Wayland unveils new administrative structure

PLAINVIEW – The President’s Cabinet at Wayland Baptist University will be a bit smaller these days with the new administrative structure unveiled recently for the system.

According to President Dr. Paul Armes, the changes came about after several meetings with his vice presidents and reshuffling of duties in the wake of Dr. Bill Hardage’s death on March 25. Having served as executive vice president for several decades, Hardage not only had years of experience but also years of familiarity with the position, which included oversight of the 13 external campuses, information technology, property management and maintenance.

Rather than filling the vacant position of executive vice president, Armes and his cabinet opted to restructure the administration and streamline some processes.

“Several elements were involved in the restructuring,” Armes said. “First of all, Dr. Hardage did an effective job at what was a very complicated position. I’m not sure it would have been fair to ask anyone else to manage the breadth and depth and complexity of Dr. Hardage’s responsibilities.

“Second, I wanted a more direct relationship with all the VPs and the Chief Financial Officer, and we wanted a single individual responsible for the external campuses. We wanted the external campuses to know they will have someone who works uniquely and solely with them. That person will work under the supervision of Dr. Hall, who will be a strong and compelling advocate for our external campus program at the cabinet level.”

The restructure creates a level of VPs under Armes, including the vice president for institutional advancement (held by Betty Donaldson), the vice president for enrollment management (held by Dr. Claude Lusk), the Chief Financial Officer (held by Jim Smith) and the revamped position of provost/academic vice president. Dr. Bobby Hall has been the vice president for academic and graduate services and he will move naturally into the amended provost position.

The biggest changes in the organizational chart come under Hall, who will oversee the academic programs, Virtual Campus, Learning Resources Center, academic achievement, Community Classroom and the institutional research and effectiveness and accreditation process as usual.

In addition, however, Hall will oversee an associate vice president for external campuses who will manage those operations and the governmental/military relations associated with them. The search for someone to fill that position will begin soon. Hall will also oversee an assistant academic vice president who will manage the registrar’s offices, information technology and strategic planning and policy.

Stan DeMerritt, who had held the position of assistant executive vice president since February 15, will move into the role of assistant academic VP. Formerly the university registrar, DeMerritt is familiar with many of the roles involved in his new position.

In other changes, Donaldson will take on oversight of the Museum of the Llano Estacado, and Lusk will oversee the property management and maintenance offices as well as the university Web site.

Armes said the changes also allowed for an additional development officer to be added under the VP for advancement, bolstering the university’s fundraising ability. And he is quick to add that the new chart is not set in stone and is open to “tweaking” as needed to make things flow smoothly. He feels, however, that the new structure will streamline processes and improve relations in general.

“In some ways, this adds more supervisory roles for me, but having more direct access to the CFO and VPs will enhance communication and planning at the cabinet level,” Armes said. “This gives us more opportunity to work as a system. All members of cabinet have some kind of system outlook.”

Armes added a word of gratitude for cabinet members who have helped work through the process.

“I would not have done this if I did not have strong confidence in the four individuals who serve on the president’s cabinet,” he said. “They do a great job with minimal supervision. My philosophy of leadership is to surround myself with the most capable and gifted individuals I can find. I believe Wayland’s cabinet is comprised of just such individuals.”