Customer friendly General Counsel’s office

7/14/2010: We won’t know if this is just cosmetic until the new GC gets hired, and decides who to fire. But their new website is a good effort. I like the FAQ:

What must I do before engaging in private consulting? Review University Policy Statement 09.00.05. Most private consulting requires prior University approval. Approval authorizes important work that might otherwise violate Oregon’s ethics statutes.

What are the chances Frohnmayer got approval before supplementing his $245K UO sinecure with his second job at Umpqua Bank, and his third at Harrang, Long, etc.?

UO Alumni Center sucks money from real UO

7/14/2010: Inside Oregon has a puff piece on the new Alumni Center:

The final beams and superstructure of the Cheryl Ramberg Ford and Allyn Ford Alumni Center were set in place recently by construction crews. … The four-story, 60,000-square-foot center — being built just west of the Matthew Knight Arena — is scheduled for construction next May. The $32.5 million project is being paid for with private gifts and state bonds. … The building will also unite the UO Alumni Association, Office of Development and University of Oregon Foundation staff under one roof. … Private gifts will pay for $22.75 million of the construction costs, and $9.75 million will be funded with state bonds. The university is continuing to raise $2.5 million for the project.

How did UO decide that the best use of $32.5 million in state money and donations from loyal alumni was a palace for the UO Foundation and the Development office, with fireplace and interactive video panels, instead of classrooms, faculty offices, labs? I’m guessing that the Foundation and Development office had a little input!

When loyal UO donors ask where their money is most needed, they are now told that the number one and two priorities are the “Athletic Legacy Fund” and this palace. People who would happily have given to academic causes are not told about needs for departments, classrooms, chairs, scholarships, etc. Instead they are told that their gift can buy a named conference room in the Alumni Center.

So far as I can tell, the faculty has no real input into deciding the prioritization lists of the Development office. Does anyone know differently?

Update: a reader writes in the comments:

I suppose UO Matters doesn’t remember the Campaign for Oregon – when Dept heads and Deans spent a lot of time assembling projects and proposals for donations. These were used in the campaign for Oregon. But who chose what to pitch? I think that is the core of the problem. In the end, academics got about half of the funds raised. The other half? Athletics.

And another:

This is an example of Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy:

In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control and those dedicated to the goals the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely.

And a rebuttal from “alumni and staff member”

In regards to the Alumni Center and Campaign Oregon, I’d like to say that without the work of Development Officers and the commitment and generosity of UO alumni and donors, we’d be unable to support many student scholarships and programs on campus. With an Alumni Center (we’re the only school in the pac 10 without one), the UO will only be able to raise MORE money for scholarships and important academic programs. http://giving.uoregon.edu/why-give

The cost of parking transparency

7/13/2010: DPS Captain Herb Horner has been in charge of parking at UO for years. Back in April, he was interviewed by the Daily Emerald about the big increases in parking fees and fines that would be needed to pay for the underground parking garage that UO had to build – and pay for – to provide parking for Matt Court and the Jock Box. After the latest increase takes effect in fall, total faculty/staff payments for parking will have almost doubled over 3 years. Captain Horner was pretty transparent about why:

Horner said the department conducted two studies on where to place the a new garage … Instead, the University went ahead with plans to build the Knight Arena garage. Because it is underground, Horner said, it will cost three times as much as an above-ground structure would have cost. “If the circumstances had been perfect, we would never have built an underground structure,” Horner said, adding, “Under the circumstances, because of the location, because of the requirement to actually build the arena, this is what we have.”

And today UO posted a job ad for a new Parking and Transportation Director. I’m guessing it’s going to be a while before another UO administrator agrees to another candid interview!

The basic issue here is pretty sad. Phil Knight persuaded Frohnmayer to force students, faculty, and staff to subsidize the parking garage for Matt Court, the $200 million arena that is named after his son.

Knight is worth $8 billion dollars. Why would he do something so petty? Who knows, maybe he was still mad at Frohnmayer over the WRC. I’m pretty sure the secretaries earning $12.48 an hour had nothing to do with that decision though.

