Archive for the ‘oregon state university’ category

Parking at OSU

September 28, 2008

I have a question: What authorizes OSU to kick everyone out of staff and student permitted parking lots on game days and then charge for those spaces?

I’ve looked at the OSU Parking Services website as well as the OARs that govern OSU parking (yes, they exist, and there’s a fair amount of them), and in neither place do I find anything about the university’s right or ability to kick people out of parking spots they have paid for.

This is, in some ways, a moot point, as I’m not a student. But I work across the street from a staff parking lot that was filled with tailgaters at 5 PM Thursday.

That, and last year I was told OSU required all staff and students to move their cars from permitted lots by 3 PM so OSU could charge tailgaters for use of those same spaces.

The longer I am around OSU, the more Parking Services seems to be completely independent from any oversight, which is actually kind of surprising for OSU.


Note to the OSU Athletic Department

September 7, 2008

Closing the stands because they are unsafe (even though the materials for new bleachers have been lying on the ground within sight of the stadium for at least a year, and even though they still use the press box, which sits on top of the stands)? I can live with that.

Actually having event staff security at soccer games? There’s no need, but I can live with that – though they always come across as small-minded and mean-spirited. Last year they sometimes banned bags from the field; I also had one threaten to deny me entrance to a game if I didn’t show my student ID, which was surreal; it’s a good thing I still carry it around. (For those of you who don’t know, OSU soccer games are free and open to everyone, regardless of student status. In fact, more non-students than students attend games.)

Searching bags and banning anything but sealed water bottles? Not acceptable. There’s no reason for it. I’ve been told there have been incidents in the past, but I’ve been going to home men’s soccer games for six years, and I’ve never seen anything that warranted this. I have also been told this is a new Pac-10 rule, not an OSU thing. Seeing as how it came from the ‘security’ folks, I am skeptical (though it should be noted that even if it is a Pac-10 thing, it remains unnecessary). I tend to think the newfound fear of liquids has more to do with the sale of $3 bottles of water and a control-oriented culture than anything else.

Soccer has always had its own culture and practices. Here, that has meant a relatively low-key, dedicated fan culture (the occasional frat boy stupid fan notwithstanding). It has never, to the best of my knowledge, meant a need for security or insanely overpriced food and drink. It’s insulting to fans.

(While I am complaining, can I just note that I agree with this post regarding the strength of OSU’s preseason schedule? I’ve seen two men’s games so far this year, and OSU has outscored their opponents 10-0. In two games. I’ve left both games early because there was no point in staying. I know they’ve struggled in the past few years, but that’s no reason to adopt this schedule.)

OSU’s internal College of Engineering ranking system

June 30, 2008

Look what I found:

Innovation capacity metric = 40 x (number of BS degrees/average number of BS degrees for top25) + 10 x (number of MS degrees/average number of MS degrees for top 25) + 20x (PhD degrees/average number of PhD degrees for top 25) + 30 x (research expenditures/average research expenditures for top 25)

As was pointed out to me, there is no mention of quality here. In fact, there is no mention of anything besides “more” – more students pushed through and more research dollars spent, with no way to take in to account quality of education or success/type of research.

In other words, it’s not a very good standalone measure of the quality of a College of Engineering. It’s a decent measure of productivity alone, but that’s it. Also note: It says nothing about the faculty.

Second, the Corvallis Gazette-Times made a few mistakes on this one (as I not-so-subtly insinuated here). It has printed a number claiming to be the ranking of the CoE based on this metric at least once, if not twice (and in the second case, you don’t even want to know where the writer of that piece initially claimed to have gotten the number for OSU’s CoE ranking; it’s all I can do not to post it, it’s so unprofessional). In neither case did the GT even bother to mention where OSU’s supposed ranking came from. That was mistake number one – sourcing a number like that should have been a no-brainer.

Mistake number two happened in at least the first case: If the GT knew that OSU was using an internally-devised number (and I have reason to believe they did), they should have asked how the metric was devised, and upon figuring that out, spent a sentence or two noting that – even in an article about the death of Martin Kelley.

I’ll be honest: I don’t actually get frustrated with the GT very often. It’s got a pretty low reputation among almost everyone I know not in journalism circles, and I usually find myself defending the paper. Not today.

Thank you, Todd Simmons. My degree is now worth less for having read what you had to say.

