A familiar face will be taking the lead at the Dole Institute of Politics at Kansas University.
Jonathan Earle, associate professor of history and current associate director for programming at the institute, will be the interim director of the Dole Institute from now until Bill Lacy returns from his indefinite leave of absence.
Lacy is heading up Fred Thompson's presidential exploratory committee. Thompson, a Tennessee Republican, is expected to enter the race after Labor Day.
"I was pretty surprised to get the chancellor's call," Earle said. "One of the reasons the chancellor, Bill Lacy and Sen. Dole wanted me was so there was continuity."
Earle, who first came to the institute in December 2003, said his main priority would be to maintain the momentum that the institute has built up since its opening in July 2003 and to continue bringing more students to the programs.
Lacy said that Earle would make a clean transition into the leadership position.
"Jon is an outstanding choice," Lacy said. "Leaders get credit a lot of time where credit isn't due. He was there along with all the other talented people from the time I got there."
Lacy said that he and Earle determined a lot of the fall programming this summer, before he left to join the Thompson campaign.
Earle, who recently finished a year as a visiting scholar at Occidental University in Los Angeles, said having made all of the programming decisions would make the job much easier.
He said that being away from Lawrence made him appreciate more how much he likes being at KU and the Dole Institute.
There are no plans to fill the position that Earle's temporary promotion will make. Earle said he'd be relying on the institute's two fellows, who will be named later this month, to assist him.