New Director, Human Research Protection

7/12/2010: Juliana Kyrk retired this year, and the job ad is out for her replacement:

Director, Human Research Protection Program
Office for Protection of Human SubjectsPay Range: $80,000 – $100,000

This position will report to the Assistant Vice President, Responsible Conduct of Research who also serves as the University’s Institutional Official. This position leads a team of five professionals with five major duty areas: protocol review and approval, IRB panel support, development of policies and SOP’s, developing and implementing Human Subject Research (HSR) education and training for staff, committee members, and faculty and student researchers, and administrative management and leadership. The successful candidate will have significant expertise in the full breadth of areas reflected in HSR administration. Additionally, the successful candidate will have the ability to work effectively with faculty, staff and students from a variety of diverse backgrounds.

While ORSA has been in complete disarray, the Human Subjects Protection office has been very well run. I hope they can find a worthy replacement for Juliana. Given what I’ve seen of other university’s IRB offices it won’t be easy. Rumor is that the general disarray at the top of ORSA led to her retirement. Don’t know how this is related to the Rich Linton resignation if at all.

What will Moseley do now?

7/12/2010: Here’s more on the end of Bend, from Sheila Miller in the Bend Bulletin:

HEAT, a committee composed of 22 people, including representatives from Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties, was asked to come up with the recommendations in line with the goals of increasing education offerings and opportunities for students in the region, and increasing enrollment at Oregon State University-Cascades Campus.

…. Third, the plan calls for OSU-Cascades to take over all University of Oregon programs currently offered at the campus to simplify the operation and make it run more efficiently. Currently, both OSU and University of Oregon operate degree programs on the campus. Under the recommended plan, OSU would become the only entity on campus.
Students currently enrolled in UO programs would be allowed to finish them, but within two years the university’s role would be phased out. OSU-Cascades would continue offering the four programs the UO currently operates on the campus.
UO programs

“When this campus started, it was important that we use everything at our disposal to try to get the campus up and running,” Johnson said. That included the UO’s programs. But as the campus has grown, having both universities on the same site has been a challenge, with different policies and procedures, faculty promotions and other work force issues. Students can’t currently major in one school’s program and minor in the other school’s program; administrators must know both colleges’ policies, and marketing OSU-Cascades is bogged down with two brands.

“We feel it’s more efficient” to offer the programs through one university, Johnson said. “And if there’s a specialty program or a niche that another school could offer better than OSU-Cascades, they should be invited in to do that.”

Jim Bean, the University of Oregon provost, said it was a difficult decision, but ultimately would be the right one. “At the beginning, it was the issue that no one wanted to talk about,” he said. “This was not a turf war at all. It was an examination of a number of options.” Bean said to help make the transfer process between COCC and OSU-Cascades seamless, the University of Oregon had to step out of the way. “To have the UO there would not make it twice as hard, it would make it three times as hard,” he said. Under the recommended plan, University of Oregon faculty would be offered the opportunity to transition into positions with OSU.

Provost Bean has claimed that UO was making money on the Bend operations, but nobody really believes that, the understadning is that we have been subsidizing this program because former Provost John Moseley wanted us to and nobody had the guts to call him on it. My understanding is that the OUS Board still needs to decide whether to act on these recommendations. It doesn’t seem like John Moseley had any substantial role in the HEAT working group – despite the fact that we pay him $124K to be UO’s “Central Oregon Liason”.

7/9/2010: A reader passed along this Oregonian story by Bill Graves. The OUS board has finally pulled the plug on UO Bend.

The University of Oregon also offers a degree program in Bend, but it will turn its courses over to Oregon State to give students a more efficient and less confusing path to a four-year degree. 

The reader wants to know what we think this will do to former UO Provost Moseley, who is still getting paid 1/2 time at a $248,941 FTE, to – supposedly – act as UO’s “Central Oregon Liason”. In reality, he does jack – from his fishing retreat on the Deschutes. I’m not kidding, you can rent one of his lodges here, for $4300 a week during the high season. Most people think the only reason we ever started this program – on which UO loses about $1 million per year – was to provide a retirement sinecure for Moseley, who’d been buying property over there for years, and hiding that from the Oregon Government Ethics Commission. Apparently this was the running joke at his retirement party.

