OSU Trustee Manning still won’t admit board screwed up with F. King Alexander, but promises more transparency with new search

From Eric Kelderman at the Chronicle, thanks to a regular reader for forwarding:

After being chosen in a closed search process, F. King Alexander didn’t last a whole year as president at Oregon State University. Now, the university’s Board of Trustees is taking a different approach to appoint his successor. …

The Oregon State board named Alexander president in December 2019, after considering four finalists who were not named publicly. Finalists met only confidentially with a “stakeholder group” of 25 members that included a handful of faculty members and students.

But incredibly, the OSU board still won’t admit they screwed up:

At Oregon State, the surprise and backlash about Alexander’s hiring was in part because board members seemed to not have considered his role in responding to charges of sexual misconduct at Louisiana State, despite the fact the controversy had been covered widely at the time.

In response, the board did a review of the entire search process, including a look at what the search firm and their own background check may have overlooked.

From that review, the board said, it was clear that a more open search was needed, including “announcing finalists, providing an opportunity for broad community engagement with finalists, and soliciting feedback on finalists before the Board makes its final decision” the board concluded in its review.

The board will also conduct its own background check, using a different company than the search firm, said Manning, the board member. The extra step is part of a “robust due-diligence process,” she said, but not necessarily a sign that there was anything wrong with the last search.

“I did not see any indication of a flawed process,” [Trustee] Manning said.

Despite the new process, some faculty members say the board has taken only token steps to involve the campus and community. Bringing finalists to campus is an improvement, Kathleen Stanley, a senior instructor in sociology and president of the faculty union, wrote in an email. But it’s not yet clear how the public can engage with the finalists or how their feedback will be used to evaluate the candidates, she added.

President Schill urges UO to let go of the guilt

Bernard Mandeville, The Fable of the Bees or Private Vices Publick Benefits, 1714:

Pride and Vanity have built more Hospitals than all the Virtues together.

Pres Schill, in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, today:

… First, a disclaimer. The University of Oregon has been fortunate to receive three extremely large donations from generous benefactors during the time I have served as president. Two gifts of $500 million each are from Penny and Phil Knight to create an applied bioengineering research campus. Another gift of more than $425 million is from Steve and Connie Ballmer to establish an innovative institute to fight one of the most important social problems of our time — the behavioral and mental-health crisis among our children. These gifts are transforming the university and enabling us to achieve our missions of teaching, research, and service.

How can one say that the billions of dollars devoted to medical research, student scholarships, and technological innovation by generous and, yes, wealthy people is not something to cheer? While we should all work hard to increase government support for higher education, we cannot and should not for a moment feel guilty for celebrating the philanthropy that enables our universities to grow and flourish. And, perhaps, if we execute well on the big ideas our donors have funded, we can demonstrate to the skeptics that there is no better public investment than higher education.

Pres Schill and Prov Phillips want to take away TRP, in exchange for an internal equity scheme they would control

I can picture them in the JH conference room chuckling over the divide-and-conquer possibilities. “This will teach them to bring up equity again!” Who do they pay to come up with these ideas? Brad Shelton? Kevin Reed? Jeff Chicoine? The latest bargaining news from your union:

The administration’s lawyer opened by explaining that the wage increases negotiated in December represented the totality of what the administration is willing to invest in faculty for this contract period, so any new costs would need to be funded by a reduction elsewhere. As such, they proposed a complete elimination of the TRP (where they would honor existing TRP arrangements but neither enter into new ones beyond June nor institute a new retirement incentive program), with the savings redirected to fund a pool of $250,000 for each of six years to address internal equity issues. The administration would have complete discretion over these funds and would allocate them as they see fit. The proposed elimination of TRP would be immediate, effective at the beginning of the next contract (presumably on July 1 this year) after which no new TRP agreements with individual faculty would be signed.

NCAA lawyer Will Stute blames Doug Brenner for not convincing Pres Schill to change the system

And apparently the jurors bought it, letting the cartel off. UO had already paid Brenner $500K. I haven’t been following the case, so I don’t know if former UO Journalism Dean Tim Gleason admitted that his supervision as “Faculty” Athletic Representative was deficient, or was exactly what AD Rob Mullens expected of him.

