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KNOXVILLE–University of Tennessee President J. Wade Gilley announced Monday a major restructuring of the university’s administration.

The action will eliminate seven major administrative positions and will result in more than $8 million in administrative savings over the next six years, Gilley said.

Monday’s announcement came immediately after an interim report by the university’s Administrative Streamlining Committee, headed by UT-Memphis Chancellor Bill Rice. The committee’s final report is expected to recommend additional reorganization and consolidation to cut expenses, Gilley said.

Effective Jan. 1, 2000, the university will move from four to three accredited units with the consolidation of UT-Knoxville, UT-Memphis and the UT Space Institute into the University of Tennessee. In addition to president, Gilley assumes the title of chief executive officer.

UT-Chattanooga and UT-Martin will have more independence to develop their own strategic plans. Gilley also proposes Chattanooga and Martin liaison committees that will work with the board of trustees and the president.

Dr. John Peters, provost and academic vice chancellor, will become vice president, provost and chief operating officer in Knoxville. Rice remains as vice president of health sciences and chief operating officer in Memphis.

Dr. Dwayne McCay, vice president of the space institute and a tenured professor of engineering, will become UT vice president for research and information technology. He will assume responsibility for UTSI, university-wide research and information technology activities, federal relations and the UT Research Corp.

The Institute for Agriculture and the Institute for Public Service will retain their current status, although each will be reviewed for internal streamlining as the process goes forward, Gilley said.

By July 1, 2000, the positions of UT-Knoxville chancellor, executive assistant to the chancellor, senior vice president, executive assistant to the president, director of state relations, vice president of UTSI, and assistant vice president for academic and research services will be eliminated.

“These actions will eliminate duplication and allow a more intense focus on improving academics at the University of Tennessee,” Gilley said.

“We will reduce administrative costs and reallocate more than $8 million to academics, advance credibility with the public, and position the university to secure those funds necessary for the $150 million Tennessee Plan for Academic Excellence.

“Further, these changes will allow the University of Tennessee, the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga and the University of Tennessee-Martin to independently pursue individual identities and national levels of excellence while continuing to be complementary to each other as full members of the ‘UT Family.'”

The liaison committees, modeled after the liaison committee that governs the UT Medical Center at Knoxville, would be delegated limited authority over the campuses, according to the plan.

The committees would consist of two to three UT trustees, the president and two or three citizens from the local community.

“Each of these campuses will be strongly encouraged to develop independent visions and strategic plans which complement each other and the total university, while focusing regional and national recognition for high quality programs,” Gilley said.

Emerson Fly will become chief operating officer of the UT system and retain his responsibilities as executive vice president for the UT system.

Others receiving new assignments and titles include:

-Dr. Katherine High, who will serve as senior associate to the president for executive affairs.
-Theotis Robinson, associate for equity and diversity.
-Thomas Ballard, associate for governmental relations.
-Jack Williams, vice president for development and alumni affairs, who will oversee the development activities in Knoxville in addition to his current responsibilities.
-Dr. Bill Snyder, who becomes interim senior vice president until June 30, 2000. Snyder, retiring Dec. 31 as chancellor, will work with Gilley on the $150 million Tennessee Plan for Academic Excellence.

Support from the faculty, staff and board for the changes is positive, Gilley said.

Bill Sansom, vice chairman of the board of trustees, said he applauds moving $8 million in administrative savings into academics.

“The board is always looking for ways to improve our academic and research programs. Dr. Gilley, Bill Rice and the other members of the streamlining committee have taken bold and important steps,” Sansom said.

Dr. Mary Papke, president of the Faculty Senate, said the reorganization will eliminate confusion about the administrative structure in Knoxville.

“The faculty will have a voice directly with the president as well as the provost,” Papke said. “This should strengthen faculty governance and the senate’s working relationship with the president’s cabinet.”

Rice said the consolidation of Knoxville, Memphis and the Space Institute strengthens UT’s position as a flagship university.

“Bringing the medical campus and UT-Knoxville together will make the university more like the flagship institutions to which we are now compared,” Rice said. “We should be more competitive for research funding, and the synergy of the three organizations will give us a higher national profile.”

Snyder said the emphasis on information technology is well placed.

“Emphasizing the centrality of information technology in the land grant university of the future is a positive move,” the chancellor said. “There also are important advantages in avoiding fragmentation in this area.”

The chancellors of the Chattanooga and Martin campuses said they welcome the changes.

“I see this as a win-win situation. We remain part of the UT family and the support it offers. At the same time, we have more of our strategic planning process,” UTC Chancellor Bill Stacy said.

Dr. Philip Conn, UT-Martin chancellor, said, “The liaison committees will allow us to bring more community leaders into policy issues at UT-Martin. In turn, these leaders will be advocates that can help us spread the word of what an outstanding university the people of Tennessee have in UT-Martin.”

Click here to see the report of the Streamlining Committee.