UO invests its tuition money in (some) people

11/3/2011: “Bad Politics, Good Policy: The UO invests its tuition money in (some) people”

RG editorial on the summer UO raises. Love that subhead. So, it’s not exactly a ringing endorsement of the policy. And why should the RG go out on the limb for a UO administration that has been spending millions on administrative bloat, and then uses retention to justify raises for *retiring* administrators?

As a state institution, the University of Oregon blundered when it granted $5 million in pay raises to administrators and faculty earlier this year. As an increasingly independent institution exposed to the bracing winds of the free market, the UO made a smart move by investing tuition dollars in the people who have attracted record enrollments to the university.
The conflict between the UO’s traditional role as a box on the state government’s organization chart and its emerging status as a self-reliant and self-guiding institution is revealed in the details of the raises, contained in documents released to The Register-Guard in response to a public records request. The documents list “special equity raises” of $3.1 million for 743 faculty members and $1.8 million for 417 administrators. The faculty raises averaged 6.98 percent; administrators’ increases averaged 7.68 percent. …

Administrators gone wild

11/2/2011: Greg Bolt’s story 2 weeks ago in the RG gave the short version of the last 10 years of UO spending priorities: 26% more students, 9% more faculty, 36% more administrators.

Today Bolt has a detailed story about the recent UO raises. The short version? The money for the raises comes from all the new students the faculty are teaching. But nearly 40% of the $5 million in raises went to administrators. Apparently the next story will deal with the DPS budget, also now bloated with another million or so in new tuition money.

Today’s story includes lists of those faculty and administrators getting the largest raises. Fun reading. (And probably not completely accurate – though the table labels are now corrected.). A surprisingly large amount of the money went to a select group of administrators – or maybe not so surprising, given that those administrators make the rules:

In the documents, the UO listed special equity raises for 743 active faculty members and 417 administrators. Faculty received almost $3.1 million in total raises compared to almost $1.8 million for administrators.

Jim Bean is at the top. Dude just couldn’t keep his hand out of the cookie jar. Think how much easier this would have been if Lariviere could have said “Our top administrator believed this was so important for the faculty and the future of UO that he did not take an increase for himself.” Bolt discusses Lariviere’s report to Pernsteiner:

In that report, Lariviere said UO faculty pay was about 23 percent below the average for peer universities despite a decade-long effort to raise them. Following the equity raises, faculty pay was only about 3 percent below average, the report said.

But the average faculty raise was 7%. Explain that math again, Russ Tomlin? Then there’s this:

The report made a similar case for administrative raises, saying the UO was losing some of its best managers to other schools. But it did not say how far behind average administrator pay was before the raises nor how much of the gap was erased after them.

They don’t say that because the UO administrators were already at or above their comparators. Case in point, our new $270,000 a year CFO Jamie Moffit. The Chronicle database reports the median salary for CFO’s at doctoral institutions (for 2008-09) was $191,981. We top that by $78,000 for someone without a day of experience in the job?

UO is, of course, still a member of the prestigious AAU, but we have no Med school or engineering, and our budget is about 25% of most other public AAU’s. Go down the list of UO administrators and compare them to the Doctoral column from the Chronicle database:

RG on UO hiring: 26% more students, 9% more faculty, 36% more administrators.

10/23/2011: Very interesting RG story by Greg Bolt, on UO’s role in Lane County employment:

Employment at the UO has grown across the board, with increases seen in nearly every job category. The university has more teachers, professors, administrators, clerical staff, laborers and technicians today than it did before the recession began.
But the growth hasn’t been even across those categories. For example, the number of faculty members who are tenured or on the tenure track grew by 9 percent between 2001 and 2010, while the UO sharply ramped up hiring of nontenured faculty, increasing it by 32.5 percent. …
The UO also has hired more administrators, whose ranks grew 36 percent over the past 10 years. Over the same time, the number of classified employees — front-line workers in clerical, technical and maintenance jobs — grew 22 percent and enrollment 26 percent.
The growth in administrative jobs has drawn criticism, from front-line classified workers and faculty who think the UO has bloated its managerial ranks at the expense of other needs. But Penny Daugherty, the UO’s affirmative action director who also coordinates non-classified hiring, said it’s more a matter of catching up. …

Enrollment up 26%, TT faculty up 9%, and administrators up 36%.

And Penny Daugherty is now the highest level UO administrator who will publicly comment on administrative bloat. That is what Harry Truman would call passing the buck, President Lariviere.

A research university or a teaching college?

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?
The good news is that the faculty did well getting grants – research spending was up 8.2% over 2008. Go here for background and sources. Revenue? Tuition up, state support down. (Auxiliary services means dorms, food service, parking.)

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.