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By Daniel Konstantinovic, Haley Broughton and Lauren Petterson

University of Missouri Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin resigned on Monday, Nov. 9, following protests and requests from several Deans and faculty members for his removal. A few hours after Loftin’s resignation, it was announced that Hank Foley will be assuming the position of Interim Chancellor. Foley will take office on Jan. 1, 2016, when Loftin will transition into the position of Director for Research Facility Development.

After leaving his positions as Vice President of Research and Dean of the Graduate School at Pennsylvania State University, Foley was appointed as the Vice President of Academic Affairs at MU in 2013 by then-President Tim Wolfe. Chancellor Loftin then promoted Foley to the position of Senior Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies in March of 2014.

When appointed as Senior Vice President in 2014, Foley released a five-point plan to improve research at MU:

  • First, Foley urged increased collaborations between all four schools in the UM system.
  • Next, he aimed to foster entrepreneurship through a program that would select 12 outstanding students and enroll them in extra entrepreneurial courses, paid for by the UM system.
  • Third, Foley wished to relax the common practice of guarding ownership of intellectual property in industry-funded research, allowing faculty members “the ability to decide whether they want the university to own their intellectual property or the company or group with which they conducted their research.”
  • Foley’s fourth point discussed the “existing research culture” at MU, as he encouraged the administration to “recognize and reward” students and faculty for translating their research into the marketplace.
  • Finally, he encouraged the “borrowing of good ideas” from other institutions. Foley stated that he would be open to ideas from and even possible collaborations with other universities.

It is unclear what stance Foley will take on the key issues that have arisen at MU. Foley has not made statements in regards to graduate student rights, Concerned Student 1950 or Planned Parenthood, topics that have come to define Chancellor Loftin’s stay in office.

A majority of the positions that Foley previously held revolved around graduate studies and the development of research plans, but it is unclear what his stance will be on the topics of graduate student healthcare and other rights.

Emphasis on research has been a recurring theme throughout Foley’s time in various positions of authority. When hired as Senior Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies in 2014, he claimed that he wanted to raise MU’s current position on the Association of American Universities list to number 28 by 2018. MU’s was ranked 32 in 2014. He shared this goal publicly, as well as with Chancellor Loftin.

“The strength of a university is first measured by its ability to go out and compete nationally for federal research dollars,” Foley said. He also wants to recognize researchers for their findings through programs such as Tech Expo.

Hank Foley is not replacing R. Bowen Loftin as the official MU Chancellor, although it is possible that he could eventually be selected to fill the position. Foley’s current appointment is intended to temporarily fill the void that Loftin will leave behind when he steps down on Jan. 1.

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