COLUMBIA — An  unfavorable report examining the organizational culture of the MU School of Medicine was presented to the MU Faculty Council on Thursday afternoon.

A committee of four faculty members began an investigation of the school last September with a goal of determining the factors that may have had a negative effect on shared governance, research productivity and work environment within the school, according to the report.

After receiving several reports of perceived imbalances in the priorities of the School of Medicine, the faculty council appointed the committee to examine the work environment for tenured and tenure-track faculty.

"It was really a team effort, and we put in long hours," said Art Jago, faculty committee chair and MU department of management professor.

Other committee members were Cheryl Heesch, MU department of biomedical sciences professor, Satish Nair, MU department of bioengineering professor and Carlos Wexler, MU department of physics and astronomy professor.

The committee used data from previous surveys and faculty interviews. Twenty-seven tenured and tenure-track faculty members were interviewed.

The key findings of the report were:

  • Shared governance:  The committee found multiple instances where clinical department leadership was perceived as lacking research competence, autocratic, intimidating and vindictive.
  • Research productivity: MU ranks 91st among 138 medical schools receiving National Institutes of Health funding; 24th among AAU schools; 15th among 24 schools in the Midwest and eighth among 11 SEC schools of medicine. MU placed below average in each measure of research productivity.

The committee gave 18 specific recommendations in the report, including:

  • Faculty should have input into the selection of their department chairs and the method of obtaining this input should be standardized across departments.
  • Tenure should be a required job qualification for department chairs, and tenure expectations should be clarified.
  • Greater awards for meaningful individual research productivity should be established.
  • Effective mentorship should be rewarded.

Among the committee's research, two surveys were included. A 2011 faculty survey of 464 full-time and part-time members of the School of Medicine faculty was conducted among 13 other medical schools. MU faculty were most satisfied with the nature of their work, which also was typical for the other 13 schools.

In a 2012 Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education survey, MU School of Medicine faculty reported they were less satisfied with the clarity and reasonableness of tenure expectations and issues related to research than other MU faculty.

The report has been sent to university administration, and Jago said he hoped they will take action.

Supervising editor is Caroline Bauman.

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