Schill and Coltrane at Senate meeting to consult on strategic plans

Agenda here. Video should be posted here in a day or two. My battery died so live-blogging stopped after a little of the Q&A, sorry.

Cocktail party version of the 1/13/2015 Senate meeting:

President Schill and Provost Coltrane provided a clear justification for the realignment of resources towards what counts for the AAU and for research/teaching excellence.  They outlined the plan and promised to implement their realignment proposals on the basis of data, and with plenty of consultation with the faculty, OA’s, and staff, in order to incorporate knowledge that’s not in the data.

Schill got many tough questions – though none about athletics money or the diversion of students from CAS humanities and some social-science fields into new professional school gen-ed courses and new undergrad programs in law, AAD etc. He gave straightforward answers. He promised more information than has ever been provided to the faculty before, both in terms of staffing numbers and budget data showing where the money has been going. I think he’s as curious as we are. We were told it would be posted on the IR website over the next few days and weeks.

Best of the Q&A: Schill: I’m not a robot, I don’t make all decisions by the numbers, I assume that’s why you wanted me. Or not. Professor: We want you.

As for Coltrane? It was as if he’d been released from a long, dark spell:

Now the hard part starts.

Senate Agenda, Library Browsing Room, Knight Library

3:00 pm Introductory Remarks, Senate President Randy Sullivan

3:05 pm 1. Call to Order

3:05 pm 2. Approval of Minutes

2.1 December 2, 2015

3:15 pm 4. New Business

4.1 IFS Election

Candidates: Robert Kyr (Music), Dejing Dou (Computer and Information Science)

The IFS meets regularly with the HECC. The IFS website is here:

Kyr elected unanimously.

5.1 Topics: The President’s recent letter to the campus and the strategic plan.

President Schill’s letter  to faculty here. Letter to admins below.

Schill: We’re asking donors and state and students to pay more, we have an obligation to do more and spend money wisely. Short run, need savings to get $4M for new tenure track faculty. Long run, need to redo Shelton’s budget model. We’ll do both, in consultation with colleges, departments, Senate.

Pitches centralization as way of saving money and increasing accountability, starting with Communications and IT.

Promises transparency. Work in progress – we’re telling you now, before plans are developed in detail, to prove it.

The message is not cuts. We’re going to growing and getting better, facing the future optimistically, investing in graduate education and undergraduate success. Not retrenchment – reallocation of resources, to ensure future eminence.

Letter to admins:

January 13, 2006

To: Scott Coltrane, Senior Vice President and Provost
Jamie Moffitt, Vice President for Finance & Administration & CFO
Mike Andreasen, Vice President for Advancement
Kyle Henley, Vice President for Communication
Yvette Alex-Assensoh, Vice President for Equity and Inclusion
Kevin Reed, Vice President and General Counsel
Brad Shelton, Interim Vice President for Research and Innovation
Roger Thompson, Vice President for Enrollment Management
Robin Holmes, Vice President for Student Life

From: Michael Schill, President

Re: Central Administrative Budget Cuts

Date: January 13, 2016

As you are aware from our conversations and my recent message to campus, it is imperative that we look for ways to better align our limited resources with the institution’s strategic priorities for academic excellence. To that end, we have dedicated significant recurring funding to tenure track faculty hires and the new clusters of excellence, as well as student retention and graduation initiatives. Additionally, while our budgets are tight, growing costs and investments in the area of labor agreements, health care costs, IT infrastructure, Title IX, and PERS are going to put additional pressure on our limited resources. For this reason, this spring I am launching a two-stage process to reduce our central administrative cost base.

The first step will involve a two percent direct cut on all general fund central administrative budgets, effective July 1, 2016 (FY2017). Given current administrative budget levels, I expect this cut to generate nearly $3 million of recurring funding that can be reinvested in institutional strategic priorities. I know and understand that our current staffing levels are lean and that it will be difficult to implement this cut. However, I expect each of you to look strategically in your portfolios and determine the best way to manage this budget reduction. I do not expect you to simply impose a two percent budget cut evenly across your units. Instead, I expect you to assess your operations for savings that will have the least impact on our core strategic objectives.

As we strategically align our general fund resources, it is critical that we pay attention to our students’ total cost of education. For this reason, it is important that we do not simply shift expenses to auxiliary funds. While this may be a less painful way in the short term to address the general fund cut, it will ultimately lead to higher fees and costs charged to our students.

In addition to implementing this two percent cut, I also expect vice presidents to actively manage their portfolio budgets to best align their resources with the institution’s strategic objectives: (1) building our academic and research profile, (2) keeping our university affordable to students and ensuring their success, and (3) creating a rich undergraduate experience in a diverse and inclusive community. I will be scheduling a series of review meetings the week of March 14 to discuss (1) your critical strategic initiatives for FY17, (2) how you have aligned resources to meet these goals, and (3) what steps you took to achieve the two percent budget savings in your portfolio.

