Faculty and Staff Community Forum: UT Knoxville and UTIA Land-grand Unification

Faculty and Staff Community Forum: UT Knoxville and UTIA Land-grand Unification

October 11, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


RANDY BOYD: ….and if you’re the top third
then you’re at R-1 so that number changes every every year a little bit but last
year to be in the top third, to be an R-1 you had to be in the top 131. Well, the
University of Tennessee, Knoxville was 107 so we’re kind of on the bubble.
The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, separate by itself is 170th.
I was talking with one professor in agriculture, just last week at lunch,
and he was telling me that he had a really great international candidate
looking to come to UTIA, and his government was going to pay his tuition
but they had a rule: “We’ll pay your tuition to any place in the United
States that you want to go as long as they’re in the top hundred”…that’s kind
of arbitrary and this professor felt the person…that person was gonna be
studying was the world’s best, but the country just said “well you got to be at
least in the top hundred” so we’re actually losing talent because some
people just said “you know if you’re not even in the top hundred, then we maybe
not want to send you.” The thing that I found out early on last November –
was that we were being treated unfairly. The reason why every other university in the country that’s a land-grant
university had their Institute of Agriculture as a part of the flagship.
Every single one. There’s 42 other land-grant universities, I think that number
right, 42 and every one had them as a single unit. By doing that, if we did
that we would go from 170th and 107th to 55th in the publics…so we get
started we get treated fairly and the reputation the rankings do matter when
we’re recruiting students, getting research and grants. So with that idea,
That was the idea what we would have to do, and simply to do that we had
changed the reporting structure and title of Tim to report also into
Knoxville and to me but… by doing that we were able to move up to
55th. So is this a good idea or not? People asked “Well, what was the process?”
So first off I went to all the Board of Trustees and this is starting..actually
maybe back up…earlier than that we went to make sure that we were heading
it had our facts right we went to the National Center for Higher Education
Management Systems a mouthful (NCHEMS) and they did a study for us
and reviewed all the universities across the country and all
the titles of all the folks that are in charge of agriculture and came back and
basically confirmed exactly what we said this report by the way is on the website
so you can go and look, I think there’s information on the website on
your chair they came back and said “Yes this is exactly right” and you are
separate from, different in structure than everybody else…”
So we talked to all of our board members January/February we talked to every single
one of our our board members – they also felt like this was the right thing to do.
Started talking to our government officials: I talked to Governor Lee, I
talked to Mike Krause the Chairman director of the Tennessee Higher Education
Commission and several others those who the key also get their support then we
started talking to chancellors so we talked to some former chancellors like
Jimmy Cheek, we talked to former presidents like Joe Johnson, obviously we
talked to Tim Cross and then we talked to all the other chancellors across the
the state. Our incoming candidates…we had four candidates of applying for the
Knoxville job. Each one of them were briefed on some of the things we would
do each one of them said this felt like this was the right thing, one of
them actually in his town hall meeting also talked about Oak Ridge
Institute, kind of actually almost stole the thunder and said you know I think if
we could do a couple of major things in restructuring the university we could be
an AAU school–stop but uh, but but he’s right. Out of that we could go from a
school that’s on the bubble to one that could be a top contender and AAU school.
We talked to a lot of the external stakeholders we talked to the Farm
Bureau we went out and talked to like Jim Herbert how that you know named
our school and I’m probably leaving out a lot of folks but there was a lot of
conversations over a long period of time. Finally in June we had our board meeting:
we announced a week beforehand that we were going to be changing the reporting
structure and we had about four different town hall
conferences conference calls with over a hundred people we had two four faculty
we had two four Farm Bureau and people that they wanted to invite on the call
so we had a extensive amount of conversations, and then in the end we had
the meeting with the Board. So I share all that just to say this is the logic that
we had we had a very extensive process you know from other organizations I’ve
been in from state government to business it felt like we were pretty
exhaustive and in the amount of thoroughness that we did around changing
one title about one of our leaders which is something that a CEO of the
organization is charged with to do. So I want to give you that background people
ask “well what was the process?” and so and “why did you do it?” so that’s the the why
and the and the and the process. Going forward
the question is I heard a question well “is everything is everything already
predetermined on what the next steps are?” They’re not. The idea was and I put this
in a memo as you guys may have seen it I apologize for the bad math but it said
well one we want to this to be “more than one plus one equals two”. The one plus one
equals two math is if you add 107 to 170th we go to 52 and that’s done. And if
we don’t do anything else that’s good being 55th is better than 170th so that’s
a good thing, but if we just did that we would miss so many opportunities. Back to
the “one plus one equals three” and there’s so many opportunities for us to
work closer together to find new synergies to do new things and in the
last couple of months I’ve heard so many great ideas. We want to be very
thorough and very strategic about what ideas we take. We’ve got a listening
committee, many of them are in the room they’re going or they’re going to go
around the state convening different groups of people so we make sure we
capture everyone’s ideas and they’re going to be sharing with us ideas that
they see for improvement. Tim and and Donde will be maybe a little bit with me
if they ask but they’ll be we’re looking over these ideas and deciding some
priorities because obviously we can’t do it what I’m confident we’ll end up with
more things than we can possibly afford to do and have time to do so we want to
make sure that we’re smart about it and do the things that are gonna make the
biggest difference and and and contribute the most
so there’s gonna be a process we’re gonna continue to collect some good
ideas. I want to share one because it came up just this week as an example of
some of the things that I think might be might be possible. So I was in Carter
County, on Tuesday morning and met with Vicki who’s the director there. They’ve
got a great…by the way anybody been to Carter County Extension? A few of us
should go just go visit they’re in an 1861 house called the Folsom house so I
think it’s the oldest office it’s probably the oldest office but
definitely an Extension one of the oldest ones in and UT but just great…but
anyway through the conversation Vicki was telling me of the many things that
you know that Extension does they do divorce counseling. Sad but in the state
of Tennessee we’re in the top ten and the divorce rate let’s say in the in the
country, and Extension teaches a co-parenting class so if you get a
divorce in the state of Tennessee and you want federal benefits you’ve got to go
take this co-parenting class. Sad that it’s necessary but it is and most people
don’t know that Extension does it but they’re doing a fantastic job with it so
she was talking about how terrible the divorce rate is and in Carter County and
Carter County though it was not unique phenomenon of grandparents raising
grandchildren because the the parents are all in jail or addicted to something
which is really really tragic but it occurred to me…quick backstory: there’s
an organization in Chattanooga called First Things First I got to know them
during the campaign they’ve been around for twenty years and they’re focused on
finding youth and communities that are at risk and giving them coaching on how
to create a better family and an intact family so what they do is they talk to
young men about what it means to be a good father what it means to be a good
husband at an early age then when young couples decide to get married they also
do counseling they say they talk 30% of them out of getting married because a
lot of times they haven’t really thought about it like “how many kids you’re gonna
have?” “I don’t know we never talked about it” we start talking about some of these
real life things they decide well maybe we won’t and then once they get married
they have counseling it’s a great program and they’ve actually reduced the
divorce rate in Chattanooga by 40% and a lot…there’s a lot of
theories around if you want to improve the third grade reading level
reduce adverse childhood facts being able to have a strong family in place
makes a difference there’s a lady named Kristina Gordon at the Department of
Psychology here in Knoxville who’s actually adopted that program in
Chattanooga, and is going to pioneer it here in Knoxville I’m thinking…well she’s what
Vicky’s talking about this wouldn’t it be great if we put Kristina
Gordon together with Vicky and create a program where we can start enhancing our
programs around preventing divorce rates across the state. There’s this just an
example that just came up this week but there’s…I hear dozens of them on a
regular basis there’s so many opportunities for the intellectual
capital on this campus to be able to be leveraged across the state.
