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Wednesday, June 07, 2023

UF Provost Janie Fouke and Senior Vice President for Health Affairs Doug Barrett will resign effective June 30 following the announcement of a major restructuring of UF's financial operations.

At a Friday meeting of the Board of Trustees, UF's highest governing body, UF President Bernie Machen announced that budget operations currently overseen by the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Controller will move to the office of Matt Fajack, who became UF's chief financial officer in January.

Financial management for the Health Science Center and the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences will also move to Fajack's office.

The change will begin July 1, said Kyle Cavanaugh, senior vice president for administration who oversees Fajack.

After the change, the provost's office will focus on academic leadership responsibilities.

Machen said Fouke will work on improving UF's international program after she leaves the provost's office, and Barrett will return to clinical practice and teaching pediatrics in UF's College of Medicine.

Search committees to fill Fouke and Barrett's positions will be created immediately, and interim appointments will fill the spots until permanent replacements are chosen.

Machen said he wasn't sure whether the salaries for those two positions would change. Cavanaugh said Fajack's salary would stay the same.

Cavanaugh said Fajack is "very excited" about his new responsibilities, but there's a sense of apprehension as well.

"At a point in time, a university is simply forced to look at being more creative," Cavanaugh said.

He said once the changes are in effect, there would be ongoing monitoring to make sure they are successful.

Machen said he has been contemplating a major change in UF's inner-workings for months. As is evident in funding shortfalls, the way UF currently operates isn't working, he said.

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After looking at financial records from the last 20 years, which show dramatic state funding decreases and faculty-student-ratio increases, he said he made a tough decision to restructure UF.

"This new model will enable the university to get out of what I see as a downward spiral," Machen said. "I won't say this is a guaranteed success," he added.

Machen told the trustees that UF's new model would be revolutionary among other public state universities. A few universities nationwide are run this way, but most of them are private schools, he said.

"It's an adventure," Machen said. "I hope it works out."

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