Stute’s argument, from the Oregonian’s James Crepea:

Stute’s hour-long closing argument veered from absolving the NCAA of blame or liability because of its legislative process and legal structure, to saying that because the risk of death from exertional rhabdomyolysis is minimal when not related to sickle cell or heatstroke that its issuing of guidelines more than 10 years ago was sufficient. Stute also pointed at Brenner because he “didn’t do anything to try to change the legislative process at the NCAA” as one of UO’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee representatives while in college.

“He didn’t go to the Oregon president and say, ‘You know, I was injured in this rhabdo incident and I’d really like you to change the legislative, we’d like to propose legislation, can I talk to you about that?’” Stute said. “Or do anything through SAAC, which has members in the position to propose legislation directly — they can’t do it themselves, but they’re involved in that process.”

Pres Schill wants to give NCAA cartel anti-trust protection to ease exploitation of college athletes

From a webinar at Quinnipiac College:

“What we need to do is make sure the NIL reflects the value that the students’ name, image and likeness has instead of inducement of donors and boosters,” Schill said. “We need federal legislation that provides a uniform, federal definition of allowable NIL so everybody’s on an even playing field.”

Schill suggested the NCAA be given a limited exemption to antitrust laws so it could enforce the NIL regulations.

Flyover ag school quits pretentious DC lobbying group

InsideHigherEd has the story:

Iowa State University announced Thursday that it is leaving the Association of American Universities.

The news revived a debate over the AAU’s membership criteria.

“While the university’s core values have not changed since joining the association in 1958, the indicators used by AAU to rank its members have begun to favor institutions with medical schools and associated medical research funding,” said an Iowa State statement on its departure. (University leaders said they made the decision to withdraw.)

Brad Shelton to completely and utterly retire – will Cass Moseley rebuild trust and transparency?

Pres Schill and Prov Phillips save the good news for the end. Here’s hoping this is the start of a compete reform of UO’s budgeting, planning, and Institutional Research offices. At well-run universities these are staffed with competent professionals who provide credible timely information to the central administration and are trusted by the Deans and department heads. At UO, not so much.

You know your university has a problem when the resident muckraker gets emails from Deans asking if he knows what’s really up with the university budget.

Dear University of Oregon colleagues,
We are pleased to announce that Anshuman (“AR”) Razdan will join the University of Oregon as our next Vice President for Research and Innovation.
Dr. Razdan currently serves as associate vice president for research development at the University of Delaware, where he oversees the development of UD’s research enterprise and aligns assets and faculty strengths to increase institutional competitiveness and develop clusters of strengths across disciplines.
Prior to joining UD, he was professor (now emeritus professor) and center director in the computer science program in what is now the School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence at Arizona State University, where he spent 20 years of his academic career.
He holds a PhD in computer science and MS in mechanical engineering, both from Arizona State University. His BS in mechanical engineering was earned from Kurukshetra University (now National Institute of Technology) in India.
We are immensely grateful to Cassandra Moseley, an experienced and capable leader who has served as interim VPRI with distinction for the past two years. She led the team with strength and conviction through the turbulent and uncertain early days of the COVID-19 pandemic with the thoughtful implementation of a phased research recovery process, ensuring continuity in critical research operations and communicating regularly to keep researchers informed and engaged through the many transitions. Prior to stepping into the interim role, she spent five years as senior associate vice president for research. She has also served as the deputy incident commander for the university Incident Management Team.
Moseley has recently accepted an offer to serve as vice provost for academic operations and strategy in the Office of the Provost, to which she will transition when Razdan begins in early July 2022. This position will be replacing the existing role of Executive Vice Provost for Academic Operations, currently held by Brad Shelton, who will be fully retiring from his administrative position by the end of the calendar year.
Please join us in welcoming Dr. Razdan to the UO.
Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law
Patrick Phillips
Provost and Senior Vice President

Pres Schill caves on “Teaching Professor” honorific

The faculty union first brought this modest request to the table pre-pandemic. Our administration – led by a full professor who never even passed the prelims – has now caved on the title, but not the substance. From the UAUO bargaining news, which contains much more info:

As in past bargaining cycles, some of our most fundamental disagreements at the table revolve around working conditions and protections for Career and Limited Duration faculty. Several of these came to light in this session, including in the administration’s counter on Academic Classification and Rank (Art. 15). We are happy to report that admin agreed to the “Teaching Professor” category, despite having previously balked at attaching “Professor” to the titles of even our most accomplished Career faculty. Unfortunately, their acceptance of the title was not accompanied by any enhancements in job security, and their proposal instead reasserted their concept of an honorific program that is fully controlled by the Provost and lacks any faculty input or peer review.

