No faculty on the faculty grievance committee list?

11/2/2011: This is a weird one. I just got the email saying:

The special election for the Promotion Tenure-Retention Appeals Committee (PTRAC) and the Faculty Grievance Appeals Committee (FGAC) has begun. To cast your vote, please log on to DuckWeb and click on the 2011 Faculty/Staff Election tab: https://duckweb.uoregon.edu/pls/prod/twbkwbis.P_WWWLogin

When I go there, I find that all of the people put up to run for the Faculty Grievance Appeal Committee are administrators. That will keep you damn professors in your place. What in the world is (Professor) Peter Gilkey, FGAC Chair, up to with this?

Update: the OAR says “shall be unclassified academic employees with faculty rank.” You decide:

The records on the rest of the nominees also say “RANK: No Rank.” OA’s need a grievance appeals process too. So, let’s write one for them. This does not justify the attempt to stack the Faculty GAC with Gilkey and 2 administrators.

Tublitz on the state of UO:

5/27/2011: From his last speech as Senate Pres:

We are hanging on to our top tier research classification by the thinnest of hairs. …

The status of our instructional mission is also tenuous. We have increased the number of students from 17,000 to 24,500 in the past 15 years, a 44% increase. During the same period, the number of full time tenure track faculty has increased by 5%. …

… The Central Administration needs to value the work done by faculty and others within the governance system and to bring various stakeholder groups to the table before decisions are made, not after the fact.

VP Tomlin review survey

4/15/2011 update: The standard way around the confidentiality issues is to hire a trusted independent firm to collect the data and interview employees. In 2009 VP Frances Dyke did hire such a firm, Stan McKnight and Associates – but she hired them to do some union busting for the AAUP/AFT organizing effort, not help evaluate senior administrators. $300 an hour, total $25,000. $1 under the public reporting limit. Very clever.

4/14/2011: People need to step up to the plate on this. From the email sent a few weeks ago:

Colleagues –

Russ Tomlin, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, is currently undergoing a periodic administrative review.  Such reviews are a vital part of our commitment to academic excellence and include a public presentation by the administrator and a web-based survey of their colleagues.

The web-based survey of Russ’s leadership and management of Academic Affairs can be accessed (Check your email from Bev or ask your chair to get this link).  The survey was developed by Dr. Tomlin’s review committee which consists of: Larry Singell, Chair, College of Arts and Sciences; Dennis Howard, Lundquist College of Business; and, Kassia Dellabough, Architecture and Allied Arts.

Senior Vice Provost Russ Tomlin will only have access to summary information from this survey.  Please note that only signed responses can be used for the purpose of this review.

You are also invited to Dr. Tomlin’s public presentation which will be held on Monday, May 23 from 3:30-5:00pm in the Knight Library Browsing Room.

The survey will remain open for comment until May 31, 2011. Your feedback is important.

Regards, 

Beverlee Stilwell
Assistant Vice President for Academic Administration/Chief of Staff
Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost

It is possible to set up Survey Monkey to track IP addresses. I don’t think that the administration would do this – particularly not the people doing this review. But if you are worried you can always fill it in from a library computer.

Of course, anonymous comments “cannot be used for the purposes of this review”. That doesn’t mean they will be ignored. At a minimum the committee knows the count, and they know anonymous responses are likely negative. But talking to your department chair and asking them to relay the department’s opinion to the review committee might be an effective complement to the survey if you aren’t going to sign it.

I think this survey is a giant step forward for shared governance. The administration needs to know what people think to make the right call on whether or not to reappoint Tomlin. They’ve asked for that opinion. This is the first time they have ever done this on something substantive. We want to get asked next time – for Bean? – we need to respond to this one. I signed my survey.

And judging from the unscientific and biased uo matters poll, if there is going to be retaliation, it’s going to take a long, long time to get to your name anyway!

Exec Committte tables New Partnership motion

4/12/2011: Good call:

From: “Nathan Tublitz”
Date: April 12, 2011 6:17:48 PM PDT
To: [email protected]
Cc: president Lariviere , [email protected]
Subject: senate10_11: US10/11-10 New Partnership motion withdrawn
Reply-To: [email protected]

Dear Senators, President Lariviere and Provost Bean:

I write to let you know that the Senate Executive Committee,
sponsor of US10/11-10 Motion to endorse the New Partnership,
has decided to withdraw the motion. This means that the Senate
will not be discussing this motion at tomorrow’s Senate meeting.
…@uoregon.edu>@uoregon.edu>

Word on the street is that the proposal is being revised to, among other things, take responsibility for the bond funds away from the UO Foundation and give it to the State Treasurer (who manages PERS investments, etc.). Good idea. Paul Weinhold, UO Foundation head, will not even reveal how much he is paid.

