ACROSS THE COMMONS > Spring 2011 issue

Provost's In-box: Answers to your questions


In every issue of Across the Commons, the provost will answer questions of broad interest from faculty and staff. Have a question? Send it to

Q: What is the status of the University Council proposal?

Provost Sherman: The Rules Committee of the Board of Trustees has reviewed the proposal and asked the president and me for further clarification on several matters. In making the request, the committee expressed its support for the concept of shared leadership, and in particular, consultative decision-making, without reducing the authority of the Board. At the president’s request, I have been discussing ideas with the bodies that would be represented on the Council, including:

  • my role,
  • the role of the vice presidents,
  • the structure, function and responsibilities of the committees, and
  • the ways to design a broadly representative structure that reaches beyond what was proposed for the University Council.

Q: How would you characterize the recently concluded negotiations with Akron-AAUP?

Provost Sherman: I am pleased about many aspects of what we achieved. Fundamentally, Akron-AAUP and the administration have the same goals: We want faculty to be fairly compensated; we want faculty to be valued and productive; we want RTP guidelines that are understood and applied fairly and consistently; and we want our students to succeed in and out of the classroom.

Communications with AAUP are productive, and our relationship is strengthening. 

Q: What is the latest with the reorganization?

Provost Sherman: We are discussing potential modifications to our organizational structure that would position us better to achieve the objectives of Vision 2020, the strategic plan for the next decade. We want to increase our capacity for student success and find a structure that will better allow trans-discipline research and collaboration to flourish. The reorganization should also yield cost savings and avoidance by reducing administrative overhead and avoiding redundancy -- dollars we will reinvest into our academic units to the benefit of students.

Without focusing on employee count, some people are likely to move into different roles that will enable them to contribute more significantly to the Vision 2020 objectives. I hope this will be viewed by them as a favorable change.


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