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Email from Dr. Cerra About President's Decision to Ignore Med School Faculty Input

(For background, please see: Faculty Governance is an Oxymoron)

"Frank B. Cerra"
to ALL-AHC-ALL@oris2.ahc.umn.edu
date Thu, Jul 8, 2010 at 4:15 PM
subject AHC Leadership Transition
mailed-by oris2.ahc.umn.edu

Dear colleagues,

I'm writing to follow up on the memo you received from President Bruininks where he articulates his decisions for the structure of health sciences during this upcoming period of leadership transition for this office and for the recruiting of a new president.

-- I will remain in my role of Senior Vice President for Health Sciences and Dean of the Medical School through the end of the year, reporting directly to President Bruininks.

-- This fall, a short term appointment will be made to assume the SVP/Dean role. I plan to mentor this individual until the end of December. When a new President has been hired and the transition period is over, the new president will make final decisions regarding the organizational structure of health sciences.

-- In January, the deans of the other five health sciences disciplines - dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, public health and veterinary medicine - will begin reporting to Provost Tom Sullivan. At the same time, the AHC Deans' Council will be expanded to include a few other of our colleagues including the deans of IT, CBS, and CFANS. This council will be led by the interim VP/Dean, will report to the President, and will have responsibilities in such areas as interdisciplinary and interprofessional activities.

-- Finally, the shared AHC centers and the AHC infrastructure services will continue to function and to report to the SVP/Dean. We look forward to enhancing our ongoing review process to further ensure there are no programmatic redundancies and that support is well coordinated. We've always seen constructive review processes as healthy for this institution, as our Deans' Council annually reviews AHC shared programs, such as the Masonic Cancer Center.

I want to clearly state that the President has widely consulted and considered multiple options, and that after listening he has reflected on what he's heard and has made his decision. I'm convinced that what President Bruininks is implementing is what he believes is in the best interest of successfully positioning the health sciences for the University during this transition in presidential leadership. The future after that is up to the new University leadership. There are many ways to structure health sciences within a university, and this new approach is one of them. Indeed, since its inception in 1970, the Academic Health Center has had several leadership structures. Like all structural changes, the test of time will determine its effectiveness.

There are a few core ideas I know will continue to sustain the strength of the health sciences and the functionality of the Academic Health Center at the University of Minnesota:

-- The Deans of the Academic Health Center schools are highly articulate, are in touch with the marketplace of their disciplines, and will advocate for what is critical to the health of Minnesota. I know they will continue to be articulate advocates for the strength of our well-developed and interdisciplinary collaborations. That is good for the University.

-- The Deans of the Academic Health Center are also committed to interdisciplinary, interprofessional education, research and clinical practice. Indeed, the ongoing health care reshaping will require this for its success.

-- Minnesotans have high expectations for the performance of the Academic Health Center schools and programs - and our faculty, staff, and deans remain committed to meeting and exceeding those expectations. That, too, is good for the University.

-- Our experienced and collaborative culture has positioned the University well for the Big Science, interdisciplinary, inter-institutional grants that we are successfully attracting.

-- This year's 1,000 AHC graduates entering the health market are encountering a health delivery environment that's characterized by profound change, intense complexity, and shifting opportunities. I know our faculty remains committed to preparing them - and this fall's entering cohort - for the "whitewater" of that shifting change. That is good for Minnesota.

Over the next six months, my work plan remains clear and is available to all of you - click here. Overall, I am committed to ensuring that the unique strengths of this University's health sciences enterprise are positioned to attract and retain nationally recognized leaders and faculty to guide its continued success and that of the health enterprise in the State of Minnesota. The success of our clinical enterprise remains key to our prominence and must remain a top priority. There also is a range of collaborative programs with Mayo, the bioscience business community, and with our affiliated hospitals and clinics that will require my attentive effort.

As we look to the future, it's important to learn from our past, and we'll do that by celebrating the 40 years of strength of the health sciences at this University. I'd like to urge all of you to join me for a hot dog lunch on Tuesday, July 13 - and to reflect on all we've learned during these sometimes tumultuous, always interesting four decades of preparing generations of health professionals to care for our communities while discovering and delivering on the promise of our research on behalf of the health of our state.

Frank B. Cerra, M.D.
Senior Vice President for Health Sciences
Dean of the Medical School

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