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Loftin names 2 vice chancellors to help revamp MU Graduate School

Thursday, March 13, 2014 | 11:47 p.m. CDT; updated 11:58 a.m. CDT, Friday, March 14, 2014

COLUMBIA — At the MU Faculty Council meeting Thursday, MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin announced two new administrative appointments. The new appointees, he said, would be instrumental in his plans for restructuring the graduate school.

Hank Foley, executive vice president of academic affairs, research and economic development for the University of Missouri System, has been named senior vice chancellor for research and graduate studies at MU. In addition to his new duties as vice chancellor, Foley will continue to serve as a vice president for the UM System.

Leona Rubin, the interim dean of the MU Graduate School, has been named associate vice chancellor for graduate studies at MU and associate vice president for academic affairs and graduate education for the UM System.

Both appointments are effective immediately.

MU had been searching for a vice chancellor of research since October of last year. Instead of appointing one, Loftin said he decided to change the position's responsibilities and administrative structure.

That, Loftin said, is part of his effort to integrate research and graduate studies. He said the model already exists at other universities.

"Graduate students in general make up the backbone of our research enterprise here at MU," he said. "Being able to put people together who have complimentary functions was very important to me. This struck me as a very good way to do it."

Loftin said he wants to "eliminate the graduate school as it is today" and put some of its functions into MU's colleges and an office of graduate studies. He said he wants to let faculty make curricular decisions and let an office of graduate studies handle other functions that are not directly academic, such as dissertation processing.

He can't outline precisely how it will happen, he said, but he expects Rubin and Foley to figure it out.

Loftin said one factor in the decision to choose Foley was his concern that an external candidate would need too much time to get acclimated to the university.

"(Foley) will be a game changer … to get us to a point where we can really work hard on research," Loftin said.

Foley earned a master's degree in chemistry from Purdue University and a doctorate in physical and inorganic chemistry from Pennsylvania State University, where he also served as dean of the College of Information Sciences and Technology. He's worked for companies such as DuPont, Monsanto and the Engelhard Corporation. 

Rubin was named interim vice provost for advanced studies and dean of the graduate school in June 2013. She has a bachelor's degree from Temple University, a master's degree from Rutgers and a doctorate from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.

She joined MU in 1989 as a professor, working in the Department of Biomedical Sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine. She served on the MU Faculty Council from 2006 to 2011 and was elected chair of the council in 2009.

Loftin said Rubin's knowledge and leadership experience make her the perfect fit for restructuring MU's graduate school, according to a news release.

Rubin and Foley will work together in the UM System Office of Academic Affairs.

Their collaboration, Loftin said, would free up Foley to spend more time on campus.

"He's a passionate, driven individual," he said. "I expect him to do both jobs very well. I'm very confident that Hank can make it happen."

Other notes from Faculty Council

  • Loftin said he's in the process of putting together a search committee for a new provost. He hopes one will be hired in the fall, he said.
  • UM System President Tim Wolfe spoke about the progress of his Show Me Value Tour and also committed to provide funds to the Faculty Council's committee to address sexual assault in the wake of the Sasha Menu Courey investigation.
  • The Faculty Council has set up a committee to help address the ongoing remediation process of the MU Libraries books affected by mold. The committee will meet with Director of Libraries Jim Cogswell to discuss how faculty can be involved in deciding which books will be saved. The latest estimate for remediation is $2 per book, said Dan Hooley, a professor of classical studies.

Supervising editor is Adam Aton.


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