Keeping Track of the Change

March 26, 2012

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:

KU is engaged in big, game-changing initiatives as part of our strategic plan Bold Aspirations. These efforts are all part of a coordinated drive for excellence toward our vision as a top-tier public international research institution.

As KU works to transform itself, Chancellor Gray-Little and I are committed to keeping you informed and engaged.

Connecting with our strategic plan

Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Sara Rosen is leading the implementation team for Bold Aspirations and maintaining the implementation website. I encourage you to visit the page frequently and to follow @Bold_KU on Twitter for regular updates. Some of the news in the coming weeks will be about the investment committee, which will be unveiled soon to consider proposals for major seed funding of promising research toward the four strategic initiatives.

We are engaging students and faculty in the creation of the KU Core Curriculum. As individual workgroups continue to develop recommendations, we are posting their meeting minutes and updates. The Core Curriculum Transition Committee recently conducted a survey to get your feedback on the learning outcomes for our six educational goals. The results of that survey, including all the submitted comments, appear on the implementation page for the Core Curriculum. There were over 670 responses, with the most coming from undergraduates; take a look.

Two themes in the comments are requests for greater clarity or additional information, particularly specific criteria for meeting each outcome. That work is the current focus of the Transition Committee, and their recommendations will be shared with the KU community in April in a follow-on survey. It is vital that we continue to get wide feedback.

News updates are provided biweekly for each Changing for Excellence business case on the website, You can read messages to the KU community, such as a recent update from Vice Provost for Administration & Finance Diane Goddard about the upcoming merger of Facilities Operations and Housing maintenance.

In addition, Associate Vice Provost for Operations Barry Swanson is posting detailed updates on progress negotiating new agreements in several strategic procurement areas. Early next month, look for an announcement of significant savings generated by these efforts.

Recognized for excellence

Congratulations to KU’s graduate programs recognized in the 2013 U.S. News & World Report rankings. One of the goals Chancellor Gray-Little outlined to the Board of Regents is for KU to have 21 programs ranked in the U.S. News top 10 among public universities, and KU has 12 in this report.

A number of our highest-ranked programs were recognized for the work they do in meeting the second part of KU’s mission — building healthy communities. The biggest improvement overall at KU was by the Clinical Child Psychology doctoral program, which is now ranked #6 overall and #5 among public universities, its first ranking in the top 10.

KU is home to a pair of programs ranked #1 overall: The City Management and Urban Policy program in the School of Public Affairs and Administration continued its tradition of excellence by maintaining its #1 ranking. The School of Education’s Special Education program has enjoyed a #1 ranking among public institutions for many years, and this year it tied for #1 overall.

At the Medical Center, one of the goals in the KUMC strategic plan is to be a top-25 school in Rural Medicine. In the 2012 rankings, that program is #12 overall.

For each of the almost 50 programs ranked in the latest report, this showing is a public affirmation of the hard work done across our campuses every day to educate leaders, build healthy communities, and make discoveries that change the world.

Meet the finalists for vice provost for student affairs

The search for vice provost for student affairs has generated three excellent finalists, and campus visits begin later this week. A complete schedule has been posted on the provost’s website, including CVs.

Filling this important role is yet another of the many exciting things happening at KU. I realize that these changes, while positive, can sometimes seem overwhelming and we are working with the many people involved to develop the appropriate balance of scope and focus. I want to thank you for your efforts as we continue this transformation.

As always, I welcome your thoughts via email, to

Provost's Message Signature: 

Rock Chalk!
  -- Jeff

Jeffrey S. Vitter

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor

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Why KU
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  • 44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
    —U.S. News & World Report
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