In addition to the immediate, direct administrative budget cut, I also am launching an initiative to assess opportunities for longer term administrative cost savings based on targeted projects focused on centralization of services, strategic sourcing, and business process redesign. While these savings will take longer to capture, our goal will be to identify the equivalent of another three percent (roughly $4.5 million) of additional administrative cost savings over the next two to three years.

The budget office is currently updating BANNER budgets to account for changes related to the recent salary increase process, as well as updates to PEBB costs. Once these budgets are loaded, we will distribute updated general fund figures, as well as data regarding the exact size of the two percent budget cut for each Vice Presidential portfolio. If you have any questions about these figures, please contact Jamie Moffitt.

Provost Coltrane:

Introduces 5-year Strategic Plan, here.  Explains that the CAS realignment followed below will be implemented in other colleges. Will get similar data for other colleges out soon. Will post these data on IR website. Preliminary, focus is on getting info out soon to identify problems, allow consultation.

There will also be a similar process for administrative departments. Budget model redesign will be led by Brad Shelton, with consultation with Senate.

Resources will be reallocated to make us a stronger research university. We will add money for 40 new fellowships, most for PhDs. Money will be available now, for this years recruiting of grad students for fall.

CAS example:

CAS Dean Andrew Marcus letter here.

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Check full letter for breakout by CAS division.

No reduction in the total number of GTF lines, but there will be reallocations across departments.


Margerum (AAA): Wondering how AAU metrics work for departments like his w/ no PhD students. Schill. Goal is excellence, we’re not a slave to metrics, but we’d like to increase # of PhD students. Different metrics for different departments – e.g. Law, MBA… . Coltrane: Our first focus is PhD’s though.

Clemmons (Business): Big revenue stream is CA undergrads. Is that changing? Schill: Yes, that is how we’ve subsidized Oregon students. Oregon students are key for us. But there’s a dip in Oregon HS students coming, might see some changes but no plans as of now. Demand for students is robust, in part because of athletics. [Serves up anecdote about admissions even at Alamo Bowl… Yes, if you recruit students at a bowl game, students will tell you that they care about the Ducks.]

Psaki (Romance Lang): Letter talked about poorly performing programs and excellence. What are the criteria for distinguishing this, and wouldn’t past resource allocation matter to what deptartments are now pocketed with excellence? Schill: That will be done by provost and the deans we are now hiring. That said I’d look at research productivity, teaching awards…. UO has done so much with so little … Psaki: yes. Schill: Only thing that would get me mad would be a department that thinks it’s “good enough”. Psaki: I know lots of UO humanities departs that are fabulous. I read – or tried to read – Coltrane’s Strategic Plan. Doesn’t seem like lots of room for humanities. How did it happen that these are not institutional priorities? Our “yield rates” are low because we have $13.5K fellowships while other schools have $23.5?

Schill: Maybe I should shut up, but I’m not a robot, don’t make all decisions by the numbers, I assume that’s why you wanted me. Come talk to me. Psaki: Yes, we want you.

[Sorry, battery dying, no more live blog.]

4:45 pm 6. Reports

4:45 pm 7. Notice(s) of Motion

4:45 pm 8. Other Business

5:00 pm 9. Adjournment


President Schill will be at the Senate meeting this Wednesday, 3-5PM in the Knight Library browsing room, to answer questions about the budget realignment letter he sent out Friday (post and comments here.) My takeaway is that the realignment is about keeping us in the AAU short-term, by shifting money towards research, more tenure-track faculty, and more grad student fellowships. Some pain will come with the gains.

Strategic Plan:

UO’s last plan was former Interim Provost Jim Bean’s 2009 Academic Plan – a yada-yada document that was so completely ignored nobody even noticed that it was never finalized. I don’t think our new leadership is going to let us down like that. They’ve been busy drafting plans to get UO back on track, and they’ve now started the process of presenting those plans to the university, getting feedback, and finalizing and implementing them.

Presumably Provost Coltrane will also be at this meeting, to answer questions about the 5-year Strategic Framework plan he developed in consultation with faculty, and released this afternoon. That’s longer run, and Coltrane is pretty clear that with current resource constraints much of it is aspirational. The website is here. The 11 page draft document is here:

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Coltrane, Bronet meet with Senate Exec on Strategic Planning, policy review

Update: Good news for shared governance. Going on now, room 402 Alumni Center. I’ll do a little live-blogging.

Kyr introduces them by noting that this is the first time in 4 years we’ve had a President or a Provost willing to meet with the Senate Exec. Discussion is about how to get faculty/staff student input into developing goals, and a strategic plan for achieving them.

“Competitive Excellence” Plan docs are here.

Chuck Triplett then discusses how he’s going review and revise all the policies we inherited from his former employer, OUS. He’s proposing completely rewriting UO’s “policy on policies”, now to be run by a “Policy Advisory Committee”.

