Since 2008, 11 of the university’s 14 schools or colleges and libraries have had a change in dean. And in the past year alone, 10 schools have either changed leadership or will by December.
With an interim UM System president and chancellor at the helm, three deans — all signers of the letter demanding the resignation of former Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin — announced in the past seven days of May that they are leaving the university.
School of Law Dean Gary Myers will return to teach in the law school. Michael O’Brien, dean of the College of Arts and Science, is leaving to become provost at Texas A&M-San Antonio, and Thomas Payne, dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, will retire at the end of December.
One factor that could be having an impact on retirements is the UM System Board of Curators’ vote in April to limit retiree health insurance benefits for 84 percent of eligible employees.
School of Journalism Dean David Kurpius predicts that the current changes in leadership will eventually make the university stronger.
“Any time you have leadership transitions at the very top, it makes it difficult to regain stability in the very short term,” Kurpius said. “This is a university that’s been around for a long time. In the historical pattern of leadership, this is just a blip on the map.”
Read more: Columbia Missourian