Office of Academic Affairs

November 4, 2010

11/04/2010

Good afternoon colleagues. I’m pleased to be able to offer my thanks to the President and the Board of Trustees for providing the opportunity for us to have a successful interaction with the AAUP.  The Board clearly positioned the negotiating team to have a great interaction with the AAUP negotiating team and produce a very successful outcome.  Recently I met with department chairs and discussed a number of issues.  It clearly suggested to me that department chairs should receive more attention in supporting the academic mission and success of the institution. I’ll be working with them and their chair-elect to assure more consistent contact with them and myself and the President and with the deans so as to create a more seamless academic enterprise and more support of the faculty and the students.

We have a number of viable candidates in our viewfinder for the chief financial officer position and we’re quite hopeful that we’ll be making a recommendation to the Board before the December meeting.  The Strategic Planning Committee will have received a notice yesterday or today about a meeting that I will call for November 19th to update the committee on where we’re at with the planning Vision 2020. We will discuss the strategy for moving from strategic planning to strategic doing or in other words to creating the academic roadmap.  Recent interactions with the Board of Trustees include a meeting with Judge Bond, who is the Chair of the Education Policy and Student Affairs Committee. That committee will consider the goals and the objectives of Vision 2020 and provide feedback at that level of development of the plan. I will also interact with them on the perspectives and strategies related to student recruitment and retention and student success.

Finally, it is my pleasure to announce that with the recommendation of the President and the approval of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Chand Midha will become the Dean of the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences and Associate Provost.  We would like to recognize Dr. Midha for that appointment and offer our congratulations. (Applause) He certainly provides the expertise, the depth of knowledge and the ability to provide leadership both to the college and to the institution to assure that college’s appropriate location and securing the success of Vision 2020.  With that I will end my remarks and answer any questions. 

Senator Bouchard: I know that in these tough economic times we can make no predictions about anything but what I’d like to know is your sense of priorities. Where is increasing the size of the faculty as a priority? The last time we had as many students as we have now we had half again as many regular, tenured faculty as we do now.  If we want to do research, as a research university we can’t expect the part-timers and the one-year people to do that.  If we want student success and student retention; every study shows that those are improved by taking courses with tenured or tenure-track faculty.  Our student/faculty ratio of tenured faculty to students is now about 50 to 1. That is pretty pathetic. In all the different strategies that we’re trying to do, where does increasing the number of tenure track faculty fit as a goal, a strategy or a hope?

Provost Sherman:  It is absolutely the number one focus of the Office of the Provost for improving the quality of the student experience and improving the ability of this university to undertake the research that it intends to undertake, to create knowledge to solve some of society’s most important issues.  Hopefully you’ve seen that I’ve made it a number one priority to increase the number of regular tenure track faculty. I have been interacting with the deans about strategies to do that.  I’ve been working with my colleagues and we’re very close to a memo to the deans indicating the steps that we will take towards that end.  We will do that from a perspective of ensuring and protecting the academic core in the wake of budget adjustments.

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Akron, OH 44325
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