Fall 2023: Resources for Academic Matters

Barbara A. Bichelmeyer, Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor
Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023, 10:48 a.m.
KU Lawrence Faculty, Staff and Affiliates

Dear Colleague,

Welcome to the start of the 2023-2024 Academic Year! The opportunity to relax and rejuvenate during summer is always rewarding.

Thank you for the effort you’re putting in to ensure a great start to our academic year. This email provides you with essential information in a single source to support your academic work throughout the semester. Hopefully, you find this is helpful as you prepare for your courses and related academic activities.

Academic Freedom

As a leading research institution, it is our obligation and privilege to explore and discuss challenging issues and ideas. Diversity of thought makes an institution stronger. At KU we value academic freedom as we conduct our research, teaching and scholarly activities. It is our responsibility to exercise academic freedom in accordance with accepted standards of each academic discipline. You can read more about our dedication to academic freedom in Section 4 of the Code of Ethical Conduct.

Freedom of Expression

In a setting as diverse as KU, we will likely encounter ideas, opinions and philosophies that we personally find disagreeable or offensive. Though it can be painful, offensive speech is generally considered protected speech under the First Amendment. We need to strongly encourage and facilitate civil and respectful discussion and interaction. We also need to ensure we do not unlawfully inhibit or penalize expression protected by the First Amendment. Threats, incitement of violence and targeted harassment are not protected. The Kansas Board of Regents provides guidance in a Statement on Free Expression.

Support for Mental Wellness

We continue to face challenging times that affect people differently. Please be aware of how those around you – coworkers, students, colleagues – are faring, and connect them to support if you notice them struggling in any way. Each one of us can make a difference in someone’s life. Learn to spot the signs and put the individual in touch with campus and regional resources. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 9-8-8 on any activated phone, will automatically connect to a crisis call center. You can learn more about the lifeline and resources at the Kansas Suicide Prevention HQ in Lawrence or the Johnson County Mental Health Center.

Support for Teaching

The Center for Teaching Excellence provides a broad array of programs and resources to assist instructors at every step. The CTE website also offers guidance for challenges and questions that can arise during the semester. The Center for Online and Distance Learning also provides free course design, course transformation and implementation services for online, hybrid and flexible courses. Additional instructional resources and academic career support are available through KU Libraries, Spencer Museum of Art, KU Information Technology and the Office of Faculty Affairs and its Center for Faculty Development and Mentoring.

Code of Ethical Conduct

KU’s Code of Ethical Conduct affirms our commitment to the highest standards of ethical, legal and professional behavior. Added to the Policy Library in fall 2021, it outlines our commitment to seven core values including the two already mentioned: Freedom of Expression and Academic Freedom.

Resources, Offices and Policies to Know

Additional resources are available to guide, shape and support our academic year, as well as our interactions with students and each other. While not a comprehensive list, these topics and offices may help you find quick access to key policies and information.

A few sites to highlight this semester include:

Thank you for all you do to promote discovery and innovation – for our students, in your academic discipline, and at KU. Wishing you a great semester ahead.



Barbara A. Bichelmeyer

Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor