Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Public invited to comment on tuition of four universities

Statesman Journal
April 28th, 2015

A draft of the tuition and fees for the 2015-16 school year for Eastern Oregon University, Western Oregon University, Southern Oregon University and Oregon Institute of Technology is now available for public viewing and comment.
According to the Oregon University System, members of the public are encouraged to provide comment on the tuition and fees draft prior to it being submitted to the Oregon State Board of Higher Education. Senate Bill 270 — 2013 legislation that will take effect July 1 — says the four universities will set their tuition and fee rates under the governance of their own boards, apart from the State Board of Higher Education.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Archivist James Fox says UO Interim President Scott Coltrane's team betrayed, scapegoated him

April 17th, 2015

University of Oregon archivist blamed and terminated after a massive records release deemed "unlawful" by UO's interim president said Thursday he had nothing to do with the debacle and is being scapegoated.
James Fox, head of the UO Special Collections and University Archives, said during an interview in Portland that Interim President Scott Coltrane's office should be responsible, as the "creating office," for vetting records to remove confidential information concerning students, faculty and staff members.
Instead, Fox said, Coltrane's office transferred the responsibility to librarians in a written agreement that Fox wasn't shown. Kira Homo -- a lower-level digital archivist, who has since resigned after also being suspended with pay -- released the 30,000 pages digitally without telling Fox they weren't vetted, he said.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

University students push subcommittee for $755 million

Statesman Journal
April 15th, 2015

College students from every corner of the state — many of them wearing waterproof ponchos to "Stop the downpour of student debt" — filled a hearing room Tuesday at the Oregon State Capitol to advocate for higher education funding.
Students have been rallying all session long for increased state funding: $755 million for universities and $550 million for community colleges.
Tuesday's hearing was held by the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education regarding funding appropriation for universities, specifically HB 5024, which distributes money from the general fund to the Higher Education Coordinating Commission.
The commission is a volunteer board of volunteers that advises the governor, legislature and Oregon Education Investment Board on higher education policy. It makes biennial budget recommendations, funding allocations to universities and community colleges and approves new academic programs, according to the commission's website.

University of Oregon Will Name Michael H. Schill New President Today: Updated

Willamette Week
April 14th, 2015

The University of Oregon will name Michael H. Schill, currently the dean of the University of Chicago Law School, as the university's new president today, WW has learned.
Schill replaces interim president Scott Coltrane, who has served since August 2014.
The top spot at the state's flagship university has been in near constant flux in recent years. After a long national search, Richard Lariviere replaced longtime President Dave Frohnmayer in July 2009. Lariviere's aggressive approach alienated the Oregon University System board and they fired him in November 2011.

New University of Oregon president: Michael Schill, law dean at U of Chicago

April 15th, 2015

Michael Schill, law dean at the University of Chicago and formerly at UCLA, was named president of the University of Oregon on Tuesday.
Schill, 56, is the first president chosen by UO's new board of trustees rather than the statewide Board of Higher Education. He is an expert on real estate and housing law who founded and ran a real estate-focused academic center at New York University before working 11 years as a law school dean.
At UO, he replaces the previous president, mild-mannered Michael Gottfredson, whom that board ousted within weeks of taking power. He will be paid $660,000 a year and live for free in the UO president's house.
Among the challenges he will face when he comes aboard in July, UO is trying to raise $2 billion, the most by any Oregon institution in state history.

Trustees select Schill as next UO president

Register Guard
April 15th, 2015

Michael Schill, dean of the University of Chicago Law School, is the University of ­Oregon’s new president.
After a lengthy search, the UO Board of Trustees on Tuesday unanimously approved hiring Schill to fill the vacancy created by last year’s sudden resignation of Michael Gottfredson. Schill, who will start work on July 1, will be the UO’s 18th president.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Professors’ letter urges archivist’s reinstatement

Register Guard
April 13th, 2015

More than 100 University of Oregon professors have signed a letter urging the university to reinstate archivist James Fox.
Fox was one of two UO library archivists who lost their jobs because of the roles they played in providing 25,000 pages of unfiltered presidential archives to a professor.
The other archivist, Kiro Homo, has since resigned for “personal reasons,” university officials have said.
The letter sent earlier this month to Interim President Scott Coltrane and other top administrators says managers have failed to manage records properly and to give librarians enough resources to handle them. It says Fox helped to fix a long-standing records situation and should not be fired.
Fox was the 15-year director of UO special collections and university archives. His resume says he’s a UO associate professor who teaches in the UO’s history department and Honors College.
Fox’s employment status is tenuous. He was placed on paid administrative leave after the university discovered the release of the presidential documents. 

More than 100 UO professors sign letter urging suspended archivist James Fox's reinstatement

April 13th, 2015

More than 100 University of Oregon faculty members have signed a letter urging reinstatement of an archivist suspended after a records release that UO's interim president called unlawful.
The continuing controversy, and debate over weakened confidentiality at UO's counseling center, are setting administrators' nerves on edge as a presidential search enters a critical stage. Trustees don't want divisiveness to rile candidates as they discuss which of four finalists to pick as the university's next leader.

