I am writing to let you know we have filled a key position on our senior leadership team.
I am pleased to announce Dave Cook, vice chancellor of the Edwards campus and dean of the School of Professional Studies, will become our new vice chancellor for public affairs and economic development. He will begin his new role May 1.
As vice chancellor for public affairs and economic development, Dave will serve as senior advisor to me and the university’s leadership team on issues of communications, public affairs and economic development. He will oversee all messaging, outreach and government relations to advance KU’s interests at the local, state and national levels. He will have responsibility for internal and external communications and message integration across all KU campuses, affiliates and partners. And he will coordinate our economic development efforts with an initial focus on chamber and industry relations and workforce development issues.
You will note the phrase “economic development” is new to this vice chancellor title. This change reflects my belief that economic development, broadly defined, must continue to be elevated as a priority for KU.
Dave’s background in higher education policy, public affairs and workforce development make him an ideal fit for this position. Moreover, his experience across multiple KU campuses and his relationships with key partners enable him to immediately advance our efforts to elevate KU’s status, attract top students and scholars, and improve in every aspect of our mission.
As vice chancellor of the Edwards campus since 2014, Dave has been chief executive officer of the campus, launched a new instruction site in Leavenworth, and overseen Professional & Continuing Education. Additionally, he has developed extensive relationships with industry leaders, workforce development groups, elected officials and community colleges. Under his leadership, the campus increased enrollment by 36 percent and launched 16 new academic degree programs and 21 new academic certificates leveraging traditional, hybrid and online models.
Prior to his role at Edwards, Dave served for 14 years in multiple administrative and faculty positions at KU Medical Center. From 2008-13, he was associate vice chancellor of the Institute for Community Engagement and associate director of the Institute for Community & Public Health. From 2008-11, he was executive director of the Midwest Cancer Alliance. Before that, he was assistant vice chancellor for public affairs from 2005-08 and director of Health and Technology Outreach from 2002-05.
In addition to his time at KU Medical Center, from 2011-12 he completed an American Council on Education fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Dave first earned tenure as a faculty member in the KU School of Medicine. He is now a full professor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Like many universities, KU faces challenges in enrollment and funding — and that was before the unprecedented challenges we now face as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Now more than ever, KU needs to be innovative in how we recruit students, develop new teaching models, partner with industry, serve an increasingly diverse population, and align our campuses for maximum impact. Dave has expertise in all of these areas, and as such, he is a great fit for this position.
Of course, Dave moving into this new role means we will also have a change in leadership at our Edwards campus. Provost Bichelmeyer will provide additional detail about our plans for the Edwards campus within the next few days.
I want to thank Julie Murray for serving as interim vice chancellor for public affairs for the past four months while continuing her role as my chief of staff. She has guided us through a legislative session, helped frame our Strategic Planning 2020 process, and been central to our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I am grateful for her leadership during this transition period.
Please join me in welcoming Dave to his new role. I know he can count on your support as we work together to move KU forward.
University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas A. Girod sent the following message to KU faculty and staff members Wednesday, December 18.
Today is a special day for our university as we have the occasion to celebrate a former chancellor’s many contributions to the University of Kansas and to our society.
The Kansas Board of Regents voted today to give us the authority to rename our Integrated Science Building in honor of Bernadette Gray-Little, our 17th chancellor.
The building will be officially renamed as Gray-Little Hall, effective in spring 2020.
Today’s news continues a long tradition we have at KU of honoring our former leaders and recognizing their service to our university and our state. Our former chancellors all have a building named for them, and there is not a more fitting selection for Chancellor Gray-Little than the Integrated Science Building.
In her time at KU, Chancellor Gray-Little led a physical transformation of our campuses, particularly with regard to our Central District. There, the Integrated Science Building is the focal point of a new hub of education and research that addressed immediate infrastructure needs and positions KU for excellence for decades to come.
In addition to the building, the Kansas Board of Regents also granted Chancellor Emerita status today for Chancellor Gray-Little, in recognition of her distinguished administrative service.
Please join me in celebrating both of these honors, which are apt recognitions for a leader whose special dignity and grace made her a role model and an inspiration to students, faculty, staff, and alumni alike.
University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas A. Girod sent the following message to KU faculty and staff members Friday, December 6.
