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May 25, 2017

Provost Outlines Accomplishments During Year

At the last Senate Council meeting of the academic year, Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Patricia E. Beeson described progress toward a number of personal goals, including the appointments of several new university leaders and efforts to fortify full-time faculty ranks.

Beeson’s remarks replaced those typically delivered by Chancellor Patrick Gallagher, who was in Colombia with representatives from the University Center for International Studies (UCIS) and schools of the health sciences, meeting with administrators at the Universidad de los Andes and that country’s president and cabinet members.

“I have to say I think it’s been a really good year working together collaboratively to advance the University,” said Beeson.

Beeson lauded the Senate’s accomplishments, including the passage of a new consensual relationship policy, Senate plenary session and a part-time, non-tenure-stream faculty report, which was a topic of the Council of Deans meeting the week before the May 17 Senate Council meeting.

She mentioned several hires to fill University leadership positions:

  • Kornelia Tancheva, Hillman University Librarian and director of the University Library System;
  • Valerie Kinloch, Renée and Richard Goldman Dean of the School of Education;
  • Kathleen M. Blee, Bettye J. and Ralph E. Bailey Dean of the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and dean of the College of General Studies;
  • Paul R. Cohen, founding dean of the School of Computing and Information; and
  • Rob A. Rutenbar, senior vice chancellor for research.

Beeson also discussed her office’s efforts to create more permanent faculty positions.

“We’ve been developing plans that we’re starting to implement and have been implementing quietly behind the scenes to reduce the reliance on visiting faculty by creating more permanent, non-tenure positions — longer-term contracted positions,” said Beeson.

She said there had been actions taken to realign budgets and positions to create as many as 50 new “tenure stream” positions.

She said once new incoming deans have developed their strategic plans for the schools, more progress in this area could be expected.

In other action, the University Senate unanimously approved a resolution regarding the University’s fossil fuel investments.

The resolution “encourages the Chancellor to form a committee of faculty, staff, students, and administration, and initiate a systematic process for consideration of socially responsible investing as a strategy for the University to orient its investments, and issue a public report on its work and findings in support of this decision process.”

Senate President Frank Wilson, who was a member of the ad hoc committee behind the resolution, mentioned that the committee’s discussion expanded to include socially responsible investing and the Board of Trustees’ fiduciary responsibility to preserve and increase the University’s endowment.

Senate Council and Faculty Assembly will reconvene in September.

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