Administrator evaluations

6/13/2010: Just about finished up with grading here – another 120 pages to go. My students have already done their evaluations of me. Getting feedback isn’t always pleasant, but that’s sort of the point. UO requires student evaluations for every course I teach, and these evaluations are part of what determines my salary. Administrators are also supposed to be evaluated. 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.

I believe there are also OAR’s and/or OUS rules to the same effect. Does anyone know whether these “in-depth” evaluations are actually done for UO’s senior OA’s? I’ve heard that they were done for Myles Brand, John Moseley, once, a long time ago! Thanks to Anon for the pointer on this.

ORSA administrator forced out

6/11/2010: Two weeks ago VP for Research Rich Linton was told he would get a terminal contract. Today, rumor has it that Associate Vice President of Research and Director of ORSA Paula Roberts was fired by Provost Jim Bean, and that this was the direct result of pressure from “irate” UO faculty angered over her poor job performance. If true, I think this would be the first time in recent memory that the UO administration has taken faculty complaints about a matter involving a senior administrator seriously enough to take serious action. Good work Provost Bean, and I hope this is a precedent.

$25,000 to oppose union, $0 to evaluate administrators

6/9/2010: In November, UO VP for Finance Frances Dyke signed a secret contract with labor relations consultant Stan McKnight for $25,000 to develop UO’s website responding to a faculty unionization effort from the AAUP/AFT. UO kept the contract secret until May, when the GTTF union found out about it. At that point UO fessed up, posted the contract and work description here and ended the deal.

The official line is that the $300 an hour consulting fee was not for advice on how to “oppose the union” – that would be illegal under Oregon law – instead it was for help “conveying relevant and factually accurate information” to the UO faculty. Which explains why the administration tried to keep the contract secret, to the point of including a nonstandard confidentiality clause preventing McKnight from even disclosing the existence of a contract:

Because you don’t want to give the faculty factually accurate information about who is giving the faculty factually accurate information. The contract was limited to $25,000 because OUS rules require a public posting on the OUS procurement website for contracts more than that. Clever. Too clever. Dumb. But it should make a good case study for Melinda Grier’s labor law class.

The saddest part of this is that the McKnight firm is not exactly the Pinkerton Agency. McKnight’s main business is consulting on evaluations of university administrators. Standard stuff for any well managed institution. They survey the faculty and staff, collect ratings of effectiveness, strengths and weaknesses, then write up an independent evaluation explaining what is being done well, areas for improvement, and so on. Now that’s something I’d be willing to see UO pay $25,000 for. I’ve been here a long time, and UO has never performed this basic good management practice for its top administrators. Not even once. Because they are scared of what they will hear and are afraid it would make it harder to justify giving each other raises. And they wonder why there is support for a union?

How did this $25,000 contract come to light? Apparently UO lied to the GTFF during negotiations and those ever curious grad students got suspicious and dug it up. Good work. No word yet on how much UO will pay for advice on how to minimize the damage from UO having to tell the faculty that they had been hiding the existence of this contract, or on how much UO will pay for advice on how to minimize the damage from having to tell the faculty that they had to pay a consultant to tell them how to minimize the damage from having to …

6/10 Update: A senior UO professor now leaving for another university sends us these extracts of past Senate meeting minutes on previous efforts to make UO administrators take the requirement for annual evaluations seriously. He says the last time faculty were surveyed for their opinion on a top administrator was for President Myles Brand’s 3 year review. Frohnmayer put an end to that business.

Duck Soup’s spot on comment:

6/5/2010: I have no idea who Duck Soup is, but I agree with him/her:

… Briefly, UO is a very low-budget place, an overachiever, but starved too long to have avoided academic decay.

However, UO could have reached its supposed faculty salary goals of a decade ago if it had really wanted to. Dave F, Moseley, Bean didn’t. I don’t know if this was due to intent or simply a lack of focus.

UO spends a lot of money on things that I don’t care to have in the pot. Some of these things would be missed by others.

Overall, there has been a growth of administration at the expense of more directly academic expenditures. Been going on for years, maybe decades. All of this is easily seen from publicly available figures. Why this is not an issue — in the state board, the UO senate, the completely feckless FAC and budget committee — is beyond me. Maybe too many would-be administrators in the latter three groups, a lot of surreptitious butt-kissing.