Throughout its history, the University of Kansas has been a community of talented scholars and leaders who believe in the power of higher education. Today, we have a special opportunity to welcome another remarkable scholar and leader — and to do so with excitement and optimism about our university’s future.
It is my pleasure to announce Barbara Bichelmeyer as the next provost and executive vice chancellor of the Lawrence campus. She will begin her new role in late February.
As many of you observed during her campus visit, Barbara is a tremendously talented researcher and administrator, as well as a proud KU alumna with an unabashed love for this place. She is currently the provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she also served as interim chancellor. Prior to that, she excelled in multiple leadership roles at Indiana University-Bloomington – a fellow Association of American Universities institution – and elsewhere within the IU system.
My excitement about Barbara goes beyond her credentials. I’ve had the pleasure of working with her for years on initiatives to enhance higher education’s role in regional economic development. As a result of our work together, I have come to know Barbara as a genuine and compassionate person who cares deeply about students, research and higher education. Moreover, she is a Jayhawk to the core and committed to this university’s success. For all these reasons, I have no doubt she will be a strong and effective leader.
I will tell you, this was not an easy decision — and that’s a good thing. Our national search produced four outstanding finalists who each offered distinctive strengths that would benefit KU. That said, when I consider KU’s challenges and opportunities, and my vision for KU, I am confident Barbara is the right fit at the right time for our university.
I want to thank the search committee, including co-chairs Michelle Mohr Carney and Steven Soper, for guiding us through this process. I also want to thank everyone who participated in the process by attending the finalists’ campus presentations and providing feedback. Your input was central to my decision.
Importantly, I would like to express my deep appreciation for Carl Lejuez, who has provided strong leadership and energy as our interim provost amid challenging circumstances. KU is in a better place today as a result of his efforts during the past 19 months. Please join me in thanking Carl as he returns to his role as dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.
As I said at Visioning Day, despite challenges in higher education, KU is in a position of strength and poised to determine our own destiny. My vision is for KU to be a destination for talented scholars nationwide, an engine of economic growth, and a strong member of the Association of American Universities. I look forward to working with Barbara, and all of you, in pursuit of that vision.
The 18th chancellor of the University of Kansas will be the grand marshal of the KU Homecoming Parade at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, on Massachusetts Street in downtown Lawrence. The theme for the University’s 107th Homecoming is “Far Above the Golden Valley.”
Since beginning his tenure as chancellor in July 2017, Girod has focused on making KU a top destination for students and scholars by improving the student experience, strengthening KU’s outreach to the state and expanding University research. Under his leadership, student recruitment and success rates are at an all-time high, and the University launched Kansas Team Health, an innovative model of medical care and wellness for KU student-athletes.
A head-and-neck surgeon, Girod first joined the KU Medical Center faculty in 1994 and became chair of the otolaryngology department in 2002 before assuming the role of executive vice chancellor in 2013. He also served in the United States Navy Reserve from 1982 to 1997, retiring as lieutenant commander.
The parade is part of a weeklong celebration that begins Saturday, Oct. 19, and includes several student and alumni activities, including competitions, reunions and tailgates, all of which lead up to the KU-Texas Tech football game Saturday, Oct. 26, in David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. This year’s event is sponsored by Best Western Plus West Lawrence; Crown Toyota, Volkswagen; and the KU Bookstore.
A complete schedule of Homecoming week activities can be found here.
KU Chancellor Douglas A. Girod sent the following message to University of Kansas faculty and staff members Wednesday, October 2.
I am writing to share good news regarding our annual 20th day enrollment data — and to thank you for making this news possible.
Earlier today, we announced that the University of Kansas has achieved all-time highs in key metrics related to student recruitment and success. In particular, we set records for our one-year retention rate, four- and six-year graduation rates and entering freshman class GPA, while creating the most diverse student body in university history. Additionally, we have held the line on enrollment this year — we are down just 0.3 percent — as well as for the past seven years despite the national trend of decreasing college enrollments.
This is good news, and we can be proud of our progress related to these institutional priorities. So today, I want to thank you for everything you do to bring talented students to KU and help them succeed.
It’s worth recalling that this progress is no accident. Rather, this progress is the result of your hard work and the strategic choices we’ve made to enhance the way we identify and attract new Jayhawks. Since 2011, we have enhanced our recruitment and enrollment efforts with new renewable scholarships, new admissions standards and a new national/international recruitment model. We’ve made KU more attractive to top students by revamping our curriculum, enhancing our academic offerings and providing experiential learning opportunities. And we’ve worked to support current students and empower them to address challenges both inside and outside the classroom.
