University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe and Chancellor Brady J. Deaton spoke to Faculty Council Oct. 31 in Memorial Union. Wolfe covered the MU chancellor’s search and transition team, and Deaton, who is retiring Nov. 15, focused on the university’s Association of American Universities status.
Wolfe said the UM System is “on schedule” for hiring MU’s next chancellor. Even so, he or she still might not start for months. That’s why interim leaders have been named.
Steve Owens, a former interim president for the system and current general counsel, will serve as interim chancellor beginning Nov. 16. MU Deputy Chancellor Michael Middleton will be the transition leader.
Wolfe said the next chancellor would be dedicated to recruiting top faculty and increasing research. Wolfe wants to remove obstacles so faculty can excel.
“If we want the best and the brightest, we have to give them room to take risk,” he said.
André Ariew, associate professor of philosophy, asked Wolfe how much authority the new chancellor will have in decision making. For example, could the chancellor turn the focus away from bettering MU’s AAU ranking?
Wolfe said the search committee would eliminate any candidate not on board with MU’s priorities, which includes improving its AAU status. “No way will a candidate get to me [in the interview process] that doesn’t respect what MU is,” he said.
At the same time, the visions of the system’s four chancellors play a large role. Wolfe said he’s been “asking chancellors to influence more what the system does.”
Deaton, addressing Faculty Council publicly for the last time as chancellor, focused on MU’s efforts to improve its AAU ranking. Last spring, Faculty Council formed a committee led by Kattesh Katti, professor of radiology and physics medicine, to examine four ways to strengthen MU’s stature in the AAU.
Deaton discussed the four strategies: increase federal research support; increase the number of faculty who are members of the National Academy of Sciences; promote faculty accomplishments; and increase faculty’s academic citations. He said MU needs more postdocs because they contribute to research, and faculty need to publish in “high-impact” journals, the byproduct of which is more citations, which reflect how the professor is “impacting thinking in the field.”
A discussion began in which a council member said that colleges and schools where faculty are not publishing regularly and receiving citations need to be identified. “This is going to have to be addressed by the next administrator,” Faculty Chair Craig Roberts said.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly attributed Professor André Ariew as saying that colleges and schools where facutly are not publishing regularly and receiving citations need to be identified.