Kansas University’s interim provost and its dean of liberal arts and sciences is leaving for Ohio State University.
Joseph Steinmetz will become executive dean of arts and sciences and vice provost at Ohio State, effective July 1.
On that date, Danny Anderson, vice provost for academic affairs, will assume Steinmetz’s responsibilities as new interim provost.
Steinmetz is the third high-ranking KU academic official to announce he would leave his position this summer.
Provost Richard Lariviere will become president of the University of Oregon, and Chancellor Robert Hemenway will retire to return to teaching and writing, both effective July 1.
Anderson said turnover is common in higher education leadership, and he would seek to ensure continuity as a priority when he begins work in his new position.
“There should not be a sense that there’s any kind of interruption in our ability to move forward and be effective in our goals,” he said.
Anderson has served as the university’s vice provost for academic affairs since 2008, before which he was an associate dean in the college of liberal arts, and a professor and chairman of KU’s department of Spanish and Portuguese.
He has been on the KU faculty since 1988.
Earlier this year, Greg Simpson, chairman of the department of psychology, was named KU’s interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.
Steinmetz said he was attracted to the position at Ohio State for several reasons, one of which was to oversee a major realignment of that school’s liberal arts program. Five separate colleges would be combined under the reorganization, he said.
“I really have a passion for the arts and sciences,” Steinmetz said. “This was an opportunity to play a major role in reorganizing the arts and sciences at Ohio State.”
Steinmetz acknowledged the high amount of transition happening at KU, along with budget issues. But with Anderson’s experience with the Kansas Board of Regents and his relationships with other academic officials, Steinmetz said, he’d be well-positioned to handle the situation.
“If I was a faculty member here the next year and the year after, I wouldn’t worry about this,” Steinmetz said.
Donna Shank, chairwoman of the Kansas Board of Regents, said that higher education leadership transitions occurred often, and that KU had a number of talented people from which to draw.
She said the number of vacant top positions at KU would not affect the ongoing chancellor search, but could potentially make the position more attractive by allowing a new person to name his or her own supporting cast.
Hemenway said he selected Anderson for the new position because of his skill as an academic and his leadership experience.
It speaks well of the quality of people employed at KU that they were being tapped at other high-quality institutions.
“We regret losing Joe Steinmetz,” Hemenway said. “But fortunately we have somebody like Danny Anderson who can step in.”