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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.
At this time of year we joyously celebrate our newest assembly of graduates and wish them well in their personal and professional journeys. And then something powerful happens. Our new alumni apply what they’ve learned here, add more knowledge along the way, and, given a little more time and some hard work, emerge as leaders.
Our alumni give so much of their time, treasure, and talent to the University of Kansas that it is truly uplifting. One intangible gift they offer, specifically for KU students, is inspiration. These Jayhawks combined their knowledge, experiences, and KU connections and then fashioned them into remarkable success.
Throughout the year, the schools and the College make a point to recognize a handful of alumni who are shaping their workplace, their fields, their communities, and society. On Friday night, the School of Pharmacy recognized alumnus Joe Courtright, CEO of USA Drug, now part of Walgreens.
This weekend the School of Law presented its top alumni honor to three graduates, Judge Karen Arnold-Burger chief judge of the Kansas Court of Appeals; John Bowman, partner with King & Spalding LLP; and William “Brad” Bradley Jr., founder of NIC Inc. In September, the College feted diplomat and executive Delano Lewis, and the School of Architecture and Design announced three recipients of its inaugural Distinguished Alumni Awards.
In February, the School of Music delivered its first Outstanding Music Educator Award to Kelli Baker during a statewide music educators workshop. In the coming days, the School of Business and the School of Engineering will announce honors for some of their luminaries; the School of Education will honor alumna and Superintendent of the Kansas City, Kansas, School District Cynthia Lane with KU’s Friend of Education Award; and the School of Social Welfare will recognize excellent field instructors, many of whom are program alumni, with the annual Margo Award.
Delano Lewis. Photo by Brian Goodman Photography.
The recognition of our Jayhawks isn’t limited to academic units. Achievements come from near and far. Music alumnus and organist Brian Mathias was recently selected to join one of the nation’s biggest gigs, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Over the past year, two of our alumni, Diane Yetter and Terry Putney, were named among Accounting Today’s 2017 “100 Most Influential People in Accounting.”
Closer to home, the KU Alumni Association presented its 2017 Fred Ellsworth Medallion to College alumnus John Mize and B-School alumnus John B. Dicus, who, incidentally, is now the first third-generation recipient of the award. In October the Black Alumni Network of the KU Alumni Association celebrated nine alumni — including Associate Dean of Engineering Andrew Williams and Vice Chancellor of Public Affairs Reggie Robinson — with the Mike and Joyce Shinn Leaders and Innovators Award.
Our institution-wide pinnacle, KU’s Honorary Degree, is regularly bestowed upon influencers, change leaders, and innovators, including Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos.
Students, the abundant success of our alumni tells us something valuable: It’s important to take calculated risks and seize the opportunities as they appear to us. Be bold as you embark on your careers. As faculty and staff, we’ve seen your potential firsthand. We know you’re destined to succeed. Promise me you’ll maintain connections to KU — social media can’t do it all. Make a point to really stay in touch with each other and this great institution. What you know matters. Who you know matters, too.
One day in the future, and sooner than you might think, you too will be an inspiration for a fresh generation of KU graduates. You have it in you to be a leader. We know because you’re already a Jayhawk.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Chancellor Douglas A. Girod sent the following message to all University of Kansas faculty and staff members on Tuesday, Apr. 3, 2018. The message was also posted on the chancellor’s website.
I am writing to let you know that a key member of our executive team will be leaving the University of Kansas for a new opportunity.
Earlier today, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Neeli Bendapudi was named the new president of the University of Louisville. She is slated to begin her new role in May.
While this is a loss for KU, I am delighted for Neeli, who has served our university with passion for the past seven years and will undoubtedly do great work at Louisville. As friends and colleagues, we can be happy for her. And as a university, we can be proud that her time at KU enabled her to refine her leadership skills and move on to the presidency of a major public research institution.
I will name an interim provost in the coming days. Additionally, I will keep you informed on the process for identifying a permanent successor in the coming weeks.
Neeli has been with the University of Kansas since 2011 and has been integral to many of our most important initiatives. As provost and executive vice chancellor since 2016, she has prioritized retention and graduation rates, faculty and staff development, and our university’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Prior to serving as provost, she was the Henry D. Price Dean of our School of Business. In that role, she partnered with KU Endowment to raise $198.6 million in total gifts, oversaw an expansion of the school’s academic programming, and guided the school to gains in national rankings.
Beyond these specific efforts, Neeli brought unmatched enthusiasm to her work — the kind of enthusiasm that was contagious and inspired those around her. She and her family are Jayhawks to the core, and their love and appreciation for this university knows no bounds.
The University of Kansas and the state we serve have benefited from Neeli’s efforts. Please join me in congratulating Neeli on her new position and thanking her for her service to KU.
High school seniors planning to arrive on the Hill next fall have found unexpected surprises in their yards lately: yard signs declaring they are “Rock Chalk Ready.”
Volunteers delivered the signs, a joint effort between the KU Office of Admissions, the Provost’s office, and the KU Alumni Association, to incoming freshmen in Lawrence, Topeka, Wichita and the Kansas City metro area over the past few weeks.
“This was our first crack at welcoming the incoming freshman class with KU yardsigns, and we could not have pulled it off without the collective effort of our KU alumni and staff,” said Joy Maxwell, director of legacy relations. “It has been so fulfilling to watch KU alumni share their time and Jayhawk pride to blanket these major in-state markets with crimson and blue. We hope to expand the campaign statewide and nationally with more funding and volunteer help in years to come.”
Check out our collection of photos below to see the signs: