How many faculty jobs will UO’s Hearts & Minds consultants cost?

4/24/2020 update:

The median UO faculty makes about $70K a year. How many of them will have to lose their jobs to pay for these consultants? I don’t know, let’s find out:

From: Bill Harbaugh <[email protected]>
Subject: PR request for “Public Opinion Research”
Date: April 24, 2020 at 5:14:03 PM PDT
To: Lisa Thornton <[email protected]>
Cc: Kyle Henley <[email protected]>

Dear Ms Thornton –

This is a public records request for a copy of the contract awarded under

RFP for Public Opinion Research RFP Number: PCS# 500100-00251-RFP, and for a copy of the contract for the successful bidder.

The PCS website says that this RFP was closed on Jan 22, and lists it under awarded contracts.

I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest. I’m ccing VP for Strategic Communications Kyle Henley, as he should have this document readily available and be able to provide it without your office’s usual fees and delays.


Bill Harbaugh
[email protected]

Johnson Hall & Trustees to rerun LBJ’s Hearts and Minds campaign 2/18/2020: Some well-paid UO administrators, presumably with the support of our puzzled Board of Trustees, want to hire a consultant to help them win “the battle”, even if it requires a “multi-year integrated public education and advertising initiative that uses emotional appeals, personal stories … to improve perception, mobilize support and a feeling of pride for the university amongst Oregonians …”

They need to pay a consultant ~$200K to tell them why the good citizens of Oregon don’t want to pay for Phil Knight’s football factory? Yes, apparently they do:

What are we paying the people involved in this?

“O” brand indoctrination starts for new students as $256,138 VP Kyle Henley’s metrics fall

Despite all this “O” crap, internet interest in UO has fallen to the point were it’s now barely distinguishable from Oregon’s sister flagships:

But hey – the brand is great for athletics and Nike. Here’s our $256,138 VP for Communications with some anecdotes about the O brand, on the Duck Athletic department’s GoDucks.Com website:

KYLE HENLEY, UO vice president for university communications: As the O began to take root, it became something more than a symbol for athletics. It’s a perfect symbol, because it can represent athletics but also an O can encompass lifelong learning. It can instill a sense of community, which is something that we hear from people – that they can find their place here. There’s so many elements of what our brand is and what we stand for that the O encompasses.

This is one of the most powerful brands within higher education, and we’re incredibly fortunate that we have this symbol that really does represent one thing in the athletics realm, but which has come to represent our excellence and everything the institution stands for academically and from a research perspective. You walk around other countries and see people with an O on their hat, and immediately have this connection, a shared experience and a shared identity, and a shared appreciation for the institution.

We’re in an incredibly enviable position.

Sure. If by “we” you mean VPs hoping a little brown-nosing will get them a job at Nike.

VP for Communication Kyle Henley still uncommunicative on “brand awareness” contract


From: [email protected]
Subject: Public Records Request 2018-PRR-370
Date: May 8, 2018 at 4:25:54 PM PDT
To: [email protected]


Dear Mr. Harbaugh:

Records responsive to your request, made 5/2/2018, for “copies of any proposals submitted to RFQ for Brand Awareness Study…” are exempt under 192.355(9), as an award has not yet been made. As such, the University does not possess any records responsive to your request for “…any ensuing contract”.

You may seek review of the public body’s determination pursuant to ORS 192.411, 192.415, 192.418, 192.422, 192.427 and 192.431.

The office considers this to be fully responsive to your request, and will now close your matter. Thank you for contacting the office with your request.


Office of Public Records
6207 University of Oregon | Eugene, OR 97403-6207
(541) 346-6823 | [email protected]

5/3/2018 update: More than a month now. Maybe another public records request will shake something loose from Henley:

Begin forwarded message:
From: Bill Harbaugh <[email protected]>
Subject: PR request attempt #2 for Brand Awareness Study proposals and contract
Date: May 2, 2018 at 8:26:07 AM PDT
To: Lisa Thornton <[email protected]>

Dear Ms Thornton –

This is a public records request for copies of any proposals submitted in response to
RFQ for Brand Awareness Study
University Communications, University Communications > Digital Communications, and Purchasing & Contracting Services
PCS# 520200-00134-RFQ
Which closed on Dec 22 2017.
And any ensuing contract.
I will post these on the internet at a site frequently visited by journalists and others interested in UO matters, and I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest.
I’m ccing VP for Comm Kyle Henley, as he should have these documents readily at hand and is well compensated for helping UO communicate with the public.

