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August 17, 2012


Harry Tyrer, President, Faculty Council Brian Foster, Provost Response to Faculty Council performance evaluation

I have carefully studied the responses in the performance evaluation conducted last spring by Faculty Council. There is very useful input for me to consider. Clearly there some significant challenges which, as I understand the review, focus mainly on two issues: (a) on my engagement with faculty governance, and (b) communication with faculty. I would like to address these two issues below, then outline an idea for addressing the communication issues. Governance Shared governance is a very complex issue. Briefly, it is entirely clear to me that the University is really ALL about academicsacademics considered broadly. Certainly, the faculty are the central resource for instruction, research, and service, and they control curriculum, research, many external service functions (e.g., serving on review panels), and much else. The role of administration is to provide the physical and human resource infrastructure that supports the academic enterprise. These resources address physical facilities; support for compliance requirements; payroll, benefits, and other HR functions; budget and other aspects of fiscal management; admissions, registration, financial aid, and other student support functions; and much more. The big question is how to align both the academic and administrative sides of the University so that they maximize MUs effectiveness. On the one hand, we want to be sure that the creativity, innovative work, and educational activities are not substantively compromised by administration. On the other hand, there are practical constraints on the academic activities from limitations of physical infrastructure, faculty resources, research infrastructure such as equipment, library materials, and fine arts studios and performance venues. These constraints pose excruciating tradeoffs that extend across the entire university. It seems to me that the crux of the governance issues is how to bring meaningful consultation across the academic/administration boundary and how to

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maximize the level of agreement and of trust in dealing with the constraints and the resulting tradeoffs. I suggest that Faculty Council devise some kind of forum to further discuss the nature of shared governancee.g., to what extent my understanding of the issues align with faculty understanding. In addition, we need to consider what shared governance means operationally as we address the intersection of academic and broad support functions and address the difficult tradeoffs that we face. Id appreciate your input on how to move this discussion forward. Communication There have been many efforts to communicate effectively with facultysome of these efforts from the Provosts area, some from the Chancellor, but with a good deal of overlap with all. For example, the budget forums have been done in a format that assures that any interested faculty member can participate; I think there has been remarkable transparency, and the discussions have been open and helpful to all involved. We have used a similar model for Mizzou Advantage forums and recent planning discussions. Similarly, the Chancellors annual faculty meeting allows participation by all interested faculty and encourages open discussion, and the Chancellor and I meet regularly and (I think) openly with the Faculty Council Executive Committee. That said, it is clear that we are not doing enough. One issue that occurs to me is that the communication events that do occur tend to be institution wide, not providing effective sharing of ideas with the academic unitsi.e., the colleges. Clearly, their successes, needs, and concerns vary greatly, and I do get a sense of these differences from the deans, with whom I meet on a regular basis. But deans and faculty members perspectives on these issues often differ significantly, and it may be valuable for me to have periodic meetings with faculty of each college. I outline some preliminary ideas below, but I would like to ask for leadership from the College representatives to Faculty Council on how (and whether) to shape such an effort. The ideas below are meant only to be the basis for discussion. My thought was that I spend an afternoon with facultyperhaps split into three or so sessions (just an idea, not something Im fixed on). One might be a formal presentation to me, outlining the Colleges successes, challenges, and concernsperhaps an hour. That might be followed by a sessionperhaps an hour and a halfwith no agenda, providing the opportunity for any individual faculty member to raise issues for open discussion. All faculty in the unit would be invited to participate in these sessions. Perhaps a final session of a smaller group of faculty (perhaps the Policy Committee or a group identified by the Policy Committee) would be valuable insofar as we could address

Response to Faculty Council performance evaluation Page Three August 17, 2012

issues in more depth than in the larger groups. If we did such a session, I would ask the College representatives to Faculty Council and policy committees from each college on how to identify the participants. It occurs to me that at least two colleges may be too large to allow effective discussions (i.e., A&S and CAFNR), and the college representatives might consider splitting these units into more manageable groupssay three sessions n each of these two colleges. I would suggest that the Library be included in this process along with the colleges. I would propose doing one college a month, and after the first year doing an assessment to see if the process has been productive. Conclusion I would like to thank all those who participated in the performance evaluation. I look forward to future discussions on the issues Ive outlined above and others that Faculty Council may wish to pursue. BLF:td cc: Chancellor Brady Deaton Members of Faculty Council Joe Parcell