But his salary and that of CFO Jay Namyet certainly go up as the amount of the Foundation’s endowment does. So there was something untoward about them using Foundation funds to lobby the state for $ 800 million in taxpayer money – and they finally got called on it. Progress.

Meanwhile their compliance officer, Erica Funk, has run out of IRS extensions. They will have to file the 990 form, with officers salary and benefits, by May 15. By then the numbers will be 10 months old, of course – plenty of time to sneak in more raises.

UO Committees and Senate

3/25/2011: “It’s shared governance, Professor. If you can keep it.” Time for committee and Senate nominations. Effectively this means you nominate yourself on this form no later than Tu, April 5. Some are appointed, some elected. Here’s an explanation of the assignments. Some of these committees are sort of fun, others are do-the-job-service, others are showing up, rubber-stamping administrative decisions and kissing ass in the hope you will get appointed Associate Dean and get a big enough raise to pay yours kids’ tuition. Something for everyone.

Presidents don’t consult faculty

3/7/2011: From Doug Lederman and Scott Jaschik at Insidehighered.com. Apparently this is a trend:

Other signs are also apparent in the survey results of a growing distance between faculty members and presidents. Asked which groups of campus constituents have been most helpful in confronting the economic challenges of the last two years, and which groups the presidents expected to be most effective in providing help in the next two years, faculty didn’t fare well.

The presidents have been most pleased with and plan to rely on senior administrators, followed by trustees, deans and department heads — and only then faculty leaders, as seen in Table 11. …

Particularly at large universities, Thelin says, there is an entire new layer of administration (the central administration) that didn’t use to be so clearly on top of the various colleges and research centers. “I think many presidents are rather isolated from the faculty, and I wonder how many of them are really comfortable with the faculty,” he says. “The worlds are so removed,” he says, that faculty members can’t be surprised that they aren’t around the table when a president is making key decisions. …

Nelson says that faculty members have a responsibility to look critically at all academic programs and help administrations improve them, and make difficult decisions. “But faculty members cannot be of much help when the shared governance door is shut in their faces, or when full information about campus finances is withheld,” he says.

Still, I think it’s remarkable that Presidents Frohnmayer and Lariviere changed *graduation day* without consulting the faculty – or the students, or the parents.

New President sets up transparent faculty advisory group

12/22/2010: That would be the new President of UVa.

Jack Stripling of Insidehighered.com has an interesting article on her efforts to involve faculty in financial decision-making:

The 13-member crew, whose membership is weighted toward those with some business or finance acumen, is charged to serve as an informal advisory group to Teresa A. Sullivan, the university’s recently minted president. But Sullivan says the committee is also designed to bring transparency to the institution’s often-mystifying budgeting process, connecting the university’s administrators with a diverse pool of faculty …

Virginia has faced budget cuts, like most institutions, but the fact that the university is less dependent upon the state than many other public colleges has proven something of an advantage. Only about 10 percent of the university’s $1.4 billion budget — excluding the medical center — comes from taxpayer dollars, so the university’s fate is not so intimately tied to the state’s own financial struggles. But the portion of the university’s budget that is linked to the state has taken a beating. Virginia has already lost about $32 million in appropriations in the last three years, and officials expect that total reduction to reach $50 million by the end of next year. 

UO has two similar committees: the Senate Budget Committee, and the Faculty Advisory Council, elected by the faculty. Our FAC meets weekly with the president and provost. The article writes about the UVa committee:

… Members are likely to share what they’ve seen of the university’s inner financial workings with their colleagues, and those discussions could potentially shield Sullivan’s administration from the kind of suspicion and mistrust that can permeate a campus when difficult budget decisions are made.

“By drawing a group of faculty into reasonably intense discussions, that’s one way to make clear there’s no smoke and mirrors here, that people are acting responsibly as stewards of the university’s finances,” says Sarah Turner, a committee member and professor of education and economics.

Here at UO, FAC members are explicitly prohibited from sharing what they learn about UO with their colleagues. This code of secrecy is not published on the committee website – double secret! – but here it is:

FAC Confidentiality:

The Faculty Advisory Council is responsible for providing the President and other Administration officials with faculty opinion and counsel on the wide range of university affairs. In its relations with the President, the Administration, and with the faculty, the Faculty Advisory Council shall act either on request or on its own initiative. To fulfill its mission, members of the committee recognize that its deliberations must remain confidential. The quality and the effectiveness of the advice we give depend on a free and frank discussion of issues, in which all participants can voice their opinions about advantages and drawbacks without fear that their positions will be divulged or attributed to them.