Bill Harbaugh

4/24/2018 update:

Dear Mr. Harbaugh:

The University has searched for, but was unable to locate, records responsive to your request. The office has been informed that this RFP is in progress but has not yet been awarded.

The office considers this to be fully responsive to your request, and will now close your matter. Thank you for contacting the office with your request.


Office of Public Records

Huh? “unable to locate” proposals?

20 21 22 23 24 25 days and counting for a response from Mr. Henley to this public records request:

Requester: Harbaugh, Bill
Organization:  Private
Initial Request Date: 03/30/2018
Status:  Requesting/Reviewing Records

This is a public records request for copies of any proposals submitted in response to RFQ for Brand Awareness Study – University Communications, University Communications > Digital Communications, Purchasing & Contracting Services PCS #520200-00134-RFQ which closed on Dec 22 2017.

I will post these on the internet at a site frequently visited by journalists and others interested in UO matters, and I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest. I’m ccing VP for Comm Kyle Henley, as he should have these documents readily at hand, and is well compensated for helping UO communicate with the public.

Request ID: 2018-PRR-344

What’s this about? Henley needs to show the Board and President Schill that all the money he has spent on branding and communications – money which could have been spent on teaching, research, and scholarships for our students – has increased “brand awareness”:

Given UO’s falling enrollment numbers and the unremarkable google trends data for UO’s brand under Henley’s watch, this will be a difficult task. Presumably the winning brand consultants will be well paid for some creative spin that makes this look good:




Johnson Hall to blow $145K on another brander

Assistant Vice President, Marketing and Brand Strategy

Apply now(link is external)Job no: 522077
Work type: Officer of Administration
Location: Eugene, OR
Categories: Business Administration/Management, Communications/Public Relations/Marketing, Executive/Management/Director

Department: University Communications
Appointment Type and Duration: Regular, Ongoing
Salary: $140,000 – $150,000 per year
Compensation Band: OS-OA12-Fiscal Year 2017-2018
FTE: 1.0

Application Review Begins
May 3, 2018; open until filled

Special Instructions to Applicants
Please submit the following with your online application:

• A cover letter in which you clearly describe how your knowledge, skills, and abilities prepare you for the job responsibilities and requirements outlined in the job announcement. Please discuss each element completely and succinctly.

• A resume of your educational and professional work experience.

Department Summary
The department of University Communications is charged with telling the University of Oregon’s (UO) stories to a broad range of audiences and positioning the university to succeed and thrive. The department utilizes and manages a comprehensive suite of communications tools, including public relations, branding, advertising, licensing, digital media, and more for the benefit of the university.

Position Summary
Reporting to the Vice President for University Communications, the AVP of Marketing and Brand Strategy leads a team of creative professionals to advance the institution’s mission through the development and execution of exciting, innovative, and effective design concepts and campaigns that are delivered across multiple platforms. The AVP will provide direct supervision, oversight and direction to teams responsible for graphic design, video, photography, licensing, analytics and the university’s primary web presences.

The AVP works closely with the Vice President and other members of the University Communications leadership team to create a progressive, unified, metrics-driven organization dedicated to serving the university’s interests, including those of the students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

The AVP will demonstrate and inspire a team-building work environment, motivating staff and cultivating productive relationships across campus to innovate, collaborate, and reach and exceed stated goals.

This position plays a central role in achieving UO’s goal of ensuring effective engagement with the university’s many core constituents and helping UO retain and improve on its position as an innovative and leading American public research university.

The AVP also oversees the university’s paid advertising efforts, leading the team through concept, messaging, and development of campaigns that reinforce the UO’s goals and build brand awareness and affinity with key audiences.

Finally, the AVP collaborates with the UO’s Information Services division to ensure high availability of infrastructure supporting essential web-based communications applications and with emergency management to develop communications plans via the web.

Minimum Requirements
• A Bachelor’s degree in marketing or related field.
• Ten years in the marketing and communications field, with at least five of those years managing and directing creative teams in large, complex organizations, institutions, and/or brands.