UO takes admin hiring secrecy to next level for CAS search

We’ve all heard about the controversial practice of closed presidential searches, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a closed search for a Dean before – not even at LSU. But UO seems to be trying, so here’s my public records request for a little transparency:

From: harbaugh <harbaugh@uoregon.edu>
Subject: Public records request, CAS Dean finalist info
Date: April 12, 2022 at 3:39:00 PM PDT
To: Lisa Thornton <pubrec@uoregon.edu>
Cc: Elliot Berkman <berkman@uoregon.edu>
Dear Ms Thornton – 
This is a public records request for the cover letters and cv’s of the finalists for the CAS Dean position. I ask for a fee waiver on the basis in public interest in the hiring of a public university official who will have responsibility over the bulk of UO’s academic matters and a large chunk of its budget. 
I’m ccing search committee co-chair Elliot Berkman, as he should be able to provide these documents without your office’s usual fees and delays. 

Bill Harbaugh, UO Economics, harbaugh@uoregon.edu

The ask:

Candidates interview dates:

Candidate A: Monday and Tuesday, May 2-3

Candidate B: Thursday and Friday, May 5-6

Candidate C: Monday and Tuesday, May 9-10

Candidate D: Thursday and Friday, March 12-13

Public Presentation

There will also be a public presentation by each candidate. The presentations will take place on the second day of each candidates visit from 10:00 to 11:00a with a reception immediately following at 11:00 to 11:45a on the dates below. The presentations will be hybrid and the Zoom link will be available later in April. Please hold these events on your calendar.

  • Candidate A Presentation: May 3 10-11a, EMU Gumwood Room, 245 | Reception 11-11:45a, EMU Cedar + Spruce Rooms, 231-232 
  • Candidate B Presentation: May 6 10-11a, EMU Gumwood Room, 245 | Reception 11-11:45a, EMU Cedar + Spruce Rooms, 231-232
  • Candidate C Presentation: May 10 10-11a, EMU Gumwood Room, 245 | Reception 11-11:45a, EMU Cedar + Spruce Rooms, 231-232
  • Candidate D Presentation: May 13 10-11a, Chapman Hall, 220 | Reception 11-11:45a, Tykeson Hall, James Commons area (first floor)

Please be aware that candidate names will not be made public. Members within UO will be able to access candidate materials in the secure   search folder. Materials will be added to this folder the week of April 25. We ask for all participants to maintain confidentiality in regard to candidate names and materials.

Duck Football brings UO more free publicity!

From https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/33716661/former-oregon-ducks-ol-doug-brenner-adds-100m-damages-claim-lawsuit-ncaa

… According to the lawsuit, Taggart told players when he was hired that he and the new coaches were going to focus on discipline in strength and conditioning and that they were “going to find the snakes in the grass and cut their heads off.”

The document states that the workouts took place every morning on four consecutive days, and Brenner was in a group that began at 6 a.m. The lawsuit states that Taggart and Oderinde didn’t review the training program with the school’s sports medical staff, and Oregon failed to require them to do so.

According to the document, the workout lasted for 60 to 90 minutes, and the staff “did not make water available in the workout room for at least the first day of the workouts.” The lawsuit also states that about 40 players in each group had to do “10 perfect push-ups in unison,” and if one of the athletes was out of sync with the rest or failed to use perfect technique, all of the players had to do up-downs and start the drill over.

The lawsuit contends that over several days, “student athletes vomited, passed out, or collapsed during the workouts.” It says that Oregon’s medical staff “acknowledged that the workout went beyond the student athletes’ natural limits after the first day, but rather than stop the workouts, university staff brought in oxygen tanks on the second day.”