His new procedure contains no mention of the UO Senate. Zippo. Under the current policy on policies, the Senate has considerable power. I’m imagining there will be a few questions!

Q: Where are we out of compliance? Who can come after us? CT: Our academic accreditors, who insisted on the policy library. Hubin: We will *not* be subject to the planned accreditation review in 2017. It will be postponed due to the transition.

JB: Where is the Senate in your flow chart? Our Constitution is quite clear on the Senate’s role.

CT: We’ve identified the policies that involve academic matters as commonly understood.

JB: That’s nice, but the Senate Exec gets to decide, not you. I want the Senate Exec written into the process. RS: Yes.

CT: [Words come out, but I don’t hear a commitment to do this.]

Coltrane: Lots of policies, we need to do some triage. PAC will do much of it. Suggests Margie Paris as a faculty member. [?].

Bronet: PAC will be Senate led.

JB: Where’s the list of policies? CT: I’ll send it to you, but it’s just titles.

Coltrane: BTW, We just discovered we never adopted the UO PD complaint and grievance procedure. It will come your way soon.

Pretty good session. Coltrane leaves. Era of good feelings continues.

Next, Carol Stabile on Sexual Violence Task Force.


1) Office of Gender Equity, headed by a VP. Report will explain what resources this would require. [Very expensive. Check the budget and staffing of the VP for Equity and Diversity to get some idea].

2) Senate Committee on Sexual Violence.

3) Support Campus Climate Survey – need that information. Need to assess what programs work, what don’t.

4) Wants to postpone Sorority/Fraternity Rush from fall to winter.

5) Improved implementation. End mandatory reporting. Audit Penny Daugherty’s AAEO office, there have been many complaints. Revise policy on sexual/romantic relationships between faculty and students. Develop proposals for mandatory courses. Funds for SWAT and women’s self defense. Track problems with sexual assaults involving Fraternity and Social Life. No data on which houses are on probation, etc. Let Ombuds office be confidential. Restart Committee on Alcohol and Drugs. More Title IX training for greek life, athletics. New booklet. MOU’s with SAS, Womenspace, EPD.

BH: Why nothing about athletics. This is were all the trouble started? CS: They wouldn’t talk to us. We had no cooperation from them. Locked down tight. BH: Seems like that makes it more important to have recommendations. RK: Yes. JF: Yes, very bad for UO reputation. JB: Make recommendations about athletics. Put them on the spot.

Long discussion about how to deal with the problem of the uncooperative athletics department and the PAGIA.

10/15/2014: Provost Bronet strips Mission Statement of 160over90 brander crap

New draft here. No, don’t click on that link. Trust me, it’s fine. Let’s all move on and hope Bronet posts some of Shelton’s secret budget model docs soon.

9/7/2014 update: Let’s throw “Go Ducks” on the end, and call this turkey done

The UO mission statement blog has now attracted a fair number of rather critical comments, including:

(1) As a UO retiree and graduate (Ph.D., M.A.), I was dismayed by this draft statement.  Is the UO still a public university? The only mention, under “Lead,” is to declare that it is a “preeminent public residential research university.” Similarly, under “Define,” we find it placed “in Oregon, the West, on the Pacific Rim, and the world.” Geographically correct (though the syntax needs work), but there is no indication in these packed-together phrases that the university aspires to serve Oregon, its population, or its students in any real sense. …  (5) I don’t agree with those who’ve said that the university’s declared mission is unimportant.  To me, at least, it matters that the university have recognizable aims, clearly stated.  The mission statement is a public document.  If I were on the faculty of the university, I’d wonder what this statement demanded of me, and whether I or my department might someday be publicly judged by it.

But probably all for naught, the Trustees are scheduled to vote this week, and they’ve put the original text in the docket.

Update: Administration’s mission of mass distraction accomplished. Faculty take knives to the mission statement in the official JH blog comments, here:

What does “sustainability”—a trendy word I realize we feel must go in there somewhere—mean as a component part of community? (Is it still the Edison Elementary School motto (with hand motions!): “Safe and respectful, including all learners”? Can we follow the lead of Anonymous and think about what we mean by this in a university?)How is “define” as aspect of “vision”? What does it mean to “seek definition”? What does the phrase mean: “seek definition through the recognition”? Can one do that? Does it clarify anything to say “seek definition through the recognition of the quality of…”? Someone needs to fix the punctuation to make the next part flow the way it seems to be intended: “We seek definition through the recognition of the aspiration, passions, and success of our students”? Our students apparently have a singular aspiration and plural passions.

Come on, you know you can’t resist – add your comments here. Or don’t, and instead read up on what really will matter, Brad Shelton’s budget model. Oh, wait, that’s a secret – website hasn’t been updated in a year, and apparently the Senate Budget Committee (report here), the deans, and the department heads are also in the dark. Here’s the projected data for the 2013-14 FY that ended in June. It will be very interesting to see how much more CAS gets taxed this year, and how much more the law school gets subsidized:

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Live-blog: UO Board to meet Jan 23rd and 24th in Eugene

1/24/2014 update: The UO Board has elected Chuck Lillis as chair, and Ginevra Ralph as vice-chair. RG report here.

