Chancellor Douglas A. Girod, M.D. Barbara A. Bichelmeyer, Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor
Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, 3:52 p.m.
KU Lawrence All Staff, Faculty and Affiliates

Sent on behalf of Chancellor Douglas A. Girod and Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Barbara A. Bichelmeyer.

 

Dear Colleagues,

The University of Kansas is making several organizational and reporting line changes that primarily affect the Lawrence and Edwards campuses, with most changes effective immediately.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging

Over the summer we decided to close the search for Vice Provost of Diversity and Equity and engage in listening and reflection as we reconsidered the mission and organization of the office in order to significantly improve diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging at KU.

From conversations with multiple groups and constituencies, it’s clear there is an urgency surrounding a remedy for change, yet not one group has indicated our efforts to date have worked well. Further, student government leaders have reported a need for more empathy at KU for the situations of students, in general, and those who are most marginalized, in particular. The time to enact meaningful change that helps make KU a better place for students, staff and faculty is now.

Interim Vice Provost for Diversity and Equity and Professor of Education Jennifer Ng will continue advancing faculty initiatives as Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Development within the Center for Faculty Development and Mentoring. In this role, she will focus on faculty recruitment and retention as well as faculty support over the career course. She will also facilitate instructional opportunities for faculty and campus leaders, particularly in the areas of diversity and inclusion.

University Ombuds D. A. Graham will become Interim Vice Provost in the newly renamed Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging. He will work closely with Lawrence and Edwards Campus academic and administrative units on regular assessment and improvement of their strategic plans for diversity, equity and inclusion and administration of strategic initiatives. Support staff in Diversity & Equity will now report to D. A. Over the coming spring semester, D. A. will lay the foundation for the Office of DEIB by developing an aspirational vision for DEIB, creating a DEIB professional development program with mentoring and consulting resources, establishing metrics for change and more.

Programs that currently report to the Vice Provost for Diversity & Equity are being reassigned to other units that better align with those offices’ missions and the constituents they serve. In a matrix-management structure, they will continue to have dotted-line reporting relationship to the Office of DEIB, although program leaders will report directly within their new unit. Assistant Vice Provost for Diversity and Equity Precious Porras will report to Vice Provost for Student Affairs Tammara Durham.

Offices moving to the Student Affairs umbrella are:

  • Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA)
  • Center for Sexuality and Gender Diversity (SGD)
  • Emily Taylor Center for Women and Gender Equity (ETC)

Programs moving to the Academic Success structure are:

  • Hawk Link
  • Multicultural Scholars Program
  • Haskell/ KU Exchange Program

To ensure continuity in the University Ombuds Office, Faculty Ombuds Ada Emmett will serve as interim ombuds. Her primary appointment in KU Libraries will decrease from 80% to 20% to allow her greater ability to address responsibilities of the Ombuds Office.

Collectively, these changes result in a small reduction of staff within the DEIB structure. All programs remain. The realignment will allow the university to dedicate resources in areas that directly support faculty and staff, areas that have long been underserved, but that have broad implications for all members of campus.

Finance and Operations

As was announced in May, Chief Financial Officer and Vice Provost for Finance Diane Goddard is retiring at the end of December. Her retirement gave us the opportunity to assess other elements of our structure, identify talent from within, and look for new areas of efficiency.

A search is underway to fill the CFO position, which serves the entire university. In keeping with the May announcement, Diane will continue to assist the university and the new CFO as a limited-term consultant for the university. Senior Associate Vice Provost Jason Hornberger will be elevated to Vice Provost for Finance. This role will report to the Provost with a dotted line to the CFO, and, as in the past, the position serves the Lawrence and Edwards campuses. All fiscal officers in academic and administrative units will now have dotted-line reporting relationships to the Vice Provost for Finance in order to improve alignment of fiscal planning and reporting and to provide more professional development for fiscal officers.

As part of this transition, other employees and units that reported to Diane will now have new reporting lines that we expect will better support their functions and the university community.

The KU Public Safety Office and Chief of Police Chris Keary will now report to Vice Provost for Operations Mike Rounds. Mike’s title will change to Vice Provost for Human Resources, Public Safety, Facilities and Operations.

The Enterprise Project Management Office will be dissolved and staff will be reassigned to Analytics and Institutional Research and to KU Information Technology. Chief Data Officer and Director of Analytics and Institutional Research Nick Stevens will now report directly to the Provost. The office will become Analytics, Institutional Research and Effectiveness (AIRE) to reflect expertise acquired with the addition of enterprise project management staff.

Pandemic Response

During the initial stages of the pandemic, Diane launched and then continued to lead KU’s Public Health Planning Team. The team has done remarkable work and shown unparalleled commitment to KU’s students, staff, faculty, affiliates, the community and other partners. With Diane’s retirement we have asked KU’s Emergency Management Coordinator Andrew Foster to help us reshape our team structure to better reflect local, regional and national recommendations on crisis and incident response activities. This transformed advisory group will help ensure our efforts match the best practices for operations and communication, both internally and externally. The new Campus Unified Command structure will ease the time commitment on our top-level team members and will allow greater input from across campus, while also maintaining excellent awareness of changing conditions. Andrew has worked alongside Diane since initial news of the pandemic, and he will ensure KU continues to work collaboratively with our partners throughout the state and the region.

True to Our Mission

Today’s announcement will bring reasoned structure and new efficiencies to our operations with minimal impact on our staffing. Most importantly, these changes reflect a significant shift in our ability to serve our students, staff and faculty. They will allow us to make more cost-effective strategic investments in a number of initiatives we hold dear – student engagement, academic support, inclusion, faculty development, and more – while also leveraging existing strengths within our units and our institution.

While we anticipate there will be additional changes in the months ahead, we are committed to making those decisions guided by the best interests of the university and shaped by compassion for our KU community and the constituents we serve.

We want to thank all the employees affected directly and indirectly by these changes. Transitions can increase stress as new working relationships are established or redefined. We are grateful for the amazing talent and dedication we see throughout the faculty and staff. As an institution, we have great work and great opportunity ahead of us, and your involvement and commitment are crucial to KU’s success.

 

Respectfully,

Doug and Barb

Douglas A. Girod
Chancellor

Barbara A. Bichelmeyer
Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor