A Personal Investment
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 55 seconds
Dear students, staff and faculty
Last Thursday morning I stepped back into the lecture hall and it was inspiring — not because of anything I did — but rather because of who was in the auditorium. I welcomed 400 University of Kansas staff members to the 7th annual Staff Leadership Summit. The capacity crowd was eager to continue their passion for learning and put newly acquired knowledge, skills, and insight to work in our university setting.
Human Resource Management expanded the summit this year, enrolling 100 additional participants. Even with the increased number of seats, online registration still reached the 400-person limit within an hour of going live. That tells us something — staff members are truly interested in the topic, they are hungry to improve their skills, and they care deeply about ensuring this institution is as strong as possible.
The summit theme focused on diversity and inclusion — the many ways these issues affect and benefit this institution and how we can build awareness and better use our individual power and influence to improve KU for all. Thank you to Associate Vice Provost for Human Resource Management Mike Rounds and all who participated in crafting this great event, and those who saw the value in stepping away from their regular duties to advance their knowledge and skills.
The Opportunities Around Us
The Staff Leadership Summit is one of many avenues employees at KU can pursue professional development. Many of our units have professional and certification expectations and provide support for staff to attend conferences and workshops related to their field. Staff Senate offers the opportunity for staff to seek financial support through its Jeannette Johnson Staff Professional Development Fund. KU Information Technology also provides students, faculty, and staff access to a host of workshops, webinars, and self-help articles on a variety of software and IT tools.
The Learn & Develop menu of the Human Resources website outlines the breadth of programs and activities KU sponsors that support and advance each employee’s personal and professional goals. Course topics like Intercultural Communication Skills, Facilitation, and Project Management Essentials are ideal for a higher-education setting. The Talent Development login also offers access to programs specific to KU — such as a detailed research administration course, and the annual mandatory reporting course for faculty and staff.
A university the size of KU has a lot of moving parts. It’s a finely choreographed operation, working to educate thousands of students, increase the body of knowledge, and serve the state, the nation, and the world. KU staff are the individuals who move nimbly among us all — students, faculty and other staff members — and keep advancing and enhancing the collective effort. It’s critical that all staff can deliver peak performance.
To the staff who are contemplating a refresher workshop or something new, this is your invitation to explore. I need you to be as strong professionally as you can be. To the staff who have taken part in professional development or are already planning to pursue those opportunities, thank you for investing in yourself. Please, share what you’ve learned with your colleagues and apply that knowledge to your duties and activities.
Our daily goal should be to affirm that each one of us is working to make KU better. At the Staff Leadership Summit Thursday morning, I shared my belief that each of us is a temporary custodian of this remarkable university. When we each do our part to enrich KU, we honor our commitment to the fantastic family of Jayhawks — past, present and future.
News and Notes
Honor great KU advisors by nominating them for the first KU Advisor of the Year Award. The award recognizes outstanding undergraduate advisors who demonstrate adaptability, occupational knowledge, interpersonal skills, advocacy, cultural competency, the ability to foster academic excellence, and more. Nominations, including required letters of support, must be submitted to Undergraduate Studies by 5 p.m. March 17.
The Office of Multicultural Affairs presents An Evening with Kat Blaque: Social Media and Activism at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 21 in Woodruff Auditorium of the Kansas Union. Blaque is a feminist YouTuber, illustrator, animator and writer from Orange County, Calif.
Congratulations to School of Architecture, Design and Planning faculty Nils Gore, Shannon Criss and GTA Matthew Kleinmann for their work on the Kansas City, Kan.-based Dotte Agency, a winner of the ACSA Collaborative Practice Award. Dotte Agency is a design-hub that fosters collaboration among neighborhoods and students and faculty of architecture, design, business and public health to improve public health.
The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences’ Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion is hosting a free weekly lunch for all KU students to take a break, meet each other and build a stronger KU community. The lunches continue weekly on Wednesdays through May 3, with the exception of March 22. Learn more.
The Undergraduate Research Center is hosting information sessions in March to help students understand the research proposal process. There will be two sessions in early March to discuss ideas and plan proposals, Sessions later in the month will work on draft proposals. All undergraduates are welcome.
Daniel Tapia Takaki, assistant professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, organized an Institute of Nuclear Theory workshop at KU from Feb. 13-17. The Institute of Nuclear Theory is hosted by the University of Washington and supported by the U.S. Department of Energy. Workshop hosts are selected through a grant application process.
The KU Common Book Film Series begins this week with the 2016 documentary “Do Not Resist” by Craig Atkinson at 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 23, in 3139 Wescoe Hall. All films in the series relate to a theme from this year’s common book “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates. The event is co-sponsored by the Office of First-Year Experience, the University Honors Program and OMA.
KU Staff Senate has 11 open senate seats for the 2017-2018 year. Nominations to be on the ballot are being accepted until 5 p.m., Feb. 28. Learn more.
OMA continues the Faculty Coffee Talk Series with a gathering at 2 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 22, in the Sabatini Multicultural Resource Room 116. The event is co-sponsored with the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.
The next International Coffee Hour, hosted by the Office of International Student Services, will be at 3 p.m., Friday, March 3, in the 3rd floor gallery of Watson Library. The featured country is the Dominican Republic.
The Office of Research is accepting nominations for the Higuchi – KU Endowment Research Achievement Awards. The four awards recognize significant research achievement conducted by faculty at KU or other Regents institutions. Nominations are open until April 7. Learn more about the awards and the nomination process.