Archive for Friday, May 29, 2009

Provost at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill named KU chancellor

Her priorities: grad rates, research, fundraising

Bernadette Gray-Little is introduced as Kansas University's 17th chancellor on Friday, May 29, at the Kansas Board of Regents office in Topeka. Gray-Little is provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a former psychology professor who served as dean of UNC's College of Arts and Sciences before being named provost.

Bernadette Gray-Little is introduced as Kansas University's 17th chancellor on Friday, May 29, at the Kansas Board of Regents office in Topeka. Gray-Little is provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a former psychology professor who served as dean of UNC's College of Arts and Sciences before being named provost.

May 29, 2009, 8:43 a.m. Updated May 29, 2009, 9:51 p.m.


Chancellor Robert Hemenway replacement search

More than 200 community members came out to meet KU's new chancellor on Saturday afternoon.


New KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little talks to the community

Bernadette Gray-Little will be KU's 17th chancellor, and the first African-American and the first woman to hold the position.

KU selects Bernadette Gray-Little as 17th chancellor

Look back at the process that led Kansas University hire Bernadette Gray-Little as its 17th chancellor.

Related document

Bernadette Gray-Little's resume ( .PDF )

Kansas University’s next chancellor is Bernadette Gray-Little.

Gray-Little is provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She is a former psychology professor who served as dean of UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences before being named provost.

The Kansas Board of Regents made the announcement shortly after 3 p.m. Friday, but the first official confirmation came in a post on KU’s Facebook page. Gray-Little, KU’s 17th chancellor, is the university’s first black and female chancellor.

In remarks to the Board of Regents, Gray-Little, 64, said raising the rate of undergraduates who graduate in four or five years and increasing research and private fundraising must be accomplished to move KU forward.

She said she was comfortable at UNC, but, after speaking with the search firm that contacted her and others, she made the decision to make the move.

“It just seemed like a wonderful opportunity to come into this role,” she said during an abbreviated meeting with the media. No salary figure was announced.

Her husband, Shade Little, is an assistant dean for academic support services at UNC. She has two children and one grandchild.

Gray-Little said she would leave it to others to comment on the symbolism of her becoming KU’s first black woman as chancellor, and said she hoped the committee looked to identify the best person they could find.

She said minorities in leadership positions were increasing elsewhere.

“I think that’s happening around the world and the country,” she said. “It’s about time.”

The board chose Gray-Little after a search committee interviewed eight applicants, and forwarded three finalists to the Board of Regents, who interviewed them Thursday and Friday. The board reached its decision shortly before the 3 p.m. announcement.

Gray-Little said she was notified she had been awarded the position less than an hour before the announcement was made.

Donna Shank, regents chairwoman, said the board was overwhelmed with how impressive Gray-Little was in the interview.

The board factored in her experience overseeing UNC’s medical center campus, which has achieved a National Cancer Institute designation, her familiarity with top-flight athletic programs, as well as her leadership at a leading research institution when determining the hire.

“She identified priorities for KU that are absolutely in line with our priorities for KU,” Shank said.

Gray-Little will become KU’s chancellor on Aug. 15. She will replace Chancellor Robert Hemenway, who is leaving to teach and write a book on intercollegiate athletics.

“I congratulate Dr. Gray-Little on being selected for the best job in the world,” Hemenway said in a statement. “Good universities always make good hires, and this is an excellent hire. I offer any assistance I can give in ensuring her transition is smooth. KU will be in good hands.”

Kansas Athletic Director Lew Perkins also lauded the hire.

“All of us at Kansas Athletics are very excited about working with Dr. Gray-Little,” he said in a statement. “She has had terrific experience at a university rich in academic and athletic tradition, which will serve her well here. We very much look forward to working with her to advance the goals of the University of Kansas.”

Gray-Little was honored this year by the UNC Alumni Association with its distinguished service citation. She grew up in eastern North Carolina before attaining a Fulbright scholarship and a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from St. Louis University.

The new chancellor will meet with the university’s community at 1 p.m. today on the sixth floor of the Kansas Union.


boy_genius 8 years ago

Prediction: The regents will say, "Who are we kidding?" and name Lew Perkins as chancellor.

Steve Bunch 8 years ago

Perkins is, indeed, the name I'm hearing. In an odd way, it makes sense.

Steve Bunch 8 years ago

By the way, Uhlrick Hetfield III probably should explain himself instead of tossing out such vague innuendo, which, since he's concerned with honesty, he should realize is quite a dishonest tactic.

Michael Stanclift 8 years ago

If we see black smoke, back to vote again. If we see white smoke, we'll have a new Chancellor.

Anyone else annoyed that there are not public comments, election or open hearings on who will run the largest school in the state?

Noweigh 8 years ago

Perkins as chancellor.....that would mean real goals and deadlines being met, shooting to be the top public university with first class faciities for faculty and students and a no excuse environment in the classroom and all departments. And yes, massive new fundraising efforts for facilities, high faculty salaries to attrack top educators, better recruiting, and higher standards all across the university. Actually run KU with accountability and some sense of real world thinking. Bring it on.

gontek 8 years ago

I hope they choose Bill Snyder.

volunteer 8 years ago

Let's hope this one doesn't greet students at Convocation with the words, "Welcome, party animals."

4chewnut 8 years ago

Dolph must be slaving over his Saturday column, preparing to slam whomever is named.

KansasVoter 8 years ago

Why don't we get to know who the finalists are?

Linda Aikins 8 years ago

Oh C1, that was your prom date, right?

gontek 8 years ago

That gives me an idea, Dolph Jr for Chancellor!

Combine JLW with the UDK, and internet power of the university with Sunflower broadband? Upon reviewing some articles, it is clear to me that Dolph understands the university and it's future, cares for academics and I think, really would be a good candidate.

p 8 years ago

Its going to be Dr. Bernadette Gray-Little, from UNC-Chapel Hill.

gontek 8 years ago

Promote Schulenberger? The suspense is killing me.

gontek 8 years ago

Promote Schulenburger? The suspense is killing me.

boy_genius 8 years ago

Repeating yourself doesn't reduce the suspense. Repeating yourself blah blah blah.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

Perkins would never take the job-- he could never live on such a small salary.

KSChick1 8 years ago

Shulenberger is not at KU anymore. What are you talking about???

JonKU 8 years ago

"The University of Kansas is proud to announce that Bernadette Gray-Little has been named the 17th chancellor of KU by the Kansas Board of Regents. A welcome event will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday on the 6th floor of the Kansas Union."

Quote straight from KU's Facebook fan page. It's official.

jayhawks71 8 years ago

Bernadette Gray-Little. Boy, Facebook has it before the newspaper!

Bob_Keeshan 8 years ago

Let's hear it for "p".

Nailed it at 2:32 pm.

oakfarm 8 years ago

Earned a PhD in 1970. How old is the new chancellor? Just curious.

Bubarubu 8 years ago

"Why don't we get to know who the finalists are?"

Upper-level administrative searches (provost, chancellor, president, oftentimes dean) are usually kept secret so the candidates don't have to answer questions at their current institutions about their desire to leave. See the way Lariviere's candidacy at Oregon went along. The search for Pitt State's president earlier this year was an aberration.

Linda Aikins 8 years ago

Now I want to know who the other candidate were.

LloydDobbler 8 years ago

Great choice! We are lucky to have her.

jayhawks71 8 years ago

She was a provost at UNC and a psychology professor. Let's just skip the newspapers account...

clyde_never_barks 8 years ago

Actually, Bubarubu, the PSU "open process" of naming the top 3 candidates was NOT an aberration. Emporia State (a year ago) and K-State all announced the top 3 - THAT is the norm.

Hope she does well. Lots of firsts with this announcement.

shockchalk 8 years ago

P nailed it at 2:32? Well, I would say P was either on the search committee or very close to someone who was. It's not like P just "guessed" who the new chancellor was going to be. So much for the confidential search..........oh well, glad she is here and ready to go to work.

oakfarm 8 years ago

64? Time to start the search for her successor.

Bob Forer 8 years ago

After decades of white male domination, Kansas did it right, and killed two birds with one stone. A woman, and an African-American. And from NC. So she must love BB. Not bad, NOt bad at all.

Bassetlover 8 years ago

64? Seriously? Why would the Board of Regents want to do another search for a new Chancellor in just a few years?

onerockinmom 8 years ago

this is awesome! Way to go KU! The first woman chancellor! I am proud to say I am a KU alum!!!!!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

Here's an article after her appt. as UNC provost. Interesting article, and interesting process.

jayhawks71 8 years ago

A few years? She could be around for 10 years, which is about the time the U. should be looking for a new chancellor anyway. Although the following refers to University Presidents, it suggests that this is the norm...

"The average age of presidents increased from 52 years in 1986 to 60 years in 2006. More telling, the proportion of presidents who were aged 61 or older grew from 14 percent in 1986 to 49 percent in 2006..."

rhd99 8 years ago

Way to go, Jayhawks! Congratulations, Madam Chancellor!

Satirical 8 years ago

She has a hyphenated last name. Therefore I conclude she will be horrible.

I bet she's left handed too...

KansasVoter 8 years ago

Why did the LJW feel the need to say "UNC-Chapel Hill"? That may be the proper name, but everyone would know what you were talking about if you just wrote "UNC", and saying "UNC-Chapel Hill" makes it sound like a second-tier university, like UNC-Charlotte.

oakfarm 8 years ago

Jayhawks71: Without the standard deviations these data don't tell you much. At best, she is four years older than the average sitting president, and since their average tenure is eight plus years, add another four years. Better you ask, "What is the average at time of hire of new presidents?" Plus the older they are when they start, the shorter the expected tenure. Projecting a ten-year tenure based on these data is tenuous, pure dreaming. And, as several have noted, this is not a job for a senior citizen. "A few years" makes sense from your data.

SandCoAlmanac 8 years ago

Interesting KU / UNC-Chapel Hill connection continues ... First we send Dr. James Moeser from KU's music dept. to be UNC's chancellor and, in return, they send Dr. Bernadette Gray-Little from their psychology dept. to be KU's chancellor. I wonder why this pipeline seems so popular?

0tolerance 8 years ago

Based on her biography on the web, Bernadette Gray-Little sounds like a really great choice. Welcome!

rorik23 8 years ago

KansasVoter - UNC-Charlotte is not a satellite school of UNC-Chapel Hill, and has its own chancellor. Interestingly, UNC-Charlotte has almost as many students as UNC-Chapel Hill (24k vs 28k).

justthefacts 8 years ago

Welcome Chancellor Grey-Little. Your credentials look beyond stellar and it's wonderful to see yet another ceiling shattered! Hope you soon learn to love Lawrence. Please don't think that all the negative folks (who would pick on St. Peter, Mother Teresa, Buddah, or anyone else that isn't them) speak for the majority of people. Many/most are very happy to have you and will give you every chance before deciding how you'll do!

luv2raft 8 years ago

Welcome to KU, Dr. Gray-Little! We can't wait to teach you the Rock Chalk Chant!

Linda Aikins 8 years ago

I am thrilled beyond belief with this choice. She reads as an amazing person!!! It's just a bonus that she is a minority-minority. I think she will be wonderful!

BigPrune 8 years ago

I wonder if the Obama administration will allocate KU with more research dollars this year?

wordgenie8 8 years ago

What's her record on diversity? Let's discuss substantive facts, please. Her qualifications? Publications? At first look it seems like much better judgment on the part of the selection committee than I expected. Do good work Chancellor Gray-Little-- we academic women of all colors are behind you and will cheer on your probable success.

jayhawks71 8 years ago

ed, I heard that this was part of the trade for Roy Williams. UNC gives up their best administrator when Roy brings his second championship to UNC. UNC probably thought this day would never come (or at least not so soon!) given Roy's history.

It's a joke people, relax and enjoy the hire!

Marcy McGuffie 8 years ago

She seems like a great choice!

To those balking at her age:

It is illegal to use age discrimination as a factor in whether or not to employ someone. In addition, 64 isn't that "old." Hopefully, you all will make it to that age to realize it! BTW - I'm in my 20s (just in case you're thinking I must be "old").

sustainabilitysister 8 years ago

Welcome Chancellor Gray-Little! We're glad you're here! ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK GO KU!

flux 8 years ago

It doesnt really matter to me who the new chancellor is but WELCOME!

KEITHMILES05 8 years ago

What is the regents thinking hiring a 64 year old? It is obvious she is going to be on the job only a very short time. Maybe they want to keep new blood in the office. Who knows.

I'm shocked they didn't get a late 40's/early 50's person.

JohnBLZ 8 years ago

Seems like a great hire, but why someone so close to the traditional retirement age? Did KU hire for the next year, five years, or decade with her?

Regardless, best of luck. We'll take the young energetic guy over in the more conservative side of the state. Kind of an oxy moron of sorts...

jayhawks71 8 years ago

"Jayhawks71: Without the standard deviations these data don't tell you much."

@oakfarm, I agree that having a measure of dispersion would have been further enlightening; however, even without the standard deviation (or the variance, the range, a z-score, etc) the measure of central tendency gives infinitely better information than sheer uninformed speculation, which is what we had leading up to my post. It was meant to add information to the conversation, not to end the conversation.

@johnblz... I don't see why her age precludes her from any of the options you give for the length of her tenure.

Jeremy Lichtenauer 8 years ago

Big Prune = Big Genius!!

We're all getting paid!!

BigPrune 8 years ago

edjayhawk - please! She did well in getting the NC medical school a National Cancer Institute designation. I wasn't referring to whom she voted for in the presidential election.

Don't sound so tainted. Remember, Lawrence is 27 square miles of reality.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

"I hope she is not shocked at how many white people go to school here."

I would imagine that she'll only be shocked if she's confronted with a significant number white supremacists such as yourself, Arumer, although given that one of the missions of a university has always been confronting ignorance and bigotry, maybe she'd take that as a challenge.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

They hired her to lead the university, but the only two people interviewed in this article appear to be Hemenway and Perkins, who quite arguably have little interest or involvement in academics.

oakfarm 8 years ago

Jayhawk71 writes: "I agree that having a measure of dispersion would have been further enlightening; however, even without the standard deviation (or the variance, the range, a z-score, etc) the measure of central tendency gives infinitely better information than sheer uninformed speculation, which is what we had leading up to my post. It was meant to add information to the conversation, not to end the conversation."

Response: Using a single measure of central tendency, and not even a measure of age at hire, is not "infinitely better information". Rather, it is spurious datum, not information. And the range and z-score would not counter "uninformed" speculation. Remember the adage against using statistics the way an inebriated person uses a lamp post -- more for support than for illumination.

And, yes, discrimination based on age is illegal, but hiring a person to manage a ten-year strategic plan, vision, or fundraising campaign requires an understanding of the length of the person's commitment. Is the chancellor getting a one-year contract? I think not.

Sharon Aikins 8 years ago

I'm impressed by this woman all around, including her age. In today's world, 64 is not that old. There are some things to be said for age and experience, even though a lot of young people don't get that yet.

Her qualifications speak for themselves. And it isn't like this is a job where any bozo off the street knows what we're looking for. Let's give her a chance before we start knocking her down. My guess is that she might just be the best thing that happened to KU. I'm even guessing that she won't be kissing you-know-who's behind at every turn either. Have to wait and see.

Congratulations Chancellor Gray-Little!

number1jayhawker 8 years ago

I just hope hope her and Big Lew see eye to eye. :-)

And Bozo, why is it when someone asks or states a legitimate concern when it has gender or race involved, you automatically call them a racist? To me calling someone that without total proof, is one of the most gutless acts on this earth.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago


You're obviously not very well-acquainted with Arumer. Or do you share his white supremacist viewpoint?

Catzilla 8 years ago

Wow! All I can say is "Wow!". This knocked me over more than Barack Obama's election. Good for KU!! Here's to the waning dominance of the white male!

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