Disclaimer: This is my opinion of what people said, meant, or should have said. Nothing is a quote unless in quotes.

1/23/2014: Cocktail party version from day one, caveat being I missed the last two hours, including Coltrane on “academic plan”, Andreassen on fundraising, Moffitt on finances. Sorry, I was unable to attend day 2. Presumably the minutes will be posted soon.

  • Low turnout, as in me and 2 or 3 others, probably because UO was unclear about the fact this was a public meeting. Good work Tim, you’re earning that $218K.
  • Gottfredson wasted a lot of time on vague generalities and mission statement. Avoided AAU issues, etc.
  • Brad Shelton was generally forthright about UO’s academic and financial weaknesses, but did not explain where the money was going.
  • Randy Geller was unusually in control of himself, and generally lucid for a guy who is no longer allowed to update his website or email the faculty.
  • Trustees: Chuck Lillis and Kurt Willcox were the most engaged and informed. Allyn Ford is no dummy, Connie Ballmer, Ginevra Ralph, and Mary Wilcox had some good questions. Most of them hadn’t done the reading.
  • Elephants in the room: How much debt will Gottfredson take on to expand undergrad capacity and get more out-of-state and Chinese students? What strings will be attached to Phil Knight’s $1B donation? Are we trying to stay in the AAU or will we fold and concentrate on sports product design?
  • Jamie Moffitt said that there are economies of scale in administration. I think she means in theory, not in practice.
  • Bylaws set up so that board will be dependent on UO administration for information. No independent legal counsel or access to information about UO finances or academic issues. Gottfredson controls Counsel, Treasurer, Auditor, etc. No discussion of how the Board – which includes only one PhD and no one with experience at a research university – can possibly execute its responsibilities while being spoon-fed by Johnson Hall administrators with every incentive to make themselves look good.

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What are UO’s new “Centers of Excellence”, and how were they picked?

UO now has a list of “Centers Clusters of Excellence”. These are the areas that UO will emphasize during decisions about funding and fundraising. What departments are included? What factors were weighed in deciding the list? Who had input? There’s no substantive information from JH of course. The rumors I’ve heard include Geography, Education, Biology, Chemistry, and Psychology. The comments are open, please post if you know or have heard anything about the list and the process.

Also, the ODE story on Scott Coltrane’s job talk is here, RG here.

ODE on UO’s poor benchmarking performance.

11/11/2013: Sami Edge of the ODE reports on the issues, with some interesting quotes from Coltrane. and Jeremy Hedlund. Well worth reading it all, here. The admin’s spin is that UO needs more money. But the state is already giving us grief for holding reserves in excess of the OUS maximums, and of course there are millions going to athletic subsidies, police, golden parachute deals, the White Stag, etc.

RG on Benchmarking, meeting with Gottfredson Update, 11/10/13: Back in August the Register Guard editorial board took a look at Michael Gottfredson’s first year as UO president. They weren’t impressed:

… And if a president proves lacking in either vision of his own or the ability to execute the vision of others, the board can replace him.

Gottfredson’s response to this new arrangement — he’ll be liberated in some ways, more accountable in others — will be telling. The board will expect, even demand, that he become more vocal in articulating the university’s mission, and leave behind the caution that can characterize presidents who are in some respects mid-level state bureaucrats. … 

Today they take another look, after meeting with him Tuesday, just before he flew south to catch the football game with Stanford. Today’s RG editorial mostly focuses on the benchmarking data from Interim Provost Scott Coltrane, and data from the AAUP national union’s Howard Bunsis. Showing under-investment in faculty. Gottfredson does get a shout-out at the end, but there’s no evidence the editors think he’s broken out of that mid-level bureaucrat mode:

Low per-student spending is reflected in many of the other benchmarks. In 2010-11, the UO had the highest ratio of students per tenured or tenure-track faculty member — 35 to 1. The average at other AAU public universities was 23 to 1. 

Five years earlier, the UO’s ratio of tenure-related faculty to students was 32 to 1. The university saw a 20 percent surge in student enrollment during that period, and almost managed to keep pace with a 19 percent increase in the total number of faculty. Nearly all of the increase, however, was among lower-ranked faculty with smaller paychecks and less job security. The UO kept professors in front of its students by watering the soup. 

This conclusion is buttressed by an analysis presented in March by Howard Bunsis, a professor of accounting at Eastern Michigan University and chairman of the American Association of University Professors’ Collective Bargaining Congress. Bunsis found that from 2005 through 2012, the number of part-time faculty at the UO rose 38 percent, while full-time faculty increased by 1 percent. Bunsis also found that among nine AAU public universities, faculty salaries at the UO ranked last — except for instructors, the lowest rank examined, whose salaries ranked fifth.

