Faculty Council asks MU chancellor to maintain nuclear institute

Thursday, January 24, 2013 | 9:42 p.m. CST; updated 10:03 p.m. CST, Thursday, January 24, 2013

COLUMBIA — Members of MU's Faculty Council are calling on MU Chancellor Brady Deaton to open admissions for and maintain the academic and research functions of MU's Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute.

Deputy Provost Ken Dean said Deaton will act immediately upon the recommendation of the council.

These immediate actions are part of a larger resolution put forward by the council at its Thursday meeting to review the future of the institute, after university administrators announced plans last March to split up the institute.

Before voting on the remaining actions of the resolution, Faculty Council members said they want to speak with MU Graduate School Dean George Justice, College of Engineering Dean James Thompson and Provost Brian Foster at the council's next meeting to discuss the administration's decisions regarding the institute's future.

"I know there are two sides to every story," council member and plant sciences professor Craig Roberts said. "Most of the information we have heard has been from NSEI members or newspapers. We need to hear from administration."

Institute members are frustrated because they have been pushed into a place they don’t want to be, said council member and mathematics professor Stephen Montgomery-Smith.

“I’ve seen many of the email trails," he said. "There haven’t been responses from administration to questions asked."

The current plan for the institute is to change where it is administered, not to dissolve the program, Dean said.

Current discussions have proposed to place all of MU’s nuclear engineering degree programs into the College of Engineering, which would move the institute's current tenured faculty members to the Nuclear Engineering Program, MU spokeswoman Mary Jo Banken said.

With this change, the institute’s curriculum may have to be revised, which could put current student grants in jeopardy, MU professor of nuclear engineering Mark Prelas said.

Before the council will vote on the long-term goals of the resolution, Faculty Council Chairman Harry Tyrer said members hope to meet with administrators to discuss their decision-making process and the resolution's goals at the council's next meeting Feb. 14.

The council also addressed several other issues at the meeting, including:

  • A diversity initiative letter to faculty policy committees and deans, asking each school and college to explain how students are trained in cultural competency.
  • A report from this month's Intercampus Faculty Council meeting.

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

Faculty Council resolution

At their Thursday meeting, MU Faculty Council members discussed a resolution regarding the future of the Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute, including immediate and long-term goals for the institute.

Nuclear institute timeline

Here is a brief history of the nuclear institute on campus.

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