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University Task Force

Purpose

The University Task Force is coordinating an informed and broad discussion regarding an overarching structural model for the UM System that will encourage collaboration and help us become a stronger and more successful system while still honoring the unique strengths of our universities. In this effort, the Task Force will help establish short-term and long-term priorities and provide specific recommendations that will inform the direction of the system moving forward.

Members

  • Chair: Curator Darryl M. Chatman
  • Task Force Members:
    • Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal, UMKC
    • Curator Julia G. Brncic
    • Provost Barbara A Bichelmeyer, UMKC
    • Chancellor Alexander N. Cartwright, MU
    • President Mun Choi
    • Chancellor Thomas F. George, UMSL
    • Interim Chancellor Christopher G. Maples, Missouri S&T
    • General Counsel Stephen J. Owens
    • Curator John R. Phillips
    • Vice President for Finance Ryan Rapp

Timeline

April 2018

  • Board of Curators and administration discuss draft report on UM System organization, research and short and long-term priorities. Access the April 13 Board of Curators meeting video to listen to the discussion.

June 2018

  • University Task Force presents an update for the Board of Curators and administration regarding progress since the April 13 meeting, including stakeholder input. Access the June Board of Curators meeting video to listen to the update.
  • Board of Curators holds a University Community Input Session to hear faculty, staff and student feedback regarding the overarching structure of the UM System, as well as the ways our universities can collaborate systemwide.
  • Collaborative groups led by President Choi, Steve Graham and Ryan Rapp propose guiding principles and recommendations to accomplish short and long term goals to the Board.

July 2018

University Community Input Session

The University Community Input Session has ended. If you you have further input, use our dedicated email address, universitytaskforce@umsystem.edu, to submit your feedback online by 5:00 p.m. on June 29. 

Questions for discussion:

  • How can we better define the roles and responsibilities of the system and universities to foster a more collaborative culture?
  • What actions can we take to create efficiencies and improve the performances of and relationships between the UM System and its universities?
  • What structures and/or rewards could be put in place to better support and encourage systemwide collaboration?
  • What features of your university's unique structure, culture or programmatic strengths do you value, and how might other universities leverage these features to improve performance?

Themes from the session:

Prior to and during the University Community Input Session, the University Task Force gathered feedback on a variety of topics. Common themes highlighted in many messages included:

  • The system structure: The majority of responders shared concern over a flagship-model structure, and instead emphasized the need for the UM System to play a supporting role—primarily through customer service-oriented support, with the Office of the President providing structure and guidance. It was often emphasized that the UM System universities have unique strengths and cultures, and these should be not only maintained, but fostered.
  • Increased collaboration: Responders emphasized the enormous opportunities available through collaboration at every level of the institution. It was often mentioned that collaboration will help the UM System and its universities offer the best services and support to our students, faculty and staff, and will improve benefits for the citizens of Missouri. Faculty, staff and students expressed interest in and excitement for additional collaborative opportunities, and felt such opportunities were key to innovation. The call for increased opportunities was matched by an emphasis on the need for more formal structures to support such collaboration and ensure equitable representation—for example, faculty and staff could be incentivized to participate in and attend systemwide summits and conferences if registration and room/board for such events were covered. Similarly, a formal platform to share the research interests and skillsets of the members of our University community would further encourage collaboration with an employee's faculty or staff counterparts at another university, as well as result in best outcomes for University research and for students.
  • Organizational planning: Several respondents noted that our organization would benefit from a more horizontal, rather than vertical, administrative structure—and that administrative leadership would benefit by collaborating closely with staff on a regular basis to understand current procedures and identify improvements. Specifically, faculty members noted the importance of being included in the budget planning process and in selection of leadership. More than one employee noted that term limits should be considered for department chairs and deans, and department chairs should have the opportunity to provide budget input.
  • Faculty and staff recognition: Another common theme highlighted the need for faculty and staff compensation that better aligns with our peer universities. This point was emphasized in President Choi’s earlier President’s Report to the Board of Curators. Additionally, faculty noted that promotion and tenure guidelines and processes should include collaborative ventures with faculty and staff at other UM System universities, and taking a supporting role, rather than a leading role, in collaboration should also be recognized and rewarded.
  • Equitable shared presence and governance: Shared governance and shared presence were topics of discussion for faculty and staff, respectively, with both groups emphasizing the importance of having a seat at the table. Faculty, staff and students noted the value of including leaders from intercampus groups, particularly Intercampus Faculty Council, Intercampus Staff Advisory Council and Intercampus Student Council in strategic discussions. Staff also mentioned the presence of an ombudsperson at existing campuses, and shared a recommendation that each university have an ombudsperson on staff to act as a faculty or staff advocate in Title IX and other matters.

Frequently Asked Questions

How are the unique needs of the universities represented in Task Force discussions?

The University Task Force is made up of leaders from across the system, including representatives from the Board of Curators, leadership from UM System central administration and the chancellors, who are in a position to communicate the culture and unique needs of their respective universities.

Why is it necessary to refine the relationship of the universities and the structure of the system?

A clearer understanding of the system structure will help us determine how central administration and the universities can work together in the most effective way. Additionally, it will help in the development of structures designed to support the universities in leveraging one another's unique strengths to improve performance. Finally, such an effort will inform a shared vision and direction for our universities so all parts of the UM System can work toward excellence in student success, research breakthroughs and meaningful engagement.

Share Feedback

Faculty, staff and student input is an important part of the development and decision-making process. We welcome your engagement and feedback, and hope you'll share recommendations for strengthening our system and determining how we can collaborate across universities to work toward excellence together. Please submit your feedback via email to universitytaskforce@umsystem.edu by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, June 29.

Reviewed 2018-08-06.