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Archive for Saturday, June 25, 2005

Consultant recommends changes to UMKC’s governance structure

June 25, 2005

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— A consultant is recommending radical changes in the management structure for the University of Missouri-Kansas City and all the state's four-year public universities.

The consultant, former Yale University President Benno Schmidt, said UMKC should have its own governing board to oversee academic matters, hire chancellors and manage private donations.

The consultant also said Missouri might benefit if the University of Missouri system's Board of Curators oversaw all of the state's four-year public universities. The curators currently oversee only the four campuses of the University of Missouri.

Schmidt was scheduled to present his proposals to Gov. Matt Blunt's Government Review Commission on Friday.

Schmidt is leading a task force that was formed by the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation to study UMKC's role in Kansas City.

Currently, the governor appoints the nine-member Board of Curators to six-year terms.

The curators have control over campus master plans, the systemwide operating and capital budgets, and hire the system president, who hires chancellors for the campuses in Columbia, Kansas City, Rolla and St. Louis.

UMKC gets money for scholarships and faculty fellowships from a private fundraising group, the UMKC Trustees, but trustees have no decision-making authority.

If the consultant's recommendations were followed, the new governing board would be separate from the trustees and appointed by elected officials.

Schmidt said local control would encourage local foundations to give money to UMKC and establish a closer link between Kansas Citians and the university.

Schmidt told an open forum Thursday night in Kansas City a local board would help UMKC keep chancellors for more than a few years. And a local governing board also could advocate for more money for UMKC directly to the General Assembly and the governor, Schmidt said.

Schmidt's recommendations did not make it clear how the University of Missouri system would continue to exist if the Board of Curators oversaw all four-year universities, and if UMKC had its own governing board.

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