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Pave the Way for the Future

November 14, 2016

Est. reading time: 2 min. 41 sec.

Dear students, staff, and faculty:

One of the great perks of being your provost is the opportunity to connect with our amazing alumni and ask them for advice and help in making KU better. On a recent visit, alumnus Steve Frazier (Journalism, ‘78; University Honors Program Advisory Board member and William Allen White Foundation trustee), vice president of international expansion at Amazon, shared a concept that seems particularly apropos. He talked about GOHIO; the acronym stands for “Get Our House In Order.” This is a philosophy that even when an organization can’t make big changes, there are always simple yet significant things that can be done to be and become better.

In a recent leadership team meeting, we discussed this concept and our deans and vice provosts shared great examples of how they are engaging in creative initiatives that benefit their respective constituencies. Here are just a few examples.

The School of Pharmacy discovered that international students who otherwise excel in the program still experience some difficulties in their fourth year when they interact with patients one-on-one at nine different pharmacies as part of their practicum. In response, Pharmacy worked with the Applied English Center to create a month-long intensive program, where each student is videotaped in patient interaction and receives coaching on cultural competence and conversational skills, just before student rotations begin. The pharmacy school believes this additional coaching may benefit native English speakers as well and is exploring expanding the program.

Several academic units are developing new certificates and online courses to give students the maximum flexibility without compromising on our rigorous content and standards. The School of Education, which houses the #1 rated Special Education curriculum, has expanded its online portfolio to serve over 600 students from nearly every state in the nation, and continues to grow. Check out the new robust course and certificate offerings from the College, the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, the School of Business, the Edwards Campus — the list is expanding. There are now focused, intense online offerings over winter break so students can take a course in addition to binge-watching TV shows!

The efforts to improve go beyond the classroom. Qualitative studies conducted on campus showed that our students perceive the high cost of textbooks as an impediment to access and potentially even to retention. In response, our librarians are helping KU faculty develop open resources that can support classroom instruction at little or no cost to students. The office of Undergraduate Studies now has one key contact for all of our retention technology initiatives so that we have coordinated and strategic deployment of efforts, reducing duplication and increasing accountability. The office of Graduate Studies is aggressively pursuing ways to improve funding and reduce barriers to entry. Last week, our Administration and Finance unit staff held a retreat focusing on becoming more nimble, streamlined, and customer-focused.

The changes you work on may be big, small, or somewhere in between. They may focus on student success, faculty and staff engagement, creating community champions, celebrating diversity, or all of the above: the possibilities are endless. I would love to hear from you how you are paving the way for the future to GOHIO!






News and Notes for Nov. 14

The KU Climate Study survey has closed and many people contributed to its success, such as the staff of Facilities Services. Despite not having regular access to computer workstations, staff in the largest department on the Lawrence campus garnered more than 50 percent participation. Winners of the various climate study prizes have been randomly selected and are being contacted by staff in the Office of Diversity and Equity.

The School of Music hosts the “Music That Unites Us” concert at 6 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 20, at the Lied Center. The free event features the KU Symphony Orchestra, KU Choirs, student performers from Haskell Indian Nations University and the F.L. Schlagle High School Choir.

The next Safe Zone Training, coordinated by the Center for Sexuality and Gender Diversity in collaboration with the Office of Multicultural Affairs, will be on Nov. 30. Students can register here.

KU’s Center for Global & International Studies presents the panel discussion, “The U.S. Presidential Election in Global Perspective” at 2 p.m. today in Alderson Auditorium of the Kansas Union.  Panelists include three faculty members of the Department of Political Science, Associate Professor Mariya Omelicheva, Associate Professor John Kennedy, and Assistant Professor Nazli Avdan. The series creates an opportunity for people to decipher and digest current news and issue.

The KU campus just became a little safer for everyone. Thank you to Dr. Douglas Dechairo of Watkins Health Services and all who helped bring cardiac resuscitation devices to more than 65 buildings across the Lawrence campus.

The Center for Teaching Excellence has a wonderful new post about a shift in teaching employed by Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Carl Luchies employed that had a dramatic effect on students. You can read it here.

Students, applications to be an Orientation Assistant are due Dec. 1. OAs are paid leadership positions, with responsibilities throughout the summer, Hawk Week and the fall semester.

Watkins Health Center has two more Pause 4 Pups events scheduled this semester: 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16 in Naismith Hall; and 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., Nov. 30 in Daisy Hill Commons. Therapy dogs are shared by the Loving Paws Animal Assisted Therapy Program.

Provost's Message Signature: 

Rock Chalk,

Neeli Bendapudi

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

Follow me on Twitter at @KUProvostNeeli and the Provost Office at @KUProvost.  Join the office on Facebook at /KUprovostoffice/.

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

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