oh shit, not again

6/9/2011: Last July we wrote:

While ORSA has been in complete disarray, the Human Subjects Protection office has been very well run. I hope they can find a worthy replacement for Juliana (Kyrk). Given what I’ve seen of other university’s IRB offices it won’t be easy. Rumor is that the general disarray at the top of ORSA led to her retirement. Don’t know how this is related to the Rich Linton resignation if at all.

Two months ago, Rich Linton wrote:

and now Christina Booth is suddenly gone. The website just says “Director – position vacant”. That explains why I never got a call back on that protocol question.

If you know the inside scoop on what happened here, and who is to blame, please don’t send an email to uomatters@gmail.com. And please don’t leave an anonymous comment. I don’t want to know. Please – just fix this, Provost Bean. Get down on your knees and beg Juliana to come back, hire some consultants, or whatever it is you do over there in Johnson Hall.

This is bush-league stuff. Over and over again. We pay you $295,000 for this? And Rich, don’t you think you might want to email the PI’s and at least tell us to forget about getting approvals for the summer?

The faculty lounges, and administrators bloat

6/8/2011: The Faculty Lounges and Other Reasons Why You Won’t Get the College Education You Paid For by WSJ editor Naomi Schaefer Riley is currently getting a lot of attention. Insidehighered.com has a interesting summary and interview, by Dan Berrett. The discussion is pretty lively too.

Q: The title and subtitle together imply that the faculty is the chief force driving up the cost of college. But you also cite research by the Delta Project that shows that colleges have increased their non-instructional spending more than their instructional spending — and you acknowledge that professors were not the ones choosing to spend the money this way. If you had to assign rough percentages or rankings to the various reasons that, as your subtitle says, students don’t get the college education they paid for, what would they be?

A: I don’t mean to nitpick but in the title I’m blaming the faculty for not giving the students a good education, not for driving up the costs of that education. I’d say the bulk of the blame for the cost (let’s say more than half) goes to our third-party payer system of financial aid. Every time the federal government adds money to what they will kick in for student tuition, colleges jack up their prices. Administrative bloat probably accounts for another quarter of the blame. …

Do any UO departments still have faculty lounges? Graduate student common rooms? Undergraduate common rooms? Or has that all been contracted out to Cafe Roma?

The Delta Project data on costs should have the data for 2009-2010 posted in a few weeks, that will give us an update on Provost Bean’s efforts to promote administrative bloat. Last time we looked, bloat was doing fabulously:

7/30/2010: More from “The Delta Project on Postsecondary Education Costs, Productivity, and Accountability” and their online database of the federally required reports to IPEDS.  Looking at UO’s spending per student FTE compared to Carnegie Public Research university averages, for 2008. We spend:

  • $2,347 on Central administration. 96% of the average
  • $8,850 on Instruction. 91% of the average
  • $1,937 on Academic support: 70% of the average
  • $3,521 on Research. 63% of the average

So UO spends about $70 million on research. (The measure excludes research funded by departments – e.g. when faculty spend time on research on regular pay.) The internal “big ideas” initiative that Provost Bean announced last year was an internal competition for a total of $250,000:

Colleagues:
The 2009 Academic Plan created the Phased Focus process implemented by a series of Big Ideas to power the University to the next level.  In Spring, 2009, a 15 person faculty committee chose the first set of Big Ideas from 28 submissions.  These five interdisciplinary teams were each funded with $50,000 from carryover in the Provost’s Office budget from FY09, and launched in July, 2009. …

This moves us from 63% to 63.25% of what the average public research university spends per student. Well, it would if it were recurring, actually it’s one-shot. In comparison, here’s what has happened to administrative spending in just one administrative office, Institutional Equity and Diversity:

2006   $429,000
2008   $596,000
2010   $743,000

The $314,000 increase that went to OIED (and this is before their recent hiring increase) is more than the $250,000 for research “big ideas”. And this is just one administrative office. And this happened when the administration was already receiving proportionally far more money than research.

