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Survey shows MU faculty not satisfied with chancellor's work

More than half of MU faculty members surveyed said they are not satisfied with MU Chancellor Mun Choi’s performance and would favor him leaving the job.

The faculty survey was not scientific and included results from fewer than 25% of faculty members. Still, the results could be perceived as a vote of no confidence from a sizable portion of the university’s workforce.

In all, 56% of respondents said Choi shouldn’t be retained as chancellor, compared with just 26% who preferred to keep him.

It was the first Faculty Council survey of Choi, who has served as chancellor since 2020. Choi is also president of the four-campus University of Missouri System, a role he has served in since 2017. The Faculty Council has periodically provided job performance surveys of the university’s administrators since 1986.

Tenured faculty members with no administrative posts were about twice as likely to oppose retaining Choi as faculty without tenure and those with administrative posts, respectively.

Tenured faculty with more than part-time administrative posts were more likely to favor keeping Choi.

“One of the main things the faculty said, it was a feeling of not being listened to or being concerned about that relationship with the chancellor, the Chancellor’s Office.”
Graham McCaulley

“There’s only one group where the majority said yes, and that was tenured administers,” said Charles Munter, a Faculty Council member and associate professor in the College of Education and Human Development.

The first Faculty Council meeting of the semester Thursday also reviewed some feedback given by the survey respondents. The most frequent criticism leveled against Choi was that he did not engage in “shared governance” with the faculty, such as listening to the opinions of faculty members. One comment given by a respondent stated Choi “frequently disregards requests of the Faculty Council.”

“One of the main things the faculty said, it was a feeling of not being listened to or being concerned about that relationship with the chancellor, the Chancellor’s Office,” said Graham McCaulley, Faculty Council’s president and associate extension professor in the Trulaske College of Business.

However, there were some praises for Choi’s performance from the survey respondents, with the most common one being his positive relationship with the Missouri state legislature and the UM System Board of Curators, thereby improving the university’s financial standing. Regarding his overall performance, the respondents gave a mean score of 2.26 on a scale from one to five, with one being unsatisfactory.
There was some criticism against the survey as well.

“I’ll be totally honest with you, I didn’t take the survey because I’m a (nontenured track faculty),” Jim Crozier, a Faculty Council member, said. “I feel like if anything got back, I could be fired.”

Crozier is an assistant teaching professor of classical studies in the College of Arts and Science.

In a written statement, Choi said he had reviewed the results of the survey.

“After reviewing the results, I am interested in finding ways for my cabinet and I to collect more constructive input on a variety of topics from a broader group of faculty,” he said.

After sharing the results with Choi last week, Choi, his chief of staff and Provost Latha Ramchand planned to set up meeting times with faculty members in cooperation with the council, McCaulley said.

Paid time off for UM System staff

The council also voted to endorse letters from law school and library employees opposing the proposed paid time off policy. The letter from the library staff stated that the new plan would reduce the maximum amount of time an employee could take paid leave by 10 days.

The new proposal seeks to combine current vacation, sick and personal paid time off into a single bank while maintaining the same amount of time for holidays and winter break. Moreover, it is set to provide up to 20 weeks of a 60% paid short-term disability leave, four weeks of fully paid parental leave and two weeks of fully paid caregiver leave.

The net result of those proposed changes would provide non-faculty employees with a maximum number of 31 paid days off per year, compared to the current plan’s maximum of 41 days a year.

The Board of Curators is scheduled to vote on the proposed policy during its meeting Wednesday.

Galen Zavala Sherby is studying Journalism with a minor in Spanish at the University of Missouri - Columbia. He was born in Nicaragua but his home here in the US is Louisville, KY.
The Columbia Missourian is a community news organization managed by professional editors and staffed by Missouri School of Journalism students who do the reporting, design, copy editing, information graphics, photography and multimedia.