A potential housecleaning of sorts has begun in preparation for Eric Kaler’s assumption of the presidency of the University of Minnesota July 1.
Kaler is not bringing along any staff from his previous post, university spokesman Dan Wolter said. But Kaler Chief of Staff Amy Phenix has been sketching out a restructuring of the President’s Office.
The move will affect 15 positions, including clerical staff and assistants, an editor, senior administrative director and a house manager for Eastcliff, the official residence of the president.
All positions are being posted — I found the ones above a few days ago — and the incumbents can apply, though Wolter said the job descriptions “will change significantly for some of them.”
“People morph. Descriptions don’t always fit the changing role.”
The minimum window to post is five days, he said.
It’s not unusual for new leaders to bring in their own people. So are current staffers being weeded out?
Wolter told me:
“I don’t believe so, but I’m not part of the discussions. This is routine, and is much of the function of the chief of staff. It’s a responsibility to organize the office in way that’s most functional for the new president.”
Wolter said May 31 he wasn’t aware of any layoff notices being handed out.
The ages of the president’s staffers range from students to “probably some in their 60s,” Wolter said. “They may still be placed (elsewhere) in the university. That would be the hope. … Every effort will be made to place them elsewhere in the university.”
(One might hope so. For a clerical staffer with long years of service to the U to suddenly be cut while in his or her 60s — with little likelihood of finding another job — would be a bit harsh.)
He said Kaler may want to choose specific people from inside the university ranks to staff his office, but “I have no specific information on that.”
The president’s staff isn’t the only section to change since it was announced last fall that Kaler was taking the helm.
Here are some of the muckety-mucks higher-ups who’ve announced their departures since that time, though I can’t claim to know their motives:
- Brian Atwood, dean of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Became chair of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Development Assistance Committee in Paris.
- Patrick Lloyd, dean of the School of Dentistry. Named dean of the College of Dentistry at Ohio State University.
- Alison Davis-Blake, dean of the Carlson School of Management. Named dean at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan starting late August.
- Kathryn Brown, vice president and chief of staff. Named vice president for human resources at the U.
- Steve Cawley, vice president and CIO. Named the University of Miami’s vice president for information technology and chief information officer.
- Steven Rosenstone, Vice President for Scholarly and Cultural Affairs. Named chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.
- Tom Sullivan, provost. He’ll return at the end of the year to the faculty of the Law School, where he’d previously served as dean.