Furthermore, the FAC often treats issues that are in the public domain. Any information presented at a FAC meeting that is not in the public record will remain confidential. All discussion about information that is in the public record will also remain confidential. Participants in the FAC will not use what they hear in committee meetings in discharging their obligations as faculty, administrators, or staff.

By pledging to adhere to the confidentiality of its proceedings, the participants in the FAC commit to fulfilling their charge by the Senate. The committee shall be the forum where the President and other Administration officials seek faculty advice on all important decisions that affect the university before they are implemented, and where the issues that inform these decisions will be considered thoroughly and with respect.

Is this secrecy a good idea, or bad? I can see arguments both ways. And note that the UVa committee is appointed by the president, not elected as at UO. But it’s interesting that UVa has come down on the side of more openness than UO has, arguing this will avoid mistrust and suspicion and foster transparency.

statutory faculty assembly meeting Wednesday, May 19th

4:00-5:30pm, 150 Columbia

The purpose of the meeting is to consider a motion to approve the revised internal governance document necessitated by a Department of Justice opinion dated 11/7/08 concerning the structure of shared governance at the University of Oregon. The agenda for the meeting and the text of the motion under consideration are now posted at http://int-gov.uoregon.edu/.

Scepticism on Frohnmayer’s privatisation proposal:

1/25/2010: From an Op-Ed in the Oregonian, from 2 higher ed union leaders:

To achieve these goals the university system will have to participate in an honest and open dialogue involving all committed and relevant participants to meet our commitment to the students of today and tomorrow.

What we don’t need is a quick fix in the form a permanent redesign of our universities that assigns administrators more authority and less responsibility and — even worse — offers no assurance of additional resources. Switching to a corporate funding model is no panacea and might actually prove counter-productive.

Lariviere has also voiced his scepticism about this move. My view is it certainly need some open debate and more credible info, both in scarce supply at UO after 15 years of Frohnmayer. Apparently Frances Dyke still hasn’t provided Lariviere with believable budget numbers – millions pop up here, millions disappear over there.

Gilkey resigns as Senate President


1/14/2010 Update: It seems that the normal procedure from Robert’s Rules of Order applies, meaning that VP Nathan Tublitz is now Senate President. 

1/13/2010:  I don’t know all the backstory, and I wish Peter the best, but this is very good news for faculty governance.

From: Peter Gilkey [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Wednesday, January 13, 2010 5:35 PM
To: President Lariviere
Cc: Gwen Steigelman
Subject: Gilkeys Resignation

MEMO TO: President Richard Lariviere
MEMO CC: Gwen Steigelman
MEMO FROM: Peter Gilkey
MEMO RE: UO Senate President
MEMO DATE: 13 January 2010

Dear President Lariviere.

I am resigning effective 1800 Wednesday 13 January 2010 as UO Senate
President, as UO Senate Webmaster, and as UO Assembly Webmaster.

Respectfully submitted

Peter B Gilkey

 cc: Members of the UO Senate

Frank Stahl’s Senate motions for Today

Update: The Senate passed a revised version of motion 12a on a unanimous voice vote today. Frank diplomatically withdrew motion 12b, allowing the admin to maintain the cherished fiction that their efforts to hide tenure decisions had nothing to do with VP Martinez.

1/13/2010: Frank’s Senate motions are needed to codify what was once a collegial procedure where the faculty in the form of the FPC gave advice to the Provost on who should get tenure and why, and the Provost in turn explained his final decisions to the faculty who had advised him. As near as we can tell – and some of this is speculation – this process worked fine until last year, when Provost James (Jim) Bean decided he wanted to give tenure to OIED Vice Provost Charles Martinez for shady administrative reasons. We’ve tried to find out details on this – like when Charles was actually put on a tenure track – but Melinda is trying to charge us to see the paperwork.

Jim really, really didn’t want to have to tell the FPC what he was doing. So he put Charles up for tenure at the last minute and then changed the rules on the FPC, and that’s why we are all wasting our time on this. Thanks Jim – and thanks to Frank for working to fix this nonsense!

Dear Senators,

             In the interest of expediting discussion of motions 12A 
and B at the 13 January meeting, here is a brief description of the 
need for the Motions.

