ODE on Bend and Moseley

7/28/2010: Ryan Buckley had a story on the end of Bend a few days back, that I missed. He managed to get both current Provost Jim Bean and former Provost John Moseley to speak on the record:

“The statements that some faculty have made that the program was ‘costing UO $1 million a year’ are nonsense,” Moseley said, “The total cost of UO’s program has been approximately $1 million a year for the past few years (and was even less in previous years), with these costs covered by revenue from the program.”

In the summer of 2009, Moseley’s contract with the University was the subject of a review by the state’s Internal Audit Division (IAD) following a complaint to the Oregon University System’s hotline.

According to a June 31, 2009, memorandum sent to University President Richard Lariviere from IAD Executive Director Patricia Snopkowski, the investigation concluded Bean had failed to update the responsibilities outlined in Moseley’s original contract to reflect a reduction in workload enacted in July 2008. Moseley’s original post-retirement contract from June 2006 had included work with the Oregon Bach Festival and the University’s Portland campus.

However, at the time of the audit, the agreement continued to state Moseley was being paid for these duties he had been relieved of almost a year earlier, and the IAD instructed the University to amend the contract to more accurately reflect Moseley’s performance.

I haven’t seen any documents supporting Moseley’s claim that Bend broke even. Provost Bean will only release them in exchange for a cash payment, and I haven’t sold enough mugs yet. The people I know who have seen them say they do not include all the relevant costs – most hilariously, Moseley’s own salary, OPE, and travel expenses, or about $200,000 per year.

Regardless, this story is finally over – except for 2 more years of payments to Moseley, and a bit more erosion in what little trust there is between the administration and the faculty. Here’s a simple proposal that might help us move forward with the trust issues: If a UO administrator publicly asserts that something is true, they should be willing to provide the public records that address their claim.

And they shouldn’t charge the faculty to see those documents!

NY Times Op-Ed on NY version of Lariviere plan

7/27/2010: From former SUNY Provost Peter Salins:

… This bill would allow the state’s two public university systems, the City University of New York and the State University of New York, to set their own tuition rates and give them the freedom to raise additional revenue to compensate for the $840 million in budget cuts the state has imposed on them over the last three years. Such a move is long overdue, especially considering that most of the money for SUNY and CUNY no longer comes from state taxpayers.

…the SUNY board has repeatedly pleaded for a “rational tuition policy” that would end the tendency of the Legislature to keep tuition frozen during economic good times when parents might be able to afford increases, only to impose substantial increases during recessions, as happened this year.

Given this history, it is surprising and heartening that the public higher education act has even gotten this far. But there could be no better time: Beyond the immediate benefits for CUNY’s and SUNY’s students and managers, this legislation could help resuscitate the state’s moribund economy. After all, the education of more than 700,000 degree-earning students on 87 campuses contributes tens of billions of dollars a year to the state economy. What’s more, research at the state universities has long played a vital role in New York’s high technology industries.

More bloat

7/27/2010: With some help we are now digging into “The Delta Project on Postsecondary Education Costs” data mentioned earlier. The comparisons between UO and other schools are pretty shocking. This is not just a case of too little money – it’s what we spend the money on. Hint: it’s not teaching and research. UO badly needs a thorough reappraisal of its spending priorities – but from what we can see, Frances Dyke is still in charge. $2.4 million on Johnson Hall remodeling and a bunch of new Assistant VP’s of this and that is not going to help UO stay in the AAU.

Administrative Bloat, Academic Diet

7/26/2010: A commenter points us to “The Delta Project on Postsecondary Education Costs, Productivity, and Accountability” and their online database of the federally required reports to IPEDS. Here’s one quick cut:

UO’s spending per student FTE compared to Carnegie Public Research university averages, for 2008. (See below for category definitions from IPEDS.):

  • $2,347 on Institutional support, aka Central administration. General administrative services, executive management, legal and fiscal operations, public relations and central operations for physical operation. 96% of the average
  • $8,850 on Instruction. Faculty salaries, academic departments: 91% of the average
  • $1,937 on Academic support. Libraries, academic computing, Dean’s Ofc: 70% of the average
  • $3,521 on Research. External grants and internal research support: 63% of the average

This is 2008 – before all of the increases in central administration that Linda Brady and Frances Dyke made kicked in. Yet some UO administrators still stick to the claim that UO’s administrative expenses are 38% of our peers? I would like to hope that is just for public consumption, not what is actually guiding their decision-making.

