end on December 31, 2022. At that time, and until any new agreement is reached, we will cease receiving access to new 2023 Elsevier-published subscription content.
  • We will retain access to the content of our 189 most-used subscribed journals, that were published up to and including December 31, 2022.
  • We will also retain access to 609 journal backfiles with pre-1994 content that we purchased several years ago.
  • We will have access to a growing share of open access articles published in Elsevier journals, which are free to read, and for some journal titles this includes more than 70% of newly published content.
  • Our Libraries are committed to minimizing any inconvenience to researchers and ensuring that researchers are able to access the content they need, through a raft of alternative access measures, including interlibrary loan.
  • You will still be able to publish your work in or review for Elsevier journals; these activities are unaffected.

Learn more with our alternative access quick guide. For questions regarding Elsevier negotiations and alternative access to content, use our feedback form or contact libadmin@uoregon.edu.

Sincerely,

Janet Woodruff-Borden
Acting Provost and Executive Vice President

President Phillips to deliver State of UO address from a secure off-campus location

Why? Well, the First Amendment applies to government agencies, while the Eugene City Club is a private non-profit that can exclude those pesky student protestors that have occasionally embarrassed President Schill and our sensitive, elderly Trustees. Clever.

Of course UO has to make a donation to the City Club for this privilege, proving that limiting freedom of speech is never free:

The State of UO

Friday, Nov. 18,

Noon-1:15 pm 

How is the University of Oregon doing? What are its goals, and is it meeting them? Join interim UO president Patrick Phillips on Friday and hear how the UO is faring. Learn more!

Attend our program at the First United Methodist Church, 1376 Olive Street, starting at noon, or watch via livestream..

Your question might be asked of the speaker; email it to us. Include your full name and tell us if you are a member of City Club.

After the program, you can hear it on KLCC on Monday, Nov. 21, at 7 pm; watch it on our YouTube channel; or listen later to our podcast.

Pres Phillips expects that yet more committee busy-work will improve campus culture?

The good news is that these working groups have almost no faculty participation, so the soul-destroying time-suck will mostly be borne by OA’s who at least will be paid for wasting their time. Meanwhile, GC Kevin Reed’s Public Records Office still has not provided the contract with Gallup or the analyses they did for UO – basic public records that the university should have made public months ago. 

Now that would be a concrete way to improve campus climate – start being transparent about our problems.

Dear colleagues,
I am writing to provide an update on the University of Oregon’s work to improve our campus culture and foster a welcoming and respectful environment. In June, we shared the initial, high-level results of the IDEAL Climate Survey conducted by Gallup of our faculty, officers of administration, classified staff, and graduate employees.
The survey findings, which include university-wide results and other analyses by Gallup, are eye-opening, and frankly show we have much more work to do to ensure everyone feels valued and respected. We have come through a very difficult couple of years, and moving forward we must—and will—do better. We are each other’s most valuable resource, and our strong sense of community and shared purpose are among the things that I have most valued in my more than two decades at the UO. We cannot truly achieve greater success as a university unless everyone feels they have the opportunity to thrive.
The work to improve our campus culture is well underway. Over the last several months three committees further analyzed the survey results and worked on action planning. They identified several key areas for improvement. Four work groups are addressing these areas:
Employee engagement and onboarding
Equity
Response, reporting, and antidiscrimination
Faculty service, promotion, and tenure
Each work group is charged with identifying strategies, resources, tools, and activities in their area of focus to improve the campus climate. Each group will provide information directly to employees in the coming days and weeks about their work and the resulting strategies to address the climate survey findings.
In addition, the vice presidents and deans have now received access to the Gallup data specific to their units, schools, or colleges, and have begun their own assessments of unit level opportunities for improvement, which will ultimately include providing tools for unit heads to engage in this work.
Improving our campus climate is all of our responsibility. It requires reflection, commitment, and action at the university, unit, and individual levels. This work must also be continuous and systemic. Our ultimate goal is vital—to ensure every individual at the University of Oregon feels welcome, included, and able to achieve and contribute.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey and to the survey committee members and leaders who worked tirelessly over the last several months to move our work forward. I appreciate your support and commitment to improving the University of Oregon.
Sincerely,
Patrick Phillips
Interim President and Professor of Biology

