Becoming the Exceptional Learning Community

Dear Jayhawk, 

Welcome to the 2023-24 Academic Year!

The start of school is always exciting because it’s when Jayhawks come together to learn and grow. Our faculty learn as we engage in research, creative activities and service. Our staff learn as we engage in continuous improvement of our programs and services. Our students learn by engaging in educational experiences in classrooms and in our community, while developing relationships that last for lifetimes. 

KU is a complex organization that promotes individual growth, economic development, and societal advances. At KU, the interests of the individual and the interests of the collective come together. At KU, people engage in necessary and difficult conversations. Here, we dream of and begin to build a better world. KU is the crossroads where our greatest needs, challenges, hopes and opportunities collide. 

What binds us as Jayhawks is our vision for KU Lawrence and Edwards to be an exceptional learning community that lifts each member and advances society. We simply can’t be the community we need to be – for ourselves and each other, and for Kansas, our nation and the world – without your support and participation.

It’s simply a fact that Jayhawks have diverse identities which present in myriad forms such as race, ethnicity, nationality, economic-level, abilities, sexuality, pregnancy status, veteran status, as well as religious, political, social and cultural affiliations. Yet, we are living in destabilizing times – divisions continue to grow through social media echo chambers and as federal and state anti-DEI laws continue to unfold. 

People explore, learn and discover best when they feel safe, supported, and have a sense of belonging. The recent changes in civil rights law and policy at federal and state levels have deeply personal implications that impact people’s feelings of value, safety and security at KU.

So I ask you, and all of our fellow Jayhawks, to do your part to help us create and maintain the robust research landscape and the engaging educational environment we all benefit from at KU. Please commit or recommit yourself to treating each Jayhawk you meet in ways that support and promote the rich diversity of our community. Our shared commitment to cultivating a culture of belonging is one important way we protect academic freedom and freedom of expression. When we each help ensure our cultural climate supports intellectual diversity, we provide our students, staff, and faculty the assurance that we are all safe to be present as our unique selves at KU. 

No matter what identities and affiliations we hold, we all thrive in an environment that uplifts and encourages our growth, while supporting and amplifying excellence in all aspects of university life. Therefore, we are each charged to protect the civil rights of all Jayhawks. Our institutional values foster “a multicultural, inclusive environment in which the dignity and rights of the individual are respected. Intellectual diversity, integrity, and disciplined inquiry in the search for knowledge are of paramount importance.”

As we start the new year, please review KU’s Code of Ethical Conduct, which affirms our shared commitment to the highest standards of ethical and professional behavior, and identifies our principles of conduct – including integrity, safety, inclusion, the pursuit of excellence, and more. 

Our excellence is determined by both our individual and our collective experiences. If one Jayhawk feels unsafe or unwelcome, we are all called on to help, so we each feel the sense of belonging that allows all of us to thrive. The following resources are available to help you navigate what promises to be an amazing year of discovery for us all. 

Resources to Support You and Foster Ethical Conduct

On behalf of all Jayhawks, I wish you a year full of learning and growth. 

Rock Chalk!

Barbara Bichelmeyer
Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor


Barbara A. Bichelmeyer

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

Follow the Provost Office on X (formerly Twitter) at @KUProvost. Join the office on Facebook at /KUprovostoffice/. Join the office on Instagram at /KUprovost/.

This issue of Provost's Message as well as past messages from this office can be found on the Provost's Message web page.