The UO administration talks about wanting to be a top tier, flagship institution and wanting to stay in the AAU. But that is not where they are spending our money.

UO Administrators still believe that UO is “under-administrated”. WTF?

UO cuts Oregon unemployment rate

5/25/2011: (reposted, original lost in the blogger reboot).

Oregon’s unemployment rate is 10.5%, but UO is doing what it can to put people to work in key sectors of the American economy of the future. First there’s the mission critical “Cheer Advisor” job. The ad calls for:

Proven ability to manage and advise a cheerleading group of 30+
college students required.

Down at the faculty club they say the inside candidate is Pat Kilkenny. Then there’s this new position:

Dr. Dan Close, Family and Human Services Program Director and John Duncan, Director of the Holden Leadership Center wish to announce the direct interim appointment of Keri Bellotti in a 1.0 FTE position as the Coordinator of Global Services and Volunteerism …

No search, no competitive hiring process, they don’t even post the job description, and then poof – a 12 month appointment as an Officer of Administration. Wait, where have I heard that Bellotti name before, sounds familiar. Well, here’s hoping our General Counsel gets a written contract this time.

Speaking of which, Randy Geller is still searching for an Assistant General Counsel. It’s been a year now Randy, give it up, the word is out, nobody wants to work for you. Your only chance is finding someone who’s never used google.

Two more serious jobs have also been posted. Brad Shelton’s job is going from 0.5 to 1.0 FTE. Good. (But a commenter points out that Brad’s already been working 0.75 time at it. But what’s $30K between administrators?) And then there’s the announcement for the Frances Dyke replacement. I’d like to know who led the transition team that recommended Lariviere keep Ms Dyke on for his first two years, but this ad is real progress:

In 2010, in response to decreases in state funding, President Richard
Lariviere proposed a new governance and funding structure to allow for
increased autonomy in making institutional decisions. …

Reporting to the President, the new CFO will play a critical role in
positioning the UO for the future. S/he will provide counsel to the
Provost and the President regarding all financial issues and will be
expected to leverage this new market landscape, through innovative
financial strategy and management. The CFO will be expected to forge a
financial vision and strategy for the UO; enhance organizational and
operational capacity and efficiency; enhance institutional systems,
policies, and processes to support creative decision making and
responsibility centered management; increase and leverage new and
existing sources of revenue; and partner across the University and State
to make a new governance and funding vision a reality.

This is an exciting job. Lariviere is going to pay plenty and he will have his pick of candidates. And maybe Huron Consulting will hire Ms Dyke, and spare UO the 1039 hours golden parachute contract. They sure owe her.

faculty productivity measurements

5/7/2011: In the Austin Statesman, via bojack.org. The UT system compiled a data set on faculty productivity, then squelched it, then fired the guy who told the press they’d squelched it. Jack wonders if the recent SOS audit was motivated by questions from an Oregon legislator. Probably, Oregon HB 3118 (now dead) called for something similar.

There’s no reason to freak out about these efforts to put some data out there. I’m no business management professor, but we faculty are UO’s profit center, not its cost center. We are underpaid, we teach way more than our comparators, and we bring in some pretty decent research funding too. The more people know about what we do the better. Professors make money for the university.

The UO administration, on the other hand – well, there’s a reason they make it so difficult to get public records and basic information about where they are spending tax and tuition money. And don’t get me started on OUS.

Revealed preference of administrative priorities.

5/6/2011: The economists say you learn what people want by watching what they do, not what they say. Here at UO the number of students is up 20% and tuition is up 30%, while the number of faculty is unchanged, we haven’t had a raise in 3 years, and the staff have to take furloughs.

And today we learn from Greg Bolt in the RG that the UO administration is hard at work on a plan to max out our debt ceiling, borrowing money to build 2 more swimming pools:

The University of Oregon could soon launch a huge overhaul of student recreation and activities facilities if it can win quick state approval of a $160.5 million plan to expand two key buildings.

