Emslie, Baylis to address listening tour results at open forum

Elizabeth Beilman

Gordon Emslie, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, and Gordon Baylis, vice president for Research, will conduct an open forum Feb. 4 to present findings from their listening tour administered in the fall 2010 semester.

President Gary Ransdell invited faculty and staff to the forum, which will be at 3 p.m. in the Mass Media and Technology Hall Auditorium, in an e-mail Monday.

The purpose of the listening tour was to examine and critique the structure and effectiveness of academic departments and the institution as a whole, Ransdell said.

“Their meetings with faculty through our academic departments have given both gentlemen an important and meaningful insight into the university’s structure and potential,” Ransdell said.

Ransdell also said the process has helped Emslie and Baylis gain a sense of what needs to be changed or improved.

“We’ve learned a lot and we’ve got a lot of ideas,” Baylis said Wednesday. “I think what we want to do is lay out quite a big vision.”

Baylis said he and Emslie visited all 46 departments last fall for one and a half to two hours each and met to discuss results after every three or four.

“We have spent hours upon hours trying to pull it all together and make a big deal about it,” Baylis said.

Baylis spoke previously of his proposal to create three divisions within faculty positions, of one being research.

Faculty who would have a research position would not be required to teach, thus relieving research efforts from those who do teach, he said.

Baylis announced he will discuss his proposal in more detail at the forum.

Ransdell said the administration has agreed with Emslie’s and Baylis’ suggestions that will be presented.

“Some of their recommendations are near-term and some are long-term in context and implementation, but all merit our full consideration,” Ransdell said.

Baylis hopes these plans will give WKU the “brightest possible future.”

“We think it’s not just very important to WKU, but to the future of faculty to give them flexibility and allow them to follow their passions,” Baylis said.