No correlation between UO grad program rank and full professor pay

11/20/2019 repost: These are old data, but I doubt they’ve changed much.

8/9/2015: My understanding is that UO administration bargainer Bill Brady has said that the reason full professor pay for some UO departments lags the AAU averages is that some UO departments just aren’t that good. So I got curious if there was a correlation between UO department quality and pay.

The horizontal axis is the National Research Council’s 2010 ranking of UO PhD programs, see below for methodology. The vertical axis is average pay for UO full professors by department as a percentage of average pay at AAU publics for 2014-15. From UO IR, here.

I’m no econometrician, but the slope coefficient looks like zero to me. And lets not talk about the variance. There’s probably better data for department rankings but I doubt it changes the conclusion much: whatever system the UO administration is using to set faculty pay, it’s not about quality.

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The National Research Council rankings were released in 2010, the data was from 2007. Quoting from a description of the methodology here, “The NRC used 20 variables that it considers “indicators of program quality.” Variables include measures of faculty research activity, student support and outcomes, and faculty and student demographics. The indicators come from the extensive data provided by the institutions themselves as well as some data collected by the NRC (e.g., faculty awards, publications, and citations).” US News has more recent rankings for departments, but in contrast to their data driven undergrad rankings, the grad rankings are crap – entirely reputational, and the survey has simplistic questions and very low response rates. UO has current data on productivity from Academic Analytics by department (and faculty member) for ourselves and comparators, but the UO administration has chosen to keep even the UO department data secret. Maybe the administration’s bargaining team will show it at Wednesday’s bargaining session though, in an effort to justify their low-ball raise proposal?

9/29/2010: Idiots guide to NRC rankings of graduate programs:

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UO’s federal research funding barely tops Duck spending, after their subsidies

9/14/2015: UO announces $115M in research funding for 2014-15

Interim VP for Research Brad Shelton’s office has just released the 14-15 fact sheet here. $103.5M in federal grants:

The University of Oregon has more than doubled its research funding over the last twenty years to a total of $114.6 million in sponsored projects during the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2015. Buoyed by an uptick in federal awards, the university saw gains in its overall sponsored research funding and continued high proposal counts in 2014-2015.

Meanwhile Duck athletic spending for the 14-15 FY was projected at $98.4M. That official number excludes the $465K that Frohnmayer and Kilkenny stuck the academic side with for the cost of the Matt Court Arena land, and the $375K plus that they now make academics pay for the Presidential Skybox, and a large portion of the bonds for the Matt Court underground parking garage that the city of Eugene made UO build as a condition for allowing the arena development. These are born by regular UO parking permit holders instead of the athletics department. Then there’s the $2.1M for running the Jock Box, all paid by the academic side. Add that all up and you’ve got athletic spending of $101.5M for last year. I’m sure I’ve missed a few things, – maybe UO auditor Brenda Muirhead will find them with her new audit?

Interestingly, the original Matt Court Arena budget plan, as approved by the Senate Budget Committee’s Arena subcommittee, assumed that the Ducks would now be paying the academic side $450K for academic support services, out a total cost of $600K or so. That didn’t happen. Instead UO built the new Jock Box, which costs about $2.1M to run, and somehow the cost was switched from athletics to the Provost’s academic budget. Athletics has been paying $0. (See the “Academic Learning Center” revenue lines, in parens to indicate expenses. AD Rob Mullens and AAD for finance Eric Roedl now posts all these spreadsheets and MOU’s on, thanks to a few public records petitions I made to the Oregon DOJ and an audit by the Oregon Secretary of State. His files show the numbers for 14-15 as well, but the formatting is difficult so I’m just showing them through 13-14.)

So how did the academic side get stuck with that $2.1M for the Jock Box? I don’t know. No one even knew it was happening until Jamie Moffitt let it slip out, and Greg Bolt published it in the RG in May 2011. This is the first time I’ve noticed that UO once had a plan to shift the cost of tutoring athletes to the athletic department.

Former Provost Jim Bean claimed he had an MOU saying academics now had to pay, but he would never produce it. Here’s the 2010 Arena Budget plan, followed by the actual numbers as of August 2015. The athletic legacy fund balance now exceeds the 2010 prediction by about $6M – so maybe it’s time to revisit some of these Duck subsidies?

The updated 2010 Arena plan:

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The reality:

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9/8/2015: University announces record $308M in research funding for 2014-15

That would be Oregon State University, for the year ending June 30, 2015. Press release and links to data here. Thanks to a proud Beaver fan for the link:

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Oregon State University research funding reached $308.9 million, its highest level ever, in the fiscal year that ended on June 30. A near doubling of revenues from licensing patented technologies and an 8.5 percent increase in competitive federal funding fueled OSU research on a range of projects including advanced ocean-going research vessels, the health impacts of pollution and sustainable materials for high-speed computing.

UO hasn’t released our new numbers yet, the old report is here. When it is updated I’ll add the last 2 years to the “Civil War that matters” chart.

The figure on the left shows “Federal Flow Through” totals, which are the easiest to find directly comparable data. They include spending on outreach and instruction, but it’s mostly research money and the trends look similar no matter how you cut it. The figure on the right shows athletic department spending, from USAToday. (Official UO and OSU numbers for 2012.)

I know more recent data is now available. Reported Duck athletic spending has increased to $98.4M for 2014-15. I don’t have the stomach just now to track down the rest and enter it.

For more recent evidence on how UO is trying to divert money from academics to athletics, read the blockbuster report in the Register Guard about secret funding for UO’s failed 2019 International Track Championship bid. Link here.

Shelton reports that Espy brought in a 13% increase in UO research grants

9/21/2014 update: That may even have been more than the latest increase in the athletics budget. The report from UO’s astonishingly well paid new VP for research Brad Shelton is here. Oregon State has a real-time dashboard showing their data, here. If anyone knows where the full UO report is please put the link in the comments, thanks.

5/20/2013 updated Updated: Beavers crush Ducks in Civil War for research money, with athletic spending number chart, and at the bottom, some salary and consulting payment info from Espy’s office.

Diane Dietz has the story and data on UO here. I got the OSU data from their very complete Research Office data page, here. Both are “Federal Flow Through” totals, which are the easiest to find directly comparable data. They include spending on outreach and instruction, but it’s mostly research money and the trends look similar no matter how you cut it. That’s the table on the left. The table on the right shows athletic department spending, from USAToday. (Official UO and OSU numbers for 2012.)

University develops 5 point plan to boost AAU rank!

4/26/2014: That would be the University of Missouri, story here. Meanwhile here at UO, our administration is still trying to write a two paragraph mission statement.

Interestingly, the UM plan is focused on increasing incentives to create intellectual property, by making it easier for faculty to own patents and start businesses. Just the sort of thing that President Gottfredson and Sharon Rudnick tried to crush here at UO during the faculty union negotiations. Remember when Randy Geller wanted the right to vet all faculty consulting?

4/24/2014: With UO research in disarray, Gottfredson jets off for AAU meeting.

President Gottfredson’s official schedule is here:


Traveling to Washington D.C. for Association of American Universities (AAU) meeting

This trip is not going to be as much fun as January’s Alamo Bowl junket.

Last year President Gottfredson told our academic accreditors that UO’s aspiration was to rise to the top half of the AAU publics. The truth is that we’ll be very lucky if we can even stay in the AAU. Their “membership indicators” are posted here, and it’s all about federal research money. Sports gets zero weight.

But UO’s priorities are a little different than the AAU’s. For the 2012-2013 FY UO spent $95M on Duck athletics:

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UO research spending beat that by only $2.7M:

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Yes, while the UO Foundation funneled $25M in tax-free donations to Duck athletics, and spent another ~$6M on their own offices and salaries, only $2.7M went to fund UO research. (Note: the athletic and research numbers are for current expenditures, and exclude buildings like LISB and the Football Palace.)

Last spring the UO Senate handed President Gottfredson a golden opportunity to finally end some of the athletic subsidies and send the money back to the academic side:

2.1 BE IT HEREBY MOVED that the UO Senate requests that the UO President requires the UO Athletic Department to pay from its budget the full cost of providing tutoring and academic support for student-athletes, beginning in FY 2013-14;

2.2 BE IT FURTHER MOVED that the UO Senate requests that the UO President requires the UO Athletic Department to pay from its budget the full cost of the bonds used to purchase the Knight Arena land, beginning in FY 2013-14;

But Gottfredson blew this faculty plea off. The athletic subsidies – about $5M a year – continue.

