Chapter 07: Academic Affairs: Administrative Structure and the Role of the Vice President


Chapter 07: Academic Affairs: Administrative Structure and the Role of the Vice President



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In this segment, Dr. Tomasovic provides an overview of the administrative structure of the Division of Academic Affairs and his responsibilities as Senior Vice President.



Publication Date



The Making Cancer History® Voices Oral History Collection, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center


Houston, Texas

Topics Covered

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center - Building the Institution; Professional Path; Portraits; Understanding the Institution; MD Anderson Snapshot; Overview

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


History of Science, Technology, and Medicine | Oncology | Oral History


Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

No, I'm good. Once you set that, that's really fine. So we had just briefly paused the recorder. This is for the person who is transcribing and processing the data. And that was just for a few moments. Now we're back. So we're shifting topics a bit now to a more direct focus on Dr. Tomasovic's role as Senior Vice President for Academic Aaffairs. And I wanted to start by asking you to give a snapshot of this enormous role and responsibilities. However you want to give a portrait of that. [075:44]

Stephen Tomasovic, PhD:

Sure. I think we'll talk in a few minutes about how I came to be at this point. But at the moment the institution is organized. And it's possible that this organizational structure could change in the next few years because of Dr. DePinho's arrival. But currently MD Anderson is structured such that the president reports to the executive vice president and chancellor at the University of Texas system, the executive vice president -- excuse me. Executive vice chancellor. I'm sorry. For health affairs. And there's several executive vice chancellors who report to the chancellor of the University of Texas system. So the president of a health-related institution in the University of Texas system like MD Anderson is fairly independent and is delegated a lot of authority from the board of regents of the University of Texas system. And the president currently has a structure of three executive vice presidents. One for the physician in chief, the executive vice president and physician in chief Tom Burke. The executive vice president and provost Ray DuBois. And the executive vice president Leon Leach who's really over the areas of business, administration, finance. I'm one of three senior vice presidents at the moment. One of the others is Dan Fontaine who's the senior vice president over human resources and regulatory affairs. Gerard Coleman is the senior vice president in the hospital and clinic operations. And I'm the senior vice president for academic affairs. And this job really consists of multiple areas that I often break down into three components. And then I talk about accreditations associated with those. So one component is faculty affairs. Faculty academic affairs. That is the component that can be thought of as the human resource function for faculty. So our HR office does not manage faculty at MD Anderson. Faculty appointments, faculty evaluations, faculty personnel files, faculty policies, faculty terminations, faculty promotions and tenure renewals are all managed by faculty affairs. Faculty development is managed by another department that is also part of that group. So the care and feeding the lives of faculty is one of those roles. Another main role is the trainee and alumni affairs area. We have a centralized appointment process for all educational trainees at MD Anderson. They're not appointed by departments. They're not appointed by human resources. They're appointed by the Department of Trainee and Alumni Affairs. We currently have -- to back up one moment, we have a little over 1,500 full-time faculty at the moment. Several hundred more adjunct and part-time faculty. In the trainee area we have over 7,000 trainees who come through here every year. Several hundred graduate students, several hundred undergraduate students. 1,000 plus medical residents and fellows. Including our own in-house group. 1,000 plus postdoctoral research fellows. And visitors and observers from all over the world come in and out of the institution. Trainee and alumni affairs is the office that appoints them, keeps their records, deals with policies related to them, deals with personnel issues related to them, and generally manages the human resource function if you will for all the trainees. The third major block of departments is the academic infrastructure departments. And so that is things like conference support services that manages all of the institutionalized meeting rooms. CME conference management manages all of our national meetings. Television production. Medical graphics and photography. Scientific publications. Visa office. Research medical library. Probably for telehealth. Have to get out my org chart to make sure I've got everybody there. But those are academic infrastructure departments that support the academic enterprise. Now in managing those groups I'm also the designated institutional official responsible for three institution level accreditations. So we deliver thousands of hours of continuing medical education for our physicians and our staff. And we organize national meetings, 30 or 40 of those a year that are either held here in Houston or elsewhere, where we deliver continuing medical education. And to be able to credit people with continuing medical education we have to be approved by a national accrediting body to do that. So MD Anderson is an authorized provider of continuing medical education. We're probably one of the largest oncology continuing medical education organizations in the country. And I'm the institutional official responsible for making sure that we maintain that accreditation. And we have to renew that accreditation every three to six years. Depending on their policies and how much time they give us between cycles. The other area of institutional accreditation is graduate medical education. So we are a specialty training center for physicians who've completed their medical education. Most of whom have had some training elsewhere. A residency elsewhere. And they're coming here for specialized oncology training. And so we are authorized to deliver 70 programs of graduate medical education that enable physicians to be boarded in those programs, to be authorized to offer that kind of care to patients. And again we have to be accredited to do so by a national organization. In this case the ACGME, Accrediting Council or Commission, I don't remember which, for Graduate Medical Education. And again that has to be renewed every four to six years. The last area of institutional accreditation I'm responsible for is degree granting authority. We are independently authorized to award masters' and PhD degrees in the graduate school. If the University of Texas Health Science Center decided tomorrow it didn't want to do any more graduate education, MD Anderson could continue to run that school, deliver those degrees. We are also independently accredited to offer the baccalaureate degree in eight fields. These are allied health fields in areas like cytotechnology, histotechnology, cytogenetic technology, molecular genetics, medical dosimetry, radiation therapy technicians. These baccalaureate degrees are very important to us. We hire 40% or so of the graduates of the school to work at our own hospital and clinics. And the vast majority of the rest of them find jobs in the Texas Medical Center or elsewhere in Texas. So this is a very important pipeline for very hard to find professionals. And is a major reason why we've created that school and are continuing to grow that school. So that's the broad scope of my responsibilities. And I interact with other individuals in the institution to help lead education generally in the institution in the areas that I'm not principally responsible for. So for example I'm not responsible for nursing education. But I work closely with them to make sure that we have an environment that supports their education as well. I work with the training and development group in HR. And many others in the institution. There are over 40 units that conduct training within the institution. And I worked to create an education council that brings them together. An educational resources committee that helps us work together to try to identify ways to maintain the high quality of educational programs at MD Anderson. So that's the scope of my activity as the senior vice president.

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Chapter 07: Academic Affairs: Administrative Structure and the Role of the Vice President