Professional Competencies
• A strong understanding of brand development and multi-channel marketing concepts.
• An in-depth understanding of strategically sound design concepts and best practices in a variety of media.
• Proven ability to develop strategic ideas and transform those ideas using conceptual writing and art direction in measurable and metrics-driven branding campaigns designed to meet established goals.
• Digital literacy, proficiency in project-management software tools, and willingness and ability to keep abreast of the latest in marketing and communications technology.
• Excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to communicate and work effectively with individuals from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
• Demonstrated ability to manage and work effectively with a wide variety of people across multiple units and outside vendors to develop strategies to achieve goals.
• Ability to demonstrate tact and diplomacy and manage confidential or sensitive information and issues responsibly.
• Commitment to and experience with promoting and enhancing diversity and equity.

Preferred Qualifications
• Demonstrated ability to manage multi-tiered teams of 10 to 15 or more professionals.
• Demonstrated commitment to enhancing diversity through inclusive design and language.
• Experience in higher-education marketing.

FLSA Exempt: Yes

UO communications issues RFP for excellent “Brand Awareness Study”

At first I read that as “Brain Awareness Study”, but no such luck. VP of Communication Kyle Henley is going  to commission a phone survey of 1900 random people and ask them if they think UO is excellent:

Full RFP/RFQ on the PCS website here. Apparently this is follow-up on a previous study which presumably was collected as part of the 160over90 branding fiasco which Mr. Henley and Diane Dietz killed, back in their younger days. I’d make a public records request for that, but what possible benefit would come to anyone from reading it?

Faculty delight as “inane and insulting” 160over90 branders chased off campus

7/20/2016 update: “What If” President Schill carried through on his promise to redirect 160over90’s branding bucks to new faculty hires? He has, as “Around the O” reports here.

1/20/2015: Faculty delight as “inane and insulting” 160over90 branders chased off campus

Kellie Woodhouse of InsideHigherEd has a report with many interesting quotes, here:

The University of Oregon’s decision to cut back its multimillion-dollar branding campaign has many faculty at the institution cheering. …

The change of course appears to have built good will among faculty members, many of whom complained the “If” campaign is too generic. A video for the campaign, for example, shows vague scenes and programs from Oregon’s campus, and doesn’t highlight with any detail the specific academic programs at the university.

“The original campaign was inane and insulting, and we were really disappointed that the Board of Trustees and our former president decided to spend that much money on advertising instead of addressing the university’s real problems,” said Bill Harbaugh, an economics professor and president-elect of the Oregon’s University Senate.

The quotes from President Schill’s new VP for Communications Kyle Henley are circumspect about the quality of 160over90’s work and the financial gains from ending the contract, as should be expected given the Chair of UO’s Board of Trustees past support for the branding:

Chuck Lillis, president of the UO Board of Trustees, built a $60-billion-plus empire on his background in marketing. Lillis earned a doctorate in marketing at the UO in 1972. …

Lillis, the inaugural chairman of the UO board — and $14 million donor to the UO business college — is squarely behind the 160over90 campaign.

“We can’t spend $3 million more intelligently than this,” he said recently.

That’s OK, Kenley deserves plenty of respect for doing the deed.

1/17/2016: UO Pres Mike Schill uses 160over90 ad firm to establish his “academic brand”

By firing their useless asses and putting the money to hiring new faculty for UO.

Schill is getting a lot of positive press for this. Diane Dietz’s report in the RG on Thursday now has 3.6K Facebook likes, including plenty of faculty nationwide:

The University of Oregon has pulled out of its high-profile three-year, $3.4 million contract with Philadelphia branding and advertising firm 160over90, and is redirecting money toward university academic and research goals, the UO said Wednesday.

… UO administrators negotiated a Jan. 1 end to the contract, which cost the UO about $40,000 in penalties but saved $400,000 to $500,000 in further spending, [VP for Communications Kyle Henley] said in an e-mail. The UO has paid 160over90 about $3 million in all. [And had planned to spend $20M over 5 years.]

InsideHigherEd and the Chronicle of Higher Ed are both doing stories on this. Perhaps the Chronicle story will be a bit more positive than Jack Stripling’s September report on UO. (Still gated, extracts here.)

 Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 12.59.30 PM

And the Register Guard’s Editorial Board notes that Schill has picked up “Oregon values” pretty quickly, for a New Yorker:

Any rancher could have told the University of Oregon that a brand isn’t worth much without a steer to put it on. UO President Michael Schill has reached that understanding, and now intends to spend less on hype and more on the university’s product: academics and research. Bully for him. …

So now that the branders are gone, let’s get to work on ending Harrang, Long, Gary and Rudnick’s contract with UO for legal work. The City of Eugene did that years ago, and has apparently saved millions:

UO’s HLGR contract is here. We pay them by the hour, which creates an obvious moral hazard. So who did former Interim General Counsel Doug Park put in charge of it? Harrang’s noted big-tobacco attorney Sharon Rudnick:

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 2.07.46 AM

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 2.07.28 AM

Chronicle follows up with Mike Schill on “Academic Reputation at Risk”

5/1/2016: Text and video here: This is a brief follow up to Stripling’s “An Academic Reputation at Risk” report on UO, from September. That story is still gated if you are off campus, but here are some extracts below.

The re-interview touches on realignment and fundraising, and there’s a surprising amount on Schill’s decision to dump our 160over90 branders. Apparently UO’s academic side, and Schill, are still getting good publicity from our new “No branding crap”  brand. Thank you Diane Dietz!

Which prompted me to look at UO’s home page for the first time in months. Some of the 160over90 damage has been reversed – I didn’t see any mention of  What the If? or whatever it was – but it’s still hard to navigate. Which explains why the UO Matters “Crap-Free UO homepage” (TM) is still so popular.

9/14/2015: Chronicle’s Jack Stripling profiles UO and President Schill

Long article, well worth reading it all. Posted today, here: (Gated if you are off campus).

An Academic Reputation at Risk: The U. of Oregon’s big brand masks its fragile standing

An Academic Reputation at Risk 5

The duck is always up in everybody’s face. He shoves. He body-slams. He demands to be noticed.

The University of Oregon’s mascot, a Donald Duck knockoff in yellow and green, is a pure distillation of the university’s iconic brand. This is a place, the duck assures us, of unapologetically splashy sports and irrepressible good times. The image sells remarkably well to undergraduates, whose numbers have increased by 25 percent in the past decade alone.

… On a recent summer afternoon here, an admissions official asked a group of prospective students and their parents what they had already heard about the university.

Toward the back row, a young man said, “Big football team.” “Nike,” another chimed in, citing the university’s longstanding affiliation with the company’s co-founder, Phil Knight. “Track,” another said.

That’s to be expected, given how we recruit these students – UO’s administrators use football bowl games as undergraduate admissions events, so they can get the university to pay for their own junkets, family included.

Of course, there are other ways to attract students. Here’s the report from UC-Boulder admissions, where they emphasized academic rigor, instead of big-time sports (they’re currently #78 in the football rankings). Seems to be working:

A total of 3,083 Colorado residents enrolled as new freshmen in the fall class, as well as 2,786 from out of state and a record 386 freshman international students, a 41 percent increase from last year. …

“Our efforts in recent years to improve the academic rigor at CU-Boulder are paying off with the most academically qualified class we’ve ever seen,” said CU-Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano. “Our Esteemed Scholar program, and our other scholarship and academic programs, continue to attract Colorado’s best and brightest to CU-Boulder, along with outstanding students from around the nation and the world.”

This year’s freshman class includes a total of 898 Colorado freshmen who were awarded Esteemed Scholarships, based on high school grades and SAT/ACT scores, up from 789 last year.  For out-of-state students, 425 were awarded the Chancellor’s Achievement Scholarships, 77 more than in 2013, and 102 were awarded Presidential Scholarships, up 18 from last year.

Stripling’s story continues with some information on the tensions that UO’s emphasis on big-time athletics at the expense of academics have created between the faculty and the administration, and President Schill’s plans to deal with them.

In Mr. Schill’s view, the university needs to break down barriers between professors and administrators. On the symbolic front, he has invited faculty members into his home, and asked them to stock his office library with their books. He has portrayed himself as a faculty member first, insisting that the title of “professor” appear alongside “president” on his business cards.

More substantively, Mr. Schill has signed off on a new contract with the faculty union, and he has agreed to settle a contentious lawsuit with the Oregon student who accused three basketball players of raping her.

“We need to end the circular firing squad,” Mr. Schill says, “and I think we’ve started that.”

If Oregon can avoid turning on itself, Mr. Schill says, the university can reverse the trends that have held it back.

Every promise Mr. Schill has made hinges on the success of a $2-billion capital campaign. The money will be used in part to hire 80 to 100 new tenured or tenure-track professors over the next four to five years.

… “I don’t want to sound too egotistic or narcissistic, but what was missing here was leadership,” says Mr. Schill, who is 56. “The last piece of the puzzle wasn’t here yet, which was a president who was going to stay and build a great university. I’d like to think I’m the person. History will look back and say whether I was.”

10/15/2015: Jefferson Public Radio interviews Jack Stripling Continue reading

Diane Dietz hunts, kills 160over90 branding deal, then writes its obituary

Back in May 2015 Register Guard reporter Diane Dietz published five stories on UO’s inane 160over90 “What the If” branding campaign, and the administration’s efforts to hide what it cost. (One strategy was to run the payments through the secretive UO Foundation, just as Paul Weinhold and Vin Lananna are doing with the 2021 IAAF track meet.) Links here.

Tonight she’s posted the deal’s obituary, here:

University of Oregon cancels high-profile branding/advertising contract

The University of Oregon has pulled out of its high-profile three-year, $3.4 million contract with Philadelphia branding and advertising firm 160over90, and is redirecting money toward university academic and research goals, the UO said Wednesday. …

UO administrators negotiated a Jan. 1 end to the contract, which cost the UO roughly $40,000 in penalties but saved $400,000 to $500,000 in further spending, Henley said in an e-mail. The UO has paid 160over90 about $3 million in all.

Lots of interesting stuff about Schill’s other realignment efforts in her story as well.

New VP Kyle Henley takes branding bull back from 160over90

Some good news. Just seven months ago, as part of a series on UO’s “What the F” branding campaign, the RG’s Diane Dietz got this quote from Chuck Lillis, the Chair of UO’s Board of Trustees:

Lillis, the inaugural chairman of the UO board — and $14 million donor to the UO business college — is squarely behind the 160over90 campaign. “We can’t spend $3 million more intelligently than this,” he said recently.

Fortunately new VP for Communication Kyle Henley thinks we can. As his email below explains, 160over90 is not working for UO any more, and they are not going to get the other $17M that Lillis was apparently prepared to spend on their branding [redacted].

Instead, Henley sketches out a centralization and in-house shift for UO communications, designed to save money. Maybe even enough money to support President Schill’s academic excellence plans? Of course the expensive Duck athletic department’s communication operation is exempt, and Tobin Klinger keeps his well paid job sending out “No Comment” emails to reporters. FWIW, here’s the latest google trends data. Searches for UO in green, vs. a few comparators. Worth the $3M we paid 160over90? I’m not sure I even see a blip.

Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 11.24.28 PM

From: University of Oregon <[email protected]>
Date: Wednesday, January 6, 2016 at 12:01 PM
To: Univ Communications – All Staff <[email protected]>
Subject: Communications Integration


I hope all of your holidays were fantastic and that 2016 is off to a good start. At the beginning of a new year, I am so optimistic and excited about the progress we have made in building the division of University Communications in such a short time and about the opportunities that are ahead of us. You’re a talented group of communications professionals who are doing wonderful work on behalf of UO, and I’m honored to lead this team and work alongside you.

I want to let you know about some significant developments in University Communications that we are rolling out this week. President Schill has charged University Communications with integrating communications operations from the other vice presidents’ units into our central communications operation. I have had conversations in the last few days with members of the university’s executive leadership team and with our University Communications directors about this plan.

This is part of a university-wide focus on aligning our resources and operations with the university’s strategic priorities and goals as stated in the president’s email to campus Broad decentralization across the university has weakened the UO’s abilities to achieve administrative coordination, predictable budgeting and realize economies of scale. It is a challenge in communications, IT, HR, budgeting and elsewhere. Addressing this issue through smart and well-planned integration strategies in a variety of areas is one of many steps the university will be taking in the coming weeks and months as we focus on improving coordination and efficiency across the university.

For us, it’s pretty simple. Starting now, those in marketing, graphic design, public relations, writing and web development positions who currently report to a vice president within the administration will jointly report into University Communications. Over the next six months, the directors and I will work with the other vice presidents to ensure a smooth transition process from a management, HR and budgeting perspective. Beginning July 1, 2016, these communications positions will permanently report directly to University Communications. In most cases, individuals will continue to sit within their respective units and remain content experts, but they will be part of our management infrastructure and have greater access to communications resources.

A couple of caveats – Communications directors in enrollment and student life will be joint reports with University Communications and their respective units. I plan to have them join our leadership team, but their staffs will continue to report up through their current structure. Athletics is not included in this integration plan, but will remain connected to communications as they are now.

