Archive for Thursday, February 16, 2006

New provost says KU will suit him to a T

February 16, 2006


Kansas University's provost doesn't make the trains run on time - but that's only because there isn't a railroad on campus.

Instead, the provost oversees decisions on a wide array of university matters, including faculty hiring, the temperature of campus buildings and how much students pay to park on campus.

That's the all-encompassing job that Richard Lariviere, KU's new provost-designee, was welcomed to during a reception Wednesday.

"I'm still a rookie," said Lariviere, 56, who will take over the position in June. "I'm going to be a rookie for a while."

He'll get help from David Shulenburger, the current provost. Shulenburger, 60, is leaving after 13 years to be vice president of academic affairs at the National Association of State University and Land-Grant Colleges.

"The provost's job is really challenging," Shulenburger said Wednesday during a break in a Kansas Board of Regents meeting in Topeka. "You've got 30 high-level people who report directly to the provost."

Richard Lariviere, far right, and his wife, Janis, hold up their new Kansas sweatshirts given by Chancellor Robert Hemenway, left, after Lariviere was introduced as the next KU provost.

Richard Lariviere, far right, and his wife, Janis, hold up their new Kansas sweatshirts given by Chancellor Robert Hemenway, left, after Lariviere was introduced as the next KU provost.

Lariviere, who will make $278,000 at KU, called the task of filling Shulenburger's seat "daunting."

"It's my hope that I can learn from him as much as I can," Lariviere said.

The two have been in regular e-mail contact since Lariviere's selection, and plan two full days together to review the job's demands.

"Whatever he wants and needs I'll find a way to help him with," Shulenburger said.

Lariviere, currently the dean of liberal arts at the University of Texas at Austin, said he planned several trips to Lawrence before assuming the job. He said he has asked everyone in the provost's office to give him a one-page report on issues staff are facing.

"I'm driven by data," Lariviere said. "I'm not controlled by data, but I really like to know what the numbers look like, what the metrics are and how we're hitting them."

Major issues, Shulenburger said, will include finding ways to boost faculty salaries, finding more money for graduate student fellowships, and dealing with the maintenance of aging buildings.

Lariviere's wife, Janis, will work at the KU Center for Science Education.

Lariviere's academic interests are Sanskrit and Hindu law. He travels frequently to India, where he consults and serves on the board of eMR Technology Ventures, a business outsourcing company.

He also works as a consultant to Deluxe Corp., General Instrument Corp., MetLife, Cisco Systems, Sabre Holdings, HCL Corp., Saville Systems Corp. and other companies.

Lariviere will leave Texas after a 24-year stint in the state. He said he looked forward to his move to Lawrence.

"I'm ... savvy enough to know that to have a real impact on the issues confronting higher education, you have to work with big, powerful flagship institutions that have lots of research and lots of influence in the region and the nation," he said. "Kansas fits that model."


Jeanne Cunningham 11 years ago

But, how do you pronounce his surname???

RonBurgandy 11 years ago

Hey Richard, where's the handle bar mustache? You're from Texas right?

yourworstnightmare 11 years ago

"Kansas University's provost doesn't make the trains run on time - but that's only because there isn't a railroad on campus."

Agreed TOB. Interesting choice of phrasing.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years ago

If he works 60 hours a week, and takes no vacations (doesn't sound likely to me) he's getting paid close to $100 an hour, not including benes and perks that aren't included in his $278,000 salary.

Are there any decisions or actions he needs to take that couldn't be well enough compensated at half that salary?

Kookamooka 11 years ago

I don't know about you all, but I always get a little nervous when dealing with SUCCESSFUL businessmen from TEXAS! Next thing you know, someone will start a Quail Ranch outside of town! We all know where THAT leads!

blessed3x 11 years ago

I agree with you, bozo. I think the government should take all but $30,000 of his money and evenly distribute it among the cities homeless. Then they can go to the next person making "too much" and do the same thing. Before you know it, we'll all be making $30,000 and all our woes will be eliminated.

Of course, there will be no reason to strive to achieve more and be successful so work performances might slip. Shoot, why even go to work at all if you can sit back and earn Joe and Fred's money. Maybe we could just take turns at all the important positions across the nation?

