Wolfe will meet with Faculty Council members about UM Press

Thursday, August 2, 2012 | 4:55 p.m. CDT; updated 11:53 p.m. CDT, Thursday, August 2, 2012

COLUMBIA — UM System President Tim Wolfe is ready to meet with the MU Faculty Council after receiving its resolution last week regarding the University of Missouri Press.

The council proposed a six-goal resolution regarding the president’s decision to open a new UM Press after announcing in May that he would close the existing press operation.

Goals included in the resolution included guaranteeing that the press continue to publish a broad range of important literary, scholarly, peer-reviewed and Missouri-based books; hiring an experienced director for the press so that it doesn't have to continue under "temporary" leadership; and guaranteeing that the press continue to print and publish books as well as explore new media.

Faculty Council Chairman Harry Tyrer said he emailed the resolution to Wolfe. Both Wolfe and MU Chancellor Brady Deaton responded, saying they were willing to meet with him.

“I am aware of the resolution passed by the MU Faculty Council regarding the University of Missouri Press, and my office is working to set up a meeting with the council to discuss this matter further," Wolfe said in a prepared statement. "I appreciate the input from this important faculty group and look forward to discussing the status of the press in more detail with council members.”

Although a time for the meeting has not been set yet, Tyrer thinks the executive committee should meet with the president then report to the Faculty Council the events of the meeting.

Liz McCune, senior writer for the UM system, said in an email that Wolfe is not reconsidering his decision to close the press. Wolfe, she said, felt it made no sense for the press to operate as an auxiliary unit of the UM system.

Given drastic changes in the way people share information and the desire to strengthen digital communication at MU, Wolfe believes it's a good idea to integrate the press with the flagship Columbia campus, McCune said.

Wolfe's decision sparked criticism from faculty, staff of the press, authors and many other press supporters. One of their main complaints is that there was no communication between administration and faculty about the closing of the press.

Tyrer said the Faculty Council's executive committee will talk with Wolfe about the importance of shared governance among faculty and UM administration.

“I think he is willing to work with us to solve that problem,” Tyrer said.

Wolfe values shared governance, McCune said. Her email response said faculty have been a part of the conversation about the press and will continue to be involved. McCune added that representatives from the four UM campuses will have a say in the role of the press.

Tyrer, however, said he was not involved in any discussions of the closing of the press prior to the announcement. He hopes to draw attention to the high standards of the press and to ask that administrators maintain those standards.

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