The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Joplin Metro

September 18, 2009

MSSU board instructs president to improve relations with faculty

By Greg Grisolano

Missouri Southern State University’s board of governors is directing university President Bruce Speck to “renew efforts to improve relations with the faculty and to address faculty concerns in terms of leadership, management and judgment without retaliation,” according to a press release issued Friday night.

Specific details as to what action Speck must take to accomplish those efforts are not outlined in the report, nor were any of the board of governors willing to discuss in detail the manner in which the strained relations between faculty and administrators are to be addressed. The board statement also said it is “fully aware of the dissatisfaction of the faculty” in regards to Speck.

The board’s directive comes in the midst of a movement by the faculty senate to engage in a vote of no confidence in the president’s leadership. An ad hoc committee of faculty senators forwarded a preliminary report to the board outlining 23 indictments against Speck, including failures of leadership, management, shared governance with faculty, judgment and public embarrassment. The statement from board of governors chairman Rod Anderson also acknowledged “the distinct possibility of a no-confidence vote by the faculty.”

“The board commends the faculty in raising concerns in such fashion because solutions to issues cannot be solved if concerns are not voiced and brought to the attention of this board,” Anderson is quoted as stating in the release. “This dialogue has given us the opportunity to better ourselves for the good of this university and the students we serve.”

Anderson declined to comment further about specifics of the meeting, including offering reaction to concerns about Speck’s leadership style that were broached by faculty senate President Roger Chelf during the open portion of the meeting.

Members of the faculty senate ad hoc committee said Friday night they were “shocked” by the board’s actions following Friday’s meeting.

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