June 27, 2008

While perusing the GT archives, I found this awesome story on how OSU ranks according to the US News and World Report. Check out this choice bit:

Over the years, Simmons said, OSU has remained steadily in the third tier, which he said is actually a testament to how hard the university has worked to keep retention, graduation and quality steady despite some very lean budget years.

Although OSU might be firmly stuck in the third tier, Simmons said the university isn’t suffering because of it.

“It really doesn’t have an impact on our recruitment,” he said.

One bright spot on the newly released report, Simmons said, is that OSU’s graduation rate has improved from 56 percent to 60 percent.

Simmons is more interested in other rankings, such as the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s classification, which ranks a university’s quality of research activity. OSU is the only Oregon university to receive a top ranking from the foundation.

“It’s a better reflection of what we really care about,” Simmons said.

Translation: F*** students F*** teaching! Bring on the research dollars!

I’m not saying research isn’t a big deal, especially at land-grant school, and one that does do an amazing amount of world-class research. However, it clearly reflects OSU’s bottom-line priority that research is more important than students – after all, tuition can’t go up too fast, and state funding is, in the long run, decreasing, so it makes a certain amount of economic sense to concentrate on bringing in research funding. But there are 20,000 students here, and someone should tell them they’re worth less to the OSU elite than a bunch of bacteria in a lab in a basement somewhere. This kind of move suggests that OSU, at the top, is less about being a university that offers a broad, rounded education and more about being a series of research labs and professional schools that offer job training.

Someone should make copies of this and distribute it at START sessions this summer…

OSU plans to cut Italian language classes

May 30, 2008

From the Gazette-Times:

Italian and other foreign language courses are popular at OSU and many have waiting lists, said Brad Dennis, the chief business officer for the College of Liberal Arts, which includes foreign languages.

Classes with high demand might be cut, Dennis said, because in the university’s budget model, tuition dollars don’t flow directly to the courses that students take.

“This is so ridiculous. It shouldn’t have to be this way. That’s the whole frustration,” Dennis said. “There is a total disconnect (between) where the students want to take classes and where the budget is to support it.”

Mark McCambridge, university vice president of finance and administration, said the university budget model is complicated, because there are expensive classes, such as science courses, and inexpensive courses, such as physical fitness classes. He added that most other departments have been able to operate within plan.

“They’re cutting the little people is what it is,” said Courtney Lindstrom, a junior majoring in public health management.

Methinks there’s something wrong with the funding model.

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think every class should turn a ‘profit’. That would be problematic for a whole host of reasons. But I do think that if OSU is cutting things with waiting lists, things that are needed to graduate, then, frankly, the model is broken.

Also of note: McCambridge’s comment is a useless non-sequitur. It explains or justifies nothing. In other words, it’s typical McCambridge.

Maybe in my free time I’ll look at the Resource Allocation Model used by OSU and see if I can figured it out. I’ve heard for a long time it’s biased away from the liberal arts.

Free time. Right.

Also: Kyle Odegard had two stories in today’s issue. That’s some kind of record, right?

It could have been anyone in Corvallis…

March 27, 2008

I tutored the former baseball player mentioned in this story for a term – he was taking a philosophy class.

Nice guy. Worked hard. Had an absolutely disgusting chewing habit (he would dribble it over his lower lip into an empty 20-oz soda bottle), but it was an overall pleasant experience for me.

That said, this wasn’t really that surprising:

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Two Oregon State baseball players, including the Most Outstanding Player of last year’s College World Series, were among three men arrested on accusations they fired bullets that struck a house and a car, a newspaper reported.

Jorge Reyes, 20 and John Wallace, 21, were cited for unlawful use of a weapon and criminal mischief. Former player Anton Maxwell was arrested on the same charges, the Gazette-Times reported Thursday.

Also not surprising is that so far, the two current players have received slaps on the wrist from the OSU Athletic Department – but then again, I didn’t expect anything else. Reyes especially is a good player, and there’s an inverse correlation between the quality of the player and the severity of the punishment handed down from OSU on issues like this.

That said, the three still have to deal with the law.

…my two cents? They should have been kicked off the team immediately, no questions asked (though they should be allowed to attend OSU at least through the end of the summer if not into next year – I’m not about to advocate depriving them of an education).

Firing a gun in the general direction of your neighbor’s house is batshit insane.

"And Now a Noose at OSU"

November 9, 2007

Basically, go read Michael’s post. It’s short, but you need to know about it.