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At every one of the Student Alumni Leadership Board’s (SALB) bi-weekly meetings, students get a chance to hear from alumni, Association staff and prominent members on campus during what they call the “Alumni Corner.” Following each meeting, Brianna Mears, SALB’s VP of Communications, shares one particularly memorable comment through the Student Alumni Network Twitter account. However, that task became more difficult when Interim Provost Lejuez paid a visit. There were just too many.
Lejuez covered everything including his aspirations for KU, advice on taking advice, and of course, budget cuts. An even bigger question on some student’s minds: What’s a Provost? Lejuez answered that one too.
Mears originally recorded the conversation for accuracy, however when it came time to decide which quip to share on social media, she simply chose to use all of it. As Mears put it, “it was not just what he said that evening, but how he said it.” Originally a professor, Lejuez is comfortable speaking and a natural storyteller. Mere highlights of his conversation with SALB would not suffice.
Using the audio, Mears spliced together a podcast that serves as a pseudo-interview. She provides both context and commentary that is bound to connect with alumni and students alike.
The University of Kansas will enact a budget adjustment on the Lawrence campus to address fiscal constraints and cut costs for fiscal year 2019.
The adjustment entails a 5.87 percent across-the-board budget reduction for all Lawrence campus departments and units, including central administration. The reduction will be implemented beginning July 1, the start of the next fiscal year.
“The map to move us forward readjusts our budget to meet our obligations and helps us put our students, staff and faculty first,” said Carl Lejuez, interim provost and executive vice chancellor. “This includes a commitment to keep tuition increases as low as possible and to enact a plan for getting back to annual merit raises, even if small at first.”
Lejuez has already met with deans and vice provosts to discuss how they can manage budget reductions to their respective units in a way that best preserves their mission and core functions.
The need to recalibrate the university’s budget is the result of many long-term commitments and investments that each year have exceeded revenue, combined with institutional budgeting practices inconsistent with the current challenges of higher education funding, as well as a decade-long trend of state funding declines.
“Staying the current course is not an option,” Lejuez said. “If we make no changes in the coming year, we will have overspent our budget with no remaining balances to support this overspending, and operations will be short a minimum of $50 million within five years. Additionally, spreading the cut over several years is not an option. This tactic costs us more financially; perpetuates a climate of uncertainty about job security, raises and tuition costs; and keeps us in a constant state of want and need rather than advancing us toward a position of stability that we all deserve.”
The Office of the Provost has already begun developing a longer-term plan that includes the development of a new budget model.
University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas A. Girod sent the message below to KU faculty and staff members Tuesday, April 17.
I am pleased to announce Carl Lejuez, dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, as our interim provost and executive vice chancellor. Carl will begin his new role April 30 as current provost Neeli Bendapudi leaves KU to become president of the University of Louisville.
Carl came to KU in 2016 from the University of Maryland, where he served as a professor of psychology and associate dean of research for the college of behavioral and social sciences. Since arriving at KU, he has further established himself as a skilled administrator and a respected leader. His experience with the College — our largest and most diverse academic unit — positions him to continue ongoing Provost Office initiatives while also pursuing new strategies on behalf of our university. We are fortunate to have someone of his caliber serving as interim provost, and I am confident our university will benefit from his leadership.
Carl’s new role will require him to name an interim dean of the College. That announcement is expected within a week.
Please join me in welcoming Carl to his new role. I look forward to working with him — and all of you — to move the university forward.