The Arkansas Tech University Board of Trustees conducted a special called meeting on Monday, Nov. 29, to receive and review a report from the Association of Governing Boards.
The report is the result of an agenda item adopted by the ATU Board of Trustees in May 2021. At that time, the board initiated a search for a consultant to conduct a “review of the two-way communication procedures and the patterns between the executive council and the faculty and staff.”
The Association of Governing Boards (AGB) was subsequently selected by the ATU Board of Trustees as the project consultant through a process executed by the ATU Office of Procurement and Risk Management during the August 2021 meeting of ATU trustees.
Stephanie Duffield, ATU Board of Trustees vice chairman, initiated the procedure to identify a consultant and has provided leadership throughout the process.
“On behalf of my fellow trustees, we are appreciative of the members of the ATU community who participated in surveys and interviews as part of this review,” said Duffield.
The report reaffirms the spring 2021 report from the Higher Learning Commission that Arkansas Tech is in sound financial health and operating consistent with its mission.
Highlights from the recommendations include the continuation of several practices that have been put in place in recent years and months, including the inclusion of faculty and staff members in the early stages of the budget development process, the inclusion of representatives from the ATU Faculty Senate and the ATU Staff Senate in meetings with the ATU Executive Council, opportunities for ATU Faculty Senate and ATU Staff Senate representatives to make presentations to the ATU Board of Trustees and opportunities for members of the university community to have informal interactions with trustees.
The report recommends that representatives from ATU Faculty Senate and ATU Staff Senate review their most recent surveys to identify and prioritize actionable recommendations that would improve communication, transparency, shared governance and campus climate.
In addition, the report recommends that ATU continue an ongoing process to develop a new university-wide calendar of events.
ATU Board of Trustees member Bill Clary requested that board members review and further discuss possible actions recommended in the report at their next meeting.
“The board is sensitive to and heard the faculty and staff,” said Clary. “We will continue to facilitate continuous improvement that supports the overall health of the university.”
The next meeting of the ATU Board of Trustees is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 7, at 1 p.m.
“The ATU Board of Trustees remains confident in our university leadership and we charge administrators to lead and involve faculty and staff members in considering and acting upon, as appropriate, the recommendations from AGB,” said Eric Burnett, chairman of the ATU Board of Trustees. “Regardless of our role at Arkansas Tech, each of us has a responsibility to work collaboratively and continue to take actions that are in support of student access and student success. The board encourages all members of the university community to focus on serving current students and showcasing ATU’s caring, supportive culture to future students.”