COLUMBIA — R. Bowen Loftin's transition agreement outlines a new administrative position and a continued position as a tenured faculty member. It also allows him to keep the bulk of his salary, but part of MU's plan for its former chancellor has been challenged by Cerner Corp.
Loftin's agreement outlines one administrative position with two main roles: director of research facility development at MU and director of university research with the Tiger Institute for Health Innovation, which is operated by MU and Cerner, a health care technology company that has a partnership with the university.
The agreement was signed Nov. 9 by Loftin and former UM System President Tim Wolfe, the same day Wolfe resigned and Loftin announced that he would resign at the end of the year and move into a new administrative research role with the university.
That plan was accelerated by the UM System Board of Curators on Wednesday.
"The board wanted to have both the interim president of the system and the interim chancellor at MU in place at the same time so they could work together as a team immediately, as opposed to waiting until January 1 and going through yet another transition," UM System spokesman John Fougere said Monday in an email.
Cerner, which is headquartered in Kansas City, has requested the removal of any reference to Cerner and the Tiger Institute until the institute's governing body has reviewed the agreement. This request was made Thursday in a letter addressed to UM System Board of Curators chairman Donald Cupps. Cerner and the Tiger Institute were referenced 10 times combined in the agreement.
The corporation indicated it had no prior knowledge about the proposed "supporting role" Loftin would have with the Tiger Institute after he stepped down as chancellor on Wednesday, according to the letter.
"Cerner notified the Board of Curators on Nov. 12 that we have concerns with the university's decision to act unilaterally in speculatively including the possibility of a supporting role for Dr. Loftin within the Tiger Institute," Cerner told the Missourian via email on Monday. "This action does not comply with the governance structure for oversight of the Tiger Institute."
The Tiger Institute was created in 2009 to develop an online medical record-keeping system that would enable MU Health Care to maintain an online database of medical histories, according to previous Missourian reporting. The institute is managed by a Board of Governors, which has five members each from Cerner and MU.
"The Tiger Institute Board of Governors … will jointly determine any matters brought before the board, including any contributions to the Tiger Institute for Health Innovation that the proposed new role may have," Cerner's statement said.
In his proposed role, Loftin would provide leadership in developing research programs that meet the needs of the institute and MU's interests, and he would also help recruit research faculty, according to the agreement. This position is dependent on "the concurrence of Cerner," the agreement stated.
Dan Smith, a Cerner spokesman, did not offer information about when the Board of Governors would consider Loftin's position.
In his other role as director of research facility development, Loftin will lead MU's efforts to build and repair research facilities. According to the agreement, his responsibilities will include establishing and convening stakeholder committees for each facility project, creating a governance structure for each facility and "coordinating and facilitating the programming for each facility."
The agreement states that, in both positions, Loftin will report to the senior vice chancellor for research and graduate studies, a position previously held by Hank Foley. Foley took Loftin's position as interim chancellor Wednesday.
MU spokesman Christian Basi said Monday he wasn't sure if Foley still held the position or whether an interim vice chancellor for graduate studies would be appointed.
Loftin will be paid $344,250 — 75 percent of his salary as chancellor at the time he resigned, which was $459,000 — and he will receive an annual stipend between $10,000 and $35,000 on top of his salary. Also, Loftin will keep two deferred compensation payments of $50,000, one for each year he served as chancellor, according to his contract. Loftin is not required to return any of the $135,000 bonus he received when he was hired as chancellor. The agreement also provides Loftin with financial protection from lawsuits filed against him for his actions as chancellor.
According to the agreement, Loftin will continue to hold a faculty rank as a tenured professor of physics.
In addition, Loftin is seeking appointments with the Department of Computer Science in the College of Engineering and the Department of Health Management and Informatics within the School of Medicine. In the agreement, he said he may arrange to teach within one of these departments.
Loftin's relationship with the School of Medicine has been contentious over the last few months, however.
In October, more than half of the School of Medicine's faculty took an informal survey about the abrupt resignation of former dean Patrice Delafontaine, which showed general unease with administrative decisions. The survey used language such as "forced resignation," insinuating that Delafontaine's September resignation was forced by administrators; however, the circumstances of Delafontaine's resignation have not been confirmed. Delafontaine has repeatedly declined to comment on why he resigned.
Loftin can remain in the Chancellor's Residence with his wife for up to 120 days after the end of his service as chancellor, according to the agreement. When Loftin does move, the university will pay for a professional moving company to pack and relocate him.
Supervising editor is William Schmitt.