Then there’s the leadership problem. The faculty just chased off the disastrous VP for Research Kimberly Espy. It took a year and a half – two formal reviews, research institutes gutted, PI’s have left, or are on their way out. While Gottfredson defended Espy every step of the way, he must have seen this coming for at least a year. Nope, he still hasn’t even found an interim replacement.

In a nutshell, staying in the AAU is all about academic research. But President Gottfredson is taking money from the academic side and spending it on sports. We currently don’t even have a VP for Research. But he says he wants UO to be a top tier AAU research university. Sure. Have a good time explaining this all to your peers at the AAU meeting, President Gottfredson.

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.

Faculty Research Awards v. UMRP

10/8/2013: There was a bit of a kerfuffle over these last year – Espy tried to prevent people from using these for summer support, then backed down. The announcement for this year’s program is here. Can be used for summer stipends, but you’ve got to pay the OPE rate too. Up to 20 awards at up to $5,500 each. That works out to a total of $110,000, tops. A rather astonishingly small amount of money.

Last year our comparison was to the $200K or so we paid Provost Jim Bean for his sabbatical. Latest word on Bean is that he still isn’t teaching, but is on the LCB dole as the Associate Dean of Integrated Programs. Sounds important – so important that he’s not even mentioned on the LCB website.

So for this year, lets compare that $5,500 to the $90,000 per hire that UO’s Under-represented Minority Recruitment program is willing to give departments, if they hire a minority:

Underrepresented Minority Recruitment Program 

The Underrepresented Minority Recruitment Program (UMRP) encourages departments to hire underrepresented minority faculty in tenure-related faculty appointments by providing supplemental funds to the department through its school or college following the successful tenure-related appointment of a new colleague from an under-represented group. Funds, in the amount of up to $90,000 total will be provided to the school or college in support of the hiring department or program and its faculty. …

Easy money, and you’ve got up to a year to declare that you’re in a “protected class”:

Self identification as a member of one of the following federally defined underrepresented protected classes: American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, Hispanic or Latino. While a department may not presume of a candidate his or her possible membership in one of the federally defined classes, a newly hired faculty member who has not otherwise done so may self-declare his/her status at any time and, as a result, the department may prepare and submit a plan up to one year after initial appointment. …

10/16/2012: And see the comments for reactions to the RIGE office’s plans to celebrate their “Wall to  University Research”.

10/15/2012: I wonder if her office was going to explain this to the potential applicants for these grants? The email I got certainly didn’t make it clear – but then that would have involved admitting to a mistake. And UO administrators never make mistakes. But at least Espy fixed one. 

The new policy is here. It again allows summer pay, as had been done for many years prior (though apparently not last year). It also removes the phrase that prioritized GTF-included projects, and the bit about prioritizing proposals with matching funds, apparently added this year.


Funds may be used as budgeted for allowable costs necessary to conduct the stated research project, consistent with all rules and policies, for travel, equipment, supplies, contractual services, core/shared user facility use, graduate or undergraduate student effort, or as a summer award (i.e., paid as a stipend in the summer term).  Funds may NOT be requested or used 1) to replace or fund faculty salary, 2) as stipend during the academic year, 3) for instructional release/course buyouts, or 4) for construction or facility renovation.


Funds may be used as budgeted for allowable costs necessary to conduct the stated research project, consistent with university and state rules, for travel, equipment, supplies, contractual services, core/shared user facility use, and graduate or undergraduate student effort.  Funds may NOT be requested 1) to replace or fund faculty salary or stipend, 2) for instructional release/course buyouts, or 3) for construction or facility renovation.

Note that the rules for research support are very different if you are an administrator. Interim Provost Jim Bean’s sabbatical contract promised him 9 months of regular pay and 3+ months of summer salary, at 60% of his $322,140 administrative pay. But my understanding is that he actually completed his research early, enabling him to collect the full rate plus beamer stipend over the summer.

UO drops flagship claim, prepares for loss of AAU research status

5/11/2013: Old press release boiler-plate:

About the University of Oregon 

The University of Oregon is a world-class teaching and research institution and Oregon’s flagship public university. The UO is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization made up of 62 of the leading public and private research institutions in the United States and Canada. Membership in the AAU is by invitation only. The University of Oregon is one of only two AAU members in the Pacific Northwest.


About the University of Oregon 

The University of Oregon is among the 108 institutions chosen from 4,633 U.S. universities for top-tier designation of “Very High Research Activity” in the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The UO also is one of two Pacific Northwest members of the Association of American Universities.