Somebody asked me this also by email this morning “where’s the money going to
come from to do all this stuff?” if we had a compelling idea it’s up to us to go to
our legislators to our grant people, or people who donate to us to go raise the funds
but there’s a lot of really compelling ideas I think that we’re gonna be really
really successful with thinking of maybe one other question that I’ve heard and
this was just earlier this week and I’ll stop and that is uh are we gonna move
all you guys to Martin uh-huh so I’m not sure where that came from
there’s actually a guy named Frank Cagle he’s a local writer…the paper cut him well I
shouldn’t say it that way, he’s no longer with the paper, the
Knoxville News Sentinel so he decided to do a blog nobody reads the blog it’s
like 160 people read the blog he wrote an article during the board vote that
said it had all kinds of stuff in it but one of which oh and it could be that
they’re gonna move everything in Knoxville to UT Martin
Tim and I went to see Keith Carver a couple weeks ago and we surprised him
with the with the rumor he he he wasn’t aware of it but but it seems to be
circulating around at first we just decided to ignore it but it came up came
up multiple times so I just want to let you hear for me neither Tim nor I nor
Keith Carver had any clue that that was being even discussed but it’s not. It
obviously doesn’t make any sense but there’s some crazy things out there and
I guess that’s one of the things that we’re
working hard to do is to make sure that we’re communicating with as many people
as possible to squelch any any crazy rumors and and most importantly to
capture more good ideas and so with that I’m gonna stop in maybe a lot of you
guys haven’t met Donde it maybe give her a moment to say a word or two and
then Tim a moment to say a word or two then we’ll turn it over to you for
questions. DONDE PLOWMAN: Hey thank you very much and thank you president Boyd so some of you
know that I was here on the faculty for a brief period between 2007 and 2010 I
was a professor in the business college and a department head and I got a great
opportunity to go be a Dean of a college of business at a major land-grant
university and from in Nebraska and the day I walked in the door I began
learning about what a land-grant university is. These three the three
parts of the mission: Research – that people can understand and it makes a
difference in their life, Teaching and Engagement are a mission I completely
buy into and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else than a land-grant
university. I realized I had been at a land-grant. I was here. But I’ll be honest
with you. When I was here I didn’t hear very much conversation about “we’re a
land-grant” and I think part of that was the structural arrangement maybe in a
way. That “well, that’s that’s y’all’s responsibility, actually your mission”…
it’s our whole campus’ mission. And so when I began to think about becoming a
chancellor, or president, I only wanted to go to a land-grant school because I
believe strongly in the mission. I’ve been all over this state since I’ve been
here three big events around in the state where I I talk about the way I
think about a land-grant is…the reason I want to be here is…those two
pieces of the mission that mean the most to me are A: land-grants have always been
about access and I’m proud of that and I I don’t ever want to be at a place where
your daddy’s money got you in here or your mom’s money got you…not to be
sexist, your mom’s money got you in here. I want to be at a place where access is
a priority and that’s what a land-grant is. And the second thing is, a land grant is
all about research that changes people’s lives. I saw in Nebraska at the
experiment stations…farmers coming down there and with their problem and I saw
the scientists that we’re trying to develop a new beam and saying this could
be this could solve the problem of poverty, and the farmers going “well I
don’t think I could sell it, is there a market for it?” and that exchange that was
going on right there and that that’s huge that’s what we do and so I totally
get that, understand it, embrace it, and I would say honestly if you think of the
great public universities in this country they are all land grants, mostly.
And a land grant is only as good as the Ag college the Ag Institute however it’s
organized, that’s the truth and the University of Tennessee, to aspire to the
things that we want is, is you know, we’re all part of this together and so I
wanted you to know that. A second thing that when I think about this in my
experience at Nebraska…and I’m not saying we should try to go be like them
in any ways because we’re so much stronger in a lot of ways…but the Ag
Institute was kind of a centerpiece around which so much thrive: there were
departments in arts and sciences, there were departments in engineering, where
part of the faculty were in arts and sciences and part of them were in the Ag
Institute, same with engineering there were faculty who chose part of their
appointment in the AG Institute part of the appointment in other colleges. So I
see the potential for the collaboration that could happen and I’m very eager to
loosen up whatever our procedural arrangements are to make some of those
kind of things happen and so I’m very excited about what could be with this.
Tim invited me to come with him to the Farm Bureau and one of the first
questions they asked was “well so Dr. Cross is our leader, and now it looks like
there’s three leaders, and that worries us.” And I said back to them, first of all
as I refer to him to Tim Cross think that we call him Dr. Cross I said ‘okay,
Dr. Cross is the leader of the Institute, – he is the leader. My job as Chancellor
is to help get the resources that this Institute needs to go to the next place
and to achieve and I’m committed to doing it.’ I would also say that Dr.
Cross’ cabinet and mine have already had one meeting where we began talking
about what this means and where we think it can go, that went really great. There’s
clearly we got a million details to work out but I hope that you will do the same
thing that I asked of the cabinet when I came here eight eight weeks ago
whatever’s happened in the past there’s not anything I can do about it but what
I want you to do is help me and Dr. Cross I’m gonna keep calling you that, Tim
move this forward in great exciting ways that I know can happen and I could
not be more excited about it we have to be strong in this area the University
will only be as strong as the Institute for Ag is it’s important to this state
it’s important to me and to president Boyd and so I’m here to help move that
along. TIM CROSS: Good, I’ll be real brief because most of you know me and I know most of
you and I think I’ve already heard from many of you in person, but I hope if
you’ve got things you haven’t shared yet, let me know. This is your
chance also to let but all of us know what your thoughts or concerns are. Let
me just say I’ve always thought the universe should revolve around the
Institute of Agriculture and I appreciate Dr. Plowman pointing that out
and I appreciate Randy supporting that vision so you know we’ll we’ll see if we
can’t take that even further… I do think as I’ve talked to groups the math,
the change in rankings that’s all well and good and actually most people
say “oh I see that that makes sense”, but really that’s a one-time thing…right?
One-time benefit. And then we just sort of carry out from there what I’ve tried
to point out is well this collaboration this restructure is only of value if both
our organizations if our combined organization continues to grow.
In other words, if this is being done any way to diminish or decrease the
Institute of Agriculture, it defeats the purpose. Because the rankings will
obviously then go down, so I think it’s important to think through what are the
long-term implications here and what are the incentives to do things good or bad
and to me I see a lot of positives in increased collaboration. The challenges
that we face today…Randy mentioned opioids, think about hunger, poverty, the
environment, conservation…none of those are departments that any of us has and
yet we have scientists and faculty and Extension specialists that have
expertise that can come together to address those things. So really, that to
me is the most important long-term benefit that we need to be pointed
towards to make sure we’re really at the table and addressing those issues and
collaborating with the computer scientists, the electrical engineers, the
supply chain logistics experts that we really need to help support agriculture –
which is still the biggest industry in the state. So my perspective on it, my two
cents worth but what we really are here for I think is to hear from you
so welcome you to ask questions. Tiffany, is it best if folks come forward or do
we want to pass the microphone? Keep this one up here? BOYD: You can give us some
instructions TIFFANY CARPENTER: So we will take questions in the audience first so line up at the
microphone if you are on the computer or on the phone…On the computer, raise your
hand…On the phone hit star, and nine. We’ll take in person first and then we’ll
move to the computer and the phone. QUESTION 1: So this question is directed you, Randy.
So I learned today that you had a lot of planning meetings regarding this
proposal you met with other administration, you met with board members, you met with
key stakeholders, the government, Nashville people, former presidents, you
know stakeholders, Farm Bureau and you found this to be a fairly exhaustive
study of the system. So my question is do you have these
meetings out so I’m gonna make a conclusion that these meetings were
secretive meetings because they work well they’re private meetings but not
say I’m secretive of the private means they’re secretive to me and the faculty
you can say they’re not secretive but the faculty think they’re secretive.
That’s mostly the reason why we’re sitting, all of us are in this room.
BOYD: Okay Q1: So why did you think it was necessary
to keep this proposal secretive from your own faculty? BOYD: So what purpose to keep it
secret…if I want to make sure that I talk to all the experts that I needed to
get advice from on on an organizational change at the top level and to maybe
further add, I think I understand, Q1: it’s insulting BOYD: …that when you’re trying to decide
the reporting structure and title of one of your executives it’s not
something that you go to everybody across the state to talk about it’s
something I need to talk to the people that are in the administration and
particularly my board of trustees to make sure that they agreed with a
decision that I would make that I’m entitled, that I’m empowered to make. Q1: That you’re empowered to make.
BOYD: yes sir Q1: Okay. Do you believe in shared governance?
BOYD: I do. Q1: Do you think you follow shared governance? In this procedure?
BOYD: Yes.
Q1: I disagree. BOYD: okay I think shit well it’s a whole nother conversation maybe can’t let some others
Q1: Yeah it’s not this problem that you’re having here and the reason you’re here
is because this was jammed through at the last minute you can say it’s not in
but everybody in this room and everybody watching knows what I’m saying and they
hear it and when you say it’s not true you’re you’re stripping yourself of your
own clothes. So please. BOYD: Well there will be something yes we may have a longer conversation about shared governance. Shared governance doesn’t mean that we
share every single decision. There are a lot of things that you’re gonna make
decisions on that I’m not involved in. There are decisions that I’m gonna be
involved in that you’re not involved in. This is one that belongs to the CEO of
the organization. Q1: When you get off-duty here if you go read
some documents on shared governance I’ve got one I could read let me speak for 30
seconds and I will shut down I won’t say another thing the rest of not day here
okay someone read the Association of governing boards of University and
colleges this is their definition a shared governance. I’m not an expert on
this I just looked this up yesterday shared governance is the process by
which various constituents traditionally, Governing boards, senior administration,
and faculty, possibly also staff, students, and others contribute to decision-making
related to college or university policy and procedure. When done well, shared
governance strengthens the quality of leadership and decision-making at an
institution enhances its ability to achieve vision and to meet strategic
goals, increases the odds that when the very best thinking by all parties to
shared governance is brought to bear on institutional challenges. When done well,
shared governance engenders an institutional culture of collective
ownership and accountability for the institution’s present and future. Further,
when faculty administrators and boards are actively and collaboratively
involved in decision-making processes decisions are implemented more quickly
and more effectively but strong governance also takes effort to
cultivate and maintain. Its a tradition unique to higher education sector but
even since senior administrators and faculty, letalone board members tend
to not be academics, usually lack formal training on the subject.
Knowing how ensuring it works how it should be and how she work differently
is not second nature of the parties involved in it. One last thing the reason
the other reason we’re here is because when we when Tim’s former bosss Joe got
promoted to Chancellor that was also not really a shared government action either
so now we’re gonna do so anyway… PLOWMAN: Thank you, for you know I think everyone has a right to look at the process and and come up with your your own view about it.
Where we are today and this is my plea to everyone where we are today is let’s
figure out how to go forward and and and Tim and I want to pull our groups
together we’re eager to get sweaty just like let… hear me out because I heard
you out, to get our groups together to try to figure out what are the what are
the things we want to put in place, and how are we gonna make this work? So, I
think just focusing on kind of like all the things that we wish had been done
that it’s legitimate to have those like those thoughts and ideas but it doesn’t
help us right now when we need to try to figure out how to move forward so
Q1: well, the past is the precursor to the future in what what last week the faculty were
invited here and we were instructed these are the things we can talk about
these are the things we can’t talk about in our sole activity was to write our
ideas on a Post-It note they weren’t on a board these go to a committee
appointed by I assume as you Randy? BOYD: It was a collective…
Q1: Okay, So upper administration, yes, not the Faculty Senate and these ideas…they don’t write a rec…they write a recommendation of ideas, not a draft proposal then they go
to y’all you all write a rule or a proposal to the board that doesn’t come
back the faculty we don’t get to see it before the board necessarily don’t get
to make comment so the whole thing is being jammed…
BOYD: That’s not the correct
description of the process Q1: okay well that’s that’s what I
understood from the meeting last week the primary thing that keeps me done
this we need to do this so we get rankings higher, that’s already been
accomplished so I see no big hurry for the rest of this to go through that the
main thing everybody keeps saying is the rankings, I don’t think anybody really
has an issue with that… the only person I see maybe it would be Tim that would
have any beef with it so but that’s done this rush to push everything through by
November 8th is really kind of seems it to me like the artificial construct and
we have not heard what your ideas are and what your plans are for this you
haven’t shared those with us still I just did know you haven’t just said I’ll
do it now if not give me the mic I’d like to you write down what your ideas
are specifically like you haven’t… BOYD: Okay, thank you so as I shared the
only thing that we’ve accomplished is that one ranking adjustment everything
else is up to the people in this room and the broader group or stakeholders
that we have now what’s next is to come up with other
ideas and I don’t want you to get too caught up on the board date there’s not
a rush to do anything on that particular date we’re gonna all were expected to do
with the board is to share with them what good ideas we’ve come up with so
far. However there could be some good ideas that come up now that we decide to
do now for example and these are weeks very small and not terribly exciting but
it depends on your point of view maybe we come up with a direct bus route that
just that everybody appreciates but there could be some small wins that we
could come up with along the way and everything else we’re going to continue
to look for new ideas for, I guess years into the future. Things that involve
faculty, that are decisions of faculty or will be there’ll be a big key part of