But looking at the new round of administrative hiring they are implementing, I am afraid they actually believe it. The President’s office budget has grown by $1.2 million since 2008. Frances Dyke’s has gone from $3.0 million to $5.2 million. (From the Financial Transparency Reports on Duckweb. Those reports are hard to decipher, I would not assume these numbers are completely accurate, but the trend certainly is.)

Definitions of standard expense categories:

  • Instruction: Activities directly related to instruction, including faculty salaries and benefits, office supplies, administration of academic departments, and the proportion of faculty salaries going to departmental research and public service.
  • Research: Sponsored or organized research, including research centers and project research. These costs are typically budgeted separately from other institutional spending, through special revenues restricted to these purposes.
  • Public service: Activities established to provide noninstructional services to external groups. These costs are also budgeted separately and include conferences, reference bureaus, cooperative extension services and public broadcasting.
  • Student services: Noninstructional, student-related activities such as admissions, registrar services, career counseling, financial aid administration, student organi- zations and intramural athletics. Costs of recruitment, for instance, are typically embedded within student services.
  • Academic support: Activities that support instruction, research and public service, including libraries, academic computing, museums, central academic administration (dean’s offices), and central personnel for curriculum and course development.
  • Institutional support: General administrative services, executive management, legal and fiscal operations, public relations and central operations for physical operation.
  • Scholarships and fellowships net of allowances: Institutional spending on scholarships and fellowships net of allowances does not include federal aid, tuition waivers or tuition discounts (which since 1998 have been reported as waivers); it is a residual that captures any remaining aid after it is applied to tuition and auxiliaries.
  • Plant operation and maintenance: Service and maintenance of the physical plant, grounds and buildings maintenance, utilities, property insurance and similar items. For private institutions only, capital depreciation costs were excluded prior to 1998, so recent trend data are not strictly comparable with data from that period.
  • Auxiliary enterprises and hospitals and clinics: User-fee activities that do not receive general support. Auxiliary enterprises include dormitories, bookstores and meal services.

And keep in mind there is a whole layer of OUS administration on top of this. Very roughly, the Chancellor’s office added another $236 or 10% per FTE in administrative expenses to the UO total. (Dividing their $17 million in 2008 expenditures by 72,000 FTE’s for the whole system.) I don’t know what comparable calculations would add to the Carnegie average – most states have some sort of Chancellor set up, I don’t know how their costs compare. For that matter I don’t really know if OUS spent $17 million, their report is hard to follow, and I’m no accountant.

    Cornell to end Nike deal

    7/26/2010: Sure enough, Nike folds and pays the back wages themselves, according to Steven Greenhouse in the NY Times. Though they can’t quite bring themselves to admit that:

    A Nike spokeswoman, Kate Meyers, said Monday that the $1.5 million was for “a worker relief fund” and was not for severance.

    Speaking of things that people don’t seem to be able to admit, at this rate maybe Howard Slusher will stop trying to get UO students and employees to pay for the Matt Court Arena parking?

    7/5/2010: From Jack Stripling of Insidehighered.com:

    Absent “significant progress” toward the resolution of an ongoing labor dispute in Honduras, Cornell University will follow the University of Wisconsin at Madison’s lead and end its licensing agreement with Nike. The decision, issued by President David Skorton in an internal letter Monday, is being heralded by anti-sweatshop activists as a significant victory in a battle over Nike’s refusal to pay severance to displaced workers in its supply chain. …

    While Nike has offered training and vocational programs, the company insists the payments are the responsibility of the subcontractors. That position, however, runs afoul of many university codes of conduct – including Cornell’s, which holds licensees responsible for the actions of subcontractors, the university’s oversight committee maintains.

    I am guessing Nike will fold on this and pay the back wages themselves.