I also want to highlight the vital role of private giving in recruiting and retaining top scholars, as well as our alumni, who are the best Jayhawk ambassadors in the world. To our donors and alumni – thank you.
While this year’s record-setting metrics are worthy of celebration, we must not get complacent given the long-term enrollment challenges facing higher education. We must continue to find new ways to recruit and retain top scholars, and we must recognize the reality that it will be harder than ever to do this. Looking ahead, we will have an exciting opportunity to enhance student recruitment and retention through our university strategic planning process, which will begin later this semester. We look forward to this process as a way to strengthen our work as a leading research institution, an engine of economic growth for Kansas and a proud member of the Association of American Universities.
Again, thank you for your role in recruiting new Jayhawks and ensuring they can earn their degree from the University of Kansas.
On Monday, September 23, the University of Kansas received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA enforcement staff regarding alleged violations of NCAA bylaws within the Kansas men’s basketball and football programs. The University has begun its detailed review of the Notice and has been granted access to some of the NCAA evidentiary documents for the first time. Per NCAA bylaws, the University has 90 days to submit a Response to the Notice of Allegations to be considered by the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions.
The University’s response will fully and comprehensively present its positions regarding the Notice. In the meantime, though, it is already clear from an initial review that the University will fiercely dispute in detail much of what has been presented.
First and foremost, the University emphasizes that it emphatically rejects the assertion that Adidas and Adidas employees and associates were boosters and agents of the University (as defined by NCAA legislation) during the period of the alleged violations and therefore acting on the University’s behalf when they engaged in alleged violations of NCAA bylaws.
As for the allegations regarding Head Men’s Basketball Coach Bill Self, voluminous evidence demonstrates uncontestably that he did, in fact, promote an atmosphere of compliance and fully monitor his staff. The University firmly and fully supports Coach Self and his staff.
Regarding the self-reported football violations, the University’s monitoring systems worked to identify the issues, and KU self-reported violations to the NCAA related to the conduct of two members of the previous coaching staff. Those involved in the football violations are no longer associated with the University.
The University strongly disagrees with the assertion that it “lacks of institutional control.” In fact, the University believes that the record will demonstrate just the opposite. The University of Kansas takes seriously all NCAA and Big XII bylaws, consistently provides education to its staff members, and monitors its programs to ensure compliance with these bylaws. Additionally, the University has taken several actions to enhance its already strong compliance programs. Chancellor Doug Girod and Director of Athletics Jeff Long also retained an outside compliance expert to review the entire compliance program and provide recommendations, if warranted, about opportunities for improvement in light of the changes in the national landscape around college basketball. The report found that our compliance program meets or exceeds industry standard in all facets. Furthermore, the University proactively established a reporting line from the senior compliance administrator directly to the Chancellor and enhanced the frequency and depth of compliance education programs for student-athletes, staff, parents, donors and local businesses. As a result of these actions, the University’s already strong compliance programs are now even more robust.
We understand this is a unique moment in collegiate athletics, and we recognize the NCAA finds itself in a challenging position. But we don’t believe these allegations are the most appropriate way to address long-standing challenges in college basketball.
The University will continue to cooperate with the NCAA enforcement process and looks forward to submitting its Response to the Notice of Allegations, and we will gladly make that response public when it is submitted.
Chancellor Doug Girod:
“The University of Kansas has high standards of ethical conduct for all of our employees, and we take seriously any conduct that is antithetical to our values and mission. While we will accept responsibility for proven violations of NCAA bylaws, we will not shy away from forcefully pushing back on allegations that the facts simply do not substantiate. We stand firmly behind Coach Self and our men’s basketball program, and we will continue to work diligently to do what is right.”
Director of Athletics Jeff Long:
“Obviously, we are disappointed in the allegations leveled against our men’s basketball program as well as our self-reported violations from the previous football staff. We strongly disagree with the allegations regarding men’s basketball. We fully support Coach Self and his staff, and we will vigorously defend the allegations against him and our University. As for the football violations, we fully met the requirements and our responsibility to the NCAA by self-reporting the violations when our compliance procedures uncovered the issues. I am confident in our process to respond to the allegations and look forward to resolving this matter.”