those those conversations deciding the bus route that’ll probably be somebody
somebody different so there will be certain decisions that will be made by
the people that are responsible for them but my plan is as we’ve said to let all
of you and others contribute good ideas for us to review and then decide which
ones we move forward with. [Indistinct off mic]
BOYD: No, that’s… PLOWMAN: I just heard an exam…here’s an example I…
just heard this morning I was breakfast with faculty and one of your faculty was
there and he said, “Donde, do you know that the campus tours don’t
don’t bring students over here prospective students.” When I get done
here I’m going back to the office and call and find out if that’s true or
change that, so just small things like that why don’t you take the mic JAY WHELAN: all right thank you
very much for coming here my name is Jay Whelan I’m the
department head of Nutrition and the department head of Public Health. I had
a joint appointment with Ag. Before coming here, I was at one of those
land-grant universities at Cornell University where there are advantages
for it. I’ve been waiting since 1991 for this to happen, to be quite frank. I do
all my research with folks associated with the Ag campus and we’ve developed
very successful research programs because of it and I think this lowers
some of the barriers that existed between the main campus and the Ag
campus and I also think there’s a great advantage for those on the Ag campus
because of the lack of resources that were not available to those on the
Ag campus because it was a distinct and separate financial institution. So I
applaud you for for this change. QUESTION 3: I’ll leave you off the hot seat for a minute… I want to ask to you, what you see as the role in this unification plan on our
Herbert College. PLOWMAN: So that again…what’s the role and what… Q3: What’s the result for the Herbert College because we’ve always felt you know like where we don’t
get our fair share of the resources. PLOWMAN: Well that, we don’t want you feeling that way
okay so the thing so what I I’m eager to get to the place where Tim and I as the
two leaders of in this, operational leaders if you will, can get our teams
together take the input from these listening sessions and start mapping out
operationally what do we need to do. I’ve heard some things I heard you guys need
could use some more graduate assistants. I’ve heard that there’s a couple of faculty lines would go a long way. I’ve heard a
number of things. I want to get past all this conversation to where Tim and I can
start mapping it out. I heard you need a parking garage – that’s not a promise to
it – but I know where there’s a lot of things we got to start getting to work
on and I’m eager to get to a list of priorities and say ‘okay, where what do we need to begin on first?’ I want to change the tours on campus… Q3: Thank you
CROSS: Kim, let me just follow up on that and you know there’s a tendency to think
well things were bad in the past, so this was done to address something bad. I
don’t think there was anything bad necessarily, we had great working
relationship with Jimmy Cheek and with other chancellors that the mindset
though was was really as it should be and that is I’m a Chancellor I have my
group of people that I support and you have a chancellor and you have a group
of people you support and we’re all each required to you know take care of our
own, if you will. The attitude and the approach that Donde has just expressed I
think it gives us the ability to really move forward and and that is again I I
know there’s probably a tendency the folks on the Knoxville campus feel
like well those Ag people there just want to grab our resources as a result
there’s a bit of a tendency for us to think well we’re just going to get what
we’re entitled to I don’t think that’s the point the point is we can work
together because we’re really advancing the same university the same campus the
same students and there’s more of a mindset to advancing together as opposed
to you do your thing we’ll do ours and and hopefully together we’ll we’ll
almost by coincidence improve. I think there’s much more of a mindset towards
intentional cooperation and collaboration.
Q3: Thank you both. CAULA BEYL: would just merely like to point out Dr. Plowman is visiting with me tomorrow. She’s coming to our campus into my
office to discuss in more detail and get to know us better,
and so we welcome you and we look forward to the conversation.
Thank you. ANDREA LUDWIG: Thank you guys for being here. Andrea Ludwig, Biosystems Engineering and Soil
Science. I’m currently serving on the Faculty Senate as the Ag caucus chair. I
would like to I guess respectfully disagree a little bit with the idea that
we shouldn’t be looking backwards into what has happened and just looking
forward. I think we can all agree that there’s a lot of value, that it sounds
like we need as a faculty to regain some trust, and to do that we need to look
backwards and identify what were the failures in the system here that led us
to a point where we’ve got a lot of folks that aren’t happy with the process,
and where we are right now. And and here we are all collected here instead of in
our offices doing the good work for the people of Tennessee right? So I think
there’s a lot of value and this is an opportunity to look back to see what was
missing and how can we identify those pieces that were missing and ask or
how can we get them into the process moving forward. So just as an example
earlier this week at a brainstorming session a roomful of UT employees we
were asking them on the front-end to either agree or disagree with a
statement and that statement was “the process caused me to mistrust
unification.” Over 80% of the people there responded they agreed, so what is going
to be done to gain trust? out beyond listening sessions. PLOWMAN: So I appreciate what
you’re saying yes we have to learn from the past to do better in the future and
I think the one the way I’ve been thinking about Trust I’ve heard the
comment about trust on on the campus on that side of the bridge unrelated to
this is there have been all sorts of examples of people feeling Trust has
been broken in the past and so part of what we have to do only way I know to do
it is one-on-one conversation sitting down with people and say what happened
how do we get to this point and what do we do next and that’s what I’m focusing
on at least what just as Caula pointed out with the deans and and then just
getting around the table rolling up our sleeves and getting to work at being who
we want to be I know that sounds kind of vague but I’m committed to exactly that
I’m also open to feedback if you have specific things you could say to me and
Tim like okay next time there is a when you guys get ready to do X here’s what
we would like to see happen the one thing I always I want to say to faculty
is you know I’ve come to this route through that path I was a faculty member
III I totally appreciate shared governance. What we…what I really
need you all to do right now especially is to help us with the two pieces that
that are you own on any campus is the curriculum we need exciting inspiring
curriculum that is going to attract more and more students here we need to
attract faculty, and postdocs and graduate students and we need to find
ways to do that, processes to do that though that we all feel good about so
while some of the administrative decisions that have been made – we don’t
necessarily like the way they were made, okay – let’s try to learn from that and as
Tim and I go forward trying to put this together helped us
figure out what to do that’s what I would I would say.
BOYD: I wanna say
simply that I apologized if anybody felt that their trust was
broken with me…something that I pride myself on if you want to hurt my
feelings it’s probably the most damaging way to do that if you look at my
experience with any other organization I’ve had we’ve always had a credibly
high level of trust that comes with lots of communication and maybe we deride
the comment about listening but I really do think communication and
listening is the heart of trust because you have trust you have to have
understanding to have understanding you have to listen so I would suggest that
listening is actually really really important and for me it’s spending more
time out listening and I think there’s gonna be a lot of individual sessions as
well with smaller groups in this room and that are all across the state you
know part of the reason why I’m going to all the Extension offices and I think 38
or 39 now is just to be able to make sure that they can ask me questions
directly and I can and talk to them regularly, it at the end of the day you
can trust somebody and disagree with them. I’m okay with people disagreeing
with me. I don’t want them to not trust me. You can disagree that maybe all
faculty should be in charge of deciding reporting lines of officers at least I
want you to trust how I came to it it wasn’t a matter of being secretive being
just being untrustworthy it was a difference of opinion but but we’ll
continue to communicate and we’ll work hard to learn from this experience and
try to do better in the future. CROSS: Two quick thoughts…One Dr. Doug Steele I worked with for years he was Extension director at Texas A&M and if you know
Doug he’s about 6 foot 9 270 pounds looks just like me.
