Last fall after my meetings with several departments and the Faculty Senate, those in attendance requested that we begin looking for ways to increase input and transparency around how decisions are made at the Cabinet level. As a result, I announced the creation of five President’s Councils that will provide me and the HSC cabinet both input and recommended solutions on significant problems or challenges I regularly face.
Council members were selected from more than 200 applications across campus late in the fall, and each council consists of 8 to 10 members with a designated leader. The councils are divided into these groups with the council leader listed:
- Academic Council (Dr. Claire Peel)
- Research Council (Dr. Anuja Ghorpade)
- Finance & Budget Council (Greg Anderson)
- Built EnvironmentCouncil (Jason Hartley)
- People & Culture Council (Steve Sosland)
Early this month, council members gathered for two days of training in the HSC decision-making process, which has roots in design thinking and continuous improvement.
The challenges and opportunities addressed by the councils will be chosen by me. These are expected to be difficult problems that require much study in order to develop meaningful solutions. Councils will meet as often as their work requires. When deliberating an issue, council members are expected to take steps necessary to understand the situation, collect background information, assess the situation and make recommendations to me and the HSC Cabinet on the best way to proceed.
With each recommendation, council members will submit a standardized form — a communication tool that concisely explains the challenge, the opportunity, why it is important and recommendation(s) as to how success is defined and measured.
The Cabinet and I will weigh recommendations in our decision making. Sometimes our decisions will follow a specific recommendation. Sometimes we may modify the recommendation. Other times, we may send the issue back to a council to collect more information.
The work of the councils will also provide better insight and broader communication of our decisions for the entire organization. The councils are not intended to address individual issues that are normally addressed within schools, departments, or by direct supervisors.
Now, we have established the councils, and Next the Office of People Development and the Office of Communication will create a web page for the President’s Councils on our Intranet, where team members can find information about the councils and gain insight into our decisions.
I appreciate each of the council members and leaders for volunteering their time and talent to help me make the best decisions about the future of the HSC. It is my sincere hope and expectation that these councils will greatly improve our communication and decision-making process as we work together to achieve the HSC Vision of making the HSC into One University, built around teams, where we are defining and producing the providers of care, education and research of the future.
Finally, on a separate topic related to helping us become a Best Place for All, please voice your confidential opinions on the Gallup Survey the UNT System is administering at all campuses and the System offices. Here at HSC, we will publish the results and invite your help in making improvements based on the survey results. The deadline for submitting is 5 p.m. Feb. 3. Here’s how to participate.
Thank you for working together as we transform lives to improve the lives of others,
Dr. Michael R. Williams
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