There are a lot of details that need to be worked out and many of you will have questions about this. I have some, but probably not all, the answers, and I’m happy to discuss your concerns and answer questions. We’re going to talk more about integration during our all-staff meeting on Friday, but I want to make a few things very clear – our priority is to improve coordination, collaboration and strategy across the board. Our priority will be to improve the central communications support to other administrative units throughout the university. Our priority will be to rein in expenses by aligning communications work with strategic priorities and by working to reduce the need for outsourcing.

This integration effort is not about cutting costs by reducing staffing within our shop or within any of the administrative units. Our priority and focus is on improved collaboration, coordination and service.

To launch this effort, I am making some changes within the University Communications management structure to help us successfully realize this integration strategy. As I’ve told many of you, I am not going to hire another AVP for branding and marketing. Instead, I’m asking people to step up within a flatter management structure to help us build the organization we need. Those moves include:

· I’ve asked Ann Weins to manage an expanded Marketing and Branding portfolio. This will include all of our graphic designers (including those coming in from other units), advertising and partnership marketing, and licensing and branding. Ann will be charged with ensuring that our branding efforts maintain strong momentum even though we are no longer using 160/90 and that the brand continues to be rolled out across the university. This is a massive effort, an institutional priority, and will require her full attention. I want to thank Ann for her willingness to take on this new, important challenge.

· I’ve asked Jonathan Graham to take on the role of editor of Oregon Quarterly. He’ll do this under the leadership of George Evano, who will head up Alumni and Development Communications. Ultimately, Oregon Quarterly’s primary audience is UO alumni – Alumni Association communications also reports to George – and this move will create opportunities for greater alignment and coordination of our efforts to engage this important audience. George will now report directly to me. Oregon Quarterly is an amazing channel that is the envy of universities nationally. That must continue, and I’m tremendously confident in the ability of both Jonathan and George to maintain and grow the publication’s reputation for quality and excellence.

· Jennifer Winters will lead our Internal Communications program. Under this new structure, she’ll continue to serve as our executive communications lead and manage a team that includes communicators from academic affairs and human resources. Internal communications is increasingly important at UO, and Jennifer will be responsible for helping us break down traditional silos to rethink the way that we engage faculty and staff. She will also continue to manage President’s Office communications.

· Tobin Klinger will continue to lead Public Affairs Communications, although we may elect to change the name of this group of communications pros. He will serve as our university spokesperson and crisis communications counselor, while taking on management of staff from other administrative units. This support will be critical as he and his team transform Around the O into one of the nation’s premier digital communications platforms within higher ed. ATO is good, but we must aggressively work to make it better. We have amazing content, we have powerful channels, and we must build ATO into a tool that reaches out into the world – regardless of what traditional journalism is doing – to tell the UO’s story of academic and research excellence. This is a big lift, my expectations are high, and I’m confident Tobin has the vision and leadership to help make it a reality.

· Zack Barnett’s world will become significantly more complex as we start to integrate digital communicators and web developers from across campus into his shop. As we move to bring consistency across the UO’s digital platforms – no small job – Zack will also continue to lead visual communications, social media and e-communications strategy for the university. Going forward, he’ll report directly to me.

OK, deep breath, lots to take in (that may have been more for me than for you). Let me just say that this is not something that has happened in the last few days. These moves reflect themes and priorities I’ve been talking to all of you about since the first day I stepped foot on campus. Integration reflects the themes and priorities of our university president. A lot of discussion, analysis and planning has taken place in the last few months as we’ve moved toward this day.

As I’ve said before – I don’t have all the answers. There will be questions, concerns and challenges that we’ll need to work out as we move forward. But we have solid leaders within this department that care about the University of Oregon and that care about each of you. I have no questions that, together, we will overcome the challenges and come out of this transition stronger, more nimble and unified behind a mission of telling the stories that position UO to succeed and thrive in the future.

Thanks for all that you do. Go Ducks!


Kyle Henley
Vice President, University Communications
O: 541.346.2329 C: 541.972.0222
[email protected]

UO cites progress in reducing Duck athletic stigma, promoting research

The RG has the story, here:

University of Oregon: goosing Google for a better reputation

President Schill:

“What we don’t want is — when you put in a Google search that says the ‘University of Oregon’ — we shouldn’t be coming up primarily about basketball players doing things, sexual violence-type stories, (instead) you’re hearing about all the great things that are taking place here in terms of research,” Schill said.

