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MU Chancellor Deaton plans to bridge communication gap with faculty

Thursday, July 7, 2011 | 6:01 p.m. CDT; updated 6:06 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 7, 2011

COLUMBIA — Chancellor Brady Deaton plans to increase direct communication with MU faculty based on results of a Faculty Council survey that indicated he needs improvement.

In a letter addressed to colleagues Wednesday, Deaton said he was pleased with the generally positive survey results, but added that a need for more direct communication "stood out" for him.

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In response, he plans to:

  •  E-mail faculty more frequently about issues discussed in MU Faculty Council meetings and state and national events that impact higher education.
  • Attend more college/divisional faculty meetings.
  • Hold an annual town hall meeting with faculty, staff and students.
  • Meet with the full Faculty Council once per semester in a public forum.

The council evaluates the chancellor’s performance every five years. Deaton earned an A from 39 percent of the respondents, while 44 percent gave him a B or C and 17 percent gave him a D or F.

A total of 1,968 ranked faculty were asked to rate Deaton's understanding of “university issues, general administration, personnel issues, budget and resource management, academic and extension programs and communication skills.”

He scored highest in the management of MU academic and extension programs and the understanding of issues that affect the university.

But nearly 40 percent of respondents reported that Deaton lacks understanding of individual issues in each academic department, does not communicate effectively with faculty and fails to hold campus leaders accountable.

“Overall, his approval rating was pretty remarkable, but the more people who have the opportunity to work with him one-on-one, the better,” said Leona Rubin, chair of the MU Faculty Council Executive Committee.

More than 80 percent of faculty indicated that Deaton is knowledgeable about MU history and traditions and that he encourages university pride. Seventy-nine percent surveyed said he carries out his duties professionally and ethically.

One-third of the respondents said Deaton does not allocate funds and resources fairly or efficiently.

The council will meet again in November to evaluate whether communication between the chancellor and faculty improves, Rubin said.


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