[Laughter throughout the room]
Doug had a statement that I use frequently and I’ve told him I’ve stole it from him he’s where honor the past but look to the future and I think we we need to do that we have a
rich tradition on the Institute of Ag campus, on the rest of campus, and UT system
as a whole…a lot of great traditions a strong past so I don’t think we could
just pretend nothing happened. But, I think we do need to make sure we
are looking to the future, make sure we’re doing what our
stakeholders need what they tell us is important what their priorities are
whether they’re students whether they are farmers whether they’re divorcing
parents we need to be attentive to those needs first and foremost because that’s
why we’re here that’s what we’re paid to do and then the second thing is Trust is
earned not not demanded so I’d love to give you a list of seven things we’re
gonna do to earn your trust I think it’d be better if we figured out together how
we could maybe strengthen trust among faculty among administrators there’s too
much of a tendency that it’s us against you if you will I’m saying says in all
three of us. Really and truly again we’re all here for the same reason we’re
supposed to support you you’re supposed to support stakeholders we ought to be
working together and I welcome ideas on the trust side of things because if I
had a list I’d share it with you but it’d be a whole lot better list if we
developed it together. LUDWIG: Thank you guys. I’m looking forward
to the next year on faculty senates. QUESTION 6: So I’ve had the privilege to be a Dean
in an organization that really is responsible centered management: There’s only X
amount of resources that come to the college and I’m responsible for
allocating all those resources. And there isn’t any additional money outside of
tuition, state appropriations, research grants and contracts, gifts and hospital
revenue, and setting priorities for the college is always a challenge. There are
always too many priorities to be able to handle, associated with the amount of
resources that come in. I know the university is looking at responsibilities
centered management, you know I’m a little bit fearful that
they’ll be winners and losers associated with that and how you allocate money. I’m
very proud to be associated with the Institute of Agriculture because we
serve the people, as you said Donde, you know outreach to Tennessee is really our
our biggest responsibility. We’ve got a lot of sub use they have lots of problem
we have lots of priorities to set and you know I pull my leadership team
around to talk about priorities and talk about decisions, but ultimately they fall
on my shoulders to say okay I can’t do that but I’m going to do this. And you
know there’s good interactions of the people and they understand but still you
know there are priorities. So you’ve got lots of priorities associated with
running the university. Dr. Cross has lots of priorities in our mission of
serving the people of Tennessee of which you want to step into that role and to
appreciate that. Randy you you know as the system leader
are trying to be in position to advance all of the system and interacting with
the people. I’d like to hear some comments of how you’re gonna establish
priorities how you’re gonna make sure that we’re hitting the mission and who’s
the ultimate decider of what gets done when and where.
CROSS: Such an easy question I’m
sure Dr. Plowman would be glad to answer [Laughter fills the room]
Maybe the president… BOYD: Maybe you guys can fill in some more
granular details but here’s here’s a thought and I’d like to share with you
and get your input on and and hopefully your collaboration on this opioid summit,
I don’t know if there was anybody in this room that were a part of the opioid
summit, but that was inspirational to me. So we started in January realizing that
we had resources all across the state in the University of Tennessee addressing
this that none of we’re talking to each other so we had a summit in January just
bringing some UT resources together to focus on this: We quickly realized we
can’t do this by ourself there are other people all across the state we need to
bring in so we organized another summit August 1st and 2nd. We were hopeful
maybe 200 people would show up within the first 30 days we had over 300 people
that had signed up. Within 30 days before we had the summit we had 500 people that
had signed up at the summit there were over 700 people that all came together
and I guess seeing what we could do on that one grand
challenge for our state was inspirational. The things that only the
University of Tennessee could do being able to convene people from all across
the state but what it occurred to me is that um I think our university
collectively is unique is the unique Enterprise in the state that can
actually transform our state in great ways so I don’t think anybody else has
the things that we have. We’re nonpartisan. We have reach in every
single County so physically we are everywhere in our state we have the
financial, the physical, and the intellectual capital that no other
enterprise in-state, in the state has. And we also have the ability to convene
people because we’re a trusted adviser people from all across the state will
come to work things that we we bring together and lastly we have
sustainability. If you’re a governor you’re out in eight years if you’re most
other positions they’re out with a University of Tennessee we’ve been here
for 225 years we’re probably here for the next century.
So we have sustainability. Given that, the thought is what if we collectively
throughout our system decided together on what the Grand Challenges of our
state are? What things that we could all work together to do to totally transform
our state in a positive way and I’d like to have some conversations about what
those are. Now it could be completing the Drive to 55. I know Dr. Chen has a great
concept around this our vision on one health maybe that is something that
could impact lives in every corner of the state and uniquely we are probably
the best position to solve so back to priorities: we’re gonna all have our
departmental priorities we’ve got to fill this position we’ve got to finish
this research paper there’s all those things but more broadly wouldn’t it be
great if as a as an enterprise we could come up and identify with some Grand
Challenges and so when people talk about the University of Tennessee you can tell
them or that and they’ll recognize us as oh you guys are the ones that are
solving the opioid crisis you guys are the ones that’s making sure that we’re a
healthy we have a healthy population so I think there’s the granular things but
there’s also opportunity for us to be a transformative force and last I’ll just
add this I mentioned this to a group of folks a couple of days ago.
What I would like for us to have a conversation around is what needs to be
true to make the next decade the best decade in the history of the University
of Tennessee? We’ve been around for 225 years…
How will people think back on us 20, 30 years from now of this next decade from
2020 to 2030 what things need to be true to make this the absolute best decade?
Let’s define those things and then work together on those and I think if we have
those as our top objectives just all the other things will will tie into those
that’s my thought. PLOWMAN: So Jim, you make an excellent point which is that the
hardest part of being a leader is saying yes to some things and no to other
things. That’s your point as a Dean. You do that every day. You set priorities so
the here’s how I would my response to that question, is as the new chancellor
I’m trying to spend this fall listening, learning, one-on-one conversation, small
group conversations, what is it people want, need, long for, have missed, etc etc
etc and that’s going to lead to a an opportunity to create a new vision for
this flagship campus starting in the spring. And that vision then should drive
those priority decisions as far as I’m concerned, when I think about it it’s got
to build off of what makes us unique what is uniquely Tennessee… Tennessee,
Knoxville, and and so once we get that and that will be a big broad
comprehensive university-wide people from sitting in this room and people in
other rooms around campus to figure out what are our priorities because i don’t
think we that’s a that’s a hard thing to do is hard thing to say like right now
would you say if you asked Jeremy Pruitt what is his priority we know it what he
would say and it’s different than what maybe I would say today but we all we
got to get a common sense of this is what we’ve all kind of come to agreement
on and then those priorities drive a you set priorities in your college and how
you set priorities in your college and your priorities should influence the
design of this thing in the spring so I don’t think we have
yet the answer to that we need to get it and I-I’ve been saying I don’t think
just having a list of metrics that we want to achieve is particularly
inspiring. I think we can get to those metrics by creating an inspiring vision —
what is it that makes us really different — and how do we want…what
do we want the answer to that to be? Then we’ll be able to make better those
decisions the new budget allocation model however we get that designed
should…the biggest thing it’s gonna offer is a transparency about how
financial decisions get made. We don’t have…
[Off mic, indistinct] …well you’re you’re right
and so part of what’s gonna happen between now and getting that developed
is more transparency about what we have now I told I tell other people we got to
start with the Chancellor needs to understand it, and and there’s been just
part of the culture here is that information’s been held very tight, and so
point well made. QUESTION 7: So within our veterinary hospital we have some services that make
money and we have other services that don’t make money so and so’s wildlife is
like an indigent population they don’t really you know walk in the door with a
lot of money and but yet we try to take care of them you know put little casts
on their broken squirrels legs and you know and then let them back out to the
wild and a falcon eats them, you know and you know it it’s all it’s all part of
running an organization that students want to come to alright and so a
priority that I see for our campuses research and doing biomedical research
and having infrastructure on campus to be able to support laboratory animals
and to be able to have high quality research areas that we can attract
people to in order to do biomedical research and the veterinary school is
the only component of UT that has a medicine component to it
and so when I go out to try to hire scientists I can’t really handle the
research needs that they have and so the university has got to have one of those
centralized vivariums or centralized laboratory animal facilities in order to
attract new people to be able to do new things with engineering and do new
things with nutrition and do new things with infectious diseases and surgeries
and all kinds of things all right but that will come at a price of resources
you know in order to invest in it and in order to grow that and to transform the
university and so you know as the leader you know that priority is gonna be there
at some point in time but our land-grant mission to serve Tennessee you know
doesn’t bring in lots of new revenue you know our Institute of Agriculture
has lagged behind the campus in being able to grow our resources because we’re
non-formula funded okay and that has been a negative for our campus and so in
order for us to do our job which is a critical job we’ve got to be in position
to attract more resources in some manner and the university has to be in position
to establish its priorities to try to grow each of the components of our
teaching research and service missions and I just know that it’s hard all right
and I think it’s what the people that are sitting around the room here is
saying they would like to have a voice so as you’re sitting around the table
and that we’re really discussing these things that it’s taken into deep
consideration yeah so that I think that’s really all I wanted to make the
point is that the people want to be part of the decision-making and they need to
be part of it And then you need to be strong enough to take the pulse…[Indistinct, off mic] BOYD: It was in the Job Description. MARK FLY: Good
morning my name’s Mark Fly and I have a question about redesigning the
budget model: If you could explain more detail about what that is about and also
have a concern that we only have one member from the Institute of Agriculture
on that committee which is 6% and it seems like it should be equal to the
budget percent that we make up of the university. Thank you. PLOWMAN: I don’t know, okay
so you’re catching me on I know some detail about a part of it…I don’t know
how much your budgets is involved in that. Can you speak to that? CROSS: So I think Dr. Sheehan is is a
participant in that project, or that committee had the first meeting earlier
this week as I recall. Monday night…and actually in terms of budget flow flow of
dollars directly only the Herbert College of Agriculture receives funds
through the University of Tennessee Knoxville all the rest of our funds are
separate indirect to the Institute direct as in their allocated to the
University of Tennessee and then line-item appropriated to each of our
units. We of course have USDA funding that comes direct as well as competitive
funds, but I think the point is Mark, it’s really a very small component of funding
it’s critically important to the Herbert College of Agriculture because it is
virtually their sole source of funding other than fees and gifts, but that
tuition funding flows directly. PLOWMAN: So in some ways you’re…the Institute is minimally affected. High-impact College however so what the new budget model
should achieve is…there should be incentives in the way we allocate
resources which there are not now for Caula to grow that college. And new
revenues should flow as a result of growth that does not now happen because
we have an historical model which basically you get a little bit more each
year and it’s you that whatever the salary increase was
the state passed and if there were any additional resources then the Dean has
to go begging…kind of…I’m overstating it but in the new – if we get it designed
correctly and I’m really happy that you’re on there it’s going to help
everybody will know exactly how it gets done and and now the way it is and
the with a historical model what happens is Deans go in and they make their case
and they might get some more and they might not. Under this model it’ll be
units will be rewarded for achieving the goals that are the institution’s goals
so if the goals are growth of enrollments if the goals are more
research expenditures or higher impact journal publications and a unit is
hitting those, more research dollars will float. Now we also know that there are
many units and that’s where I thought you were going Jim like when you talked
about some parts of your college you’re never going to be revenue generators so
for example teaching piano is always going to cost way more than it can ever
bring in and the reason we’ve got really smart people on this committee is to
design a model that acknowledges that so there will always be some programs that
will be kind of subsidized I hate to use that word but proudly you know and so so
this is going to be a process it’s going to take a while it’s not going to happen
overnight but a year from now or six months from now you should six not from
now you should know what is the idea they’re throwing around like we want to
value research dollars we want to evaluate ours or is it majors those are
the things they’re gonna sort out so thank you Tim for clarifying as it
relates to you all in many ways I think your Institute probably kind of operates
more like that anyway your college will be is important for your college. CARPENTER: Okay, we
have five questions from online the first one is from Becky Campbell in
Sullivan County Extension: Are there any plans or views on how this will impact
the organizational structure for three Extension regions, and the county
Extension office’s? CROSS: No. [Laughter] …and really I’ve told I’ve asked everyone
tell me how your job or your life has changed since July 1st no one can tell
me how it’s changed there have been no changes and there will be no changes as
a result of this I can’t say nothing will ever change in the future
I think that be horrible to make that statement actually because there may be
a need for some change down the road but it you know changing Extension regions
going from 3 to 2 or 3 to 7 there’s no no relationship between our
work with the University of Tennessee Knoxville and in the way the Extension
office’s organized. BOYD: I was just in Sullivan County two weeks ago and I’ll just
repeat what I said when I was there that for Extension office’s it’s all
additives and there’s nothing negative that can happen to them the positives
will be if we can bring some additional resources if we could get a grant to be
able to support Kristina Gordon’s program on trying to reduce divorce I trying to
get more of our nutrition department out working with FCS agents trying to get
more resources to support them my personal passion is to help support
Extension to be bigger and greater than it’s ever been before and so we’ll be
fighting to make it better find and get more resources to make it better and
just a side note you know I met with our the first two times I met with our new
governor the very first thing he said was we’ve got to get more resources to
support Extension and have Extension do more in our state and then I’m all we’re
all in and so I’m I think not only do we have a passion for helping support
Extension I think we’ve got a government at the state level that’s that’s willing
to do that as well so I’m excited about what the future of Extension is going to
be CROSS: Thanks, Megan CARPENTER: Okay the next four questions are from the UTIA retirees listening session which is going on in West Knoxville at the
moment first question why why UTIA, and not include the Space Institute and the
Health Science Center in this new structure if it will help our rankings? BOYD: Well the Space Institute is already a part of UTK…Health Science Center
something we could consider but the fact is you know they’re four hundred and
thirty miles away they have a different accrediting body they have a different
provost it’s significantly different situation than we have
at UTIA. At UTIA we have the same Faculty Senate the same faculty handbook same
provost on the same physical campus with the same accrediting body so… CARPENTER: Next question: overhead for UTK is a higher percentage taken as opposed to
the UTIA grant process. Will UTIA grant overhead dollars be diminished
and/or cannibalized? CROSS: So I’ll take a stab that first of all F&A rates overhead rates are
determined as an audit of our actual expenditures with regard to support for
extramural funding so we don’t just arbitrarily set those rates they’re
determined through an audit of what we’ve spent and then the rates are set
as a basis of that and it’s got to be auditable. Because what we’re saying is
there’s overhead there’s a cost associated with doing these projects and
we have to prove what that cost is we can’t just make it up. Then secondly
those audits are based upon cost centers responsible cost centers and we have
separate cost centers for Extension for Ag Experiment Station and for the
College of Veterinary Medicine that are independently audited and so there’s no
basis for saying okay now we’re all one we’re going to roll all those together
because they’d still be separate cost centers the audit is still going to
determine what those overhead rates should be without any any change. Anything to add Donde? Nobody from finance is in here so I should be okay on that CARPENTER: Next question:
How will UTIA maintain its identity in the future? For example will
the Department of Plant Sciences remain as such? CROSS: well again I think there are no
plans to change any departmental organizational structures if we hear
from plant science faculty and biology and other units that boy it’d really be
better if we were put together I think that’d be the basis for saying maybe
there’s something to look at here but there there are no plans to reorganize
organize any units at this time and CARPENTER: Final question.
