Administrative reorganization terminates four positions

By Meredith Dobes
rutorchnews@gmail.com

At least four administrative positions at Roosevelt University were eliminated recently, as a result of a university-led administrative reorganization effort.

“Two positions were eliminated due to a reorganization: 1) University Librarian and 2) Associate Provost,” Executive Vice President and University Provost Doug Knerr said in an email. “In both cases, the responsibilities were assumed by others higher up in the organization.”

Richard Uttich and Tanya Woltman held the positions of university librarian and associate provost, respectively.

Knerr also confirmed that two other administrators’ positions were eliminated: Devon Hall, who held the title of senior academic program and financial analyst and Gretchen Van Natta, who held the title of vice president of human resources.

Searching these names in the faculty directory on the university’s website brings no results, though it is unforgettable that these people were once employed by the university.

The elimination of positions has been attributed to a reorganization of the senior administration team at the university, according to Uttich and Knerr.

Knerr stated that no faculty members have been terminated and that there is no reason to terminate any of them.

In an email titled “Moving Forward in 2014,” sent Jan. 29 to faculty and staff by Knerr, the eliminated positions were not mentioned, but explanation of efforts to reorganize certain administrative offices was provided.

The email stated that the offices of Student Affairs and Academic Services would be consolidated into one office under the guidance of current Associate Provost of Academic Services Sheila Coffin. It also stated that a committee composed of a few faculty members from the library, information technology and various academic programs would be in charge of developing a strategic plan to advance the university’s “campus-based and virtual library services.”

“The consolidation of duties positively impacts all the services that we provide to students,” Coffin said. “With the seamless interaction among all our offices, our hope is to continually improve the services that we provide to our students.”

Coffin cited the Starting Out at Roosevelt program and a collaboration between the Undergraduate Academic Advising Office and biology, chemistry and physical science departments to develop targeted advising for science majors as two of the new services offered to students because of the consolidation.

“Consistent with the vision of the Institutional Strategic Plan as enunciated in President [Charles] Middleton’s State of the University Address, we are continuing to reshape the university,” Knerr stated in the email.

When asked about the elimination of the administrative positions, Assistant Vice President of Public Relations Tom Karow said the university could not comment on personnel issues.

“New faculty hiring season is going on now, and there are interviews across the university every week,” Knerr said.

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One response to “Administrative reorganization terminates four positions

  1. As a recent RU alumna I am saddened to hear that these cuts are happening and that two of the people that have helped student life were among the four terminations.
    Richard Uttich was ALAS (Association of Latin American Students) staff/faculty adviser and to see that he is no longer going to be there makes my heart shrink. Richard held numerous film/documentary nights of the Immigration life here in America. Since Latin American studies didn’t exist at RU, we had to get our Latin American studies education from these films. The appreciation I have for Richard is immense.

    Another most devoted person to student life is Devon Hall. I met Devon my 2012 Spring semester when I attended CSI’s Leadership Summit at Camp Tecumseh, in fact, Devon was my staff/faculty leader. When we talked he led our group (the Hot Tamales- to be exact) he listened to everything we brought to the table. He became one of our mentors and one of our closest friends- at least for me he did. Devon would always see me in the halls and high-five me or ask me about my day. He is truly an inspiration and I am so saddened that other students won’t get that same chance as I did to meet him and be mentored by him.

    All of these cuts and changes to RU need to be to other material things and NOT to the people that have helped build this university to what it is today. Where’s the Social Justice? Are we falling into capitalism’s mighty grips like every other major University in the nation? Let’s stick to our roots, RU- they were the ones that helped sprout the tree, were they not?

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