The plan, which faces some challenges, would demolish and rebuild a substantial portion of the Erb Memorial Union, the central gathering space on campus for students and student groups. It also would add more than 100,000 square feet to the Student Recreation Center, including adding a two-pool swimming center. …
The work would be financed using $13.5 million the university previously set aside for the project, $35 million in private donations and the rest through bonds repaid with the new student fee. The fee would start at $30 per term in 2011-12, rise to $60 per term in 2012-13 and after that would remain at $100 per term — that’s $300 for an academic year — until the bonds were repaid.
But the university system has never before allowed a school to begin collecting fees for a student building project before the building opens. The university system has figured that the students who will graduate before the project is done shouldn’t have to help pay for it. …

Where *did* they spend the money?

5/2/2011: The most recent draft (2009) of UO’s Academic plan is posted on Provost Bean’s website. There are pages and pages of yada-yada, but the meat is on page 9:

Institution Size. We intend to increase the size of the incoming freshman class and to grow the campus to a total of 24,000 students (from 20,300 students). … we seek to reverse the decline in doctoral student enrollment (down by eight percent since 2003) and reach a stable enrollment of 1500 doctoral students within five years (in Fall 2007 there were approximately 1100 doctoral students).

Faculty Size and Quality. Any increase in student numbers must be met by an increase in faculty if we are to preserve our core educational mission — especially because UO faculty/student ratios are already low, relative to our AAU peers. We seek to increase the number of faculty by 100 to 125 tenure-track faculty lines to accommodate the growth in the number of students …

As of fall 2010, we were teaching (and collecting tuition from) 23,400 students. That’s a 15% increase over the 20,300 in 2007. This fall we are predicting 24,500 students. A 20% increase, and above the plan’s target.

So have we hired the 100-125 new faculty the Provost’s plan calls for? From 2007 to 2009 the number of tenure-track faculty increased from 642 to 660. That’s 18 faculty, not 18%. In the past year, maybe another 10 or 20? Nowhere close to keeping up with student growth.

So where did our administration spend all that tuition money? $2 million here. Any guesses on the rest?

The union organizer’s Bunsis report from February has far more info than anything I’ve seen from the UO administration on this question. You’ve got to love the tagline on the Provost’s web-page though: “Thank you for your continued investment in our Academic Plan.” Uh, you’re welcome Jim, I guess.

Inside Oregon blogs

2/2/2011: UO now has an online “official organ”, Inside Oregon. It’s OK. They’ve even got blogs on the hot topics: Francis Dyke’s plan for an armed UO police force,

and President Lariviere’s new partnership plan. I gave their comments a test and the editor, Joe Moseley, is approving the critical stuff – though his posts are a bit obsequious. You’re spending students’ tuition money here Joe, no reason to toady to Frances. And you might want to widen the main text columns a bit.

Larry Singell will leave UO to be Dean at Indiana

1/25/2011: This is really bad news for UO’s future. IU press release here. UO Pres Lariviere should be firing his current top administrators and promoting people like Associate Dean Singell. Instead he has decided to keep the deadwood while focusing on his new partnership plan, and now one of our best potential replacements is leaving.

Meanwhile, rumor is that Provost Bean asked the people doing Russ Tomlin’s performance review to go easy on him, because he didn’t want to have to replace him for another 2 years. Yes, they apparently are doing performance reviews of administrators now – not that they will admit this to the faculty. How do you review the VP for Academic Affairs without asking the faculty what they think of his performance?

I’m sorry, I know this is a rude post. But I’ve put my professional career into UO. I deserve to have some input and get some minimal level of competence from the administration. We all do. And we all would even if Provost Bean’s claim that we are only spending 38% of what our peers do on administration was actually true:


University administrator to repay $300,000

12/27/2010: A Law Dean at the University of Maryland. From the Chronicle and the Sun:

Former Maryland law dean agrees to return more than $300,000

Rothenberg reaches settlement with attorney general, will return to full-time faculty duties in January 

