Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Oregon Chief Education Officer Nancy Golden to retire

August 25th, 2015

Nancy Golden, who for two years has overseen public education in Oregon from preschool to college, will retire in two weeks, Gov. Kate Brown announced Monday.
Lindsey Capps, 40, a former teachers union leader who is Brown's education adviser, will succeed Golden, 64, in an interim capacity while continuing as adviser to the governor, Brown's office said. Capps previously served as Golden's chief of staff for seven months.
Golden, a former superintendent of Springfield schools with decades of experience in Oregon public education, was chosen by former Gov. John Kitzhaber to serve as Oregon's second chief education officer.
Golden succeeded Rudy Crew, who became a lightning rod for criticism of his leadership style and the job itself. He quit after slightly more than a year to take a college presidency in New York City.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

University of Oregon faculty union settles contract, gets pay raises; classified workers say they’re preparing to strike

Register Guard
August 20th, 2015

The United Academics faculty
union at the University of Oregon decided to keep its eyes on the prize of a better, donor-funded university — and
so has tentatively settled a new three-year contract, well ahead of the start of school.
“It takes away a potentially contentious issue as our new university president embarks on the important work of raising some big bucks to support our academic mission,” said Michael Dreiling, union president and associate professor of sociology.
In the meantime, negotiations with the Service Employees International Union that represents the UO’s 1,700 classified workers are at an impasse — and resolution appears, for the moment, out of reach.
The faculty contract, which will be up for a ratification vote in early October, calls for a 3.5 percent total jump in cost-of-living raises over the next three years and a $650 lump sum payment to each full-time faculty member this November. Also, the UO will set aside an additional amount of money, equal to 2.25 percent of the total salary pool, to be distributed as merit raises in each of the last two years.
This is the second contract negotiated by United Academics, which formed at the university in 2013. The union represents 1,800 tenured and nontenured faculty.

For-profit colleges often leave Oregon students with debt, worthless credits

Portland Tribune
August 20th, 2015

Fantasia Spruill admits right up front that she’s never been the best of students.
She dropped out her junior year at Parkrose High School, when she was 16. Her father had a stroke, her mother went to prison. For awhile, Spruill and her 14-year-old sister were homeless.
But Spruill is smart, and she knows it. “A superstar,” according to a local guidance counselor who helps low-income students get into college. At 17, Spruill, hoping short-term to become a medical assistant, and long-term an obstetrician, was accepted into for-profit Heald College in downtown Portland.

Feds fault UO for releasing alleged gang-rape victim's therapy records without her consent

August 20th, 2015

The U.S. Education Department has slammed the University of Oregon in a "letter of guidance" for releasing an alleged gang-rape victim's confidential therapy records to UO lawyers without her consent.
The six-page letter, issued this week after repeated inquiries by The Oregonian/Oregonlive and members of Oregon's congressional delegation, said that institutions involved in litigation with a student should not share the patient's medical records without written consent or a court order.
In effect, the letter from Kathleen Styles, the agency's chief privacy officer, steamrolls a UO Counseling Center confidentiality policy weakened in March by center director Shelly Kerr, clinical director Joseph DeWitz and university lawyer Samantha Hill. The Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners is investigating four UO psychologists, including the two center managers, after Kerr secretly gave the woman's records to university attorneys in December without seeking her permission or notifying her therapist, Jennifer Morlok.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Oregon must detoxify PERS

Register Guard
August 16th, 2015

The financial hydraulics of Oregon’s Public Employee Retirement System are simple: If more money goes out, more must come in — and if less money comes from one source, more must come from another. Similar principles govern the politics of the pension system: If nothing is done to control the cost of PERS, public frustration will be directed at other targets.
State and local governments will see both types of cause-and-effect sequence soon. The courts and the pension system’s actuaries have delivered a double whammy that will increase the cost of PERS by $1.7 billion per biennium starting in 2017. To soften the blow, the initial cost will be reduced, resulting in even larger increases later on. As pension costs soak up revenues, public resentment will rise: Voters won’t be easily persuaded to pay more for public services if they have reason to believe that PERS is first in line for every tax dollar.

Monday, August 10, 2015

How Social Workers Unionized at Portland's Janus Youth Project

Labor Notes
August 10th, 2015

What happens when social workers grow tired of poor working conditions and poverty wages? At my workplace, the nonprofit Janus Youth Programs, we formed a union. Now the 50 of us have a voice to improve our working conditions and our clients’ living conditions.
My co-workers and I care for children in publicly funded—but privately operated—residential and re-entry treatment centers. Our job titles include case managers, direct care staff, and relief staff. Together we work with adolescents and families who have experienced sexual abuse, trauma, and often poverty.
Direct care and relief staff spend the majority of our shifts making sure our clients’ basic needs are met. We prepare meals, get clients to and from school and appointments, pass medication, and are, for many clients, the most consistent positive influence in their lives.
But just like in other privatized industries, our working conditions have deteriorated and wages have been stagnant.
We haven’t had significant raises since the 1990s. Many of my co-workers, even those who’ve worked at Janus Youth Programs for close to a decade, are making just over Oregon’s minimum wage. Meanwhile upper management has continued to enjoy its perks.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Christian university fires professor for getting pregnant out of wedlock, suit claims

August 4th, 2015

An assistant professor who says she was fired after she told supervisors at Northwest Christian University that she was pregnant out of wedlock filed a $650,000 lawsuit Tuesday against her former employer.
The supervisors gave Coty Richardson an ultimatum: Get married immediately or declare her pregnancy a mistake and sever links with her romantic partner of 12 years, the suit alleges.
Richardson is expecting a baby in November, according to the suit filed in Lane County Circuit Court.
A spokeswoman for the small liberal arts university in Eugene didn't immediately return a request seeking comment.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The future of college? Portland sees growth in alternative higher education models

Portland Tribune
August 4th, 2015

Caitlyn McCucheon was three years into an athletic training program at Concordia University when she started actually spending time as an athletic trainer.
“It was pretty much sitting around doing things I wasn’t expecting,” McCucheon says. “I thought it was going to be active.”
She decided to change her major for her senior year, leading to a fifth year at the private university and three years wasted on a different path.
“I know I’m passionate in helping, but I don’t know what I want to do,” McCucheon says.

Monday, August 3, 2015

UO breaks records, raising $827 million toward its $2 billion goal

August 3rd, 2015

Donors gave more than $214 million to the University of Oregon's $2 billion capital campaign during the fiscal year ended June 30. Fundraisers expect an extra boost as new UO President Michael Schill spearheads the campaign, which has raised $827 million toward its goal.Gifts and pledges raised in fiscal 2015 exceeded the previous year's total by 86 percent, becoming the second highest annual amount in the school's history.
Schill took office July 1, arriving with a fundraising track record from his law-dean posts at the University of Chicago and other schools. He has already made two fundraising trips to Portland and one to Los Angeles. Next, Schill plans  to travel across Oregon meeting alumni.