I commend the World's recent story on the turmoil surrounding the University of Tulsa's restructuring and recognize Randy Krehbiel for his well-sourced and balanced essay ("For better or worse, TU begins transformational makeover: 'This is evolving,' Clancy says," Aug. 25).
I respond to one aspect of the piece.
The article creates a narrative of hard-headed administrators charged with making tough choices versus dreamy academics unconcerned with practical matters. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
While professors are passionate about their research and teaching (as they should be!), they are not disconnected from the business of running a university. Many have considerable administrative experience.
As department chairs, associate deans, program officers, grant writers and administrators, we are well familiar with managing budgets and people, not to mention leading meaningful strategic planning.
Though often invisible to the general public, research and teaching faculty carry out much of administrative work that make TU and other universities operate on a day-to-day basis. Universities call this shared governance.
Over this summer, TU faculty have conducted deep research into restructuring plans adopted (and sometimes rejected) by other institutions, familiarized ourselves with the workings of educational consultants and penned a series of position papers analyzing aspects of True Commitment.
Through this we’ve learned that managing institutional change rests upon developing "stakeholder buy in" well before finalizing any plan.
Providing ample opportunity for employees to participate meaningfully in strategic planning isn't just a nice thing to do, but essential to avoiding the kind of turmoil TU finds itself in today.
Editor's Note: Brian Hosmer is the H.G. Barnard Associate Professor of Western American History at TU.
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