To the editor:
I was shocked to read in the Saturday Column that "Shulenburger's reputation among a sizable number of faculty members is that he is more likely to quickly say 'no' to requests than to approach issues with an attitude of 'let's see if this might work.'" Leaving aside my suspicion that we know what "a sizable number of faculty" thinks about anything, this assertion is completely at variance with my interactions with Provost Shulenburger.
Three years ago, I was diagnosed with metastatic cancer, a disease considered both incurable and terminal. Treatment is difficult, time-consuming, exhausting, and results in an impaired immune system. Despite this, my desire was and is to remain professionally active.
At every level of the university, I received significant support for this goal. In particular, Shulenburger was immediately responsive to my concerns and sensitive to the challenges my illness raised. We discussed extensively how I could continue to be engaged in the work I love despite medical constraints. This required taking into account state laws regarding tenure and considering what was best for the university, as well as for me as a person and a scholar.
Far from being a "plugged bottleneck," the provost's office inspired me to think creatively about the diverse roles I could play at KU and assured me of university support. With the essential assistance of my chair, dean and Provost Shulenburger, I am currently teaching, conducting federally funded research, and engaged in local, national and international service. Without Shulenburger's personal involvement, I doubt I could still be as fully involved in my work as I am.