Members of the University Board of Regents are considering a change to their bylaws that would incorporate a chairman, vice chairman and committee structure to the board just in time for the arrival of a new University president.
Regent David Brandon (R-Ann Arbor) talked about the proposed changes during last week”s regents meeting.
Brandon said at the meeting that he and other members wish to explore the overall effectiveness of the Board of Regents something that has been a topic of discussion for several weeks.
After looking at how other institutions operate, Brandon said he believes the implementation of a committee structure would better organize communication and action among the regents. Brandon has served on several managerial levels, including his current position as chief executive officer of Domino”s Pizza.
The chair of the board would act as a liaison between the president and the rest of the board, in addition to assisting in setting agenda items. In theory, the implementation of a chair would not change the distribution of power among the regents and the president.
Regent Andrea Fischer Newman (R-Ann Arbor) said the proposal is not meant to be an attempt at diminishing the authority of the new president.
“Ideally, we”d all get to be chair,” Regent Olivia Maynard (D-Goodrich) said. “The chairman would have more of a time commitment when they”re chair but they”d probably only be chair for a few years.”
Newman said presidential candidates should not be concerned about these changes if they do occur.
“I think every other university board in the state of Michigan has a chair,” she said. “It”s a rotating position we”re looking at one year terms.
“I think it would be much better for the University community and much easier for the president to work with,” Newman said.
The types of committees and their duties have yet to be determined.
“In history they”ve sometimes had committees and sometimes not,” Maynard said. “The last time the regents had committees, President (Harlan) Hatcher got rid of them all.”
Maynard said committees “could help the board function better, but it depends on how carefully they”re put together.”
“I think the bylaw changes are neutral. It”s what they end up doing that really matters,” Maynard said.
Brandon said he hopes to collect opinions about the position and propose the bylaw changes at next month”s regents meeting.