A former Kansas University faculty member said Thursday that he misses working with faculty and students.
That's why Kim Wilcox, who now serves as executive director of the Kansas Board of Regents, is seeking to become dean of KU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He's one of four finalists for the position.
"I believe I have a role in shaping education in Kansas," he said, "but not the hands-on role a dean has."
Wilcox met with about 35 students, faculty and staff members during an open forum Thursday at the Kansas Union.
He listed undergraduate research, diversity and recruiting mid-career faculty as priorities for the college.
He also said reallocating some money to graduate research assistants instead of graduate teaching assistants might fit the university's goals better.
"It's not consistent philosophically," he said of funding only graduate teaching assistants. "I'd like to talk about other ways of doing things."
Wilcox said he'd study the college's structure to determine whether appointing associate deans by specialty such as budgets and academic affairs might be better than the current system, with associate deans for humanities, social sciences and natural sciences and mathematics.
Wilcox also said KU needed to set better-defined goals in the areas of research and creating an "international" curriculum, which would include study-abroad programs and foreign languages.
Wilcox said the college needed to tap into fund raising with all KU graduates, not just those CLAS graduates.
"Our challenge is to help everybody, including our colleagues at the Endowment Association, understand our mission, and help them to help us take advantage of it," he said.
Wilcox, who lives in Lawrence, served as a professor of speech, language and hearing at KU from 1984 to 1998, when he joined the Board of Regents as interim director of academic affairs. He became executive director in 1999.
Dean finalists Kip Hodges, a professor of geology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and John Lipski, head of the Spanish, Italian and Portuguese department at Pennsylvania State University, already have visited campus.
Finalist Ruth Maki, chairwoman of psychology at Texas Tech University, will conduct an open forum at 3:30 p.m. Monday at Alderson Auditorium in the Kansas Union.
The new dean, who likely will be hired by the end of the school year and begin July 1, will replace Sally Frost-Mason, who left last spring to become provost at Purdue University. Kathleen McCluskey-Fawcett, associate provost, has served as interim dean since Frost-Mason left.
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is KU's largest academic unit with 14,000 students and more than 500 faculty members.