Gooch looking forward after two years as Provost

Janet Gooch, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, said she has learned a lot about Truman State University as she approaches the two-year mark in her current position.

Since Gooch took office, Truman launched a data science certificate program, modified multiple programs — such as adding a Bachelor of Science in philosophy and religion and combining foreign languages into one degree — and taken up a sweeping liberal arts curriculum change. She oversees all of this as the provost.

She has also overseen efforts to revise Chapter 6 of the Board of Governors policy relating to faculty, hire new faculty and develop more programs.

She said she has gained a broader view of the University as a whole.

“I think as provost I’ve learned a little more about other areas of the University,” Gooch said. “As a member of the executive leadership team and working with the other vice presidents, I’ve learned a lot more about the University as a system and what the other vice presidents do, and how that all comes together to enhance the work of the University.”

Gooch said this has made her approach situations in a more collaborative, systemic and holistic way. She said this is where she has developed most since she assumed her role.

She said she is working toward the goals set out in the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan, especially those closely tied to academic affairs. Within the next two years, the executive leadership team will develop a new plan. Until then, the strategic plan can be updated, but remains as a guide.

The identified goals are what Gooch said make the University successful because they are tied to the Truman experience.

Gooch said The Dialogues has been a major focus recently as faculty governance pilot the symposium, develop Self and Society seminars, and work on the new curriculum.

“A lot has been accomplished, even though at this point we can’t say we’ve implemented a new curriculum,” Gooch said.

Gooch said she sees her role as facilitating the faculty and deans to be successful in moving the University forward.

In addition to overseeing major academic changes, Gooch also helps with individual program changes.

“There’s little things that have been accomplished,” Gooch said. “That’s not me. That’s the University, that’s the faculty, because really, from the academic affairs standpoint, it’s the faculty that move things. They’re really responsible for these successes.”

Truman has seen a decline in credit hour production, which means the total number of credit hours taken at the University has decreased with fewer students on campus. The enrollment and retention efforts will help to combat this, Gooch said.

Additionally, she said academic affairs will be looking at what courses are being offered and if enrollment in those courses is adequate. They can then determine a strategy to increase enrollment in courses.

With declining credit hour production, this could have repercussions on faculty. Gooch said if a faculty member resigns or retires, her office thinks about whether that position needs to be refilled with a full-time faculty member, or if it can be covered with a curriculum change or temporary hiring.

Currently, Gooch said she estimates that Truman has more than 75 percent tenure-track faculty. The use of temporary faculty can help cover the ebb and flow of interest in different programs on campus, Gooch said.

“This is a great place, and great things are happening,” Gooch said. “I really appreciate having the opportunity to serve as the provost, and I am very thankful that we have such amazing students and dedicated faculty and staff. It’s just great to work here.”