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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Administration

Khator overhauls academic affairs


UH is undergoing an influx of redesigns, construction zones and remodeling; yet the biggest Cougar face lift is happening within the office of academic affairs.

These eight administrators will lose their position under President and Chancellor Renu Khator's reorganization plan, which was announced to the University on Monday. | Courtesy of UH.edu

These eight administrators will lose their positions under President and Chancellor Renu Khator’s reorganization plan, which was announced to the University on Monday. | Courtesy of UH.edu

President and Chancellor Renu Khator announced in a campus-wide email on Monday that in order to completely support the University’s Tier One status, she plans to begin taking steps toward creating positions within the administration to better the University, and to eliminate the positions that have become obsolete. All of the actions that Khator will be taking were formulated under the advisement of the Pappas Consulting Group Inc.

“Throughout this effort, the consultant reached out to the deans, the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate, and the vice presidents for their comments and ideas,” Khator said. “The consultant further solicited input from department chairs and college business administrators. Most recently, the consultant shared the initial conceptual model with the Council of Vice Presidents, the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate and the deans for their reaction and comments.”

Khator said the feedback was positive and, along with the consultant firm, the groups formulated a full report that details the administrative actions to be taken by UH. The document focuses on transforming the office of the senior vice chancellor for academic affairs and senior vice president for academic affairs and provost.

“The reorganization calls for the creation of new positions, the elimination of currently existing positions and the realignment of functions to different reporting structures,” the Pappas Consulting Group said in its report. “The changes are both horizontal and vertical. Some will be easier to implement than others. Some may be done immediately upon authorization to proceed, others will need to be undertaken sequentially and iteratively. Some will need to be developed from the proverbial ground up.”

The document continues, further detailing the precise duties of the new positions.

Interim Provost Paula Short sent out her own campus-wide email a mere hour and a half after Khator, naming all of the administrators whose jobs were eliminated.

“While the reorganization is necessary to ensure student success at the undergraduate and graduate levels, change is sometimes difficult, especially when personnel are affected,” Short said. “The organizational transformation outlined in the consultant’s report eliminates eight existing positions. No other changes to existing positions in administration are recommended in the report.”

According to the email, Jerald Strickland, associate vice chancellor and associate vice president of International Studies and Programs; Stuart Hall, associate vice president, graduate and professional studies; and Agnes DeFranco, associate vice president for undergraduate studies, are returning to various faculty positions.

Elaine Charlson, executive associate vice chancellor and associate vice president for academic affairs, is electing to retire, Short said.

Three more administrators — Marshall Schott, associate vice president of University outreach and associate vice chancellor of planning and administration; Libby Barlow, assistant vice president of academic affairs; and Kathryn Peek, assistant vice president of University Health — are announced to be pursuing other opportunities.

Rounding off the eight, the position of associate vice chancellor and associate vice president for planning and outreach has been eliminated. The position is empty as its former possessor, Ed Hugetz, remains as interim provost at the University of Houston-Downtown.

Although drastic changes have been made, the process is in its early stages as UH begins a search to fill the new positions.

“I will announce the interim appointments for the new positions created in the reorganization plan by Wednesday, May 22,” Short said. “The Office of Academic Affairs will begin national searches this summer to fill the positions.”

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