Members of the Transition Advisory Team’s Academic subcommittee said at its meeting Monday that faculty involvement from all campuses is lacking in the reorganization process.
The Transition Advisory Team will present its initial reorganization recommendations to the LSU Board of Supervisors on March 18. The Team and its subcommittee have been working to address areas of the LSU System that need to be reorganized and reformed as the structure of higher education in the state changes.
“In the emerging world, collaboration is the name of the game,” said Terry Davis, professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at LSU Health Shreveport. “Our faculty – our community – is full of uncertainty. There is a lack of trust. You’ve got to have people from all the systems help solve this problem.”
The faculty among campuses need to have a conversation, said professor of political science at LSU Baton Rouge Stacia Haynie.
Many members said faculty will be the “foot soldiers” of the reorganization, so they need to be as informed as possible.
“Put department heads in one room and give them a task to work out a shared curriculum, even if it’s just a template,” said LSU AgCenter Vice Chancellor of Research John Russin.
Phil Brantley, professor and associate executive director of education at Pennington Biomedical Research Center, recommended targeting programs or departments taught at multiple campuses where collaboration is likely to happen.
“You don’t have to win the whole faculty over – you’ve got to win the champions at each site. Start identifying the top four or five barriers to change,” Brantley said.
Faculty Senate President Kevin Cope suggested a “traveling party” that would speak to people at the “grassroots level” of each campus.
“See what people are feeling, get their ideas and give them a system of inclusion,” said Cope. “A sense of loyalty makes the difference.”
Interim LSU System President and Chancellor William “Bill” Jenkins stressed that no decisions have been made about the new LSU System organizational structure when a few subcommittee members asked if that was the case.
“The way the Board of Supervisors and the Transition Team conducts its business does not send that message. The Transition Team needs to find some means by which we can engage in active debates,” Cope said.