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UW Board of Trustees Launches Education, Endowed Chairs Initiatives

November 14, 2014

Aiming to help the University of Wyoming become a pre-eminent institution in preparing professional educators, the UW Board of Trustees has launched an initiative to lift UW’s College of Education to national prominence.

Also Thursday, the board initiated a process to create up to 100 endowed professorships across the university, with a goal of recruiting and retaining top faculty members in a wide variety of disciplines.

Both initiatives will involve advisory and planning boards consisting of trustees, UW administrators, faculty members and external advisers. These initiatives will include interactions with the governor and the Legislature, along with the likelihood of additional public and private resources.

“With these two initiatives, the trustees see a tremendous opportunity to elevate the College of Education and other UW academic units by harnessing the passion and ideas of a variety of folks on and off campus,” Board of Trustees President Dave Palmerlee says. “We have seen that approach begin to pay dividends with UW’s engineering and science initiatives, initiated at the board level, and we’re excited to begin the process for these other areas.”

The Education Initiative recognizes the UW College of Education’s responsibility to prepare K-12 teachers, administrators and counselors to work in Wyoming’s public school system. The resolution launching this initiative calls for developing a plan to elevate the College of Education to “a pre-eminent college” in pursuing that mission, while acknowledging it will be “a complex, long-term undertaking involving the governor, the Legislature, the entire K-12 community, the current and future leadership of the college, and resources of the university.”

The resolution directs the board’s president to appoint a Trustees Education Initiative Advisory Board consisting of several trustees, UW President Dick McGinity, representatives of the college and up to five additional members. Additionally, the president of the board, in consultation with the university president, will appoint a team to develop an implementation plan, to be presented to the Board of Trustees, the governor and the Legislature by fall 2015.

“The College of Education is ready to work with these boards to provide a bright future for our graduates and all of Wyoming’s young people,” Interim Dean Michael Day says. “We welcome the trustees’ Education Initiative and look forward to the opportunities it presents.”

The trustees’ Endowed Chairs Initiative, meanwhile, will begin with the appointment of an Endowed Chairs Advisory Board consisting of three trustees, McGinity, UW Foundation President Ben Blalock and four other members from outside the university. In addition, the Board of Trustees president will appoint an Endowed Chairs Academic Board, in consultation with the university president, consisting of representatives of UW’s administration, the UW Foundation and the faculty.

Plans call for those two boards to prepare a detailed plan for creating up to 100 endowed professorships -- including objectives, process and procedures, timelines, budget, metrics and personnel requirements -- to deliver to the trustees at their March 2015 meeting. In subsequent months, these plans will be presented to appropriate legislative committees for consideration during the 2016 legislative session.

“The board views creating more endowed professorships, supported by both private and public resources, as a great way to retain and attract significant talent to the university,” Palmerlee says. “We think these chairs will help UW maintain and raise the level of excellence in academic areas important to the state and its citizens.”

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