December 22, 2010|By Childs Walker, The Baltimore Sun 
The former dean of the University of Maryland School of Law has agreed to return more than $300,000 of a $350,000 bonus questioned in a state legislative audit earlier this year, the attorney general’s office announced Wednesday.
The legislative audit, released in February, revealed that former dean Karen Rothenberg received $410,000 in “questionable” payments between fiscal 2007 and fiscal 2009. The audit embarrassed the state university system and hastened the retirement of Rothenberg’s former boss, University of Maryland, Baltimore President David Ramsay.
Rothenberg had agreed to return $60,000 earlier in the year, and she agreed to return the rest, minus taxes she has already paid on it, as part of the settlement. She will repay $311,398 in two installments, due at the end of this year and next June. She cannot face state prosecution for her actions in accepting the payments.

Here in Oregon this sort of thing was endemic under President Frohnmayer – see Moseley and of course Bellotti. OUS Chancellor Pernsteiner has done his best to keep up the tradition, with the golden parachute he gave Frohnmayer.

The UO Foundation did the same when Karen Kreft left – a huge benefits add on, and another $296,000 of retirement pay on top, if we read the IRS 990 correctly. And we assume Pernsteiner will get a similar buyout, if Kitzhaber gives him the boot.

Administrator grades are up

12/12/2010: This quarter’s grades are now up for the UO administrators. Given that Chip Kelly only got an A-, our poll responders seem a bit on the tough side. You want to see more evidence of effort?

.
Title Name Fall 2010 GPA Fall 2010 Grade
.
Coach, Football Kelly, Chip 3.73 A-
.
President Lariviere, Richard 2.75 B-
.
Provost Bean, James 1.69 C-
.
VP, Academic Affairs Tomlin, Russell 1.34 D+
.
VP, Finance and Admin Dyke, Frances 0.75 D-

Regardless, whoever is in charge of this place should consider implementing a deadline, to encourage early withdrawal for some of these administrators, as we do for our under-performing students. 
Yes, I know these are bullshit polls I am running. But while UO’s rules require in-depth evaluations of our top administrators, they ignore the rules. Go figure. So this is all we’ve got to go on.


The UO Faculty Handbook says:

C. Evaluating Administrators 
Officers of administration, like their teaching colleagues, are entitled to an annual evaluation by the head of the department, dean, or director of the faculty member’s administrative unit. University policy requires that an in-depth evaluation be conducted every three years. 

And this HR webpage has this:

Performance appraisals are one of the most effective supervisory tools to communicate expectations, provide feedback, plan work, acknowledge contributions, and help employees gain the skills to be successful. They are especially important for Officers of Administration who often provide leadership to students, staff and colleagues in meeting the university’s mission and goals. …

Annual appraisals for OAs are required by the university president and vice presidents. This is especially important in the first few years in a new position to ensure clarity on expectations and performance.

Performance evaluations of administrators?

We’ve heard that UO has recently started conducting performance evaluations of some administrators. This will come as a surprise to many who felt that the end of annual appraisals was nigh. No word yet if this process extends to the central administration. We are trying to track down details on who has been evaluated so far, who is scheduled for evaluation, and the process that is being used. If you know anything about this, please post an anonymous comment. Comments starting with “Do Not Post” will not be posted. We are not asking for details on the evaluations themselves – just the names and the process. Thanks.

The UO Faculty Handbook says:

C. Evaluating Administrators
Officers of administration, like their teaching colleagues, are entitled to an annual evaluation by the head of the department, dean, or director of the faculty member’s administrative unit. University policy requires that an in-depth evaluation be conducted every three years.

And this HR webpage has this:

Performance appraisals are one of the most effective supervisory tools to communicate expectations, provide feedback, plan work, acknowledge contributions, and help employees gain the skills to be successful. They are especially important for Officers of Administration who often provide leadership to students, staff and colleagues in meeting the university’s mission and goals.

