SPRINGFIELD — The UM System Board of Curators Thursday clarified, reaffirmed and updated its commitment to operating the four campuses it oversees as one cohesive system.
In 1967, the board passed collected rules and regulations 20.010, which defined the UM System as “one university.” That language was updated for the first time Thursday to include the word “system.”
“The ‘one-system rule’ will enhance the communication and decision-making and foster innovation, which will allow administrators, faculty and staff to do their jobs in the most efficient and effective way that accomplishes the mission of the four universities and MU Health Care within the UM System,” UM System spokesman Christian Basi said.
Board Chairman David Steelman explained why he thought formally adopting the “one-system rule” into the UM System rules was a good idea.
“If we can develop a governance structure that’s agile and moves quickly enough, we can be one of the nationally prominent sources of adult learning and workforce development in the nation,” Steelman said.
Terry McTaggert, consultant for the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, facilitated a discussion among curators, chancellors, provosts and other university officials about the one-system rule.
“What is being proposed here is not just a more authoritarian model, but authority for a purpose,” McTaggart said. “With this, you’ve got a pretty good road map to bring about the foundation for preeminence.”
Along similar lines, the board reinforced the one-system philosophy by formally approving changes to collected rules and regulations 20.030, which outlines the system’s executive philosophy and had not been updated since 2003.
The revised CRR 20.030 explains that the real value of the one-system rule is that the system is more valuable than the sum of its parts. This principle “will guide decision-makers in managing the affairs of the UM System,” it reads.
According to some in system leadership, approving the one-system concept formally into the rulebook could help push the UM System’s goal of becoming a leading research institution.
“How you define pre-eminent can vary,” MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright said. “If you say it’s the system that acts best collectively, that’s something we can act on very quickly.”
In January, Steelman charged the task force with researching how the four campuses in the UM system could better collaborate.
The UM System was created in 1963 and includes four campuses: MU in Columbia, the University of Missouri-St. Louis, the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the Missouri University of Science & Technology in Rolla. It also includes the related components of those universities, including MU Health Care and MU Extension.
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