     Our University enjoys a generally good procedure for deciding 
matters of promotion and tenure. Committees at Department and College 
levels collect and evaluate documentation of each Candidate’s record 
of research, teaching, and service, and forward recommendations to the 
Chair or the Dean, respectively. These materials, along with the 
recommendations of the Chair and Dean are forwarded to the FPC, whose 
job is to evaluate the materials and make recommendations to the 
Provost.

    The Provost reaches decisions based on his/her evaluation of the 
documents and the recommendations of the FPC, and then composes 
decision letters for delivery to the Candidates. For decades, until 
this past year, these letters were shared with the FPC Chair. This 
sharing provided assurance that the Provost was making decisions in 
the best interests of the University’s academic program.

    Decisions that compromise those interests could arise under several 
conditions. For instance, a Provost could grant tenure on the grounds 
that a candidate fills certain University needs that are unrelated to 
the academic program. Or a Provost could deny tenure on the grounds 
that the candidate, although bright and productive, might project an 
unfavorable image to the public. Or simple budgetary problems could 
lead a Provost to cut the work force by denying tenure.

            The sharing of letters with the FPC Chair provides the 
historically sanctified route for protecting the University from such 
problematic actions. It also recognizes the hard work and sacrifice 
made by members of the FPC, one of the most demanding of the 
University Committees.

Respectfully,

Franklin W. Stahl

Molecular Biology

Who has Tenure?

11/11/2009: We reported earlier on Provost Bean’s refusal to tell the FPC committee chair who had been given tenure or see the letters he wrote justifying his decisions. We assumed that Bean’s unprecedented attempt to keep information on who had been given tenure from falling into the hands of UO’s tenured faculty was due to his desire to hide the fact that he had given tenure to Diversity VP Charles Martinez, despite the FPC’s recommendation. (An assumption. We know nothing about their recommendation.)

It now turns out that Bean has procured a memo from Academic Affairs VP Russ Tomlin, saying that it is illegal for Bean to share the tenure and promotion letters with the committee. I’m no lawyer (really!) but this is nonsense – and as such has Melinda Grier’s fingerprints all over it. Right Russ?

Obviously the FPC is authorized to view confidential personnel information – that’s their job. So why the attempt at secrecy? We suspect it is because Bean plans to put Martinez up for promotion to full professor this year. That’s right, a year after giving him tenure. Martinez hasn’t taught a course in 5 years and works 3/4 time at a private group off campus (OSLC) but is technically still on the books in the Ed School. Why promote him to full professor? Why promote him to vice president without an affirmative action search? The guy has done nothing of substance in 5 years. Oh, wait, I’m beginning to understand why Bean thinks “He is the best Diversity VP I have ever seen…”

Actually, we’re not really sure that he will go up for full. Melinda Grier has the information, but she will not share it with faculty – unless we pay her:

Dear Professor X:

The University of Oregon has received your public records request for a copy of any “email, memo, etc.” stating if or when Vice President Charles Martinez will be put up for promotion to full professor. The University is now providing an estimate of the cost to respond to your request.

The University estimates the actual cost of providing the information responsive to your request to be Eighty-Three Dollars and Eighty-Three Cents ($83.83). Upon receipt of a check made payable to the University of Oregon in the amount of $83.83 the University will proceed to locate and provide the information you have requested that is not exempt from disclosure.

I like the way Melinda feels the need to spell out the “Eighty-Three Dollars and Eighty-Three Cents ($83.83)”. That will learn them damn faculty.

Tenure and Promotion

10/29/2009: Curious about who got tenure or was promoted to full professor at UO last year? So are the members of the UO’s Faculty Personnel Committee. According to their official report,
That’s right, Provost Bean refuses to say who has been given tenure and promoted. He won’t even tell the faculty who advise him on the cases. I have never heard of this happening at a university before. Never. The report from the 2007-8 FPC (when Brady was Provost) says:

The FPC chair inspected all decision letters sent by the provost. This is a critical step that should always be practiced soon after they are sent.

The UO administration’s contempt for the faculty is just stunning. Lariviere needs to pay some attention to these issues.

Promotion

10/8/2009: We’ve heard that Provost Bean has decided to reduce the weight given to research and teaching and boost the importance of administrative service in considering promotions to full professor. Another rumor is that Diversity VP Charles Martinez – given tenure last year – will be promoted to full professor this year. Please pass on any additional info on these topics, using anonymous comments. (We cannot tell the source of anon comments and if you request in the comment we will use the information but not post it.)