After no-confidence vote on Adams, UGA faculty trying to improve communication

Teachers in the University of Georgia's largest college are considering their own ways to improve communication with President Michael Adams after last month's "no-confidence" vote on his leadership.

The threat of a follow-up vote remains, as faculty next year will likely want to judge any improvements in communication and governance, the head of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Senate said Thursday.

"The opportunity to express that anger and frustration has made a difference to the climate. Faculty will be wanting to see what comes of it," chairwoman Nancy Felson said.

Ideas on how to improve communication with Adams will be discussed at the faculty senate's last meeting of the academic year, April 13, and then a week later during a meeting of the entire college.

The proposed changes will include "common sense" ideas such as designating faculty members who serve on the University Council and the president's Faculty Advisory Council to frequently report back to the faculty senate, Felson said.

"No matter who's president, these are changes that have to be made," she said. "Part of the morale problem the faculty have is that they get communications last."

In an Internet vote last month, arts and sciences faculty members answered "no" by a 331-to-72 margin to the question: "Do you have confidence in President Adams as leader of UGA?"

There were 71 abstentions, giving the "no" votes a majority of almost 70 percent. About 64 percent of those eligible cast ballots, Felson said.

The college represents 38 percent of the university's professors, she said.

The votes and comments indicate that faculty members have felt alienated from the administration and insufficiently consulted, Felson said.

Adams, whose current challenge is the possibility of budget cuts and layoffs at the university because of the threat of declining state funding, has said he intends to take the faculty opinions as constructive criticism and plans to continue to meet with faculty.

University officials were not immediately available for comment Thursday.

"The whole idea is that 'Yes, we're part of the community. We're not the machine workers. We have a stake in the university,'" Felson said.

The vote stemmed from a controversy that began last year when Adams refused to extend the contract of popular athletic director Vince Dooley, who will retire at the end of June.

The university's spring semester ends next month. The Franklin faculty is the only group to have taken a confidence vote regarding Adams this year.

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