Finally, I don’t see how tuition can keep rising faster than disposable income of middle class families. UO (and most other universities without huge endowments) need to figure this out before the public rebels. Part of it can be solved by ending above-mentioned administrative growth/bloat.

But, another piece of the puzzle, I think, is a reorientation of private giving. UO brings in something like $100 million/yr, very roughly, in private giving. But very little of this, proportionately, goes to tuition relief — I mean holding down posted tution rates in addition to augmenting financial aid.

Where does all the booty go? Look around! Especially near the corner of 13th and Agate and surroundings. Some of it is worthwhile, but different goals are needed for the future.

Have I left anything out?

regarding Rich Linton:

update from Anonymous:

It is a sad day at the University of Oregon when an administrator with the integrity and character of Rich Linton decides it’s time to leave.   As Roast Duck says, he is a classy guy.  

While significantly elevating the profile of research, Rich always worked toward the best interests of the entire institution.  His collaborative and thoughtful style of leadership and advocacy are going to be missed and another institution likely will become the richer for our loss.  Rich deserves our appreciation and thanks for an often thankless job, and I believe we all wish him the very best in whatever path he follows.

5/28/2010: posted by “Roast Duck” in the comments, regarding Rich Linton:

I don’t know if Linton was forced out or just wants to move on after many years here. I had heard rumors several years ago that he was about to leave.

He has been a classy guy, and has done a lot of good things e.g. to move faculty hiring along in the sciences by coming up with research startup packages from a tight budget.

On the other hand, he came from a background in the applied end of science, where UO has been known, to the extent it is known, in more basic areas of science. He has followed the path, it must be said in response to initiatives from certain quarters among the faculty, of pursuing “earmarks” from the federal and state government for supposedly futuristic research in over-hyped areas like nanotechnology, interdisciplinary brain science, and the like. Look at the new “integrative science” building and its planned follow-up. Look at where the Lokey money has gone.

Meanwhile, as others have noted, the graduate enrollments have lagged, rankings of UO research/Ph.D. programs have dropped. It certainly isn’t primarily Rich Linton’s fault, he probably isn’t rsponsible much at all, but he hasn’t been able to stop it and he has not resisted the tide of over-hyped dubious research initiatives.

Lariviere, unlike a certain previous administrator, is aware enough to know what’s been going on, especially with the rankings of the UO programs. So, it’s entirely possible that he decided it was time for a change.

It’s also possible, as I say, that Rich Linton simply decided it was time to move on.

So, Rich, I hope you find something better, you probably deserve it, you did about as well as anyone probably could have under the circumstances at UO the past decade or so. All the best to you!

VP for Research Rich Linton gets a terminal contract:

Update: Linton’s own public statement is here:

It is satisfying for me to leave knowing that the UO has seen increasing research accomplishments by its faculty, including sustained growth in sponsored research funding, interdisciplinary research initiatives and innovations supporting technology transfer and development. I am deeply grateful for our faculty, staff, students and my administrative colleagues who are directly responsible for these advances. 

Other than the ICC issue – which was the result of decisions made by Frances Dyke, Linda Brady, and Dave Frohnmayer, not Rich Linton – we don’t know the real story on this. So Linton gets the last word, and it’s classy.

5/26/2010: I don’t know the back story on this “confidential” decision to replace VP for Research Rich Linton. Without dissing Rich, I have to say I find it remarkable how Provost Bean can say “UO’s growth rate in research expenditures per faculty member over the last five years was 50% … ” instead of “The growth in the research awards earned per UO faculty member ….”. I do like that new paneling in Johnson Hall though, nice to see that Frances Dyke pissed away our ICC research money on first class work.

From: [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]] On Behalf Of Susan Peter
Sent: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 3:13 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: deans-dirs: Rich Linton Announcement
Sensitivity: Confidential

The following message is sent on behalf of Senior Vice President and Provost Jim Bean –

Colleagues –

Rich Linton, Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, has announced plans to step down from his position no later than June 30, 2011.  Rich has had a dramatic impact on the UO’s research enterprise and interdisciplinary initiatives during the past decade. For example, UO’s growth rate in research expenditures per faculty member over the last five years was 50%, ranking third best within the AAU (FY03-08, NSF’s latest available data). Rich has been instrumental in providing critical support of faculty recruitment and retention, graduate education, interdisciplinary centers and initiatives, research infrastructure, multi-institutional partnerships, and technology transfer.   Rich has served the institution with great skill, energy, good will and dedication.

