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MU Provost Discusses New Title IX Administrator, Faculty Incentives

MU’s newly-hired provost Garnett Stokes spoke to media Wednesday about her plans for the university and other academic programs.

Stokes announced that she has appointed Ellen Eardley as MU’s first Title IX Administrator.  Eardley is a partner at Mehri and Skalet in Washington, D.C. and an adjunct faculty member at American University Washington College of Law. As Title IX Administrator, Eardley will oversee the university’s compliance with Title IX laws and propose changes to university policy to follow Title IX. Ellen Eardley will officially take over her new position at MU on April 20.

Eardley said she hopes to have open discussions with students and staff to learn more about the university’s Title IX issues.

“I want to make sure that everyone on campus feels like they have access to me to ask questions to get an understanding themselves of what the new Title IX-related policies and practices are going to be,” Eardley said.
            Provost Garnett Stokes said she helped create a similar position when she was interim president at Florida State University. She said she thinks the new position will function in the same way it did at FSU.

“We recognized the value of the creation of a Title IX office and the importance of a leader with close connections to the highest level of leadership, and really coordinating our education and communication efforts,” Stokes said.

Stokes served as Provost and Executive Vice President at Florida State for four years before taking over as interim president.  She was influential in handling Title IX issues at the school, including the investigation of a sexual assault case involving former FSU quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. At FSU, Stokes created a task force that led to the creation of the school’s “kNOw MORE” campaign to help prevent sexual violence and assault. 

Another topic Stokes spoke about regarded faculty incentives for winning national awards and recognitions. She said that the program helped faculty at FSU earn higher salaries and that the program’s success could translate to MU.

“It’s hard sometimes to provide clarity on what it is people need to do to earn a salary increase, so I do want to look at it and see if there’s a place for it at Mizzou,” Stokes said.

Stokes said that MU faculty salaries are among the lowest compared to other AAU schools and that she will look at the budget to see if an incentives program is practical. 

Additionally, Stokes spoke about how she plans to replace 110 tenured faculty members who took buyouts under the Voluntary Separation Plan.  She said she is working with Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin and Executive Vice President Hank Foley to find long-term replacements for the open faculty positions.

“I’m a big believer in the hiring of strong, tenured and tenure-tracked faculty. That’s the model that I would plan to pursue,” Stokes said.

She said the university will look for interim instructors to fill the vacant positions while the administration looks for new long-term faculty.