Response, Reporting and Anti-discrimination 

  • Nicole Commissiong, Associate Vice President, Chief Civil Rights Officer, & Title IX Coordinator, Office of the President, Co-lead
  • Brett Harris, Co-Lead, UO Ombudsperson 
  • Kersey Bars, Painter, Campus Planning and Facilities Management
  • Jeslyn Everitt, Associate General Counsel
  • Norma Kehdi, Senior Director, Accessible Education Center
  • Patrick Phillips, Interim President and Professor of Biology, Senior Leader

Faculty Service, Promotion and Tenure

  • Gabe Paquette, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Lead
  • Gerard Sandoval, Associate Professor, School of Planning, Public Policy and Management
  • Janet Woodruff-Borden, Acting Provost and Executive Vice President, Senior Leader

Equity

  • Elliot Berkman, Professor, Psychology Department, Co-Lead
  • Lesley-Anne Pittard, Assistant Vice President, Campus and Community Engagement, Division of Equity and Inclusion, Co-Lead
  • Lorraine Davis, Special Assistant to President and Provost, Office of the Provost
  • Karen Ford, Dean for Faculty, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Grey Pierce, Digital Accessibility Architect, Information Services
  • Norma Kehdi, Senior Director, Accessible Education Center
  • Yvette Alex-Assensoh, Vice President for Equity and Inclusion and Professor of Political Science, Senior Leader

Engagement and Onboarding

  • Kaia Rogers, Senior Director, HR Programs, Services & Strategic Initiatives, Lead
  • Chelsey Megli, Chief of Staff, University Advancement 
  • Damien Pitts, Assistant Director, Student Organizations and Diversity Outreach, Lundquist College of Business
  • Krista Chronister, Vice Provost, Graduate Studies
  • Sierra Dawson, Associate Vice Provost for Faculty and Leadership Development
  • Mark Schmelz, Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer,  Senior Leader

VP for enrollment emails faculty with great UO enrollment numbers

That would be Oregon State’s VP Jon Boeckenstedt. I don’t know why UO’s Roger Thompson treats these as a state secret, even the HECC has them:

Pres Phillips plans to hold graduation at football stadium, ban “rogue” department ceremonies

That’s the word from multiple sources at the department head Zoom meeting. Apparently the plan is to blame this on UESS and staff, but we all know the real reason is that our administrative overlords can’t stand the fact that our students want to take their parents to department ceremonies where they can meet their friends and teachers, instead of some Duck Crap thing where you listen to the President and Provost bloviate from the Autzen big screen.

You can bet the Senate will be taking this up, as what could be more of an “academic matter as commonly understood” than graduation.

University of Austin takes JH’s shared services model to logical next level

From the Dartmouth Review:

In place of large, on-campus administrative bureaucracies, UATX plans to make administration remote, outsourcing positions abroad. Not only will this arrangement save university funds, Howland noted, but it would also pay foreign workers livable, US-level wages. 

and in a move Phil Knight’s BoT still only dreams of, there will be no tenure – but at least UATX recognizes this will entail some costs:

The trade-up for no tenure, Howland said, would be the promise of low course loads and hard-to-find competitive salaries. Academic freedom in this tenure-less paradigm would be guaranteed by an external and independent committee that would adjudicate conflicts between faculty and the administration.

Where are the results from UO’s campus climate survey?

After a dribble in June, JH has gone dark on this. Rumor down at the faculty club is that the survey shows broad dissatisfaction with our senior administrators, who have been arguing about who should get the blame and how to spin the analyses. What’s the truth (to a statistical approximation)? Let’s find out:

On Nov 3, 2022, at 5:17 PM, William Harbaugh <harbaugh@uoregon.edu> wrote:

Dear Public Records Officer – 

This is a request for 

a) The contract between UO and Gallup for the IDEAL 2022 Climate Survey.

b) Copies of any reports sent by Gallup to UO that include any results or analyses of the IDEAL Campus Climate Survey.

As noted on the survey web page at https://inclusion.uoregon.edu/ideal-climate-survey-2022-faq

8. What does the UO plan to do with results to the IDEAL Campus Climate Survey?

The results of the IDEAL Campus Climate Survey belong to everyone. [emphasis added] They will be used by campus leaders to understand what we need to do more of and/or differently to live up to our values of inclusion and equity. With support from Gallup, we will:

Determine what the results mean and identify priorities and timelines for addressing them;

Identify campus-level systems, policies and structures, through which interventions will lead to meaningful change,

Put plans to enhance engagement into action.

We will provide results for individual units and also engage a similar process of priority setting that aligns with campus goals, actions and assessments. All results will be shared in a way that maintain and protect confidentiality.

I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest as explained in this statement and many similar statements by the university administration regarding this survey.