I think I’ve seen that rug before:

UO pays the dude until the summer of 2012. For the curious, the contract between Moseley and then President Frohnmayer is here. It’s such a blatant attempt to subvert the PERS rules I assume that UO could break it easily. BTW, the OUS Auditor’s anonymous tipline is

OUS Hotline: 1.888.304.7810
Or at www.ous.edu/financialconcerns

we recommend it.

How Lorraine Davis earns her $360K

7/11/2010: From Rachel Bachman in the Oregonian. This is fucking unbelievable perhaps just a little bit surprising, given why Pres Lariviere fired Melinda Grier:

Dana Altman, on the job for nearly 11 weeks as Oregon men’s basketball coach, does not have a formal contract despite a university pledge to quickly finalize such documents.

But interim athletic director Lorraine Davis said Friday that Oregon and Altman’s agent are trading paperwork during the busy summer recruiting months and that Altman’s contract will be completed soon.

“As far as I understand and know, we’re very close,” Davis said. “Certainly you wish these things would be done in a week, but.. I’m not concerned.” …

Of course she’s not concerned. She gets paid $30K a month regardless. When we get a new AD, she goes back to collecting $10K a month for arranging the sorority girl/football recruit get togethers and proctoring exams at away games. When’s the next team trip to Hawaii? And why is her salary on the academic budget instead of the athletic budget?

OUS board makes some decisions

7/10/2010: The OUS Board met Friday. They haven’t followed the state rules about posting minutes of their meetings since December 2005, but a summary is here, and a Bill Graves report in the Oregonian here. Some excerpts from the summary:

Biennial Budget Request… The General Fund request for the CSL is an increase from the current budget of $820.8 million to $916.7 million, plus an additional $48.5 million in POPs for: … $20.7 million for faculty salaries funded by the campuses (not state funds) to the extent possible; as well as the 10 and 25 percent reduction options required by state law; for a total request of $144.2 million (with $48.5 million of this state General Fund request and the remainder “Other Funds” from campuses). …

Does this mean we will see the long promised 4% raises? 

Capital Construction Request
… Simonton summarized campus priorities which include: … UO, $10.7 million in deferred maintenance on Chapman Hall, $100 million for expansion of Architecture and Allied Arts building, and $13.4 million in deferred maintenance on Condon Hall(For more details go to: http://www.ous.edu/state_board/meeting/index.php.)

(There’s $4 million in there for Straub as well.)

Governance Proposal
After some discussion, the Board approved a legislative concept that changes the legal status of the OUS from that of a state agency to that of a public university system and provides the Board with the authority outlined in the legislative concepts; and that staff, working with the Governance and Policy Committee, develop and negotiate a compact with the state government with measurable outcomes for the level of appropriations that constitute state investment in 2011; and that the Board authorize an ongoing, participative public process with citizens, state officials and groups throughout Oregon regarding the education, research, and service activities and programs of the OUS and its institutions in order to ensure that the OUS is meeting state needs and can help ensure that Oregonians understand the value of its public university system. … All current powers and responsibilities of the Board would be retained, including tuition setting authority with a participatory campus process, as well as establishing need-based financial aid standards.

(Not clear how this interacts with Lariviere’s restructuring proposal. Is it a first step, or an alternative that leaves control in the hands of OUS? That last sentences suggests the latter.)

Central Oregon Report
(3) enhance the “2+2” collaboration between COCC and OSU-Cascades and create a student-focused, administratively efficient structure which provides seamless transitions for students, and develops shared services such as admissions, registration, etc; and to simplify program offerings by having OSU-Cascades be the lead entity on campus, assuming UO’s current program offerings and faculty; 

So that’s it for UO-Bend. In 2000 or so, after the OUS system awarded administration of the original program to OSU, Frohnmayer and Moseley insisted on setting up an alternative program there, run by UO. The OUS board could never say no to Frohnmayer, so they went along with it. Moseley poured millions in UO money into it. Now nothing will be left – except for Frohnmayer’s and Moseley’s vacation homes and Moseley’s UO contract, which pays him $124K a year until mid 2012 to “liason”with central Oregon, from his fishing retreat on the Deschutes.

