Second provost candidate offers ideas for UT’s academic future

March 30, 2011 | News, UToday
By Jon Strunk

Dr. William McMillen, UT interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, laid out the eight areas he would focus on should he be appointed to the permanent position.

At a candidate open forum March 22, McMillen said he would work to:

• Increase overall enrollment to 25,000 students who will succeed and graduate and, at the same time, improve first- to second-year retention rates to 80 percent;

• Reimagine the University’s libraries;

• Incentivize faculty research and hire additional tenure-track faculty;

• Expand student internship programs;

• Develop more study abroad and study away programs;

• Engage faculty and the Faculty Senate to streamline the UT core curriculum to increase shared learning experiences among students;

• Enhance the University’s academic presence in downtown Toledo, particularly through the College of Visual and Performing Arts; and

• Establish a continuing education program.

McMillen said these eight areas represent only some of what needs to be accomplished, but he wanted to highlight these specific areas as needing special attention.

Asked how UT goes from good to great without further investment in academic areas, McMillen said identifying those resources is among the most difficult questions that exist.

“As good as a part-time or visiting faculty member may be, they don’t replace tenured and tenure-track faculty,” he said. McMillen said UT’s strategic plan should provide the guidance for deciding where additional academic financial investment is made. He also said a discussion on faculty workload should be coupled with a faculty hiring plan.

McMillen, who also serves as UT vice president for governmental relations, said his government relations experience has given him insights into how legislators see higher education as well as into the actions of the Ohio Board of Regents.

Calling himself the first merged employee between The University of Toledo and the former Medical University of Ohio, McMillen said the institution is re-embracing its identity as a metropolitan research university.

McMillen highlighted his past as a continuing education instructor of creative writing at UT for four years early in his career. He arrived at the Medical College of Ohio in 1982 and became the first “merged” employee in 2005 when he served as vice president of government relations for both UT and MCO.

A complete list of candidates being considered for the provost position is available here, and a schedule of the open forums is available here.

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