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No Surprises: The Best and Brightest Work at KU

August 29, 2011

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

For the past 16 years, the KU “Surprise Patrol” has been visiting our dedicated faculty to award them with W.T. Kemper Fellowships for Excellence in Teaching. Last week, the Chancellor and I surprised seven new Kemper winners on the Lawrence campus. They include professors in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, English, Design, Mechanical Engineering, Molecular Biosciences, Sociology, and Spanish and Portuguese. These awards, made possible by the generosity of the William T. Kemper Foundation (Commerce Bank, trustees) and KU Endowment, recognize the excellence of faculty in educating, advising, and mentoring students.

As I was visiting classrooms with the “Surprise Patrol,” I thought of our new faculty and the new insights and opportunities for students that they will bring to KU. Many of them will be future Kemper honorees. I was also reminded that we are fortunate to have staff at every level who share the dedication to our students and enable the faculty in their work.

Welcome to KU

Our new faculty at KU bring a rich array of talents and diversity to campus. They reflect our institution’s commitment to recruiting great scholars and researchers who can bring the most innovative ideas in their disciplines into the classroom.

A full list of new faculty has been posted online and includes biographical information. You will find new faculty in nearly every school and the College. They come from all over the country, from the best of institutions, and we are very proud that they are all Jayhawks now.

They vary in experience from assistant professors to associate professors to our new Henry D. Price Dean of the School of Business, Neeli Bendapudi. Their research interests are as diverse as the institutions where they studied. They will enhance KU’s focus on multidisciplinary research on strategic initiatives and stimulate new opportunities and discoveries.

Thanks to our new daily news e-mail, KU Today, there will be an opportunity to read more about each of our 53 new faculty members over the coming weeks and months. KU Today is an exciting new service I encourage you to watch for to keep up to date on KU activities and events.

Recognizing our dedicated staff

I also had the recent opportunity to recognize some our very dedicated staff members. The Staff Fellows program returns to KU for its fourth year after a one year hiatus. It was a priority of mine to reinstate this program, which gives staff the opportunity to take part in professional development and to work together exploring the administrative structure of KU. You can see a full list of this year’s class online.

As an example of the broad range of activities our staff make possible, this year’s fellows include staff members from KU Libraries, the Spencer Museum of Art, Financial Aid & Scholarships, the Confucius Institute, and several departments across campus. They are a strong indication of the important contributions our staff make to our students and our university.

One member of this year’s class, Pat Argueta, has been at KU for 26 years. Pat works in Student Success, and I want especially to recognize Pat and her colleagues for the long hours they put in before classes started last Monday in order to make sure students were prepared. As an institution, we must ensure our students have all the tools necessary to succeed during their time at KU. The staff at Student Success are to be congratulated on another successful start to a fall semester.

Whether it is a faculty member being honored for excellence in teaching, a new faculty member joining the university family to start a career, or a dedicated staff member earning new professional experience, it is the people of KU that make this a great place to be. They are the key to moving forward with our mission to educate leaders, build healthy communities, and make discoveries that will change the world.

Provost's Message Signature: 

Rock Chalk!
  -- Jeff

Jeffrey S. Vitter

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor

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