Head Men’s Basketball Coach Bill Self:
“By the NCAA’s own admission through its public statements early this summer, it’s no secret that there is tremendous pressure on the NCAA to respond to the federal court proceedings involving college basketball. Compelled to reassure member institutions and the general public that it can police its member institutions, the NCAA enforcement staff has responded in an unnecessarily aggressive manner in submitting today’s unsubstantiated Notice of Allegations, and I, as well as the University, will vigorously dispute what has been alleged.
In its haste and attempt to regain control, the enforcement staff has created a false narrative regarding me and our basketball program. The narrative is based on innuendo, half-truths, misimpressions and mischaracterizations. In reality, we all know there is only one version of the truth. The truth is based on verifiable facts, and I am confident the facts we will demonstrate in our case will expose the inaccuracies of the enforcement staff’s narrative.
I have always taken pride in my commitment to rules compliance and led programs that operate with integrity and within the rules, and I am proud of the success that we have achieved at each program along the way. Every student-athlete who has ever played for me and their families know we follow the rules.
These allegations are serious and damaging to the University and to myself, and I hate that KU has to go through this process. With our staff’s full cooperation, these allegations will be addressed within NCAA procedures and with urgency and resolve. I will strenuously defend myself and the program, but I will respect the process and will not speak to the details of the case.”
Head Football Coach Les Miles:
“I am confident in the University’s process leading to the self-reported violations arising from the previous football staff. Our entire focus is on the current season and the culture that we are building here at KU. The future is bright for Kansas Football.”
Thousands of Jayhawks made the trip to Corinth Square to celebrate a new school year and football season at the 14th annual KU Kickoff, presented by the KU Alumni Association and Kansas Athletics.
Brian Hanni, the voice of the Jayhawks, hosted the event. KU Alumni Association president Heath Peterson, Chancellor Doug Girod, athletics director Jeff Long and head football coach Les Miles all spoke to the Kansas City crowd, thanking them for their continued support of the University and inviting them to David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium for the 2019 football season, beginning with Indiana State on Aug. 31.
KU Chancellor Douglas A. Girod sent the following message to University of Kansas faculty and staff members Monday, August 26.
Welcome back! I hope your summer was relaxing and productive, and I am excited to continue working with you to advance our university’s mission of education, service and research. I remain deeply appreciative of everything you do to enhance our efforts as a leading public research institution and member of the Association of American Universities.
The University of Kansas begins this academic year in a position of strength. On the Lawrence campus, thanks to our willingness to make tough decisions last year and think strategically about our future, we have right-sized our budget and are finalizing a new budget model that will ensure funding for foundational priorities. Chief among these priorities are merit raises, which we are able to provide this semester thanks in part to assistance from the Kansas Legislature.
Adding to our position of strength are the new leaders who join us this semester: Simon Atkinson, vice chancellor for research; Ronald Ragan, dean of the School of Pharmacy; and Dr. Akinlolu Ojo, executive dean of the School of Medicine. Relatedly, the search for our next Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor is progressing well, and we expect to have finalists on campus this fall.
Other factors contributing to our position of strength include enhanced partnerships with state lawmakers – who last year restored $14 million to our budget – and our success in student enrollment, as evidenced by our five straight years of overall enrollment growth.
All of this is to say, while challenges remain, KU begins this semester in a stronger and more sustainable place. As a result, we are now positioned to pivot to the development a new strategic plan to replace the university’s Bold Aspirations framework. This strategic planning process will launch later this semester and conclude by spring 2020, and it will incorporate the great strategic planning work already completed by KU Medical Center, academic units such as the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and other units such as Student Affairs. We will share details about this strategic planning process and opportunities for you to engage in the coming weeks.
Welcome back, Jayhawks. I am excited to get started on another academic year with you.
KU Chancellor Douglas A. Girod sent the following message to University of Kansas faculty and staff members Wednesday, August 21.
As has been publicly reported, one of our faculty members has been involved in an investigation of alleged criminal activity. He is accused of fraud related to his work at our Lawrence campus and in China.
We take these allegations very seriously. We learned of this potential criminal activity this spring, and we reported it to authorities and have cooperated with the ongoing investigation. Additionally, we have placed the faculty member on paid administrative leave. Given that this is a personnel matter and an ongoing criminal investigation, we are not able to share additional details.
