Along with the search for a new chancellor, determining the priorities of KU faculty and will be a major policy issue this year.
Questions on teaching vs. research and determining what constitutes a good teacher will be put to the test this year at Kansas University.
A comprehensive look at faculty effectiveness will be one of several major subjects to be discussed this year by administrators and university governance.
"This calls for sweeping revisions in the (faculty) operational structure and the rewards structure in the institution," said T.P. Srinivasan, presiding officer of University Council.
The issue, a longtime topic of the Kansas Board of Regents, may come to a head in October, when the board will consider a set of recommendations on faculty development.
KU governance wants its voice to be heard at the Regents' table, not only on that issue, but on other policies that may affect KU for years.
Srinivasan said he was optimistic that more direct contact will be made between the regents and faculty and student groups this year, while KU looks for a new chancellor.
"I see the relationship ... between the regents and the campus community as one of a partnership, rather than the faculty being employees," he said. "That creates a totally different equation."
Four regents are expected to visit KU this fall, he said, and they are expected to attend university governance meetings while on campus.
University governance, particularly faculty members, want the chancellor's search committee to seek candidates that are academically qualified to hold KU's highest office, vacated this summer by Gene Budig, who became president of baseball's American League.
Microbiology professor Del Shankel is serving as interim chancellor.
"I think Dr. Shankel's tenure will be of a different kind," Srinivasan said.
Srinivasan said he doesn't expect any surprise announcements on major policy changes, such as the administration's ban on faculty-student dating announced last summer. The policy eventually was amended after governance members claimed it was enacted without their input.
"I'm sure he (Shankel) doesn't like these surprises as much as faculty or the students don't," Srinivasan said.
Executive Vice Chancellor Ed Meyen said he didn't see many controversial issues on the horizon.
"I think we're going into a period of time in which we're building a very productive agenda" between the administration and faculty and student leaders, he said. "I think we all feel very comfortable going into the fall."