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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

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Breaking+News
Photo by Photo by Meredith Seaver, Photo Illustration by Brady Stone
Breaking News

An initial report evaluating Texas A&M and the University System’s organizational structure has been released by President M. Katherine Banks, who invites public input from students, faculty and staff on the report’s recommendations.
MGT of America Consulting, or MGT, and Martin+Crumpton Group were contracted on June 16, 2021, to conduct assessments in support of Banks’ transition into the presidency. MGT’s scope of work included considerations for “liberal arts and sciences consolidation” and “cabinet-level reorganization,” among several dozen other tasks. This has been a cause for concern among Liberal Arts faculty, per an Oct. 5 email from interim Dean Steven M. Oberhelman.
“This review focused on the organizational structure of central offices at the executive level and administrative units at the college level,” the report reads.
Banks released the report, which includes MGT’s assessments and final recommendations for the university, to the public on Oct. 25 in a university-wide email.
“The report of the findings and recommendations has been provided to Texas A&M,” Banks said in the email. “The next step in our process is critically important: receiving reaction and feedback by the entire university community regarding the recommendations in the report.”
The input process will be conducted through the feedback.tamu.edu website over the next two weeks, Banks said. An external firm will analyze the feedback from the Aggie community, which will then be summarized for review by Banks and System leadership.
“After thorough review of the input, I anticipate announcing in early December which recommendations will be accepted, rejected, modified or require further study,” Banks said.
Nothing proposed in the report — available in its entirety on the feedback website — is final as currently presented. Yet, this is a crucial step in the process, Banks said, and forums will be held accordingly.
“Next steps will include the formation of an implementation oversight committee and working groups,” Banks said. “Nominations will be requested to identify those to serve on these groups.”
The report itself, 133 pages in length, begins with an executive summary addressing MGT and Martin+Crumpton’s background to the evaluation, findings and recommendations, additional observations and final conclusions. In regards to the aforementioned concerns of Liberal Arts faculty, the executive summary elaborates upon what “academic organization centralization” would entail.
“The academic foundation of the campus could be developed around four large units: AgriLife, Engineering, Arts and Sciences, and Texas A&M Health, with strong connections to other applied academic units,” the executive summary reads.
The goals of introducing these new units is to rebalance university investment across the academic units in terms of support, according to the report’s summary. As part of this centralization, MGT further recommended the realignment of several academic units to focus “on mission, increase student success and better meet student needs.”
The recommendation is part of six “high-level findings,” laid out in the executive summary, from MGT’s surveys for the administration’s consideration, including a large push for greater centralization of university operations and academic organization and more efficient use of university talent. The summary also mentions campus diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, efforts.
“Some survey respondents believe the DEI efforts are ineffective, resulting in an inability to recruit underrepresented student, faculty and staff populations,” the report reads.
Among the proposals to address DEI concerns is the creation of an Office of Undergraduate Recruitment, to be overseen by another new unit, Academic and Strategic Collaborations. Resources would be directed toward increasing engagement with the local community and Texas at large, according to the report. Resource allocation and success metrics are stated as a high priority throughout the findings.
“The decentralized model [of the university’s operational structure] makes it difficult for functional operations to remain consistent in processes, technology use, and objectives,” the summary reads. “As a result, talent and financial resources are not used in a practical or transparent method, and students, faculty and staff do not have complete clarity when seeking help from operational units.”
In addition to the 44 interviews conducted with university leaders, faculty, staff and students, the consulting agency also surveyed 1,775 current students, nearly 16,500 former students and 3,654 faculty and staff members on their opinions of university operations and experiences. Throughout the assessment, the consulting team focused on working their recommendations around a “common vision” for the entire campus community to work together and achieve, namely surrounding the Aggie Core Values, according to the report.
“Along with facilitating the development of priorities and identities within each unit, the reorganization process presents an opportunity to develop sound scaffolding (i.e., work groups, strategic plans, departmental retreats and mission and vision statements) and allow university constituencies to work together toward accomplishing the restructuring,” the report reads. “This process can foster a sense of ownership for participants as it opens a dialogue between the university leadership and staff concerning shared priorities and goals.”
The report details findings and recommendations on the following aspects of the university:

  • The Office of the Provost
  • Faculty Affairs
  • Academic and strategic collaborations
  • Academic realignment
  • Student affairs
  • Facilities
  • Finance and Business Administration
  • Human resources and organizational effectiveness
  • Information technology
  • Marketing and communications
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