VP for Enrollment Roger Thompson:

Roger Thompson, vice president for enrollment management, declared victory — at least among Oregon audiences, in his annual year-end enrollment report.

“A study of Oregon residents showed that top-of-mind associations with the University of Oregon moved from ‘Ducks,’ and ‘football’ to ‘great school,’ ‘research,’ ‘Ducks’ and ‘football.’ Our target audiences’ perceptions of the university’s strengths also improved,” according to the report.

Yes, I’ve asked Roger for a copy of that study.

Tim Clevenger leaves UO

That’s the solid news from down at the faculty club this afternoon:

I write to you today with mixed emotions. On November 20, I will leave the University of Oregon to accept a position as the Vice President of Brand, Creative, B2C Strategy & Integrated Marketing at Cambia Health Solutions in Portland. 

We wish him the best in his new job. I’m assuming this puts the stake through the 160over90 branding mess. So Diane Dietz’s reporting may well have saved UO $20M.

Update: Thanks to those many who have forwarded Mr. Clevenger’s email to university communications to me. Diane Dietz has a story on it here. I’m not seeing a need to post any more about Mr. Clevenger, and I’m deleting comments. But any new info about 16over90 etc. is very much appreciated. You can email uomatters gmail, or make an anonymous comment which I will read but not post.

New VP Kyle Henley cuts off Clevenger’s 160over90 branding cash

10/13/2015: That’s the latest from the faculty club – no more money down this hole. It’s nice how even the rumors are more optimistic at UO these days.

But don’t forget how much effort it took to end this, if it’s really ended: public records requests, a petition to the DA after UO’s General Counsel told the PRO office to stonewall, then a full blown five story investigative report from RG reporter Diane Dietz, and a lot of UO donors asking “What the F” is our university wasting money on now?

9/16/2015: New VP Kyle Henley drops in on 160over90, asks how Clevenger blew $5M

That’s the rumor from the SOJC profs watching Mad Men reruns down at the faculty club tonight. Meanwhile VP for branding Tim Clevenger has been moved out of JH, to a suite far, far away from campus. We’re still paying him $209.625 a year though. Fire Clevenger and UO could hire, say, 2 new Human Physiology profs, with money left over for startup. Or give 15 full-ride scholarships to Oregon National Merit Scholars, including dorms and meals.

So which is it gonna be, Mr. Henley?

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Here’s hoping our new general counsel Kevin Reed can also find a way out of the 160over90 contract, which UO’s misnamed Public Records Office is still hiding from the public.

Meanwhile Mike Schill is off to the Pendleton Roundup, to see how branding is really done. Keep the iron hot and make your mark, Mr. President:

8/26/2015: Tim Clevenger to get the boot for 160over90 branding mess?

The rumor from a generally well-informed source down at the faculty club is that I’m not the first person who’s heard of Google Trends, and that Clevenger’s branding campaign is failing on other metrics as well. Meanwhile hits to the Crap-Free UO Homepage (TM) are way up.

8/19/2015: Tim Clevenger’s $5M 160over90 branding campaign fails Google buzz test

A few years ago the UO Economics department invited Google’s Chief Economist Hal Varian out to give a talk to our undergrads. Among the topics was Google Trends, which lets you compare how often people search for different search phrases across time. Very interesting, the slides are here.

Try it here. Here’s what you get if you compare the frequency of searches for “university of oregon application” with searches for a few of our competitors in the market for undergrad students. Blue for Colorado, red for Arizona, yellow for Oregon State, Green for UO, and purple for last year’s BCS champions Ohio State:

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If there’s any impact from the rollout of UO’s $5M “What the If?” branding campaign, which started in March 2015, it would take a pretty creative econometrician to make the t-stat significant.

Oh well, there goes that $5M. Here’s hoping our donors will cut off UO’s $207K-a-year AVP for branding Tim Clevenger and $5M 160over90, and redirect those generous gifts towards, say, teaching and research.

Also no apparent effect from football. The Ducks win, the Beavers lose, it really doesn’t matter.

For more on UO’s branding and how hard UO tried to hide the public records showing how much we spent on it, check out Diane Dietz’s stories in the RG, links here.

And in response to comments here’s the last year of weekly data – noisier, and some spikes that may well be from football, but I still don’t see the branding buzz:

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