Kansas University now has another key leadership vacancy. With search committees already working to find a new provost, a new dean for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and a new dean for the School of Music, KU now is losing its law school dean.
After less than four years at KU, Law School Dean Gail Agrawal has accepted a position as dean of the University of Iowa College of Law. It was announced Monday that she will start her new job on July 1.
It’s disappointing that Agrawal is leaving KU after such short time. We hope her experience at KU was a good one and that her move to Iowa isn’t an indication of any dissatisfaction with KU but simply a decision to take advantage of a unique academic opportunity at a top-notch school.
The Kansas Legislature’s lackluster support of higher education in recent years and this year’s drastic cuts undoubtedly have been discouraging to many university leaders. Most public universities are hurting financially right now, but it would be interesting to know whether the situation at Iowa is any better than it is in Kansas.
The turnover among top KU administrators, in itself, is at least close to becoming an issue. Vacancies in so many top administrative offices certainly give new Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little the opportunity to help pick her own team, but there is a danger that the balance of experience vs. fresh ideas could be getting a little out of whack.
Some of the search committees already have been working for several months. We hope they are being successful in finding strong candidates and will be ready to report their recommendations soon. Both now, when economic times are tough, and later, when the economic recovery begins, KU needs leaders ready to push the university forward.