I am ccing VP for DEI Yvette Alex-Assensoh, as she should have these documents readily at hand and be able to provide them without your office’s customary fees and delays. 

Thanks, 

Bill Harbaugh, Professor, UO Economics, harbaugh@uoregon.edu

I’ll update this post with responses from VP Alex-Assensoh and the PRO as they come in.

UO Trustees want your input on Presidential hire!

Just kidding, this will be a completely closed search that will end with the Board telling the university who they have hired. Our Trustees do, however, hope to delude you into believing that you actually have some input:

Dear University of Oregon community members,

Thank you to everyone who participated in the presidential search forums earlier this week at both the Eugene and Portland campuses or one of our other outreach meetings to garner feedback on what the UO community wants to see in its next leader. We appreciate the feedback and input the UO community has provided so far.

We would like to offer a virtual forum for anyone in the UO community to attend. The virtual presidential forum will be held on Tuesday, November 1 from 5:00–6:00 p.m. PST. The forum can be accessed by using this link:

https://uoregon.zoom.us/j/96135248396?pwd=SkkzVnE5VWJxZUgyY0ZtbnowQ1NuQT09
passcode for those accessing by phone: 068616

In addition, we are continuing to accept feedback and recommendations through the respective online forms. The online form submission period will end on Friday, November 4.

After the conclusion of the forums and online input period, the committee will review the information provided and finalize the presidential profile. The profile will be forwarded to the Board of Trustees for approval during its December meeting.

Again, thank you for providing your input as we consider the qualities and characteristics that should define the university’s next leader.

Sincerely,

Connie Seeley ‘92
Search Chair

Renée Evans Jackman ‘97
Search Vice Chair

Trustees want to take control of Boards sole faculty rep

That would be at UVa. Here at Oregon, our trustees have *never* let the University Senate pick the non-voting faculty representative – they just nominate a lackey to the Governor, who rubber stamps them.

From InsideHigherEd:

“Faculty have a legitimate desire to ensure that their representative is truly representative of the faculty as evidenced by majority support,” UVA’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors recently wrote to the Senate and the board. “Selecting the individual from a slate of candidates could result in the seating of an ostensible ‘faculty representative’ on the board who has slight electoral support and does not reflect the aspirations and perspectives of the faculty at large.”

New Dean excited by “buzz around campus”

Dear Colleagues,  

Welcome to the start of the 2022-23 academic year! And, for those of you—like me—who are new to campus, welcome to the University of Oregon and the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS)! This is already shaping up to be a remarkable year—we learned this week that UO is welcoming a record 5,388 freshman students. 

The buzz around campus in these first few days has been truly energizing: parents and new students tackling move-ins; returning students enthusiastically greeting old friends; faculty busily preparing their syllabi and courses; advisors guiding undergrad and graduate students; and CAS and university staff ensuring that everything runs smoothly. The flurry of activity is contagious. 

I am excited by what lies ahead in the coming year, including the return to a more pre-pandemic-like existence with increased in-person activities. The pandemic has taught us how critical face-to-face interaction is to building and sustaining our CAS community.  As part of the return to “normal,” we have asked instructors to encourage and expect student engagement in classes. For many, this will mean a more structured set of expectations and somewhat less flexibility than during the pandemic. At the same time, we know that coronavirus variants are still with us, so please take care of yourselves and stay home if you become ill. 

This year, we expect to focus on new initiatives in Data Science and the Environment, our new School of Global Studies and Languages, and student success and outcomes. To support the latter, Melissa Baese-Berk, Associate Dean for Student Success, Career and Pedagogy, and Jamie Bufalino, Associate Dean for Student Success, Advising, and Curriculum, have joined the CAS leadership team. We also are implementing Shared Services across CAS, and we are working to make the transition as smooth as possible, knowing that such restructuring always comes with unexpected challenges. 

Finally, we continue to work toward advancing our core principles of diversity, equity and inclusion to make CAS a place where all community members—faculty, staff, and students—feel that they belong and can thrive. Though it goes without saying, please be reminded that bigotry, discrimination, or harassment have no place at UO. If you see or experience this type of intolerable behavior, report it at: investigations.uoregon.edu/how-report

I am thrilled to be at UO and I am genuinely excited to be supporting the transformational work that goes on in CAS through its teaching, research and service. I hope this year is a productive and stimulating one for you all. I look forward to meeting you and learning about your work throughout the year. 

Go Ducks!