Annual appraisals for OAs are required by the university president and vice presidents. This is especially important in the first few years in a new position to ensure clarity on expectations and performance.

bloat balloons

7/30/2010: More from “The Delta Project on Postsecondary Education Costs, Productivity, and Accountability” and their online database of the federally required reports to IPEDS.  Looking at UO’s spending per student FTE compared to Carnegie Public Research university averages, for 2008. We spend:

  • $2,347 on Central administration. 96% of the average
  • $8,850 on Instruction. 91% of the average
  • $1,937 on Academic support: 70% of the average
  • $3,521 on Research. 63% of the average

So UO spends about $70 million on research. (The measure excludes research funded by departments – e.g. when faculty spend time on research on regular pay.) The internal “big ideas” initiative that Provost Bean announced last year was an internal competition for a total of $250,000:

Colleagues:
The 2009 Academic Plan created the Phased Focus process implemented by a series of Big Ideas to power the University to the next level.  In Spring, 2009, a 15 person faculty committee chose the first set of Big Ideas from 28 submissions.  These five interdisciplinary teams were each funded with $50,000 from carryover in the Provost’s Office budget from FY09, and launched in July, 2009. …

This moves us from 63% to 63.25% of what the average public research university spends per student. Well, it would if it were recurring, actually it’s one-shot. In comparison, here’s what has happened to administrative spending in just one administrative office, Institutional Equity and Diversity:

2006   $429,000
2008   $596,000
2010   $743,000

The $314,000 increase that went to OIED (and this is before their recent hiring increase) is more than the $250,000 for research “big ideas”. And this is just one administrative office. And this happened when the administration was already receiving proportionally far more money than research.

The UO administration talks about wanting to be a top tier, flagship institution and wanting to stay in the AAU. But that is not where they are spending our money.

Building Trust

7/23/2010: One discussion at the recent Provost’s retreat was on building trust between the administration and the faculty. Or so we heard, on the hush-hush from a visibly nervous admin type, as he looked around the room to see if the boss was listening. The Provost won’t tell the faculty much about what happens at these retreats, of course. Did you even know they were having one? Did they ask for your input on UO problems? Get a clue, people.

Speaking of transparency, good article by Audrey Williams June in the Chronicle about raising faculty salaries at Minot State:

… For institutions looking to overhaul compensation, support from the very top is key, says Ms. Fedje. Others involved in the Minot State effort strongly agree. “I think the president’s buy-in with this task force has really funnelled through the university,” says Nathan Anderson, a task-force member who builds and manages databases for the College of Education and Health Sciences. “When we first started, I think there were a lot of unknowns. But I think people have bought into what we’re doing at this point.”

A Visible Process

One reason is openness. The group has widely circulated documents about its work, held open forums, and met with the faculty and staff senates to take questions and concerns. In addition, salary-notification letters detail how a person’s pay was calculated and puts it up against the market rate, Mr. Matthews says.

“The transparency has to be there, or otherwise people aren’t going to trust what’s going on at all,” Ms. Fedje says.

Rich Linton applies for PSU job.

7/2/2010: Rich Linton is a finalist for the VP for Research job at PSU. Thanks to a reader for the tip. Their admirably transparent search info is here. His cover letter says:

If there is any concern about my changing allegiances within the State of Oregon, I will speak most candidly and in confidence. I have been planning to step down from my UO position, but not because of any internal pressures to do so. After a decade of service to the UO, I feel it is my prerogative to help assure a healthy cycle of institutional renewal and leadership. I have been in discussions with the Provost over the past six months, and anticipate that the news will become more public in the near future. We plan to begin a search process for my position with an expected start date by July 1, 2011.

Not quite clear if he realized PSU would post it, but the whole letter is worth reading. Odd, but the list of accomplishments in his letter doesn’t include “Rolled over and let UO’s VP for Finance Frances Dyke blow $2.4 million remodeling administration offices instead of labs, leading to a cut in UO’s ICC rate from 50 to 42% once the feds found out.” Despite this, if I was making a list of senior administrators whose departure would improve UO Linton would not be close to the top.

Note that PSU has a link for a survey on the VP applicants. UO does this too – but only for applicants. Once they’ve hired a VP, UO will never again ask the faculty for input on their performance. Who cares what UO’s rules say about evaluations for the administrators. Move it along, professor punk.