We’d know more, but Gottfredson hasn’t released the performance review OUS did on him this spring, and 15 months into the job UO doesn’t even have the beginnings of a plan to deal with its problems. The early RG story on the meeting quoted him as saying:

The university increased its faculty ranks by about 20 this fall to address the problem, but it would need about 100 additional faculty to keep up with the enrollment growth of recent years, Gottfredson said. 

“That’s probably our near-term target,” he said.

Probably? What fields? What’s the strategic emphasis? How are you going to reallocate funds? Not very inspirational, or even very organized.

UO releases chilling benchmarking report:

  • Oregonian reporter Betsy Hammond quotes from Provost Coltrane, not President Gottfredson, taking the credit for releasing this report. So where’s our President? On his way to a football game, of course. We are so screwed.
  • RG reporter Diane Dietz gets some Gottfredson quotes, from his talk to the RG editorial board. He sounds sleepy.
  • University cancels former Provost’s lucrative 2 year salary, for unspecified transitional administrative job. No, of course I’m not talking about UO’s Jim Bean. This was at NC State. Despite all UO’s financial troubles, Gottfredson is going to give Bean another $500K for an administrative sinecure.

11/4/2013: The first step is admitting you have a problem. UO has now done this, sort of, with this public “benchmarking report”, posted here. Produced by Academic Analytics, it lays out a plethora of problems, in admirably blunt graphs. The report was posted today on Provost Coltrane’s academic plan website, here. UO paid quite a lot for this info – here are just some of our consulting expenditures over the past year:

This benchmarking effort is part of the secretive strategic plan that President Gottfredson will presumably be discussing with the RG editorial board, this Tuesday at 1:00. So far the UO Senate hasn’t heard a word about this report, or had any input into the development of a financial plan to address these issues. The Senate Budget Committee hasn’t even met this year. Gottfredson won’t even show the faculty UO’s budget projections, which were part of his secret performance review by OUS this spring:

The benchmarking report does not include any of the sort of skeptical inquiry into UO’s priorities and spending that can be found in the faculty union’s Bunsis Report, here.

Research funding, research output per professor, student SATs, graduation rates, PhD production. You name it, we’re at the bottom or close to it. Here’s my look at the report. The takeaway? This is more transparency than we’ve ever before had from Gottfredson, but the report is slanted so as to make the UO faculty look bad, and it omits important data about UO’s spending and donations.


Careful with this one, it’s got a truncated y-axis:

On the other hand we’re doing pretty well serving low income students. I’m guessing most of the retention problem is due to the population of undergrads we are serving – the appropriate population for a public university in a poor state like Oregon:
The faculty teach those undergrads that do stay like crazy. UO faculty produce half again as many graduates per tenure-track faculty as the AAU average:

On the PhD side though, things are grim:

The report has a heavy emphasis on the low research productivity of UO faculty. These data are presumably the reason Gottfredson has abandoned Lariviere’s efforts to get salaries to the AAU comparators – he doesn’t think we’re pulling our weight on the research side:
Of course, if these data accounted for UO’s lack of faculty in fields that are eligible for federal funding, the results would look better. They might even flip. For example, on a per professor basis UO’s faculty are fecund producers of books – the standard output in the liberal arts:
Similarly we don’t do so well on scientific articles – perhaps because we don’t have very many scientists relative to the AAU average? Who knows. While Academic Analytics has those data in spades, the benchmarking report doesn’t show any off those distinctions. Too bad, because it’s exactly the sort of information you would need in order to make intelligent decisions about funding priorities: 
When it comes to finances, it’s interesting to see what UO chooses to report and not report. For total spending per student FTE, we’re at the bottom:
It would be interesting to see that broken out by how the money was spent. Maybe a little too interesting for President Gottfredson. Here’s what Howard Bunsis of the AAUP found when he looked at the numbers. “Institutional Support” means UO’s central administration:
The increase in the JH budget exploded during the Frohnmayer years:
If you look just at salaries, it’s more obvious. Auxiliary Programs is mostly athletics:
Gottfredson still hasn’t made a serious response to the Senate’s call for a decrease in subsidies for the jocks. Instruction and research have been getting the short end of the stick. On the other hand, UO’s expenditures on $244K golden parachute deals for deadwood administrators don’t even get a bar chart. Similarly, there’s nothing in this benchmarking report on UO’s exploding expenditures on the athletic department. So here’s a little data I put together on UO compared to OSU, for research and athletics:
When it comes to the UO Foundation, the report looks bad according to totals, good relative to UO’s budget:

However these data combine giving to academics and to athletics. VP for Development Mike Andreasen has an aspirational goal of raising the academic sides take to 2/3 of the total – but the athletic department won’t cooperate with his fundraising efforts:

Q: what’s the downside to taxing the athletic donations? This last year, a 5% tax would have brought $5-6M to academics. What’s the downside? Would it hurt the core mission of teaching/research side to lose some athletic donations?