Student Outcomes Will Determine Public Funding of Universities in Oregon

The Chronicle of Higher Education
April 11th, 2015

Oregon’s public universities will get state funds on the basis of student outcomes rather than enrollment, a state higher-education panel has decided.
The Statesman Journal, in Salem, Ore., reports that in a new approach, money from the Public University Support Fund will be allocated according to rates of student access and completion, with an emphasis on underrepresented populations.
Performance-based funding has gained favor among many state lawmakers in recent years. In Oregon, the new model is to be put fully into effect over the next four years.

Friday, April 10, 2015

University of Oregon board homes in on four finalists for president

April 8th, 2015

Four finalists are vying for the presidency of the University of Oregon, as a confidential search process proceeds apace.
UO Trustee Connie Ballmer, who heads the Eugene university's presidential search committee, said in a phone interview Wednesday that the full Board of Trustees will begin discussing the finalists next week. If all goes well, board members could pick a president within weeks, she said.
But presidential searches are unpredictable -- candidates can drop out, the full board may not like any of the finalists -- so Ballmer said she couldn't predict timing.

Oregon commission votes to fund public universities based on degrees awarded, not seats filled

April 10th, 2015

A state higher-education commission passed sweeping reforms Thursday designed to fund public universities based partly on how many Oregonians they graduate, instead of the number they enroll.
In a unanimous vote in Salem, Oregon's Higher Education Coordinating Commission adopted an innovative "outcome based" approach that will reward access and completion of degrees instead of filling classroom seats.
A complex funding formula, to be phased in during four years, creates incentives for student retention and boosts funding for universities that award degrees to minorities, low-income students, rural residents and veterans. Until now, the state system rewarded universities mainly for enrolling students, regardless of how many dropped out or took more than four years to finish college.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Quality higher education requires investment

The Register Guard
April 7th, 2015

The University of Oregon’s Board of Trustees recently approved a new mission statement for the university. Its first line declares that the UO “is a comprehensive public research university committed to exceptional teaching, discovery, and service.” The university faculty are primarily responsible for carrying out this core mission. Research and teaching stand at the center of our professional work. Investing in teaching and research excellence builds the long-term academic reputation of a university, something that carries far more value to parents, students, and alums than any other type of branding work.
One indicator of our success in our mission is the university’s membership in the Association of American Universities, a collection of 62 research universities across the United States and Canada. The AAU admits only universities that demonstrate a serious commitment to research, graduate training, and undergraduate education. One of the yardsticks the AAU uses to measure a university’s commitment to excellence is its ability to recruit and actively retain an excellent faculty.

Monday, April 6, 2015

What is Oregon’s definition of a college education?

Statesman Journal
April 6th, 2015

I am delighted that Oregon’s Legislature is discussing higher education via the many bills that have been introduced.
There is urgency as well. College education is rapidly becoming a must-have for the young to be economically successful, though I am personally frustrated with the marginalization of vocational education. While a ninth-grade level education would have been good enough a century ago (hence, the tradition of celebrating high school graduation as an achievement in life), the worry now is that a person without a college degree might not even get an interview for an entry-level job.
Further, many students earn college credits from community colleges, for-profit institutions or colleges in other states, and we want to help them with putting all those credits to use toward a degree and not waste that investment. All these matter, especially when a typical college graduate exits the system with more than $20,000 in debt.
I understand, therefore, the legislators’ interest in making higher education more efficient. The bills being considered include accelerated college credits programs that begin even from the high school years, to making transferring credits across institutions easier, to funding that will be tied to outcomes.

Friday, April 3, 2015

UO profs: Hiring an assistant vice president to combat campus sexual assaults is not enough

April 2nd, 2015

Using words such as "sweeping" and "robust," the University of Oregon has announced initiatives to prevent sexual assault, with plans to hire an assistant vice president responsible for fighting such violence.
But the word "assistant" doesn't impress a professor who co-chaired a UO task force that specifically recommended in November that a position of vice president be created to handle the high-profile job.
Carol Stabile, a professor in the School of Journalism and Communication's department of women's and gender studies, co-chaired the University Senate Task Force to Address Sexual Violence and Survivor Support. She and Jennifer Freyd, a UO psychology professor who also served on the task force, said Wednesday they were disappointed by the decision of Interim UO President Scott Coltrane's administration.

Kitzhaber Wanted to Strip Teachers of Ability to Strike

Willamette Week 
April 2nd, 2015

Oregon House leaders on Tuesday announced that they'd approved a $7.255 billion schools budget for the next two years as the state’s financial commitment to K-12 education. Schools advocates say they want more—and that could set up a battle for the remainder of the 2015 legislative session.
But many people believe the amount the state spends on schools is not the biggest money issue in Oregon education. Instead, it's the tension between the Legislature, which doles out the state support for schools, and local school boards that decide how to spend the money.
Former Gov. John Kitzhaber recognized the problem. Local districts negotiate their own contracts with teachers’ unions. Kitzhaber believed that as long as the Oregon Education Association, the 45,000 member teachers' union, prevailed over local school boards—and it often does—districts will continue to spend money faster than the state can send it to them.