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Archive for Wednesday, January 17, 2001

Study abroad director exiled

Nationally renown program to get new leadership

January 17, 2001

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Kansas University on Tuesday announced it was replacing the director of its nationally recognized study abroad program with someone from the provost's office.

Margareta B. O'Connell, director of the Office of Study Abroad for the past 4 1/2 years, said she wasn't given a reason why she was replaced.

"I'm very proud of what I have accomplished," O'Connell said. "I'm going to leave with dignity and my head held high."

O'Connell said she returned last week from Cuba where she had been working on a study program for KU students when she was told the office was being reorganized and she wasn't part of the plan.

Diana Carlin, dean of KU's graduate school and international programs, said she made the decision to replace O'Connell.

Carlin, who has been dean for six months, said she assessed the program and decided to make some changes.

She didn't elaborate on O'Connell's performance, but said the program is going to expand rapidly soon.

Asked about the program's national reputation, Carlin said that predated O'Connell's time as chief of the program.

But O'Connell said she made major changes in the program that attracted students.

O'Connell will be replaced by Susan Gronbeck-Tedesco, who will become interim director. A search for a permanent replacement will start later this year.

Gronbeck-Tedesco, an assistant to Provost David Shulenburger, will receive a pay raise from $56,000 to $70,000 per year.

Her salary as interim director of the study abroad office will be about $18,000 more annually than what O'Connell made, according to the university.

O'Connell will move to the Office of International Programs to serve as an assistant to the dean for alumni affairs and development. She will maintain her salary of $51,786 per year.

"This administrative shift will enable us to fine-tune operational aspects of our international and study abroad programs," Carlin said.

"Margareta O'Connell's experience in study abroad has acquainted her with the thousands who belong to our family of KU international alumni and with whom we constantly network.

"Susan Gronbeck-Tedesco's experience in both international programs and academic administration will serve us well as we continue to internationalize the academic experience at KU," Carlin said.

O'Connell came to KU in 1996 from Illinois State University, where she was coordinator of study abroad programs. She has doctoral and master's degrees from Illinois State.

Gronbeck-Tedesco, who has a doctorate from KU and a master's degree from the University of Iowa, has been assistant to the provost since 1996. She served as assistant director for the Center for International Programs for six years before becoming assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs in 1990.

KU enrolled 1,506 international students in 1999-2000 and had a total of 1,489 U.S. students, 988 of whom were KU degree-seeking students, enrolled in study abroad programs.

For the past two years, the Fiske Guide to Colleges has listed KU's study abroad program as one of the university's top assets.

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