Lariviere restructuring plan, SUNY version

7/9/2010: Here‘s an interesting NY Times story related to a SUNY restructuring plan that the NY Governor has proposed, and a $150 million gift from a donor, contingent on the state accepting the plan:

“We’re not prepared at the moment to state any particular number, but it will be an attractive gift,” said Mr. Simons, who is also chairman emeritus of Stony Brook’s affiliated foundation. “Over time it could become an even more attractive gift.”

But Mr. Simons and school officials said that in order to raise more private money, SUNY units first needed to win independence from the ebb and flow of Albany’s annual budget process, which in recent years ended with significant cuts in state aid to higher education. Mr. Paterson’s plan would allow each campus to raise tuition each year and use that additional revenue as school officials see fit, providing some stability to the schools’ general operating budgets from year to year.

Donors, he said, want to give to an institution that they feel has a future. “Simply plugging gaps is not a good pitch for any institution,” Mr. Simons said. “Going forward, what we would give, and what others would give, would very much depend on this bill passing, or on some other miracle.”

… But there is broad opposition to the governor’s plan in the Assembly, which passed the final piece of the state budget last week — a revenue bill of over $1 billion. It left for the summer without voting on the SUNY proposal but could return to deal with it.

The circumstances, and the arguments, are very similar to Pres Lariviere’s restructuring plan.

Study less, get higher grades

7/9/2010: What do undergraduates do? Economists report that average study time per week fell from 24 hours in 1961 to 14 in 2003. (Babcock has a bunch of other interesting looking papers.) Here’s a breakdown by major:

My understanding is that students should have about 2 hours of assigned work for every hour of class time. So a full time student would have 16 hours in class and 32 hours of study time per week. Actually, they put in less than half that – and grades, of course, are way up. One theory is that they are just way smarter than we were.

I could have thought up some other reasons for the fall in study time myself, but instead I cut and pasted from the Atlantic, who copied from Kevin Drum, who collected comments from others. Took me about 5 minutes:

  • Study Leaders Cite Professor Apathy  The Boston Globe’s Keith O’Brien writes, “when it comes to ‘why,’ the answers are less clear. … What might be causing it, they suggest, is the growing power of students and professors’ unwillingness to challenge them.”
  • Modern Technology Not to Blame  The Boston Globe’s Keith O’Brien says the study leaders don’t think so. “The easy culprits — the allure of the Internet (Facebook!), the advent of new technologies (dude, what’s a card catalog?), and the changing demographics of college campuses — don’t appear to be driving the change, Babcock and Marks found.” Why so sure? “According to their research, the greatest decline in student studying took place before computers swept through colleges: Between 1961 and 1981, study times fell from 24.4 to 16.8 hours per week (and then, ultimately, to 14).”
  • Grades Becoming Less Important Than Activities  An anonymous Mother Jones commenter writes, “I graduated recently, and Prospective employers and graduate school admission committees are very interested in your extracurricular and leadership positions, or your research work. Grades matter, but they are not the only thing. Perhaps in the seventies, grades were the main signal of success, so students studied more?”
  • Increase in ‘Temporary, Adjunct’ Faculty  Mother Jones commenter Lisa argues, “Rise in numbers of temporary, adjunct faculty, who teach many, many courses, and are terribly vulnerable to course evaluations (that’s me, by the way). One can only assign so much work and expect to be invited back to teach — plus, if you assign it, you have to read it and/or grade it yourself, which, when you’re teaching four or five classes on multiple campuses, becomes impossible. This has become the bulk of university teaching, by the way.”
  • Advent of Pass-Fail Classes, Fewer Language Requirements  Mother Jones commenter hollywood writes, “Many colleges dropped foreign language requirements for degrees (languages require a lot of study time); schools adopted pass-fail courses with the natural response ‘why knock myself out?’ There was significant grade inflation–more people got better grades with less effort. Perhaps this lack of study by students reduced the motivation of profs to kill themselves prepping lectures and grading exams when there were journal articles to crank out.”
  • Studying Methods Became More Efficient  G. Powell theorizes, “While the amount of time that I spent on course work outside the classroom decreased, the quality of that time increased…. The Internet is also a huge productivity gain when it comes to tracking down information. What once took me hours in basement stacks to track down now often only takes seconds.”
  • Rise in Publishing Requirements Means Professors Assign Less Work  An anonymous college professor explains, “This time period does correspond with the increase in publishing expectations in Academia. I haven’t been teaching long enough to see the trend, but I definitely weight the length of a problem set assignment against my research time in a way I don’t think prior generations of professors did.”
  • More Working Part-Time as Scholarships Decline  Mother Jones commenter dob suggests, “I’m willing to bet that students working jobs while going to college accounts for at least a substantial fraction of that time. That characterized both me and at least half of my college friends in the 90’s. Scholarships and student loans aren’t what they used to be.”
  • Students Less Comfortable With Long-Form Reading  Mother Jones commenter sjw muses, “More and more students are uncomfortable with reading. They read less. They don’t enjoy reading. Most of the homework that a professor assigns is reading or involves reading — it’s not just busy work, as a commenter above alleges — so the ‘collective mass’ can’t handle what professors would like to assign. Whether tv or the internet are to blame is not an argument that need be broached here; clearly, however, the time that a student would put into studying is now going elsewhere.”