But our jocks are now way ahead of OSU. If current trends continue in a year or two UO will be spending more money on sports than on research. Diane Dietz has the story and data on UO here. I got the OSU data from their very complete Research Office data page, here. Both are “Federal Flow Through” totals, which are the easiest to find directly comparable data. They include spending on outreach and instruction, but it’s mostly research money and the trends look similar no matter how you cut it. That’s the table on the left. The table on the right shows athletic department spending, from USAToday. (Official UO and OSU numbers for 2012.)

VP for Research budget (updated with UO submissions and awards)

3/30/2013. Comments welcome. Between 2008 and 2013:

  • F and A (indirect) from grants increased from $14.7M to $17.2M, or 17%.
  • The VP for Research Office admin salary budget increased from $450K to $1.14M, or 153%.
  • ORSA’s salary budget increased from $787K to $1.7M or 116%.

VP for Research Office administrative budget for 2012-2013:

2007-08 (5 years ago):

ORSA 2012-13:

ORSA 2007-08:

Here’s a comparison of UO and OSU research funding – UO’s is flat.

UO’s ORSA reports are available here. (Thanks to X for the link – these are very informative, the 2012 report has a lot of historical info.) Submissions and awards look like this:

Research Advisory Panel (RAP) Report to the Provost

Several people have now sent me copies of this, thanks. It was written after a multitude of complaints about how VP for Research Kimberly Espy was handling her job, and concern over the consequences for UO’s research mission and our efforts to stay in the AAU.

The authors are 3 very well respected UO faculty PI’s, there was a lot of input from others, and a lot of drafts and back and forth. This final version has sat on Bean’s desk since he got back from the Fiesta Bowl. A snippet:

Given its importance to UO’s efforts to stay in the AAU I’ve posted the part of the report with 7 specific recommendations here. I’m leaving out the background material though. That part is very blunt, and I think making it public might discourage future honest discussion.

For the Potemkin Village view of UO’s research situation, check out this Around the O report. Word has it that Espy closed the event with a rousing rendition of “Mighty Oregon”. Comments welcome. 2/1/2013.

Former UO Prof Hsu has opinions about stuff

10/7/2012: Physics Prof Steve Hsu left UO this fall, to be VP for Research at MSU. Matthew Miller of the Lansing paper has a report. Not the usual generics, it deals in part with an email sent to MSU colleagues by UO Prof Daniel HoSang about Hsu’s views and research on IQ, but mostly about plans to link MSU research to local economic success. His blog has his response.

For contrast, I looked at what the RG has written about UO VPR Kimberly Espy and her efforts to keep UO in the AAU, etc: nothing. The ODE had generic puff piece on her when she replaced Linton, here. We need more serious journalism about this issue at UO.

Update: But meanwhile, we’ve got our readers, one of whom posts this:

Forget the genetics stuff, I’m more interested in this…
The Strategic Partnership program provides major grants ranging up to $400,000 over three years for areas of research growth. They are used to leverage matching support from other sources, to provide seed funding for the development of new knowledge, and to initiate new centers of excellence. These grants are treated as investments in the future development of MSU as one of the nation’s leading research universities.
…as compared to, oh I don’t know, maybe this…
Projects which fund Graduate Research Fellows will be prioritized and eligible for funding to a maximum of $8,000 if fully matched by funds from non-RIGE sources… Projects that do not provide support for Graduate Research Fellows will be eligible for funding to a maximum of $5,500.

Campus cops get guns, money

Updated 2/10/2012: Becky Metrick of the ODE has the scoop:

The guns, which are being used solely for training purposes, were ordered back in November after Lariviere signed a directive that authorized the creation of an official police force.

“Part of that document required DPS to acquire firearms for the certification, re-certification and training and skills maintained,” Executive Director and Chief of the Department of Public Safety Doug Tripp said. “As a part of the certification process, we must provide weapons.”

Here’s what the ODE printed on October 10, also by Becky Metrick, just 4 months ago, after the OUS Board authorized conversion from a public safety department to a sworn police force:

One of the biggest areas of debate has been whether the police force will be armed with possibly glock 19 and glock 19 holsters, but the board explicitly stated that its decision Friday did not include the use of guns or tasers. Should the University decide it wants an armed police force, it will have to request that of the board at a future date. If the board decides to have an armed force, they will also have to look at ensuring that the force is trained properly in gun use, gun maintenance, and other factors.

