Board OKs chancident' position
Because of a UH System Board of Regents
decision Monday, an "all-powerful chancident" will
preside over the UH System beginning August
UH System Chancellor William P. Hobby
said, "The board's decision will affect the way certain administrative functions are performed.
"It will not affect the autonomy of our four
free-standing universities. It will not affect the academic missions of these institutions, except to make
those missions easier to fulfill."
Only one regent voiced her opinion against
restructuring the four-university System.
Board of Regents Secretary Zinetta Burney
said combining the position of System chancellor
and UH president would not alleviate problems of
low enrollment and retention.
The problem is in the community, not the
System, she said.
Most board members made their decision
based on a report, nicknamed "the three wise men
report," which was written May 22, 1995, by a
panel of higher education consultants.
The experts, Bryce Jordan, president-emeritus of Pennsylvania State University; Robben
Wright Fleming, president-emeritus of the
University of Michigan; and E.K. Fretwell Jr., chancellor-emeritus of the University of North Carolina
at Charlotte, were commissioned to research the
UH System and offer alternatives to the current
structure, which might help to solve the problem of
decreasing enrollment and retention.
Although the report favored the "chancident"
position, the consultants expressed concern over
the positions of the smaller schools.
The report points out that UH-Downtown
and UH-Victoria are especially sensitive because
they are unsure if their interests are represented in
The UH System currently includes UH, a
comprehensive research university; UH-D, an
open-admissions undergraduate university; UH-
Clear Lake and UH-V, two master's-level
"This situation has produced fracture, mistrust and unhappiness," the report states. "The single CEO model (chancident) would, we think, compound these schisms."
UH-D President Max Castillo said, "I tend to
agree that we shouldn't overdramatize the impact
(of the decision). I feel very confident that we're
going to work together, but how do you make
positive restructuring work without compromising
the integrity of the institution?"
UH geosciences professor John Butler, who
led the Academic Affairs Task Force, one of the
three tasks forces name to propose a new System
administrative structure, said, "This is not the decision that the task force came up with."
"If (the task force) had voted, it would have
been three (against the single CEO model, and)
one (for the single CEO model)," he said. "(The
task force) showed that we don't work really well
After the board made a decision, regents
and administrators agreed to work together to find
a chancident by the end of the summer.
Regents who were rumored to vote no, such
as Kay Kerr Walker from Victoria, made the decision almost unanimous after hearing passionate
testimonies by Vice Chairman John O'Quinn,
Chairwoman Beth Morian and Regent Eduardo
O'Quinn said UH is taking a step in the right
direction by eliminating the "out-of-hand bureaucracy" of the chancellor position.
"We shouldn't take two or three years to get
to that point," he said. "In order to pick the right
person, we need to give them a job description."
Morian said, "We're hoping that we'll get a
search committee (started) by the end of this
month, (but) there are no immediate changes taking place."
UH interim President Glenn Goerke said the
administration needs to inform faculty to prevent
fear of the unknown.
Goerke also said that although some
System schools may be upset now, they are committed to the System.
"I really mean committed to the four universities coming together," he added.
Morian said, "We have conducted what I
believe is the most comprehensive self-examination undertaken by a Texas system of higher education.
We have asked the hard questions. Our
decision should position us to meet the challenges
of a new century."
(courtesy of The Daily Cougar, 4/2/96)