It’s great to see Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little moving quickly to fill a couple of key administrative positions at Kansas University.
In the last week, committees have been named to start the search for a new provost and a new dean for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Interim appointments have filled the two positions, but it’s important to hire permanent replacements as soon as possible.
The provost, who also serves as executive vice chancellor for the Lawrence campus, obviously is a pivotal position for KU. While the chancellor oversees the university’s big picture, the provost handles most of the day-to-day functions on Mount Oread. The liberal arts dean is in charge of the largest academic unit on campus and dozens of departments within that unit.
In both cases the committees are charged with conducting nationwide searches. As it was with the chancellor’s search, their duty should be not simply to review applications but to actively seek the best possible candidates for these important jobs.
The turnover in three of KU’s top administrative jobs in the matter of a few months is both a challenge and an opportunity for the university. It only made sense to put off the provost and LAS dean searches until Gray-Little arrived in Lawrence, but now, there’s no time to waste in filling these key positions with creative, dynamic leaders who can set KU on a positive path for the future.