    Oregon economy

    7/25/2010: A long, depressing post about the Oregon economy and the state budget, from Harry Esteve in the Oregonian:

    … State expenses, including payroll, health and retirement benefits, and debt payments, are slated to rise by nearly $4 billion over the next two years — a 26 percent jump. During the same period, however, revenues to pay those expenses are expected to increase by a little less than $2 billion, or about 14 percent — and that assumes a return to a robust economy.

    … Anyone remember 2007? Oregon unemployment was at a comfortable 4.5 percent and money from 2006 taxes poured into the state treasury. Lawmakers smacked their lips at pre-recession projections that showed long-term surpluses despite hints of a downturn.

    They boosted spending on schools, increased state police ranks to ensure 24-hour road coverage, greatly increased state subsidies of green energy projects and borrowed heavily to pay for millions of dollars in modernization projects on college and university campuses.”It was a huge mistake,” says Rep. Dennis Richardson, R-Central Point, a consistent voice for fiscal conservatism in the Legislature. Overall, state spending increased by more than 23 percent over two years, Richardson points out. “Anyone could see we could not sustain that.”

    … For decades, we put ourselves at the same status level as Washington, our wealthier sister to the north. Now, Tapogna says, “we are beginning to look a lot more like Idaho.”

    … As the rest of the nation slowly drags itself out of the recession, Oregon may have trouble keeping up. That’s because the state’s economy has undergone a fundamental change over the past decade, analysts say. Since 1997, Oregon workers have seen a steady erosion in their earning power, from 97 percent of the national average down to 91 percent. 

    Wages in Oregon will not go up until the state has better educated workers. The state is not going to be able to pay for that education.

    A little UO history, and some data

    7/23/2010: Check the comments for an interesting take on UO history, from an old man:

    … Can such “Oregon values” be resurrected? Old Man hopes so, but more Faculty Push will be required since it is in the eternal nature of things that some administrators will try to arrange things to their own convenience, forgetting that their role is to serve the Faculty in its efforts to execute the University’s educational mission.
    The new Prexy seems to understand that mission and seems to be taking steps to clean up the mess he inherited. Faculty would do well to support his efforts.

    And a dog adds some rather shocking data:

    Here is some enrollment data.
    Column 1 gives year, 2 gives number of undergraduates, 3 gives grad students (inc professional schools), 4 is the ratio of grad students to total population:

    30% defines top tier Research Universities

    20% is the threshold for Carnegie Type I Research Universities

    1970-71 11302 3999 26%
    1973-74 12390 3653 23%
    1976-77 12311 4451 27%
    1979-80 12066 3945 25%
    1982-83 11316 3482 24%
    1985-86 12296 3344 21%
    1988-89 14104 3663 20.6%
    1991-92 12845 3484 21.3%
    1994-95 12941 3216 19.9%
    1997-98 13347 3158 19.1%
    2000-01 13643 3161 18.8%
    2003-04 15583 3539 18.5%
    2006-07 16283 3418 17.3%
    2009-10 18210 3471 16.0%

    we are clearly becoming an unbalanced University and evolving to an UG institution. For me, this is the most serious problem at the UO and has been for the last 10 years.

    Only 16% of our students are graduate/professional students. Do any of the administration’s initiatives address this issue? Our GTF stipends are absurdly low, and that this really hurts quality and quantity. My impression is that the “big 5” idea proposals are focused on peripheral issues, not this basic one.

    Only 15.9% – Masoli will apparently be entering graduate school at UNLV instead of UO.

    Building Trust

    7/23/2010: One discussion at the recent Provost’s retreat was on building trust between the administration and the faculty. Or so we heard, on the hush-hush from a visibly nervous admin type, as he looked around the room to see if the boss was listening. The Provost won’t tell the faculty much about what happens at these retreats, of course. Did you even know they were having one? Did they ask for your input on UO problems? Get a clue, people.