Sincerely,

Chris Poulsen

Tykeson Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

University of Oregon

VP Roger Thompson brings in record breaking enrollment

Where will Int Pres Philips spend all this tuition money? From Around the 0:

The University of Oregon is welcoming the largest number of incoming students in its history and an exceptional freshman class of diverse, talented and high-achieving Ducks.

According to preliminary data, 5,338 new freshman students attended the UO on the first day of classes, which represents a growth of 16 percent compared to last year and a 36 percent increase in our freshman class over the past five years.

“I am extremely proud of our team, which has just accomplished something we have never done before, the largest freshman class ever in the history of the University of Oregon,” said Roger J. Thompson, vice president for student services and enrollment management. “It is exciting to see such high demand for an exceptional education at the University of Oregon. We have incredible momentum and an upward trajectory of students who are interested in the university, as we continue to demonstrate we are a premier destination for students around the state, nation and world.”

Incoming Ducks broke records for representation, academic achievements and more:

  • Average high school GPA: 3.76
  • Freshman students from a diverse race or ethnicity: 36 percent
  • Transfer students: 1,012
  • New undergraduate students: 6,350

“These record entering-class enrollments are a direct result of the incredible work of so many in our organization, and across our campus community,” Thompson said. “Our faculty and staff have gone above and beyond to assist with events, activities and IntroDUCKtion sessions to ensure we are delivering the full UO experience. I am deeply appreciative of everyone’s efforts and the continued support of our university colleagues.”

Read more about the Class of 2026

New President welcomes colleagues with picnic

That would be new faculty union president Mike Urbancic (Economics):

United Academics Fall Picnic

Time to celebrate! Join us this Friday, September 30 from 3-6pm at Alton Baker Shelter #2. Come out for a day in the park and celebrate the beginning of the new academic year and the salary increases our bargaining team fought to get us. This is our union-wide picnic, so please feel free to bring your colleagues, partners, and children along for some snacks, and some fun.

Greetings, colleagues.

I want to extend my best wishes to you as we begin another academic year. And to our newly arrived colleagues: Welcome to campus! We’re glad to have you with us.

Before the start of each new academic year I wonder if the novelty will wear off and I’ll feel like I’m just going through the motions. But standing in front of hundreds of first-year students  on their first day of college classes remains absolutely electrifying.

One of those students asked on their end-of-class reflection: “Do you actually like teaching?” YES! Despite the occasional shortcomings and challenges of working in higher education, I truly love the core of my job.

I believe many of us cherish much of our work at the University of Oregon. Other aspects, however, we may often find challenging, and even the energy of a new year may not be sufficient to reconnect us to the parts of our jobs that bring us joy and brought us here in the first place. 

Let your UA representatives, stewards, and officers know what we can do to actively help you or your local colleagues focus on what you love the most about your work. 

Likewise, reach out to us if you have the capacity to lend your expertise and support as we labor collectively to implement the provisions of the recently ratified CBA within units and across campus this year.

With new leadership at the top of our institution–as well as a few of its constituent colleges–this year is filled with possibility and promise. Let’s seize the opportunities for exercising our role in shared governance. Let’s strive to build a university that allows us to fully realize our joy and our purpose for being here. 

In solidarity, 

Mike Urbancic
Senior Instructor, Economics
President, United Academics of the University of Oregon
AAUP/AFT Local 3209, AFL-CIO
urbancic@uauoregon.org

Interim Univ Pres gives shout out to Ducks

Or, as Richard Lariviere called them, “the entertainment side of our university”

Dear University of Oregon community,

Welcome to the start of fall term and the new academic year. I am honored to lead this university community. It is a responsibility I take very seriously. And that’s because together we seek to make our world better through cutting-edge research and creative practice, transformative teaching and mentoring, and opportunities that prepare students to make a difference and lead fulfilling lives.

I firmly believe we are better together. Together we will achieve our mission of understanding the world around us and maximizing the human potential of every member of our community.

To our students, new and returning, welcome! It was a joy to help our first-year students to move into their residence halls during Week of Welcome. It may be my favorite time of the year. This university is fully committed to your success. I encourage you to make the most of every moment in the classroom and out.

To our faculty and staff, we once again have this wonderful opportunity to start anew, to mentor and guide our students, to discover and create, and continue to reimagine what it means to be committed to the greater good as a public research university. This year we will be able to return—more and more—to the core activities and values that brought us to the UO in the first place.

I am excited for the year ahead, for what each of you will experience and achieve, and for the future of the University of Oregon.

Thank you. And Go Ducks!

Patrick Phillips
Interim President and Professor of Biology