Skorton, Fuchs announce reorganization of central university administration

President David Skorton and Provost Kent Fuchs today announced a reorganization of the central university administration, aimed at establishing a more integrated leadership team, and streamlining university management. In all, the plan involves elimination of several positions in the central administration with a projected savings of over $2 million per year.

Skorton commented: "We made these decisions after a careful analysis of each of the key positions in the central administration, a thorough review of benchmarks from peer institutions, and substantive discussions with key leaders of those universities. By reducing layers in our organization, we will be able to operate more efficiently and cost-effectively. This initiative will set an example for other entities within the Cornell campus."

Skorton announced the elimination of the positions of Executive Vice President and Vice President for Risk Management and Public Safety and the assumption of additional duties by several sitting administrators. Under the new plan, the president will oversee the Investment Office, the Audit Office, and, for the present, the division of Facilities Services. In addition to leading Facilities Services, Vice President Kyu Whang will take responsibility for the Office of Environmental Compliance and Sustainability. University Counsel and Secretary of the Corporation Jim Mingle will continue to coordinate all university risk management functions and will oversee the Office of Risk Management. Vice President Mary Opperman will oversee the activities of the Cornell University Police Department, as well as the offices of Emergency Planning and Recovery, Environmental Health and Safety, and Risk Management Strategic Initiatives. Provost Fuchs announced elimination of the position of vice provost for life sciences. He will work with Robert Buhrman, senior vice provost for research, to provide the necessary support for the faculty and research in the life sciences within the research office. As announced in July, Fuchs also eliminated the positions of senior science advisor, associate provost for outreach, and the vice provost for equity and inclusion. The responsibilities of other vice provosts have been broadened to ensure the continuation of work in those areas. Fuchs will continue to review the structure of his office and expects additional changes to be made by the end of the academic year.

Two new administrative teams, to be led by current administrators, have been created to combine the strengths of professional staff and faculty in dealing with complex, interrelated management issues.

One team will be responsible for the oversight and coordination of information technology across the Ithaca campus and will work with counterparts at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. President Skorton said, "We can now begin to reassess and address the Ithaca campus' IT needs with the establishment of the new Information Technology Governance Committee (ITGC) that will be responsible for establishing overall priorities, making resource allocation decisions, and preparing the annual budget, operating plan, and capital plan in this area." The members of the ITGC include Provost Kent Fuchs, Dean of Computing and Information Sciences Dan Huttenlocher, Chief Financial Officer Joanne DeStefano, and Interim Executive Director of Information Technology Steve Schuster. With this change in IT governance, CIT will now report administratively to Joanne DeStefano.

The other new team will coordinate the various administrative functions responsible for Cornell's relations with its complex array of publics. Said Skorton: "I have asked Glenn Altschuler, the Dean of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions and the Thomas and Dorothy Litwin Professor of American Studies, to take on the additional responsibility of articulating and overseeing university strategies related to communications, government relations, and land grant affairs as well as partnering with communications staff in Alumni Affairs and Development in coordinating all major interactions between Cornell and its many constituencies. While remaining dean, Altschuler will serve in the new capacity of Vice President for University Relations, subject to Executive Committee ratification. Vice President Tommy Bruce, Vice President Stephen Johnson and Vice Provost Ronald Seeber will maintain their current responsibilities for their respective organizations and Vice President Altschuler will play a critically important leadership and coordination role in our new environment of strategic planning."

Skorton and Fuchs also announced the elimination of three support positions in 300 Day Hall. "The talented and devoted staff are also assuming substantially increased individual responsibilities," said Skorton.

The new administrative structures will be effective November 1.