Mike Andreasen: People aren’t inspired by this sort of tax or fee. The idea is to get them excited about the UO, then inspire them to give to the academic side. We don’t want to turn off the athletic donor who might become an academic donor.

Comment: Don’t call it a fee or tax, call it an opportunity to help the students.

Mike: we’re building relationships with these people. If a donor doesn’t want to give to something, we don’t want to be in a position to turn down the gift or to aggravate them. We want to get them excited about giving.

Q: What’s your strategy to get academic donations to be a larger percentage?


Q: If we assume that most of the big donors give to athletics, it would require a big shift in culture or donor demographics of donors.

Mike: Most of the big donors are to academics. Most schools have one or two big athletic donors. Most of the athletic donors are small donors – people who donate just so that they can get tickets to the games, and they’re not interested in giving anything else to UO.

The UO Foundation has data on the split – is it possible they won’t release them to the UO President? They won’t tell the CAE much – but what they do reveal suggests that giving to UO academic causes is pretty small:

While I’m posting figures, here’s the latest Org Chart. Coltrane has appointed former Journalism Dean Tim Gleason as his latest special assistant. Who knows what UO’s bloated central administration is now costing us. I’ve got a public records request in for Gleason’s job description. Lorraine Davis’s is here. Totally redacted, of course. Because Step 2 is blindly putting your trust in a higher power.

Gottfredson on new academic plan

11/7/2013: Letter from President Gottfredson and Interim Provost Coltrane to faculty, on benchmarking and a new academic plan. The links include documents shared with the new UO Board. Presumably they will soon announce efforts to involve the Senate and Union leadership.

Dear Colleagues, 
As a comprehensive research university and a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), the University of Oregon stands among the top 62 high-intensity research universities in North America, and the top 34 public universities. We are well positioned to distinguish ourselves further. To this end, we are taking a critical look at where we stand currently in relation to the top institutions in the country. 
We celebrate the remarkable work being done on our campus that positions us among the highest-ranking universities in the world. We are continually impressed by the quality and dedication of our faculty and staff; the significance of the research, scholarship, and creative inquiry being produced on our campus; and the intellectual curiosity and engagement of our students. We acknowledge that your accomplishments have occurred in the context of the significant challenges posed by declining state funding and increased enrollment. Imagine what we’ll achieve with more faculty, better support for research and graduate students, and enhanced facilities, which are all among our highest strategic priorities. 
With our new governing board structure and continuing shared governance we have an extraordinary opportunity to ensure that the UO is competitive with the finest universities in the nation. We are about to embark on a strategic planning process to focus intently on refinancing our organization and elevating the stature of our university. 
To advance this goal, we asked Brad Shelton, vice provost for Budget and Planning, to chair a committee to update the data that show us where we stand in relation to our AAU peers. As you know, we have measured ourselves for some time in relation to the OUS set of eight AAU public research universities (University of Michigan; University of Washington; University of Colorado, Boulder; University of Iowa; Indiana University; University of Virginia; University of California, Santa Barbara; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). Vice Provost Shelton led a committee that included Kimberly Andrews Espy, vice president for Research and dean of the Graduate School; Yvette Alex-Assensoh, vice president for Equity and Inclusion; Roger Thompson, vice president for Enrollment Management; Frances Bronet, dean of the College of Architecture and Allied Arts; Karen Sprague, then vice provost for Undergraduate Studies; and Mike Bullis, then dean of the College of Education; with input from others. 
This committee produced a benchmarking report, which we shared on the Senior Vice President and Provost’s website this week, that compares the UO with our AAU public peers on several metrics. Used along with other tools, it provides empirical evidence we need to inform our decisions moving forward. The metrics identify some areas of remarkable strength, including a high percentage of female tenure-track faculty members and the significant number of books published by our faculty. The report also identifies areas in which we should improve, including our faculty–student ratio, the number of graduate students we support, and the resources we have available to invest in students and research. Not surprisingly, the comparative data show that our public peers are better funded than we are. 
We are sharing this information with our new trustees as they prepare to participate in the governance of the institution, and with you, as we embark on a planning process that depends on the active participation of our campus community. You may download the orientation notebook we prepared for our trustees, which includes a variety of information about the UO, from the Board of Trustees website. 
Our goals for improvement remain aspirational, but attainable. The UO has a rich history of creativity, scholarship, and scientific achievement and a well-deserved reputation for delivering high-quality education to the people of Oregon. As we go forward, we will need to make strategic adjustments to focus additional resources where they will be the most effective. As we embark on a campus-wide process of identifying objectives linked to the values articulated in our academic plan, there will be opportunities for everyone to participate. We look forward to working together with the entire UO community as we set new goals for the future. 
Michael Gottfredson, President
Scott Coltrane, Interim Senior Vice President and Provost

All Hail the Glorious New 5 year Strategic Academic Plan!

