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Oct. 16, 2014 Volume 36, No. 8

Faculty Council discusses IT restructuring, the MUSOP and Title IX training

Council member says “substantial announcement” coming soon on provost search

Faculty Council took part in a discussion Oct. 9 on restructuring MU’s Division of Information Technology. Leading the discussion was guest Gary Allen, University of Missouri System vice president for information technology and MU chief information officer.

The administration is examining ways to streamline MU’s information technology department, which has about 300 employees. The campus’s wireless network needs to be strengthened, Allen said. “We are on an unsustainable path. We are not optimally oriented to maintain the IT infrastructure,” he said.

But more funding is needed to strengthen it.

Allen is starting a “conversation” with staff, faculty and administrators to develop a plan that restructures IT. “None of this is about laying people off,” Allen said. “It’s about [IT employees] doing something more exciting than managing servers.”

MUSOP and Title IX

Council members also talked about the MU Strategic Operating Plan (MUSOP).

Within MUSOP is a strategy to enhance MU’s academic stature as measured by the metrics important to the Association of American Universities. The four metrics identify faculty who receive federal funds for research, have earned membership in national academies, have been honored with awards and fellowships, and whose work is cited in top academic journals.

MUSOP includes giving raises to and hiring faculty strong in the four metrics. Funding comes from state funds and reallocation of 2 percent of MU’s base operating budget for four years, beginning fiscal 2015. 

The plan also includes improving the student experience. It says in the plan that this is through developing “attractive scholarships and other financial aid, as well as highly respected academic programs.”

But several council members pointed out that junior faculty positions are not being filled because of reallocation of departmental funds. This could hurt some students’ education. “One could say we are taking money away from students when we aren’t filling positions,” said Nicole Monnier, associate teaching professor of Russian and German studies.

The next topic was Executive Order 41 and its relationship to Title IX policies. The order by UM System President Tim Wolfe summarizes revisions to the Collected Rules and Regulations in areas of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct and student conduct procedures. The Board of Curators approved the revisions this month.

Faculty Chair Craig Roberts said the revisions are a “welcome change.” However, some faculty are concerned about what they characterize as the late rollout in training. Since Wolfe’s Executive Order 40 on April 7, 2014, all employees not exempted due to legal obligations to maintain confidentiality are mandatory reporters.

“I feel it is unconscionable that we have not gotten any training,” Monnier said. “We are now liable and vulnerable.”

But things are moving forward in MU’s Title IX Office. The office has expanded its website to offer online reporting of an incident, information in emergency situations, and rights and responsibilities. There is also general information on Title IX reporting and procedures.

Provost Search

Finally, Harry Tyrer, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, gave an update on the provost search.  A “substantial announcement” is expected on the search before end of October, Tyrer said.