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UM Board of Curators votes to merge president and MU chancellor roles


Christian Basi

Choi’s contract extended by two years with no pay increase

COLUMBIA, Mo. — The University of Missouri Board of Curators voted unanimously today to merge the positions of UM System president and University of Missouri-Columbia chancellor into one role, and appointed Mun Choi to the combined position, effective immediately. Additionally, the Board voted to extend Choi’s contract by two years with no additional compensation. With the extension, his contract expires June 30, 2026.  

“This new governance structure offers the best way to ensure continued academic and research excellence across the UM System while providing a more cost-effective model during this unprecedented budget crisis and beyond. The combined role preserves the strength of our individual universities and will not result in a one-university model,” said Julia Brncic, chair of the UM Board of Curators. “President Choi has managed the interim chancellor role in addition to his duties as system president with the decisive leadership we need.”

Choi was appointed interim MU chancellor in March 2020 after Chancellor Alexander Cartwright took a position at the University of Central Florida. Today’s board vote will consolidate not only those two roles, but also the administrative functions of the two offices, reducing the costs of duplicate executive roles.

“I’m proud to continue serving both the UM System and Mizzou,” Choi said. “I look forward to pursuing even more ways to collaborate among our institutions and grow our shared mission of academic and research excellence that benefits our students and our communities while maximizing common resources.” 

When the MU chancellor position was vacated, the Board hired external experts through AGB Consulting, a service offered by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, to review the current governance structure, provide information about leading national governance structures and help guide discussions. The Board solicited stakeholder feedback in meetings held with more than 300 student leaders, faculty, staff, donors and other constituents from all four universities to discuss the AGB report and the governance structures it outlined.   

“Today’s vote is the culmination of a months-long review process with dozens of stakeholder meetings,” said Michael Williams, UM curator and chair of the Board’s Governance, Compensation and HR Committee. “COVID-19 might have expedited our conversations around UM System governance, but this decision will offer a more efficient and effective structure to better serve our students, faculty, staff and communities.” 

In addition to the merged position, the curators also approved the following: 

  • Directing Ryan Rapp, vice president for finance, to address and propose best practice innovative operational changes to increase efficiencies across the UM System. Rapp will report back to the board within 120 days following input from the chancellors, president and other appropriate university personnel.
  • Creation of a campus advisory committee. The committee would be comprised of two representatives from each campus and would ensure that campus-specific voices are heard.  
  • Establishment of a Council of Chancellors. The council would consist of the four chancellors and be chaired by Choi. It would meet monthly to address challenges and opportunities. 

“The overall plan that we developed is stronger because of the input that we received during our discussions with stakeholders of each university,” Brncic said. “We’re extremely grateful to have such dedicated and passionate supporters of our universities. It’s clear that everyone wants every university to succeed and serve the state of Missouri better than ever before. It will be up to this Board, now and in the future, to make the right decisions to enable our universities to achieve academic excellence.” 

Choi was appointed as UM president in March 2017 to lead the System and its four universities. As president, he has led the universities through several transformative projects, including the NextGen Precision Health Initiative, expanding online learning, launching new partnerships with industry and initiating sweeping scholarship programs that increased access to higher education for all students. Recognized nationally for his leadership, Choi was appointed to the Board of Directors for the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities in November 2019. 

Prior to his appointment as UM System president, Choi served on the faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago, was department chair of mechanical engineering and mechanics at Drexel University, and dean of engineering as well as provost and executive vice president at the University of Connecticut.

NOTE: The full resolution can be found here:


Reviewed 2020-07-29