    Speaking of transparency, good article by Audrey Williams June in the Chronicle about raising faculty salaries at Minot State:

    … For institutions looking to overhaul compensation, support from the very top is key, says Ms. Fedje. Others involved in the Minot State effort strongly agree. “I think the president’s buy-in with this task force has really funnelled through the university,” says Nathan Anderson, a task-force member who builds and manages databases for the College of Education and Health Sciences. “When we first started, I think there were a lot of unknowns. But I think people have bought into what we’re doing at this point.”

    A Visible Process

    One reason is openness. The group has widely circulated documents about its work, held open forums, and met with the faculty and staff senates to take questions and concerns. In addition, salary-notification letters detail how a person’s pay was calculated and puts it up against the market rate, Mr. Matthews says.

    “The transparency has to be there, or otherwise people aren’t going to trust what’s going on at all,” Ms. Fedje says.

    Competitive Cheer is not a sport

    7/22/2010: Update, NY Times story here.

    According to the Judge. Rachel Bachman has more here. UO’s team is a remnant of some bizarre Kilkenny scheme to kick those sweaty wrestlers off campus and replace them with baseball, then trick the NCAA into thinking we were achieving Title IX compliance. Their website is here, they carefully avoid the word cheer. Good luck with all that:

    A federal judge’s ruling earlier today in a Title IX lawsuit against Quinnipiac University has focused considerable attention on the question of whether cheerleading should be considered a sport. District Judge Stefan Underhill said the private Connecticut university violated Title IX by shortchanging female students of athletic opportunities. One way the university did this, Judge Underhill said, was by counting members of a newly created competitive cheer team as athletes for purposes of complying with the federal gender-equity law.

    In the RG Renee Baumgartner is pretending the ruling doesn’t matter. And why not? If it does go to court, UO’s academic side will pay the athletic department’s legal bills, as usual. Go Ducks.

    tree care

    7/21/2010: Anyone got a good tree care company to recommend – or an unwanted child and a chainsaw? email uomatters@gmail.com or post a comment.

    Update: Remarkable consensus among faculty and administrators. Sperry is very good and very expensive. A strong vote for James Cummings tree service, very good, not so expensive. Also mentioned, Doug Hornaday. (Thanks to parents – but given all the offers, I’m not buying the gas.)

    more subsidies to athletics

    7/21/2010: I’m compiling a list of state/academic subsidies to athletics. So far I’ve got the

    • $1.4 million: State lottery money used for athletic scholarships.
    • ?: Legal Services to athletic department (UO and DOJ billed to UO)
    • ? portion of 1039 hours salary for Lorraine Davis to cover costs proctoring quizzes
    • ? Athletic Director Salary and bonuses. (Part of Pres office, or Athletic budget?)
    • ~$600,000: Parking subsidy
    • Land for Jock Box
    • UO President and staff time
    • Title IX compliance assistance from AAEO
    • ?: Bonds for arena land

    Any other suggestions? Does anyone know for sure if the $27.4 million state bonds for buying the land for the arena from Williams Bakery are being repaid by the athletic department, or by academics?

    Ducks tell the NCAA they receive $1,398,094 in state support

    7/20/2010: On the UO Athletics website at goducks.com, you will (still) find this statement from Mike Bellotti:

    The mission of the Duck Athletic Fund is to raise funds to offset the expenses of student-athlete scholarships and related athletic support at the University of Oregon. …

    The University of Oregon Athletic Department is financially self-sufficient and does not receive any support from state funds. 

    This is the mantra of the athletic department when justifying big salaries for coaches, buyouts, etc. Frohnmayer promised the legislature athletics would stay self-sufficient when he got the state to guarantee the Arena bonds, and President Lariviere regularly repeats it as a fact.

    Is it? As it happens UO has to report their financial data to the NCAA. USA Today got this data from public records requests to UO, and posted it here. Thanks guys. For 2008-09 UO’s athletic department told the NCAA they received $1,398,094.00 in “Direct state or other government support”.  

    How does the athletic department reconcile these contradictory statements?

    Op-Ed opposes ORI building, despite solar cells

    7/20/2010: Op-Ed in the RG by 2 UO alumni and the ASUO president against the ORI Riverfront research building:

    … Despite decades of overwhelming opposition by students, faculty and community members to development north of the railroad tracks, the university hasn’t held a single public meeting related to the placement or design of the ORI building.