UTIA has a strategic plan one of the goals of this plan is to take
UTIA back to the staffing levels we had prior to the recession a decade ago
resources are limited and if there are not resources to meet the basic
land-grant mission how concurrent programs be expanded and new programs be
added so it’s all of our jobs but partially my job to go ask for more
funds and Barbara burns has given me that was public I think a wish list of
about six point six million dollars that we’re going to pitch to the to that that
governor that I mentioned was supposed to very supportive of us so give me an
opportunity to say yes actually next Tuesday at two o’clock I’m meeting with
all the Ag Caucus in the legislature to give them the pitch on just exactly that
to get more funds for for Extension along with some other things that
immediately go right after that to other Commissioner of fna a storm reporter
make the same pitch to him so we got to go sell we got to go make some requests
but I personally like our chances I think we’ve got a great argument we’ve
got a supportive governor and fortunately we’re in a budget surplus
right now we’re about four hundred eighty million dollars above budget
right now at the state level challenges everybody else in the state is looking
at that same money so I’m sure they’ve got five billion dollars worth request
for the half billion that they’ve got and surplus but I like our chances I
think we got a great argument we’ve got to go we got to go make our case
that concludes our online questions john steyr herbert college of agriculture
very much appreciate the chance to have this interaction with you we’re thinking
about enhancing our research productivity we’re thinking about making
a better state for our Tennesseans and we’re hearing things about distrust Joe
DiPietro made that comment as he left that his his wish for us moving forward
was that we could have better trust between faculty and administrator or
administration and as we know administrators come and go faculty stay
and when we think about we don’t have to go too quickly
when we think about people engaging who do we want to hire here we want to hire
people who are going to be engaged we want factly who want to be here not just
because it’s a job because man this is the University of Tennessee when we look
at a place like University wisconsin-madison top five research for
20-plus years running it was due in large part I think to shared governance
to any adherence to shared governance that means different things to different
people john Tyner said said one version of it we also have at the undergraduate
level coming up from UT k this year a mattering and belonging campaign and I
just wonder if this is not an opportunity perhaps with new leadership
here the new using the unification as a as a jumping-off point to help anneal
and improve and get to a better State between the Faculty Senate and
administration administrators need to lead faculty need to be able to provide
good ideas and we need to be able to work on these together and I just wonder
if that’s an opportunity for us maybe and to further our Chancellor but I’ll
just say that I think you’re exactly right it’s I think it’s a great
opportunity by the way we did to look at Wisconsin they also have like about 700
million dollars worth of research because of their health science center
so medical the medical is a big part of a rather didn’t get a lot of lot of
grants we’re looking at how do we catch those guys and that’s a that’s a missing
part that they have it that we don’t but I think that something I’m trying to do
maybe I’m not doing it’s good a job as I should I should but I’m trying to do is
have a higher level of transparency and my company that I’ve had for the last 30
years one of our goals is to have all of our associates empowered just a little
quick anecdote but we’re a privately held company with 900 employees and six
countries around the world we don’t have to share financial
information but every month at the end of the month we put our complete
financial statements out to every single one of our employees I’ve had a firm
belief that the correlator to empowerment is information if you want
to have an empowered associates they have to have information we created on
my third day on the job transfer at UT we’ve been putting everything that we
can think of on the on the web our culture now it with the administration
is why won’t we put this out so that it’s not what should we put out but
everything should be put out it has have a really strong reason maybe there’s a
personnel issue or a legal issue that you don’t post so again want more
engagement the thing that I’m going to try to commit to is try to be as
transparent as we can to help you have the information you need to make those
kind of decisions I totally agree with what you just said and that I think that
any time I’ve said this to the cabinet that I’m working with and other faculty
members that anytime there’s been in my own life any time there’s been a
disappointment or a loss or a misunderstanding a conflict that’s
always the time that relationships can become stronger and in my own experience
they have not not everybody often times you wish you go back to how it was
before but but when we sit down at the table and try to figure it out and say
what about this you know so what can we do going forward I really think what you
said is absolutely right and and I would invite I don’t know everyone’s name and
I’m sorry you and you and Tim and I when we get finished with these listening
sessions let’s sit down and the rest of our leaders and let’s just let’s put it
out there and and not in a rehashing sense but in let’s going forward since
we’ve had some great experiences just in the last week we had an academic retreat
two days ago where the deans of this Institute were all there I had people
tell me last night actually they told my husband who does they didn’t even he
didn’t even know what they were talking about actually but
said we had this session on Wednesday whenever it was that was the best one
day I have spent since I’ve been at the University I came there were two
department head I came back to my office and said what can I do and usually at
the end of those days I’m like I’m so tired and thank God it’s over and that
was an independent assessment I had a great meeting yesterday with Gary and
misty on how we’re gonna work together with the Faculty Senate our cabinet Tim
and I and the rest of our colleagues spent seven hours last week on one day
talking about how we as a team want to work together how we’re going to share
information how we’re gonna have each other’s backs how we’re gonna respect
each other as eight people spent a day I was including Phillip Fulmer and Tim
cross who have a lot of other responsibilities and I was really really
grateful for that for so I’m feeling so optimistic and so hopeful and yes we
will take this experience and use it to make us stronger that’s the only thing I
know how to do when things happen that don’t go exactly as we as we would have
liked so thank you I’m Willie Hart and I’m in bio systems
engineering this little science and I’m not very good staying impromptu speaker
but I just have a couple comments and then I’ve got to go to class mr. Boyd
listen it’s beginning and you give the background of all the and I’m not gonna
rehash what dr. Connor said but it does make full circle you went into the
various constituents and talked to them but you didn’t share anything with the
faculty here at the end you proudly use the word how transparent your company
you and your company are but you were very very actively secretive in this
entire process and yet the bottom line now here keep hearing the question we
got to move forward but this is where I grew up with hang actions speak much
louder than any word I will hear today I grew up in the family was honest and
actions meant everything so what you
who says volumes versus what you say so where I am at this point and from the
point that it was announced on a Friday meeting scrambled together quote in a in
a phone phone question answer on a Tuesday voted on board of trustees on a
Friday personally I have zero trust in
administration and I do not believe a whole lot as we move forward so I hope
your actions are stronger than your words I’ve got to go to class just to
respond and say I said earlier I believe that the decision of deciding what the
the title and the reporting responsibilities of my direct reports
are something that that I do it’s a decision that I make you can disagree
with that but I hope it’s not a question of trust it’s just a question of what
you do what you believe is the correct protocol in deciding your reports my
company I changed a vice president to associate vice president or a lot of
vice president go or hire a new vice president I don’t post that in advance
on the website and we don’t ask all nine other employees for six months what they
think more question from the UTIA retirees interim president woods
comments to John Stires question including about including the Health
Science Center to help our rankings was contradictory to a previous answer the
comment in question is in reference to the University of Wisconsin Medical
