When a colleague expresses an opinion about your work performance, it is important first to listen, think about it objectively, and then learn from it. The faculty members within Arts and Sciences, who are essential to our core instructional mission, have expressed a viewpoint that I intend to take as constructive criticism. It is important to take criticism and learn from it.
This vote comes at a time when the University and the University System, as well as the State of Georgia, are facing significant budgetary challenges, and I thank the Arts and Sciences Faculty Senate for its acknowledgment of my efforts to mitigate the effect of these budget cuts. We have discussed these matters together over the past months. In addition to the challenges on the state budget front, this has been a year of challenges in athletics and with the UGA Foundation. I have invited the Franklin Faculty Senate to discuss with me the Deloitte and Touche report which, as the Board of Regents has noted, is filled with “numerous significant factual errors; assumptions not based on facts; . . . innuendos; hearsay . . . and inappropriate conclusions.”
Fundamental to collegial trust and confidence is open and two-way communication. I have made a concerted effort over the past year to meet in a regular fashion with the faculty of each school and college and with small groups to engage with my faculty colleagues in a constructive discussion of the direction of the University and the challenges it faces. These have been useful exchanges that I plan to continue and emphasize. As we grow in mutual understanding of our concerns and those we face together as an institution, I trust that confidence in our direction and decision-making processes will grow.
Despite the budgetary challenges of the past two fiscal years, academic excellence remains the solid foundation of this institution and the foremost priority of UGA’s senior administration. Faculty clearly want to maintain and enhance this level of excellence, and better communication between the administration and the faculty will help us achieve this collective goal. My personal goal will be to listen and follow a collegial approach that will allow us to make the University of Georgia a better place for our students and a place responsive to our many constituencies.