    It should have been no surprise that intense opposition would emerge when the university unilaterally announced in 2008 that it had entered into a contract with Trammell Crow, a Texas-based developer, to construct the first of many proposed suburban-style office buildings on the riverfront. …

    Had there been an opportunity for meaningful public dialogue at an early stage, the university would have heard loud and clear that the people of Eugene want ORI to have a new home, but not if it means paving the riverfront for a parking lot and erecting a building that looks like it could be part of any suburban office complex in America.
    Personally I like the idea of more development closer to the river, it makes for a more interesting city. Just my preferences. I don’t know enough about the details to say anything more specific. But I hate how the ORI people have argued we should support the project because it will include “green building” features like solar cells. It is hard to imagine a more useless place to put these than Oregon. Contrast this with what these Oregon Institute for Technology students are doing in Tanzania:

    The OIT students will install 25 solar photovoltaic panels donated by a German company, TUV Rheinland, from its Arizona testing laboratory. The panels convert sunlight to electricity that will light schools and clinics, charge batteries, power computers and charge cell phones. The students will design the systems and work with local technicians to install and test them.

    Schools are the first priority, with the requirement that they are least 10 kilometers from the electrical connection, have at least 200 students and demonstrate they can maintain the systems and protect them from thieves.

    Worthy sites are not hard to find, says Petrovic, because about 80 percent of the people have no electricity.

    I’m no economist, but I’ll guess that the ratio of the marginal utility from a solar panel in Tanzania to one in Oregon is say, 1000 to 1? Putting solar cells on a building in Oregon makes the world worse off.

    Oregonian folds on Lariviere’s restructuring plan

    7/19/2010: First the Oregonian was for Lariviere’s UO restructuring plan, now they are supporting Pernsteiner’s alternative, which would take control from the legislature but give it to OUS instead of UO. What do those bureaucrats in OUS do for higher education? How much does it cost the state?

    Why would an alumni give money to the Oregon University System? But this is what they would be doing under this proposal, because OUS will move last, and reallocate the state money to the schools with the least private support. The UO alumni in a position to give didn’t get there by being that stupid.

    Lariviere’s approach has some issues, but at least it is a path forward. Pernsteiner’s alternative is nothing – though he does have the support of the official organ of the Socialist Worker’s Party in opposing Lariviere’s proposal.

    Links to what is available on both proposals can be found here.

    More on the End of Bend:

    7/19/2010: From Greg Bolt in the RG, on the end of Bend:

    … Some faculty members who reviewed the budget concluded that the program was costing the university more than $1 million a year beyond what it brought in, draining revenue from the Eugene campus as it struggles with steep cuts in state funding.
    But Bean maintains that at least in the program’s most recent years the UO’s Bend efforts were breaking even. “We have gone to minute detail and passed the spreadsheets around, and some people believe them and some people don’t,” he said.
    The Bend program also is tied up with another sore spot among some faculty: the post­retirement contract the UO made with former provost John Moseley. After retiring from his full-time provost position at the UO in Eugene, Moseley since 2007 has been working half time as a special assistant to the provost, acting as the liaison for the Bend program on a contract that pays him $124,000 a year.
    The large paycheck for part-time work has drawn the ire of many professors. Moseley will continue in his post through next year, which also is when the UO expects to wind down the undergraduate program in Bend.
    This program was established by Frohnmayer to provide a retirement job for Moseley. We probably dropped between $5 and $10 million on it. I asked Provost Bean for the spreadsheets mentioned above last year, and I was told I would have to pay to see them. The people who have seen the presentation said they omitted Moseley’s salary and expenses, videoconferencing centers, many of the inducements paid to departments to get them to send people to Bend, and so on. There’s no reason not to be transparent about these costs – is there? Hell, Moseley posts the rates for his fishing lodge right here.

    Here’s the info on the OUS auditor’s investigation of Moseley’s expense account abuse. UO also refuses to release further documentation on the expense account payments, unless you pay them. Everything is on the up and up here, right?