With a Main Campus strategic plan developed following 90 days of outreach to stakeholders across the University, Provost Scott Scarborough outlined steps to begin implementing that plan in a letter to Main Campus faculty and staff distributed Jan. 10.
“The next 90 days are as important as the first 90 days — in many ways, more important,” Scarborough wrote. “Most organizations fail not because they don’t have a good strategic plan, but because they do not implement their strategic plan well. The next 90 days are the beginning of the real work that will move the University forward in the midst of a very challenging economic environment.”
Scarborough identified the establishment of 13 new structures, including the reorganization of a number of academic units into new colleges. He also identified implementation team leaders for each:
• College of Communication — implementation team to be led by Deb Davis as the college’s interim dean;
• Judith Herb College of Education — implementation team to be led by Dr. Penny Poplin Gosetti as the college’s interim dean;
• College of Criminal Justice and Human Services — implementation team to be led by Dr. Tom Gutteridge as the college’s interim dean;
• College of Health Sciences — implementation team to be led by Dr. Beverly Schmoll as dean of the college, and she will report to Chancellor Jeffrey Gold;
• Jesup W. Scott Honors College — implementation team to be led by Dr. Patsy Komuniecki as the college’s interim dean;
• University College — implementation team to be led by D’Naie Jacobs as the college’s interim dean;
• UTXnet World Campus — implementation team to be led by Dr. Cam Cruickshank;
• University Press and University Teaching Center (including the new relationship with Apple Higher Education) — implementation team to be led by Dr. Ben Pryor;
• Student Center for Experiential Learning (including the new relationship with Digerati) — implementation team to be led by Dr. Sammy Spann;
• School of Green Chemistry and Advanced Renewable Energy — implementation team to be led by Dr. Karen Bjorkman, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics;
• School of Healthcare Business Enterprise and Innovation — implementation team to be led by Dr. Tom Sharkey, interim dean of the College of Business and Innovation;
• University Council — implementation team to be led by John Barrett; and
• Commission on Global Initiatives — implementation team to be led by Gutteridge.
Scarborough wrote that in most cases, the new structures are evolutions and/or combinations of existing units and that to keep costs low and match the natural strengths of certain individuals to organizational needs, existing University personnel will provide interim and permanent leadership of these new units.
“Rebalancing the University’s economic model by approximately $36 million is the biggest challenge over the next 90 days,” Scarborough wrote, noting that the president has appointed a Redesign Coordinating Group to facilitate the achievement of this important task and it will be led by Dr. Peg Traband, vice provost.
The group will lead “a series of conversations about what is most important in terms of achieving our teaching, research and service missions. Most certainly, there must be a rebalancing of our mission elements in order to create a sustainable economic model. If we do not do this, all our mission elements are at risk. Given that reality, we have no choice but to make the necessary adjustments,” he wrote.
One of the key ways to address questions of UT’s economic model over the long term is to improve campus visits for prospective students — particularly high-achieving students for the new Honors College, which, following a national search, will name a new dean in the coming weeks.
To address this, Scarborough said UT will:
• Move the front-door admissions function to the third and fourth floors of Libbey Hall;
• Renovate Doermann Theater for fall preview days and other important prospective student and student life events;
• Convert MacKinnon Hall to Honors College single-room housing and Honors College offices;
• Enhance the appearance of campus grounds;
• Work with outside developers to rebuild Dowd, Nash and White student housing; and
• Add requisite parking to support these new projects.
Scarborough also referenced to the article “The End of the University As We Know It” from The American Interest Magazine as a “sobering” vision of the future of higher education if innovative actions — like the development of UTXnet World Campus — are not undertaken.
“I say it often because I believe it so strongly: Teamwork is the key to everything,” Scarborough wrote, pointing to the newly established University Council.
“The new University Council is a brave new world for all of us, but it is also a new opportunity to meet and understand one another in all the ways that make us different, unique and valuable. I am looking forward to the University Council’s first meeting on Jan. 18. I believe it represents an opportunity to practice teamwork at a higher level.”