Oklahoma Baptist University

OBU Revises Organizational Structure

Citing the opportunity to enhance program effectiveness and plan for future growth, Oklahoma Baptist University President David W. Whitlock announced a revised organizational structure for the institution as the spring semester began.

The new structure, which will be effective March 2, includes an expanded cabinet and utilizes two executive vice president posts.

Dr. Whitlock, who began his tenure as OBU's 15th president on Nov. 1, 2008, presented the new structure to OBU faculty and staff on Feb. 2. The president has named Dr. Stan Norman as provost and executive vice president for campus life, and Randy Smith as executive vice president for business and administrative services. Norman currently is vice president for university relations at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Mo. Smith has served on the OBU administrative team since 1995. He was promoted to senior vice president for business affairs in 2002.

"We are doing things very well in many areas," Whitlock said following the meeting. "It is no accident that OBU fares very well in national quality rankings every year. We don't take that success for granted, and we are taking steps to ensure the continuous improvement of our programs to help us offer the best education in a Christian learning community."

Telling university personnel the revised organizational structure would "facilitate OBU distinctives," Whitlock said the new approach is in keeping with a commitment he made to the university's board of trustees to seek the most effective means for fulfilling OBU's mission as a Christian university.

"The guiding vision that I have for OBU is going to emphasize a love of God and a love of learning," said the president.

The new structure replaces an administrative model which included senior vice presidents for academic affairs, business affairs and university advancement. In the new model, the provost/executive vice president for campus life will oversee six areas: academic affairs, student development, spiritual life, enrollment management, university advancement and university communications. The executive vice president for business and administrative affairs will oversee campus services, the business office/controller's office, athletics, campus safety, information systems and services, and facilities management and services.

The executive officers and the 12 administrative officers will join Whitlock and the director of OBU's executive offices as members of the University's cabinet. Additionally, the president said he will meet with officers of the University's Faculty Council on a weekly basis.

Whitlock said Norman would provide oversight as well as coordinate with administrators in academic and campus life areas on continuous improvement processes. In his remarks to faculty and staff members, Whitlock commended the work of Dr. Debbie Blue, senior vice president for academic affairs, who will continue to provide academic program leadership, overseeing the work of the University's academic deans while reporting to the provost.

In addition to the revised structure, Whitlock announced the formation of the University Planning Advisory Council, comprised of the cabinet members, the Faculty Council chair, and chairs of university councils and committees. He said the UPAC would play a vital role in formation of annual objectives and funding priorities for the university.

Whitlock said he had met for several weeks with Blue, the chief academic officer, and with Dr. Craig Walker, chair of the Faculty Council, to discuss restructuring and streamlining university committees and finding ways to ensure "meaningful shared governance" to meet accrediting agency requirements and maintain a "spirit of genuine cooperation."

He said a final proposal for the university's council and committee structure will be presented to the Faculty Council early in the spring semester for the group's review and recommendations.

"Not only does each committee have an operational duty and requirement, but they will also be thinking strategically, with that information feeding in to our strategic planning advisory council," Whitlock said.

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