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Archive for Thursday, February 1, 1996

HEMENWAY TO RESHUFFLE TOP BRASS

February 1, 1996

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KU's chancellor moved to shuffle the administration for the first time in more than 20 years.

Chancellor Robert Hemenway unveiled a new Kansas University administrative structure Wednesday designed to shrink the campus bureaucracy into a more responsive, efficient operation.

The administrative vision is to be instituted by July 1. It parallels a task force plan submitted to Hemenway in December.

KU's management framework hasn't been modified in decades. Hemenway, who took over as chancellor seven months ago, is using his status as a newcomer to shake things up.

"Any organizational structure in place 20 years tends to get communication channels clogged, tends to get barnacles attached to it," Hemenway said. "I believe the existing structure works against us."

Starting at the top, he ordered an immediate national search to fill the new position of provost. That powerful person will take on duties of the executive vice chancellor and the vice chancellor for academic affairs on the Lawrence campus.

Another move was to create the position of vice chancellor for information services and dean of libraries. The current library dean, William Crowe, may be promoted, Hemenway said.

He left in place a vice chancellor for student affairs and a vice chancellor for research, graduate studies and public service.

Hemenway resolved to shift a dozen service functions -- printing and police, for example -- from the chancellor's level to the provost's area or below.

Charting the course

In a briefing for reporters at Strong Hall, Hemenway said the new organizational chart flowed in a way that made KU's academic mission of teaching, research and public service the top priority in delivery of services.

The plan also reinforces the idea of KU as a student-centered university, he said. Streamlining should make the administration more responsive to student needs, he said.

Hemenway said a desire to raise accountability of university officials was a key ingredient in the plan.

"We have to identify who has authority to act, who has responsibility to act and who, therefore, is accountable for those actions," he said. "That is something we have to build into the culture of the University of Kansas."

For example, Hemenway has asked administrators for months why KU has failed to institute a computer enrollment system.

"Frankly, I haven't been able to identify responsibility," he said.

Hemenway said reform would occur without laying off workers. During the next year, attrition should result in a smaller staff. Some employees will be asked to perform different tasks or work in another office, he said.

By July, the chancellor expects to have a handle on how much money can be saved through reorganization.

Hemenway appointed a five-member team to help him work out details of the new organization. The group will recommend people for new and current administrative jobs.

"Over the next few months, this skeleton will be fleshed out and people's duties assigned," Hemenway said.

Dick Mann, university director of administration, will chair the team. Other members are: David Shulenburger, academic affairs vice chancellor; Sally Frost-Mason, acting liberal arts dean; Del Shankel, chancellor emeritus; and Lindy Eakin, associate executive vice chancellor.

Hemenway said he urged Shulenburger to seek the job of provost. Shulenburger said in an interview he likely would apply.

It's not a conflict of interest for Shulenburger to serve on the implementation team and apply for provost, Hemenway said.

Last week, Executive Vice Chancellor Ed Meyen announced he would leave his job to ease transition to new management. He'll return to full-time teaching and research.

Springing into action

Just because the administration will be in upheaval, Hemenway said, he didn't want staff members sitting on their hands.

"It simply is not acceptable for decisions to be delayed based on changes in our structure that will be occurring over the next few months," he said.

Stephen Schroeder, chair of the campus reorganization task force, said the chancellor's plan would elicit mixed reaction.

"I won't say anybody agrees with all of it," he said, "but all will agree with most of it."

Schroeder said the linchpin would be the provost.

"It's a big job," he said. "The person who becomes the provost is key to fulfill this new mission."

Hemenway pledged to explore the possibility of creating a research foundation to serve the entire university.

Some KU units weren't included in the administrative outline. The implementation team will assist Hemenway in deciding where to put affirmative action, international studies, Applied English Center, recreation services, study abroad, KANU, educational services and Audio-Reader.

Hemenway vowed to consult faculty, students and staff before announcing changes made by the implementation team.

  • Do you support Chancellor Hemenway's plan to reorganize KU administration? Answer the J-W Access question on page 2A.

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