Parking, part 4

7/6/2010: Stefan Verbano of the Daily Emerald has a story on a new UO parking lot. Enjoy:

In addition to boosting parking spaces in the area, the new lot will also indirectly benefit the surrounding community by incorporating permeable asphalt paving and a large drainage course called a bioswale to help treat and drain storm water runoff into the Millrace.

A sustainable parking lot! But what will these 153 slots do to promote UO’s diversity mission?

Rich Linton applies for PSU job.

7/2/2010: Rich Linton is a finalist for the VP for Research job at PSU. Thanks to a reader for the tip. Their admirably transparent search info is here. His cover letter says:

If there is any concern about my changing allegiances within the State of Oregon, I will speak most candidly and in confidence. I have been planning to step down from my UO position, but not because of any internal pressures to do so. After a decade of service to the UO, I feel it is my prerogative to help assure a healthy cycle of institutional renewal and leadership. I have been in discussions with the Provost over the past six months, and anticipate that the news will become more public in the near future. We plan to begin a search process for my position with an expected start date by July 1, 2011.

Not quite clear if he realized PSU would post it, but the whole letter is worth reading. Odd, but the list of accomplishments in his letter doesn’t include “Rolled over and let UO’s VP for Finance Frances Dyke blow $2.4 million remodeling administration offices instead of labs, leading to a cut in UO’s ICC rate from 50 to 42% once the feds found out.” Despite this, if I was making a list of senior administrators whose departure would improve UO Linton would not be close to the top.

Note that PSU has a link for a survey on the VP applicants. UO does this too – but only for applicants. Once they’ve hired a VP, UO will never again ask the faculty for input on their performance. Who cares what UO’s rules say about evaluations for the administrators. Move it along, professor punk.

Parking revenues up 34% – before new increase

6/29/2010: Here’s a little more info on parking revenues. My understanding is that this is before the new 33% increase in faculty/staff fees, from $300 to $400, which takes effect in the 2010-2011 FY. I’ve been here for long enough that average nominal faculty compensation has almost doubled. Parking fees for have more than tripled. And it’s worse for the staff.

Student retention

6/30/2010: At Xavier, from Insidehighered.com:

Two decades ago, Xavier University could only count on three of every four freshmen returning for sophomore year. Even fewer made it to graduation. Today, though, close to 9 of every 10 students who start freshman year at the Jesuit university in Cincinnati make it back the next fall. Seven in 10 will graduate in four years, and another one will likely graduate in the two years after that.

Investments like staffing the Office of Student Success and Retention with Schiess, an assistant director, an administrative assistant and two graduate assistants end up paying off, Stinson says. The university spends about $250,000 each year on the office and gives Schiess $400,000 in financial aid to distribute to struggling students, but all those expenditures still leave the university in the black. “An additional $1,000 we give to a student in the fall will return us an additional $14,000 in the spring,” Schiess says. “But before you decide whether to give the student that money, you have to know that person individually to see if it makes sense.” Financial issues are, by and large, the primary reason why students think about leaving Xavier, he says.