We can and should, however, reaffirm our commitment to the collaborative environment that serves as a cornerstone in the pursuit of scientific knowledge. As reinforced in a recent op-ed column from the presidents of the Association of American Universities and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, international scholars — including those from China — are critical to our success, and they play a vital role in our educational and research enterprises.
At the same time, we also have been reminded of the importance of collaborating with federal law enforcement agencies. We remain vigilant in our own internal efforts to maintain the integrity and security of our research, including the research we undertake on behalf of federal research granting agencies and, ultimately, U.S. taxpayers. Our Office of Global Operations and Security serves as an important resource for faculty and staff to help them conduct international work in a safe and secure way. The office works to manage and mitigate risk and protect intellectual property while synchronizing efforts related to international work, export compliance, and security operations.
After the formation of that office in summer 2018, we looked at our policies and procedures that regulate how we conduct research and exchange information in an increasingly interconnected world and considered ways they could be improved. One example is our restricted party policy, which we created last December. This policy ensures that we are complying with U.S. regulations that prohibit transactions with various parties that appear on government restricted lists.
As with all of our efforts in this area, our goal is to reduce risk and act strategically while still fulfilling the mission of the university. We are continuing to update and develop our policies and procedures related to conflict of interest, foreign collaboration, and network security, among other areas. We will need the help of our faculty and staff in order to be successful as we concentrate on this process during the year ahead, and we will update you further as these efforts develop.
These recent events serve as a reminder of the importance of this work across our campuses, and we thank you for your attention to these issues. They are becoming more and more significant not just at KU, but at leading research universities across the United States.
The Office of the Chancellor at the University of Kansas released this message from Chancellor Douglas A. Girod on Tuesday, Jan. 22, the first day of spring 2019 classes.
Welcome back to campus, Jayhawks. I want to wish you well as we begin a new year and return from a holiday break that hopefully provided an opportunity to rest and recharge. The new academic term also provides us with a chance to examine what lies ahead.
Before we begin, I want to take a moment to encourage our community to participate in upcoming celebrations of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Though the official holiday was yesterday, we have announced a number of opportunities to recognize Dr. King’s legacy in the week ahead, beginning with a march along Jayhawk Boulevard today. These community events, and others throughout the semester, provide an opportunity not just to honor Dr. King, but also to reflect on our university’s important focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. We should seek to remember his words and actions far beyond this week, as we concentrate on our efforts to make our university a welcoming place for all.
Last week, the Kansas Legislature began a new session with new Governor Laura Kelly’s first State of the State address and the release of her budget recommendations for the next year. Governor Kelly has proposed an additional $8.9 million for public higher education. This amounts to an additional $2.8 million for the University of Kansas – including $1.5 million for Lawrence and $1.3 million for KU Medical Center. She has also proposed a 2.5 percent state employee pay increase plan that includes university employees. We appreciate Governor Kelly’s support for additional higher education funding in her budget proposal, and we look forward to working with her and the Kansas Legislature to continue on the funding restoration path. State funding for KU has declined $28 million since 2008, and the governor’s proposal constitutes a step in the right direction to ensure KU can continue to meet the needs of Kansans and drive prosperity in our state.
Of course, private donations make up an important part of our annual budget too, with capital grants and gifts comprising about 9 percent of our overall funds received each year. This year, we will build on last year’s successful One Day. One KU. 24-hour giving campaign, which raised more than $734,000 for KU. Look for more information soon on the second annual event, scheduled for Feb. 20.
Also this spring, our students will join those from 32 other schools in the Association of American Universities to participate in a national survey on sexual assault and misconduct. This confidential survey is expected to be among the largest of its kind, and I encourage all of us to highlight its importance among our students once the survey launches in a few weeks.
As our semester begins, I also want to take a moment to thank Carl Lejuez, interim provost and vice chancellor, and many others across the Lawrence campus for their continued work to implement a new budget model. I have paid close attention to this effort, and it has my full support. Moving forward, this new model will prioritize our people and programs while allowing for more strategic financial planning. As that work continues, I am confident that it will improve our fiscal decision-making and strengthen our university.
Thank you all for your continued efforts to elevate our university and, more broadly, our society. As always, I look forward to what we will accomplish together.