10/23/13: Last December President Gottfredson gave then Interim Provost Bean the job of starting a blog, to to get faculty input into rewriting UO’s Academic Plan. It was a bad idea. Bean had botched the previous plan, which ended up in the dustbin of Johnson Hall, and his “5 big Ideas” initiative was something of a campus joke. Bean didn’t follow through on this either.

CAS Dean Coltrane wisely told his departments to ignore Bean and prepare 5-year plans for faculty and GTF hiring, etc., to be used in resource allocation. These plans were made, then ignored. No one ever took the next steps of coordinating them and prioritizing them with a set of overall university objectives, much less putting it all into a coherent plan to be used in budgeting and fundraising.

Now it’s suddenly come to Gottfredson’s realization that we’re about to start a major capital campaign, and we have no plan for the university’s long run objectives in terms of research, teaching focus, new buildings, faculty hiring, and so on. So the pressure is on for the central administration to slap something together by December. Don’t expect a chance for much input to come up from the faculty, or much coherent thought to come down from the top.

In the absence of coherent planning and budgeting, UO’s money gets frittered away on a variety of pet administrative projects – police, athletic subsidies, Portland, new assistant vice provosts, strategic communicators, consultants, lawyers, and so on. And UO’s donors look at the academic side’s confusion and decide their gifts will be more effective over at the athletic department – because they sure as hell have a plan for the money!

But I know what you’re really wondering: Why does it always have to be a 5-year plan? It’s simple. The Nazi’s gave the 4-year plan a bad name. The Poles tried a 6-year plan, but gave up after 5. Jesuits do 7-year plans, but they’ve got eternity on their side. So while the inventor of the 5-year plan was not exactly a saint, 5 years it will be.

UO’s Strategic Plan to stay in the AAU?

10/21/2013: President Gottfredson is at the fall AAU meeting now:

Current Schedule  

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 20 AAU meetings, Washington, D.C. 

MONDAY, OCTOBER 21 AAU meetings, Washington, D.C. 

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 22 AAU meetings, Washington, D.C.

2 years ago the AAU kicked out Nebraska, and Syracuse voluntarily left. See below.

In March, UO told our accreditors that President Gottfredson’s goal was to move UO up to the top half of the AAU. Word is that JH is now drafting a Strategic Plan for UO – apparently without much faculty input. Here’s hoping that staying in the AAU is still part of that plan.

Read the full accreditation report here.

5/2/2011: Nebraska, Syracuse out of AAU

I believe this makes UO the marginal institution, for many of the same reasons. Maybe Rice and Brandeis too. Frohnmayer’s disinvestment in faculty and grad students will catch up with us. Lariviere shows no sign of turning it around. Maybe the AAU review committee will be impressed by the jock box and our new police force? Reading the blunt UNL-AAU emails, which the Chronicle got from a public records request here, I sort of doubt it.

UO Matters suspends publication after 4 years of UO muckraking

7/29/2013: Great news. The university has finally published a comprehensible budget, a strategic plan, and information on future spending priorities. 114 pages, starting with a fact-filled letter from the President, followed with detailed reports on what has been achieved and what remains to be achieved from the 2009 academic plan. There’s even a chart showing what still needs to be done to get faculty salaries up to the targets. In addition, the athletic department has agreed to send $3 million back to the university, to use for academic scholarships.This is what UO Matters has been trying to get the UO administration to do since I started blogging in 2009.

Mission Accomplished – while this blog will remain up for historical reasons, I see no need for future posts or public records requests.

It’s really quite impressive:

The full financial and strategic plans and reports are here, press release on the athletic payments here. They’ve even released a 44 page evaluation of the president’s first year on the job, here:

The president waived confidentiality, releasing the full evaluation:

Pretty impressive for his first year. Lots of much needed attention to faculty retention, pay, research. Important to get off to a strong start on that.

Oh wait, never mind. These documents are from President Eli Capilouto at the University of Kentucky, not from UO’s Mike Gottredson.

Here in Oregon, our academic plan was abandoned by former interim Provost Bean, after his desultory efforts ended with a 2009 draft plan. There have been no updates or meaningful progress reports. There’s been no formal process for the faculty to provide feedback for an evaluation of our president. From what I can tell he’s had no evaluation at all.

After a year on the job, President Gottfredson’s most transparent statement to the faculty on budget planning is this:

After months of additional pressure from the faculty union, UO VPFA Jamie Moffitt finally released this mishmash of outdated, irrelevant, incomprehensible, and poorly scanned pdfs:

Then she walked out of the meeting when the faculty negotiators tried to get her to explain where the money had been going. At the most recent meeting the faculty team asked if they could see the complete UO budget. The hired negotiator for the administration, Sharon Rudnick, said “You can go ahead and ask. See what you get.” Snap.

