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Strengthening Trinity's Institutional Effectiveness: Administrative Structure

Dear Trinity Faculty and Staff,

As promised last week, I write today to provide a full picture of the shifts in our administrative structure. As you read the comments below, think about the individuals who invest their talent, energy, and dedication to our mission. Think about how the organizational structure can enable collaborations necessary for success in our competitive higher education environment. Looking at the needs of tomorrow, both the challenges and opportunities, I seek to strengthen Trinity’s overall institutional effectiveness with these shifts in administrative structure.

The drivers for these changes came from four sources: my own experience analyzing academic structures at a variety of universities; an internal self-study conducted in Academic Affairs in Fall 2013; input from the Administrative Review and Oversight Committee of the Faculty Senate when examining the complex portfolio of the Vice President for Information Resources, Marketing, and Communications in academic year 2016-2017; and an external administrative audit conducted by Dr. Ken Ruscio, former president of Washington and Lee University and current president of the Virginia Foundation of Independent Colleges, and Dr. Stephanie Fabritius, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College at Centre College in Fall 2016. Completion of an administrative audit is one of the action items in the Trinity Tomorrow strategic plan. An update describing the administrative audit, including the Executive Summary of the findings, will be available soon at strategicplan.trinity.edu.

In my previous campus communication, I described the creation of Enrollment Management, and the new structure of both Admissions and Student Financial Services reporting to a single division. The following list captures the key facets of the other changes currently in place or on the horizon:

  1. Separate Academic Affairs from Student Affairs while maintaining cohesion. While we will work diligently to ensure the deep collaboration between Academic and Student Affairs that is infused in our strategic plan, the separation of these divisions better positions us to achieve our holistic mission: to enable students to "discover, grow, become" through their Trinity experience. Academic Affairs serves faculty and staff in the creation of classroom-related experiences that cover the broad range of "academic" topics. Student Life seeks to ensure that we are truly a "student-ready" institution. Student Life addresses the co-curricular learning environment in a residential college experience that enables our students to excel in the academic arena.
  2. Shift Coates Library to Academic Affairs. In the recent past, there was a national trend toward merging libraries with information technology. Today, that trend has reversed. Many disciplines recognize the centrality of the library as their "laboratory" or "research space," which re-energizes the ties with Academic Affairs. Recognizing this trend and the preference of many faculty at Trinity, Coates Library has moved from Information Resources, Marketing and Communication to reporting through Academic Affairs. One important point to underscore: this shift in no way signifies a diminishment of the importance of technology for a successful library. We all should expect technology to play an even greater role in the libraries of the future.
  3. Separate the "Information Resources" portfolio from the "Marketing and Communication" portfolio. The position of Chief Information Officer recognizes the centrality of technology in teaching, research, communication, and all aspects of our business operations. We cannot afford to fall into a position of playing "catch-up," and we seek a Chief Information Officer who can help us optimize our investments in technology as well as the benefits we receive. The position of Vice President for Strategic Communication and Marketing creates a dedicated role that will continue to enable our success in student recruitment, strengthen the connection between Trinity alumni and the University, raise public awareness of Trinity University, and be an essential partner as we prepare for a comprehensive capital campaign. The ability to tell our story clearly, authentically, and persuasively is essential for building the connections that will sustain us in the future.
  4. Align the Office of Institutional Research with the President’s Office. Institutional Research serves an important function University-wide (rather than Vice President-specific). Think about the breadth of data needs, from student recruitment, to student retention and graduation data, and to faculty salary analysis, to mention only a few examples. We all strive to harness information to make better decisions. Institutional Research is the engine for this capacity across the University.
  5. Create the position of Director of Investments. This new position in Finance and Administration allows for better oversight of our endowment, while reducing management fees and decreasing the administrative burden on the division. This position can generate the savings in fees that will pay for the position and enhance the long-term success of the Trinity University endowment.
  6. Create position of internal legal counsel. Soon, I will initiate the process to conduct a search for an in-house General Counsel. We are seeking to reduce the legal fees invested in many routine events and transactions. At the same time, we also need to take on some major projects that need significant legal input, such as a thorough review of all policies for consistency, systematic review of our compliance functions, and strategic guidance on decisions requiring a legal opinion.

The table below summarizes this narrative information in a visual way. You can compare the titles and reporting lines when I arrived in 2015 and where we will be once upon completion of the searches currently underway. I have done my best to minimize the increased administrative cost as much as possible, which ensuring that our needs are fully met.

Fall 2015

Fall 2017

Vice President for Faculty and Student Affairs
--Office of Admissions

Vice President for Academic Affairs
--Coates Library

Vice President for Student Life

Vice President for Enrollment Management
--Office of Admissions
--Office of Student Financial Services

Vice President for Information Resources, Marketing, and Communications
--Coates Library
--Institutional Research

Vice President for Strategic Communications and Marketing

Chief Information Officer

Vice President for Finance and Administration
--Office of Student Financial Services

Vice President for Finance and Administration
--Director of Investments (new position)

Vice President for Alumni Relations and Development

Vice President for Alumni Relations and Development

 

--Institutional Research (reporting to President)

--General Counsel (reporting to President)

Academic Affairs

As recommended in the Administrative Audit (posted on the Strategic Plan website), I have asked Dr. Dee Jones, Vice President for Academic Affairs, to explore opportunities for reorganizing the work of Academic Affairs. In the near future, I will provide additional insight into Academic Affairs’ approach to reviewing its structure. In subsequent communications, I will address the strides made by the new centers—the Center for International Engagement, the Center for Experiential Learning and Career Success, and the Student Success Center—as well as the plans for their review during this year.

Search Update

While the searches are underway, I have appointed interim leaders to ensure continuity. Effective August, 1, 2017, Michelle Bartonico became the interim Vice President for Strategic Communications and Marketing. Similarly, Fred Zapata has been serving as the interim Chief Information Officer. I value the opportunity to work more closely with each of them during this transition period and I appreciate the knowledge they contribute to the transition process.

I am grateful to all of you who participated last week in the two searches currently underway, as well as to those who will participate today and tomorrow August 8 and 9) as we interview the final CIO candidate. Your attendance at candidate presentations, your questions, and your submission of feedback forms help us assess the candidates and strengthen the selection process. The leadership of Art de los Santos and Diane Saphire as co-chairs of the Chief Information Officer search, and of Michelle Bartonico and Jennifer Henderson as co-chairs of the Vice President of Strategic Communications and Marketing search has been outstanding—thank you! I thank the search committees as well for their outstanding work. As the searches move toward completion, I hope to soon be in a position to make additional announcements.

Sincerely,

Danny Anderson