Murano Meets with Faculty, Talks Administration Changes

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Texas A&M's new president got her first chance to address a mass gathering of the university's faculty.

Elsa Murano led off Monday's Faculty Senate meeting with a discussion of Vision 2020, the so-called roadmap to success for the university in its goal of becoming a top 10 institution in the nation's eyes.

Murano said A&M was better so far through the plan, but that challenges remained like institutional goal setting, institutional leadership and interdisciplinary research.

The president seemed pleased by the response.

"I'm very encouraged that there wasn't anybody saying, 'no, no, no, not that,'" Murano said.

The president talked about moving forward on Vision 2020, and answered faculty questions, but as for the often-asked question, "what exactly are you going to do as president," she had a different response.

"If I came in and said exactly, we're going to do these specific things, all of you should boot me out because that means I'm not going to listen, I'm not going to be open to new ideas, and that's not true," Murano told the gathering.

Many changes in the administration have been rumored, but Murano would not elaborate any further on those potential changes, only reiterating that she was conducting evaluations of key members. Official announcements on those changes, if any, will take place in the coming weeks, she said.

Multiple sources last week said A&M's vice president of communications, Steve Moore, would be leaving his post effective January 24. Moore at the time told News 3 his status was unchanged and that he was secure in his current job.

However, Murano did announce she will take a proposal to the System Board of Regents asking for the creation of a second executive vice president position. The lone executive vice president position -- also the provost -- currently is vacant, as David Prior departed this past summer.

If approved, Murano's new executive vice president would be Russell Cross, who is currently A&M's deputy vice chancellor of agriculture. Murano left the College of Agriculture to become A&M president.

In the new structure, the current, provost position would oversee academic elements of A&M, while the new executive vice president for operations would handle the support for academics, like athletics and facilities.

"All you have to do is look at the organizational chart and you see everything under this one person, and it has got to be almost impossible for that individual to be able to manage all of that effectively," Murano said.

The regents next meet January 24 and 25 on the College Station campus. It will be the first regular meeting of the board since selecting Murano as the lone finalist for the presidency in December.