Still, the issue is likely to re-emerge as many have begun to question the effectiveness of an unarmed police force, especially in the wake of the Oregon Court of Appeals’ decision two weeks ago, which abolished the Oregon University System’s concealed carry ban for weapons. Currently, a person is allowed to carry a concealed weapon so long as they have a concealed carry permit for their weapon. You can find arizona concealed carry permit information on

“There are police forces around the world who do not habitually carry arms,” board member Paul Kelly Jr. said. “This is a decision that’s to be made down the road.”

Obviously a lot of people have been lying to the UO students and faculty about this. But new CFO Jamie Moffitt doesn’t see what the fuss is all about:

According to Jamie Moffitt, the director of the advisory group, information about this step was sent out months ago.

“I’m surprised because we had a memo that talked about weapons to be purchased that was sent out to people, including student representatives,” Moffitt said. “This information has been out.”

She’s surprised that we’re surprised? I’ve got a request in for that memo. (Update: got it from another source. There is no sign that it was sent to students.) Meanwhile here are the last ten years of DPS spending, from the Financial Transparency Banner tool:

2002-03 $1,607,012
2003-04 $1,612,250
2004-05 $1,733,536
2005-06 $1,789,688
2006-07 $2,427,713
2007-08 $2,166,847

2008-09 $3,073,604
2009-10 $2,831,690
2010-11 $3,811,421

2011-12 $4,287,098

Or $2.6 million, 166% growth over 10 years.

Last year Tripp and Frances Dyke told the faculty that campus police were going to save UO $73,000. This year their budget grew $475,000. Dyke has now been put out to pasture as a “special assistant” to the provost. We’re paying her $223,118 – an $11,000 raise over last year. Still wondering where our administration blew our science faculty start up money? Don’t forget to thank Senator Floyd Prozanski for pushing the armed sworn police bill through the legislature – over the objections of many Republicans.

The Campus Police Website is here. Their “campus policing initiative” is here, with links to oversight committee’s, etc. Many broken links.

Thanks to for the link.

Science start-up debacle

1/28/2012: From an anonymous commenter:

Having squandered millions in excessive administrative budget increases, remodeling their offices, golden parachutes, and other brilliant ideas, Johnson Hall’s solution for science startups is to spend against reserves in the humanities and social sciences. Despite having the least funding per student on campus, these programs and the college in which they reside have exercised the financial discipline and responsibility so lacking centrally, and so they have slowly accumulated substantial reserves over the last decade. These are funds they or their college on their behalf, could spend to support the humanities and social sciences.

Instead, Johnson Hall is expropriating the reserves by forcing CAS to use them for science startups without any provision for even partial repayment from the Research office. Repayment could be done slowly by promising a small share of future overhead, but ‘no, we’re in charge,’ said our czars. The longstanding ‘covenant’ with the research office has been that they receive and allocate all grant overhead. In return they assume primary responsibility for startup packages for hires anticipated to receive substantial grants. Having broken that covenant, they now demand that the humanities and social sciences, the least well-funded programs per student on campus to fix their failures.

Were did the money go? Athletics, in part. Jim Bean made the call to spend $1.8 million a year of general funds on the Jock Box tutoring operation. And he’s so proud of that he wrote an Op-Ed for the Oregonian about it. Clueless.

New profs to get bitchin 4×4’s instead of labs

1/11/2012: At the Senate meeting today Institute for Neuroscience director Shawn Lockery raised the very reasonable question of where UO was going to get the startup money for the 20 new science hires that Russ Tomlin has authorized. A new science hire can easily expect $1 million or so to get their lab up and running – money that UO eventually gets back in grant overhead and in the prestige of staying in the R1 AAU category.

But it turns out that former VP for Research Rich Linton and former VPFA Frances Dyke have blown all the startup money on junk ranging from remodeling the General Counsel’s Office in Johnson Hall to the Huron contracts to Bean’s 5 pet ideas to ???? It’s not clear what will happen next. Will Scott Coltrane come up with the money? Out of whose hide?

My suggestion? If we can’t give them a lab, let’s at least let them have their pick of UO Police Chief Doug Tripp’s new 4×4 cruisers – since that’s where Dyke spent a bunch of the money that should have gone to research.

And as a commenter asks, where was Provost Jim Bean while all this was going on? Asleep, or just clueless as usual?