School’s would he like to reply no I think I understand the question the
question is we said we weren’t gonna do health science center at this time and
yet UW Madison has been successful because they have a Health Science
Center yeah so there are schools that have this as a fact there are schools I
have a Health Science Center it does help them with the rankings so those
aren’t contradictory there’s two true statements health science centers do
help you in your rankings our health science center happens to be four
hundred and thirty miles away with a completely different system so for us it
would be very very challenging to to do that so full disclosure I think unification
will bring positive things to the Institute but I would like to make a
suggestion I think the mistrust started when the
faculty lost their representative on the board of trustees and I know this is by
statute and university would have to lobby to have that reinstated but I
think it would go a ways in helping to rebuild that trust so so thank you for
maybe was that a little big sigh we have know that since our education commission
has talked about it and I’ve talked about it with with our board I don’t so
I can’t I’m not gonna propose what what the state government’s gonna do or not
do but one thing that I did look at oh I get my numbers right but I think we were
like it was like the last five years have been over 300 something different
decisions that the board trustees voted on and there were all hundred percent
unanimous so the actual voting at the Board of Trustees same thing is true for
the students the actual voting is not that terribly significant every but the
most important part is having a voice and both our faculty and our students
have a voice on the on the board of trustees and I do know it at this
particular with this particular board they look to our faculty representative
and to our students oftentimes and ask for your opinions so I’m not I’m not
coming on what the legislature may or may not do but the the voice of the
faculty and the voice of the students are there and they’re heard and I think
that’s probably the more important thing than the actual I had a commitment
before this meeting was set at 11:30 back over on campus so is there anything
else it could be that you want to direct towards me okay
all right thank you thank you all for being here and I would like to say that
the first actions speak louder than words one action is showing up here okay
so we heard a lot and we’re going to get to work and so I think that was a good
action and that’s one one one you can count on so thank you very much for
everything that everyone does in this room we have time for one more question
if there’s one more question in the room by Al Womack you Randy you gave the
example of the professor that noted that the ranking would effect that
recruitment of the student that’s excellent to hear such an example what
would go further is to have a clear articulation made public as to the
distinct advantages of this pursuit of top 25 in other words are there certain
programs are there certain departments that have advantages then to new fiscal
resources in terms of grants and so forth something that is a little more
for lack of better words touchy-feely than just the pursuit of top 25 I agree
with you hun percent I don’t know that never really felt that the pursue the
top 25 just by itself was that terribly inspiring it needs to have a greater
calling as we talk about the Grand Challenges but why are we here what what
difference are we going to matter making the the lives of Tennesseans and so I’m
hopefully will create a vision like that Dandi mentioned it but she’s at the
beginning stages of the particularly or keeping a plan to start having a
visioning and strategy for all the University of Tennessee Knoxville and
it’s an off well your strategy and vision will be
different than hell science centers so it’s something that you will need to
develop and hopefully make sure those voices are heard that talk about having
something that’s inspiring and aspiring and not just by just a number I agree
with you hundred percent maybe I also make a comment that you can close this
but I’ll just say thank you for showing up you know I hear the questions about
trust you guys some of you have my everybody has my email it’s rainy at
Tennessee edu you can reach out anytime I’ll sit down with any of you any time
from the gentleman that walked out said you know actions are greater than words
I can tell you about how optimistic a minute I’m about how much we’re gonna be
able to do together and all the great things that are gonna happen but now
we’re gonna go do them so Donny until talked about this you could put points
on the board we gotta find ways in which we can get
more resources for Extension to be able to do some of these programs that we
talked about finding ways to support the the students here on this campus with
new physical facilities and and help our faculty with eliminating some of the
bureaucracy and things that have been holding you back but we just got to put
points on the board and that’s what we’re determined to do over these next
over the next few years thank you for being here good just a couple of
thoughts to wrap up and I also want to thank you for coming you could have been
other places doing other things appreciate your commitment to the
Institute to the University as a whole I just lost my train of thought
well I never thought I’d hear an engineer say touchy-feely so thank you
thank you dr. Womack for that and as I prepared for this today I did not
anticipate broken squirrel eggs being part of our conversation either but you
know that just speaks to the depth the breadth of the interests and the passion
and the commitment that our folks have and I’m saying our folks broadly
speaking not just in the Institute but UT Knoxville as well and and it’s hard
to refer to that these days the combined Institute of agriculture in UT Knoxville
campus I think that I’ve been going through maybe and probably you have to
something like Donnie alluded to and that is almost the stages of grief you
know there it feels like no offense but it feels like there’s been a loss
first thing is anger then denial and then you know you got to kind of work
through some of that I don’t know about you I’m just talking about myself but
honestly I’ve been there a little bit and that’s not again to express distrust
or dissatisfaction it’s just sort of a personal experience and I’m sure you’ve
had your own experience through this as well I do hope that we can continue to
do the jobs that we’re hired to do that we’re paid to do and do them well
whether it’s working with students whether it’s doing research whether it’s
working with families and youth across the state whether it’s treating broken
squirrel legs or other animal clients you know we really have the reputation
that we have because we’ve done so well in the past and that’s part of that
honor in the past part but we really got to make sure we continue that I get
great feedback all the time with regard to our research our
education our Extension programs and certainly grateful clients from the
College of Veterinary Medicine are regular communicators with my office I
think we want that to continue there was no reason we would not want that to
continue in the future president Boyd’s heard that across the state as well we
want you to be able to do your jobs be successful and be a place where others
want to come in the future whether they’re students looking for a top 100
institution or faculty looking for a new career opportunity so in that spirit
though I think maybe I’ve not done as good a job as I could have in
communication I sent a note to Dean’s directors and department heads earlier
this week saying you know I’m a little slow here but I think there may be some
need for increased communication if you have a group getting together and you
think it would be helpful for me to be part of a conversation about unification
about the future of the Institute about the future of the University I’m willing
and able well I say I’m willing I’m willing if my schedule permits and able
if Trish tells me it’s okay to attend such meetings and visit with
anybody you know anytime I can because I think communication is key and again I’m
not sure I’ve done as good a job as I should have but I’ll do my very best to
address that moving forward so make sure each of you know
that as well you may know of a group that would benefit from a conversation
and I want to make special point to thank our retirees that joined us this
morning from I believe out of the eastern region office you know the
people that have retired from this place are committed to this place and we never
want to take that for granted there along with our alumni and other
stakeholders a key member of our Institute family and we appreciate them
too so with that I think we’ll wrap up sort of the formal program here I’ve got
nowhere to go for 30 minutes so happy to talk to anybody and I hope you know my
door remains open and I know Randy’s offer to connect with him by email is
genuine just be prepared to hear from him at 5 a.m. at 8 p.m. or anytime in
between so thank you for coming you