Coordinator keeps realignment running

Patty Franklin is in charge of making sure the task forces get everything they need.

by Matt Graham

Patty Franklin spent the past five years helping restructure a hospital for orphaned children diagnosed with HIV and AIDS in Thailand.

During her tenure, the orphanage expanded from 17 children and 11 staff members to 70 children and 51 staff members.

Franklin has another restructuring job closer to campus – coordinating the strategic positioning resource alignment team at the University.

The team oversees 33 University realignment task forces.

“I’ve been doing a lot of this kind of work, but on a much smaller scale,” she said.

Franklin said her role will not be to directly participate on the 33 task forces, but to facilitate communication and “talk to the people involved in the on-the-ground work,” supplying them with any information and resources they may request.

President Bob Bruininks, who is responsible to the Board of Regents for all realignment actions, created Franklin’s position to assure that things flow smoothly, said Kathy Brown, University vice president and chief of staff.

Franklin spent the past several years overseas, but she is familiar with the University.

She worked in the hospital counsel’s office “back when the hospital was part of the University,” and has experience at the Academic Health Center and in the General Counsel’s Office.

Her background is in law. She received her degree from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University.

Brown said the task forces are still “very much in the early stages,” and most didn’t meet for the first time until Sept. 16.

Because it is so early in the process, task forces have not yet had to call too heavily on Franklin or the resource alignment team.

“We have information about what kind of resources they will make available to us, but we’re too early in the process to have made use of those resources,” said Kathryn Sikkink, a political science professor and co-chairwoman of the honors academic task force.

Franklin said the University community will be kept abreast of what’s happening in the task forces, even though the task force meetings themselves will not be open to the public.

Some students complained last spring that the initial task forces were too secretive.

Terry Collins, interim dean of the General College, said he wasn’t here last spring but said he thinks this fall’s task forces will be open.

He said the task force in charge of the General College’s integration into the College of Education and Human Development will meet with students and staff members at his college and that openness “depends on how seriously people take it and whether they take the task force up on the invitation to come.”

Franklin said she will work with the task forces on implementing changes following their December report to Bruininks. In the meantime, Franklin is eager to get to work.

“This is a time of transition and change Ö it’s exciting for me,” she said.