The University Record, September 24, 1996

Neal outlines direction for interim

By Jane R. Elgass 

In welcoming the Board of Regents to the University's 179th academic year at last week's Regents meeting, Interim President Homer A. Neal noted that he has spent the last several months "settling into the job and keeping things on track," while also "learning about the special problems of leadership."

Neal will be taking a number of steps in this interim period to "reinforce the academic community."

These include:


A focus on communication that features a faculty/staff/student/alumni advisory panel that will meet with him every three weeks or so and the new "In the Interim" newsletter that was mailed to the campus community earlier this month.


An integration of research and education, particularly with respect to the Undergraduate Research Initiative.


Deliberation and reflection on the University's values as related to valued centered management (VCM). This, Neal said, will include a series of symposia on "what the University wants to do and how VCM can help it accomplish its goals."

Neal also enumerated the themes that will mark this transition period in the University's administrative ranks. He wants to:


Ensure a sense of continuity.


Preserve recent advances, including a better relationship with the state.


Capture new opportunities.


Act on key, time-sensitive matters, such as the changing face of health care and its affect on the Medical Center.


Lay the groundwork for the new administration, including focusing on a successor for Farris W. Womack, executive vice president and chief financial officer, who manages "a huge, complex organization that will require major preparation for a new leader.'


Assist the Regents with the installation of the new president.