Archive for Tuesday, February 23, 2010

1st provost finalist visits KU

February 23, 2010


The first finalist for Kansas University’s top academic leader told a public forum Monday that budget cuts at a state university shouldn’t be distributed across the board.

Universities that will emerge stronger and more suited for the future will rank their academic programs using criteria including their support for the university’s core mission, their scholarly impact and the demand for them among students, said Philip J. McConnaughay, KU’s first candidate for the provost and executive vice chancellor position.

McConnaughay has spent much of his career outside academia. For 18 years he practiced law with the firm of Morrison & Foerster, including almost 10 years as a resident partner in Tokyo and Hong Kong.

He has been the dean of the Dickinson School of Law at Pennsylvania State University since 2002. Before that he served from 1996-2002 as a professor of law at the University of Illinois, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in political science and a law degree.

More interdisciplinary efforts will be key in the future of higher education, he said, noting a positive meeting earlier in the day with leaders of KU academic centers, which often feature faculty members of various fields working together.

McConnaughay pointed to successes during his term as law dean at Penn State, including raising academic standards and greatly increasing diversity, from about 2 percent minority enrollment to about 25 percent.

“Diversity and high academic standing go hand in hand,” he said. “You just can’t have one without the other.”


beawolf 8 years, 4 months ago

I like the fact he has a non-academic background. 6 years as a dean should have prepared him for an upper level university administrative position (the political side), but universities need to get outside their closed brotherhood of academicians.

remember_username 8 years, 4 months ago

A non-academic could be a good approach depending on the type of non-academic background. I'm not too sure about a background in law practice, nor am I too sure about the experience level of a law school dean, but at least it's probably better than business administration. Perhaps the ideal candidate would be retired field grade military or union boss, with considerable experience as a movie producer, casino manager, or amusement park developer.

jfcm77 8 years, 4 months ago

remember_username -- are you on the search committee?

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