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May 24, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

As we work toward our aspiration to become an exemplary university and achieve the enormous potential of the Roadmap to Our New Century, we are taking important steps to strengthen our administrative team and align our operations for optimal efficiency and support of the academic mission.

Higher education is facing unprecedented disruptions that require changes in the leadership structure responsible for our three main functions—education, research, and service. After consultation with the Board of Trustees, I am pleased to announce the following organizational changes, which will take effect on June 1:

  • New Executive Leadership Structure: Three key individuals will work closely with me as executive vice presidents to ensure the highest commitment to excellence across all areas of operation.
    • Jacqueline Travisano, executive vice president for business and finance and COO
    • Steve Altschuler, executive vice president for health affairs and CEO of UHealth
    • Executive vice president and provost, to be announced later this summer
    Our success as a research university with a comprehensive academic health system is predicated on sound finances and careful budget management. To assure a laser-like focus on those goals, I have established and will chair an executive budget committee of the three executive vice presidents, bringing together a unified financial lens of our academic, medical, and administrative operations.

  • Integrating Communications and Public Affairs: In order to align our external relations functions optimally in terms of strategy and efficiency, we will adopt a unified structure for managing government relations and communications, as many peer institutions do. Rudy Fernandez, currently my chief of staff and vice president for government and community relations, will assume responsibility for communications, and will serve as senior vice president for public affairs and communications and chief of staff. Jacqueline Menendez, vice president for university communications, will report to Rudy. Relationships with our host communities and all levels of government, and management of our rising reputation, will be well stewarded under the leadership of Rudy Fernandez.

  • Students at the Center: Students are the lifeblood of our university. In order to deepen my administration's connection to student needs and concerns, Patricia Whitely, vice president for student affairs, will now report directly to me with a dotted line to the new provost. This reporting structure provides more day-to-day collaboration between Pat, her team, and my office.

  • Changing Leadership in Compliance and Risk Management: Rudy Green, vice president and chief compliance officer, has shared with me his plans to retire and return to his home in Austin, Texas, later this year. Rudy has given us an excellent platform on which to build, as the complexity of our operations dictate close attention to compliance and risk management. I have asked Executive Vice President Jackie Travisano to oversee this critical function going forward. Rudy Green has agreed to remain on campus until August 31 to help facilitate this transition.

  • Excellence in Governance and Board Stewardship: Heretofore, the Office of General Counsel has also shared the responsibility for managing the operations of the UM Board of Trustees. In an era in which higher education and health care are increasingly regulated and litigious, I have asked Aileen Ugalde, vice president and general counsel, to focus entirely on the legal dimensions of University operations. The Board of Trustees, under the leadership of Chair Richard Fain, is embarking on a review of governance and fiduciary responsibilities. We will appoint a full-time secretary of our governing board to support their important functions.

I look forward to working with all of you over the coming weeks and months as we continue to align strategy and operations in support of our ambitious aspirations. I deeply appreciate your insights and efforts to make the University of Miami stronger, more resilient, and more responsive to the needs of our faculty, students, staff, patients, alumni, and community.

We Are One U.