"Organizational Realignment" at UMUC

June 6, 2012

UMUC’s Miyares Announces "Organizational Realignment" Designed to Streamline Operations and Bring More Voices to Decision-Making

Javier Miyares, acting president of University of Maryland University College (UMUC), announced what he termed an “organizational realignment” in a town hall meeting for faculty and staff Monday, June 4, 2012, at the university’s administrative headquarters in Adelphi, Md.

After first reassuring attendees—to laughter and applause—that there would be no “four o’clock e-mail” and that “nobody will lose their job, there will be no downsizing, and no one will be forced to retire,” Miyares outlined a new structure that he said will be informed by two guiding principles—first, realigning the university’s senior leadership to reflect single-function responsibility; and second, involving more voices in decisions related to mission, strategy, and operations.

“I see my main goal as getting the university ready for the next president and making sure that, in the interim, we don’t lose momentum,” said Miyares.

The new organizational structure aligns the university’s leadership under three functional umbrellas (academic, student recruiting and services, and overseas operations), while the university’s administrative, financial, and strategic infrastructures are led by a chief business officer and senior vice president.

“These represent what I consider to be strategic moves that we must make—together, working in cooperation—in order to position the university to move forward efficiently and effectively in a 21st century higher education arena that is constantly changing and is increasingly complex,” said Miyares.

Under the new organizational structure, Marie Cini—who currently serves as vice president and dean of the Undergraduate School—will assume the role of acting provost and chief academic officer, focused solely on academic quality and on developing what Miyares earlier described as “innovative and workforce-relevant, outcome-driven curricula.” She will also be responsible for faculty recruiting, hiring, and retention.

James Selbe—currently vice president, Military Operations—moves to the position of senior vice president for Partnerships, Marketing, and Enrollment Management, where he will lead units focused on recruiting and advising, marketing and advertising, partnerships, financial aid, and career services.

Allan Berg—currently vice president and director, UMUC Europe, and acting director, UMUC Asia—takes on the role of senior vice president of Overseas Operations. In that position, he will focus on administering the university’s worldwide contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense.

Miyares also named Greg von Lehmen, who currently serves as university provost, as senior vice president for External Affairs and Initiatives. As the university’s new chief business officer and senior vice president, George Shoenberger (currently chief operating officer) will be tasked with driving the university’s administrative, financial, and strategic infrastructures.

Miyares then turned his focus to inclusiveness, outlining a number of steps forward involving shared governance at UMUC. Under the new guidelines, the chair of the University Advisory Council becomes an ex officio member of the President’s Cabinet, and the chair of the Faculty Advisory Council becomes an ex officio member of what is informally known as the Academic Cabinet. In addition, shared governance work will now be allowed during regular work hours “within reasonable limits.” In addition, an outside vendor will be engaged to conduct a “climate survey” of faculty and staff to assess the UMUC working environment.

Further addressing inclusiveness, Miyares announced three new working groups, focused on strategic investments, strategic communications, and strategic state and federal relations. These groups will bring new voices to university planning and operations, Miyares said, with a number of participants serving on multiple committees, thus fostering greater interplay and communication among the university’s various units.

Miyares also mentioned several new developments that drew favorable responses from the audience. In January 2013, state employees will receive a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), the first increase approved by the state in four years. Miyares also announced that the university is finalizing a new policy on teleworking, to be announced shortly; new policies governing flex-time and compressed schedules will follow.

Miyares ended his remarks with a summary call to action. “Looking back,” he said, “we have had a crisis. We are coming out of it with strength and clarity of purpose. And we are laying the foundation for our successful future. . . . I ask you for your participation, your support, and a continuation of your thoughtful feedback as we move forward.”