A Message of Thanks

December 3, 2013

Faculty, Staff, and Students:

As we emerge from our weekend of thanks and head to the holiday season, I’d like to dedicate this week’s Provost eNews to the faculty and staff with a simple message:  Thank you!

So many transformative changes are taking place at KU.   Thanks to you, major progress has been made on several Bold Aspirations goals, such as the launch of the KU Core, first-year experiences, course redesign, experiential learning, elevating doctoral education, and multidisciplinary research.  I believe our students’ educational experience will be better because of these efforts.

Central to these accomplishments and many others is a tremendous community effort.  Your contributions to Bold Aspirations and Changing for Excellence have been nothing short of amazing.  As we progress through the third year of implementing both of our major initiatives, I continue to have heartfelt gratitude for all of the expertise and imagination you have contributed to our collective goals. 

Changing for Excellence transformations

I know the work is tough-going at times, but I truly believe your efforts are showing many positive results. It’s been just over two years since we began remaking a series of administrative functions that have enabled savings to successfully fund Bold Aspirations goals. 

Some impressive examples of your successes are highlighted in the Bold Aspirations annual report, including dramatic reductions in the amount of paper processed on campus, the average time for Facilities Services to complete a work order, and the contract prices of KU’s 40 most purchased office supplies.

I hope you will take a moment to view two videos that illustrate how KU staff are adopting Changing for Excellence in ways large and small.

The ambitious — and imperative — goals of Bold Aspirations require new resources. At KU, we are finding those resources thanks to your efforts to operate smartly, efficiently, and sustainably. There are more changes to come, and I know that together we are making KU stronger.

Good to great

Together with our students, alumni, and friends, we have a terrific story to tell.  The accomplishments driven by faculty and staff have an added importance in a time when we face challenges in maintaining state funding.   With the help of groups like KU Alumni Association’s Jayhawks for Higher Education, we are able to show those outside our campus that even in tough times we are transforming a great university into a model flagship institution.

We value the work we are doing together — Changing for Excellence and Bold Aspirations demonstrate our commitment to move the university and our state forward — and it is important that this message is delivered far and wide beyond campus.   

When the next legislative session begins next month, the story of your efforts will play a central role in our efforts to secure state funding. Thank you again, and best wishes for the remainder of the fall 2013 semester and the holiday season.

Bits and Bytes

  • There are a number of interesting lectures in the Bold Aspirations Visitor and Lecture Series between now and the end of the fall semester:
    • Irena Lasiecka, University Distinguished Professor and chair of mathematics at the University of Memphis, is visiting campus as part of the Department of Mathematics Ellis B. Stouffer Department Colloquium. She will speak on “Long time behavior of solutions to flow-structure interactions arising in modeling of subsonic and supersonic flows of gas” on Tuesday, Dec. 3 at 4 p.m. in Snow Hall.
    • William D. Picking, professor and head of microbiology and molecular genetics at Oklahoma State University, will present “Enteric diseases: Our role in improving global public health” on Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 3:30 p.m. in the Bruckmiller Room of the Adams Alumni Center, with a reception following in the All-American Room. Dr. Picking earned his Ph.D. in microbiology from KU in 1989.
    • Dr. David Roediger, the Kendrick C. Babcock Professor of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will speak on “Disability, emancipation, and the U.S. Civil War” on Thursday, Dec. 5 at 4 p.m. at the Commons.
    • Chris Beard, the curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, will speak on “Into Africa: A pivotal step in primate and human evolution” on Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 3:30 p.m. at the Commons.
  • The School of Journalism and Mass Communications will offer an online “minimester” from Dec. 30 to Jan. 24, offering two popular courses to students looking to fulfill graduation requirements during the break. The school worked with Undergraduate Studies and Sara Rosen, senior vice provost for academic affairs, to develop the pilot minimester project, and lessons learned will be applied as additional schools develop intersession courses.
Strong Ties Signature: 

Thanks again and Rock Chalk!
  -- Jeff

--
Jeffrey S. Vitter

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor

This issue of Provost eNews as well as past ones can be found on the Provost eNews web page.

Office of the Provost
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Several initiatives are furthering efforts to ensure KU offers a welcoming and supportive environment for all to learn, live, work, and discover.

On this #ThanksgivingDay we are so grateful for the people who enrich and inform our lives. Thank you. https://t.co/QjWLx4mxH2


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