Skip to main content

UM System Board of Curators discusses proposed governance structure; releases reports for feedback


Christian Basi

The proposed framework was developed by newly established Council of Chancellors

ST. LOUIS, Mo.— The University of Missouri Board of Curators today reviewed a report, which details recommendations for the new university governance structure established by the board in July. The report was submitted by the Council of Chancellors, which was created following the board’s decision to combine the University of Missouri System president and University of Missouri-Columbia chancellor roles into one.

The recommendations include clearly defined roles of the president, chancellors, UM System administration, Campus Advisory Committee and the Council of Chancellors. The framework increases the collaboration and transparency among the four UM universities, while implementing regular reviews of the governance structure to assess outcomes.

“These recommendations will ensure each university has a voice on system-related issues and that our institutions will work together for the benefit of our students and our state,” said Julia Brncic, board chair. “I commend the council’s thorough work and commitment to creating a framework that will make the University of Missouri a national model for higher education governance.”

The Council of Chancellors, which consists of three chancellors and is chaired by the president, was charged by the board to discuss issues of importance such as legislative priorities, federal appropriation requests, centers of excellence that align with individual campus strengths, tuition, academic missions, new initiatives and other matters that may be determined by the board. 

“The Board of Curators’ historic decision to merge the role of UM System president and MU chancellor has set us on a course for excellence,” UM System President and MU Chancellor Mun Choi said. “The recommendations put forth today by the Council of Chancellors will increase the collaboration among our four universities on key priorities, while also respecting and preserving the distinct strengths of each institution. The oversight provided by the council and Campus Advisory Committee will help mitigate concerns of conflicts of interest and ensure university-specific voices are heard.”

Under the new structure proposal, the president would continue to provide the overall leadership, vision and direction for the UM System, and serve as its chief executive and academic officer. The president would appoint and supervise chancellors and other general system officers. The president could change business procedures that adhere to board policy, direct systemwide central services, identify high priority initiatives and ensure online learning success. As a member of the Council of Chancellors, the president would manage collaboratively and ensure policies and shared services are equitably distributed among the four universities.

Under the proposed structure, chancellors would have more autonomy to set the vision and direction of their universities to ensure student and faculty success, expanded participation in decision-making on UM System matters, and increased accountability to meet their missions and achieve expected financial performance measures. Each chancellor could set competitive tuition rates within state higher education bounds, lead their university’s fundraising efforts, attract and retain talented students and faculty, and expand research. Together, chancellors would determine legislative priorities for the UM System and advocate collectively when promoting specific issues.

The council also recommended that the Campus Advisory Committee, established by the board to ensure university-specific voices are heard, be composed of eight members with each chancellor appointing two from their university. Members must be external to the universities, such as alumni or community leaders. Members would serve two-year terms, which can be renewed. The committee would establish its own meeting schedule and regularly provide the perspectives of these external communities.

In consultation with UM System Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer Ryan Rapp and other UM financial leaders, the council also is recommending a structural framework to increase administrative efficiencies. This framework identifies four tiers of administrative services: systemwide central services, systemwide shared services, university shared services and local/college shared services. The president manages the first tier. The president, with shared oversight of the chancellors, directs the second tier and the last two tiers are managed at the university level.

“As a public, land-grant university, we are charged to achieve academic and research excellence for our students, communities and state,” Ryan Rapp, UM System vice president for Finance and chief financial officer, said. “We are also duty-bound to act as responsible fiscal stewards of taxpayer and tuition dollars. This new framework will help ensure the university is able to achieve our objectives in academic excellence while holding ourselves accountable to deliver that excellence in a financially sustainable manner.”

Under the new framework, the council recommended the board develop financial performance expectations and targets for each institution to achieve.  

Board approval will be required for resource allocation to any institution not meeting financial performance expectations. The board will continue to approve all capital projects, debt issuance and operating budgets.

Both reports have been circulated at each university among various stakeholder groups to receive input on the proposals.  Input will be accepted until Nov. 27 and the board will vote on the frameworks at a special board meeting planned on Dec. 6.  

Read the full Council of Chancellors report.

Read the administrative efficiencies report from Ryan Rapp, UM System vice president for Finance and chief financial officer.

President Choi shared an update to faculty, staff and students about the reports and how to provide feedback. 


Reviewed 2020-11-23