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Texas A&M President suggests changes to university structure, organization

Published: Dec. 14, 2021 at 2:27 PM CST
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - Texas A&M University President, M. Katherine Banks, has released her decisions on key recommendations that were made in the MGT Report. That report, created by MGT Consulting, was a comprehensive review of major functional areas at the university.

The review mainly focused on the organizational structure of central offices at the executive level and administrative units at the college level. After receiving feedback from thousands of students, faculty, staff and former students, Banks has made her decisions.

Banks says one example of the many benefits of doing this is easing the process of transferring colleges or switching majors, which she says is currently very difficult because the university’s services are so decentralized. According to Banks, this will, in turn, increase retention, decrease the time it takes to graduate, and potentially create new interesting and unique degree programs.

One of the first changes to be made will be to the Provost Office, the provost title will be changed to “provost and chief academic officer.” Banks also accepted the recommendation to create a Vice President for Faculty Affairs, a role that will report directly to Banks.

“Our faculty are performing groundbreaking research, teaching large classes, and connecting to the world through remarkable service, but are also expected to complete increasing amounts of administrative tasks. Too often, they are not recognized for their exceptional efforts and accomplishments,” Banks said in the report. “We need to enhance the faculty. We need to recognize the faculty who contribute greatly to both this campus and the world with groundbreaking discoveries. We need to mentor them. We don’t do a very good job of mentoring our faculty.”

Banks has already created a selection committee to find a person to fill the position.

In order to make Texas A&M a premier institution nationally, Banks said, the Colleges of Liberal Arts, Geosciences and Science will be merged together to form the College of Arts and Sciences. The School of Visual and Performing Arts will also be created, with the cornerstone of the college being the Department of Visualization.

“I believe together they can form a catalyst system that will allow them to grow even more to provide more impact, to have unusual and unique educational opportunities for our students,” Banks said regarding the merger.

Changes also include realigning certain programs while increasing the influence of others. One of those is the Bush School, and Banks wants to expand its accessibility to undergraduate students.

”It is time to make the Bush School a crown jewel of Texas A&M University,” Banks said. “It is time for us to see the Bush School as the embodiment of selfless service on this campus. It’s time to have many programs connected with the Bush School, including minors and degree programs. We have this wonderful opportunity to use the legacy of George H.W. Bush to impact this campus overall, and impact all 73,000 students, not just the 500 students who currently are taking classes.”

Banks also has plans to centralize facilities, finance/business administration, HR, IT and marketing and communications. While exact steps haven’t been released yet, Banks said it’s critically important to include all university units in the centralization process, including athletics.

“This doesn’t mean we’re moving people from athletics. It doesn’t mean that we’re going to disrupt operations. It basically means that we would have their CFO reporting to the CFO of the entire university,” Banks said. “That’s critically important for compliance issues to ensure that we’re utilizing money appropriately.”

To begin the process of implementing the accepted recommendations a Strategic Implementation Oversight Committee will be established and chaired by Greg Hartman, according to Banks.

Banks says this restructuring will help attract the best of the best to Texas A&M.

“We want individuals who are ready to build things, ready to start new programs, and develop new ideas,” Banks said. “Texas A&M is unique. The funding that would go into many of these initiatives will excite a certain type of leader, and we want those leaders here.”

Banks says the deadline to implement all the changes outlined in the report is September 1, 2022. She also says the board of regents has final approval on many of those actions, and further approvals will be necessary throughout the process.

To read the recommendations, click here.

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