President of Furman University, Rodney Smolla meets with the RU Faculty Senate

Last Updated on


Larry White

Radford University welcomed Rodney Smolla for the second time on Friday, Oct. 26, the current President of Furman University as a consultant and advisor. Smolla is from Chicago, Illinois. He is a 1975 graduate of Yale University, where he was a member of the football team. According to, he graduated first in his class from Duke University Law School in 1978. Smolla is now known as a Professor of Law.
Smolla met with the RU Faculty Senate, staff members and other faculty members to discuss plans for creating a
better and more balanced internal structure at RU. He later
had an open session and town hall meeting opened to the
general public. In June he met with focus groups of faculty and staff members to explore current practices and procedures. On this visit Smolla’s goal was to spread RU’s Task on Internal Governance Reform.
During his meeting with RU Senate, Smolla discussed many issues within management that could be changed. Smolla wanted to advise the staff on how to effectively create new policies and procedures.  Smolla really has the experience of facilitating the process of higher education. Many members of the Senate believe that the expertise of Smolla as a facilitator can help RU’s governance structure.  Some issues he mentioned were reducing the number of faculty committees, preventing employee complaints, requests for more training within staff and faculty and public policy issues that many public universities face. “The simpler the governance system, the better chance you’ll get good results,” Smolla said.
Smolla and RU faculty created focus groups in order to get valid results and to see what changes needed to be made within the internal government structure at RU.
This really gave RU faculty and staff the opportunity to also speak their mind about current issues. This is an opportunity for everybody on campus—administrators, faculty, staff and students—to share their ideas,” said Associate Professor Erin Webster Garrett, director of the university’s Quality Enhancement Plan Initiative and a member of the Task Force on Internal Governance Reform. “We all have a stake in the IG reform process.” The task force has created a website to share information and allow feedback. It states the goals of the internal governance initiative and includes notices of upcoming events, minutes of task-force meetings as well as contact information, recommended reading and reports from Smolla.
On Friday, Oct 26, Smolla held a general meeting with the public. With this meeting, he intended to reach out to student leaders at RU in efforts to make structure within student organizations more balanced and function smoothly. According to Smolla, the meetings with group leaders went well.
“There is a positive feeling about issues that matter most to them and a consensus that their concerns are heard,” said Smolla.
He plans to help reconstruct the internal government structure at Radford University in order to create better policies at RU.
Smolla will have a detailed written report that will go to the internal structure government of by Mid-November. According to, Smolla plans to return to Radford in February to meet with the Board of Advisors.