In a letter released by the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Thomas Brouster, on Dec. 15, it was announced that Manoj Patankar had submitted his resignation letter as the Vice President for Academic Affairs to Lawrence Biondi, S.J., president of Saint Louis University. His resignation is effective at the end of the fall semester, at which time Patankar will return to his position as a professor at Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology.
Ellen Harshman, the current dean of the John Cool School of Business, will serve as the interim Vice President for Academic Affairs as the University prepares a search committee to identify potential candidates. The Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate is expected to have a significant role in forming the committee and the number of faculty on the committee itself will be aimed at “reflecting the extent of faculty involvement in this critical position.”
After two meetings with the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate, the Board decided to implement six decisive steps for improving communication. It was decided that the Faculty Senate President will meet annually with the Board to address faculty concerns. The Board and the administration will be meeting annually with the Faculty Senate to report on the state of the University. In addition, the Board will be reviewing the roles of faculty, staff and students on Board committees to ensure effective participation.
The Board also decided in their meeting that the Faculty Senate will help to create an annual assessment of the SLU community to be conducted by a external and independent organization. The purpose of this step is to keep the board updated on the concerns and interests of students, faculty and staff.
The Board will also continue to support the Faculty Senate’s revisions of the Faculty Manuel and promised to work for a process that will ensure effective shared governance at the University.
In addition to these steps, Brouster also announced the the Faculty Senate President, Mark Kneupfer, will be invited to present to the full Board of Trustess at the February 9, 2013 meeting. He also expressed hope that he and Biondi would be able to meet with the full Faculty Senate late in the spring semester.
The president of the Student Government Association has also been invited to present an annual report to the Board of Trustee to ensure that student concerns are being met as well.
Brouster stated that he believes that Harshman and Biondi will be able to work together effectively to improve collaboration and communication on campus. He also stated he recognizes that Biondi has been a great asset to the University during his tenure.
A final component of the letter announced that the Board had approved the University’s FY2013-FY2014 budget. While all the details of the budget have yet to be released, Brouster thought it important to share that the University’s compensation pool had been increased significantly. He hopes this will attract and retain the best faculty and staff for SLU.