The UO Senate has been trying since 2000 to end athletic subsidies and get the UO athletic department to start helping with academic scholarships. Meanwhile their budget has tripled, to $90M. More than at UK. To his credit President Gottfredson has at least responded to the latest effort by the UO Senate, in May 2013. But there’s still no transparent process to get there, much less any action. And our President Gottfredson has allowed Randy Geller and Dave Hubin to put UO’s public records into complete lockdown, with combination of hefty fees, long delays, and excessive redactions. So unfortunately this blog is going have to go on for at least the 2013-2014 academic year.

All hail the glorious new five year plans!

Originally posted Dec 4th, 2012: All hail the glorious new five year plans!

CAS Dean Scott Coltrane is ignoring Interim Provost Bean’s silly threats to start a blog to help him rewrite UO’s Academic Plan. If Bean ever does follow through on this, everyone will ignore it and Bean will make up new numbers whenever it suits him, just as happened last time. Anyway, Bean’s a short-timer.

Instead Coltrane is telling his departments to prepare 5-year plans for faculty and GTF hiring, etc., to be used in resource allocation. CAS will release the instructions for these on Wednesday.

And new VP for Equity and Inclusion Yvette Alex-Assensoh is soon going to ask everyone for new 5-year Strategic Diversity Action Plans. She should try and read the old ones first, to see what a ridiculous make-work exercise this will be for her new colleagues. Not that Charles Martinez ever bothered to read them.

But I know what you’re really wondering: Why does it always have to be a 5-year plan? It’s simple. The Nazi’s gave the 4-year plan a bad name. The Poles tried a 6-year plan, but gave up after 5. Jesuits do 7-year plans, but they’ve got eternity on their side. So while the inventor of the 5-year plan was not exactly a saint, 5 years it will be. 12/4/2012.

3 weeks, no new Beangrams

Perhaps he’s busy sending out resumes. At the last Senate meeting President Gottfredson made a big deal about announcing that Bean was going to redo UO’s academic plan, after setting up a blog for faculty input. Look, blogging ain’t exactly rocket science, but it’s Dead Week and our chief academic officer still hasn’t figured out how many faculty there are. End this now, President Gottfredson, before it turns from ridiculous to ugly. 11/27/2012.

US graduate enrollment drops (updated)

9/28/2012. Even while numbers taking the GRE are up. NYT story here. Interim Provost Bean’s academic plan calls for increasing UO’s graduate students from 15% to 19% of enrollment. Since percentage calculations can be problematic for our interim provost, we got these from a Dog:

Here are some old numbers from a post last year:

9/24/2011: This graph from UO’s latest report to OUS on our “academic plan” certainly raises the question. See this earlier post for background.

Since 2001 undergraduate enrollment has increased 36%, graduate enrollment by less than 10%, and the number of tenure track faculty by less than 10%.


Here’s the data on the number of tenure track faculty– pretty flat with a recent small uptick. Here’s the data on enrollment. We have 24,300 this year.

 To the left is the number of students (fall enrollments) per tenure track faculty. For 2011, it will be ~35.

And here’s the latest IPEDS data on where the money is going, from the Delta Project. 2009 means the 2009-2010 academic year, President Lariviere’s first year in charge. 1.3% increase in instructional spending and a 9.3% increase on institutional support – meaning central administrative costs, aka Johnson Hall.

From their data dictionary: “General administrative services, executive management, legal and fiscal operations, public relations and central operations for physical operation.” I wonder what the 2010-2011 data will look like?

Record UO enrollment mistake

Suck it up, faculty. Press release here. No mention of the percentage of freshmen that are in-state, a politically charged percentage given the New Partnership proposals that the legislature will face this winter. I’m guessing this means it’s less than half. Word down at the faculty club is that Roger Thompson’s shop has lost some quantitative people, and that the increase from the 24,000 in Bean’s academic plan (or 24,500, Bean doesn’t even know which is correct) was the result of forecasting errors.  9/24/2012.

Oregon universities are hiring (administrators).

From a very good piece by Hannah Hoffman in the Statesman Journal (She also had a recent story on PERS, and is now running the excellent “State Worker’s Blog“).

The boom is consistent with enrollment growth. So, how much of the hiring is new faculty? You could ask our clueless provost Jim Bean, but the best data I’ve seen is from the AAUP’s Howard Bunsis and his February report to the UO faculty union organizers. Bean and Berdahl’s failure to give a credible response – or any response – to this report is a big part of the reason we are now unionized. (Whoops –  as a comment notes, Bean was actually on “sabbatical” when the vote occurred. Lorraine Davis was acting provost.)

The increase in FT Faculty is largely adjuncts. There’s been very little increase in tenure track numbers at UO:
From 1992 to 2012 the number of students has increased by more than 50% (data here) and the number of tenure track faculty by less than 20%.
Since 2008 the number of students has increased about 20%, the number of tenure track faculty about 10%.