Dibbs on the head of the IRS!!! (Everyone's tax return would be the same. What a piece of cake! mmmmm...cake. Maybe I'll be the president of Betty Crocker next.)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years ago

Yea, if they paid only $140,000 a year for someone in that job, they'd never get anyone to apply.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years ago

The salary was set before they sought candidates. I'm sure it's a quite demanding job, but I find it hard to believe that they couldn't find someone qualified to do the job for considerably less than $278,000 per year.

But what bothers me more is that the University relies on GTA's to fill what should be faculty positions-- they aren't throwing out huge salaries in the interest of finding the best qualified candidates. As a matter of fact, they are barely even offering a living wage to the people who actually carry out the core mission of the university.

In that respect, it's very similar to corporate america-- salaries are determined by a very small circle of people, and if you are in that circle, you get compensated phenomenally, regardless of performance or the difficulty of the job. If you aren't in the circle, you'll have to fight for whatever scraps they throw down.

RonBurgandy 11 years ago

Of course it's a demanding job, it's a Provost position of a major university. These people don't just sit back and relax here people. I don't really think he is getting overpaid.

GTAs should not be paid the same as faculty, they are students. I do believe they should be paid more than they get now, a GTA has to devote full time to school and teaching and they should be paid for it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years ago

I didn't say that GTA's should be paid the same as faculty-- I said they shouldn't be used as a cheap replacement for faculty. Nor should the university rely as much on adjunct faculty, who recieve lower pay, no benefits and certainly no job security.

As to whether he's being overpaid, who knows? There are almost certainly many at the university who have a good deal of responsibility and work just as hard or harder and only make a fraction as much.

While the argument can be made that high salaries ensure hard work by the most qualified people, the opposite argument can be made that low salaries ensure a lower commitment to the requirements of the job, especially when there are such huge salary disparities within a public sector institution.

sampierron 11 years ago

This guy is the best thing that has happened to KU in years, from what I can tell. He's a successful businessman because he figured out 20 years ago that this outsourcing to India was going to happen. He's an accomplished administrator and an internationalist. Trust me...he blew every other candidate out of the water. Plus, he's a hardass, and that's what the provost is supposed to do.

If he had spent more of his time kissing butt instead of reading trends, he'd be the chancellor of a research university now. We've got him as a provost, which is better.

When the story of the Hemenway Era is written, this will be the best hire he ever made. Well, maybe other than Bill Self. :)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years ago

What do you mean by hardass? Do you mean he's unpleasant when things don't go as he'd like?

I suppose that trait can be helpful at times in a position like provost, but competence and talent are much more valuable. And as people skills go, it's much more useful if you can get people to willingly and enthusiastically implement your ideas, programs and policies by explaining them clearly and then selling them on their value. That doesn't require being an a**hole. As a matter of fact, that's usually counterproductive.

blessed3x 11 years ago


I'd like to see the figures for sitting on your arse posting crap on the forum all day long. Some people on here could retire!! :-)

Godot 11 years ago

I hope the new provost challenges the KU Endowment Association to provide the money needed to maintain the buildings that were built with funds raised by the association. If he does, then this Kansas taxpayer will support his efforts.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years ago

"So, Whizzo, how soon do you post the list of what each job is actually worth?"

It would appear that the university already has one. At the top of the list you live like a king-- at the bottom of the list you're a month out from living under the bridge.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years ago

"I'd like to see the figures for sitting on your arse posting crap on the forum all day long. Some people on here could retire!! :-)"

I believe this would be a form of ad hominem attack.

You have no idea what any of those "sitting on (their) arse" are otherwise doing. It could even very well be that many of them are retired.

The_Twelve 11 years ago

Major issues--finding more money for graduate student fellowships...

Hmm... Shulenberger hasn't been able to do it in the time I've been here. So, I really don't think he has any expertise in the subject. And he wants to coach the new guy???? What a joke.

breeze 11 years ago

At least Richard is smart, open-minded and a nice guy. Not too many of that combination running around KU, are there?

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