A national search will begin presently and a search firm will be hired in the near future.  Rich and I will especially appreciate your support and assistance in this time of transition.  I wish Rich all the best as he looks toward new leadership opportunities and challenges.

Regards, Jim

first derivative of bloat wrst time

9/10/2009: The Institutional Research web site at http:/ is a clean, well lit and informative place. One curious UO Matters reader has been digging around there and reports on recent trends in administrative growth. Note that the most recent numbers are 2007, and are head counts – not dollars. Most insiders believe that spending on administration, and salaries, really took off in 2008, during former Provost Linda Brady’s second year. We hope Provost Bean reads these reports – from his public statements, he either has no clue about what is going on with UO’s administrative costs, or he is lying about them.

A few interesting numbers from UO IR ( If I’m reading this right, during the ten years from 1997-2007 total full and part-time teaching faculty increased 21% (adding about 300 bodies). During the same period the number of full- and part-time Management Services and Officers of Administration went up almost 40% (it was more than 40% for full-time positions) — also increasing about 300.

By this yardstick it looks like we’re adding administrators about twice as fast as teachers. That doesn’t count, of course, classified staff hired to support the administrators. We’ll save that for another day.

Over the same period, enrollment rose just over 18%. ( So another way of looking at it is that we’re hiring administrators at twice the rate of enrollment increase.

Administrative reorganization?


From the HR website:

Richard Lariviere, Incoming President, wishes to announce a reorganization within the President’s Office. The reorganization is necessary to ensure a smooth transition in leadership that is as seamless as possible and will allow the business of the university to move forward quickly and effectively during a critical time. The reorganization involves a number of changes.

Jim Bean, Interim Sr. Vice President and Provost, has agreed to continue in that role on a long-term basis.

University Advancement ultimately will be reorganized into two units, each with a Vice President reporting to the president — the Office of University Relations and the Office of University Development. Interim Vice President for Advancement Michael Redding has been asked, and has agreed to serve as Vice President for University Relations. In addition to its primary role of strategically positioning the UO with it various constituents and securing public resources to further its aims, the Office of University Relations will have responsibility for senior and executive assistant staff providing support for the president. A search for a Vice President for University Development will commence as soon as practical, with Sr. Vice President/Provost Bean serving as chair. Until that position has been filled, University Development will report to Vice President Redding.

As a result of his role in managing the university’s legislative priorities and providing policy and communication support for university leaders, Director of Intergovernmental Relations Tim Black has an extensive knowledge of university policies and procedures, the university’s role within the state, and the ability to work effectively with a wide range of internal and external constituents. Those attributes are essential to ensuring that the president is positioned to further the objectives of the institution. Tim Black has been asked, and has agreed to serve in an expanded role as Assistant Vice President.

Executive Assistant President Dave Hubin will continue to support the Office of the President in much the same manner as he currently does, meeting with individuals who contact the president’s office for assistance, serving as accreditation liaison officer and NCAA certification coordinator, serving as the president’s liaison to the nine federally recognized tribes of Oregon and on faculty governance, and many other important tasks. His title will change to Senior Assistant to the President.

In light of the retirement of Carol Rydbom, Becky Couch-Goodling, who has provided administrative support in the President’s Office since 1997 has been asked, and has agreed to serve in an expanded role as Executive Assistant to the President.

Finally, in light of the campus-wide reach and critical importance of campus diversity initiatives, Charles Martinez, Vice Provost for Institutional Equity and Diversity, will report directly to the president as Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity, rather than to the Sr. Vice President/Provost.

The above changes will ensure a core team of knowledgeable and dedicated staff to support the incoming president and contribute to a smooth transition that will allow important work to continue without disruption. The changes are anticipated to be effective on or about July 1, 2009.

Current UO employees who wish to share any thoughts or comments regarding the reorganization within the Office of the President are invited to submit comments to [Incoming] President Lariviere. Comments should be directed to Barbara West at [email protected] and must be received by 5:00 p.m. on June 30, 2009.