Your daily dose of news, notes and links from around Kansas University.
• KU chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little addressed the Association of American Universities’ decision to remove Nebraska from its ranks (and Syracuse left on its own rather than face a vote).
In a message to faculty and staff, Gray-Little emphasized that KU should remain focused on improving its research capabilities.
“The departure of two AAU members reaffirms my conviction that our priorities of raising KU’s academic stature and increasing the quality and quantity of our research are critical to the future success of our university,” Gray-Little wrote. “That’s why these priorities are core elements of the strategic planning processes at KU and the KU Medical Center.”
It’s a reminder, she said, that AAU membership — something held very dear at KU — isn’t “static or guaranteed.”
“I know how disappointed those at the departing universities must be by this news. I do not intend for KU to face a similar challenge,” she wrote. “But if we are to raise our stature, we must work together to increase our academic and scholarly achievements. And it is critical that we have the full support of Kansas’ policymakers in Topeka in this endeavor.”
It’s hard to say if the AAU will undertake these kinds of measures again soon. One thing to watch for will be the addition of new members, like Georgia Tech, which was added to the ranks last year. Some of the concern about removing members appears to have come because some in the organization didn’t want it growing too large.
Some things I’ve read have indicated that this recent scuffle has been enough bloodletting for awhile.
"There were a lot of people who didn't want [Nebraska] disassociated," one public-university president told the Chronicle of Higher Education. "I don't think you'll see another vote anytime soon on eliminating a member. The wounds are too great over this episode. I anticipate a lot of future debate over the criteria."
• Tying up one last loose end from the KU School of Business’ dean search, a school official told me that we will not, in fact, have an interregnum (one of my favorite words) between B-School deans.
Current dean William Fuerst had originally planned to step down on June 30. Incoming dean Neeli Bendapudi won’t begin until Aug. 1.
Fuerst has agreed to stay on as dean until July 31, after which he will return to the KU faculty.
• I heard word from a tipster that you might be able to catch KU student Will Dale on today’s Oprah Winfrey show about the Freedom Riders. It airs at 4 p.m. on KSNT, Knology Channel 8, and KMBC, Knology Channel 9.
Dale will be going on a PBS-sponsored trip that mirrors the path of the Freedom Riders, civil activists who rode integrated buses in the South during segregation.
• Heard on the Hill tipsters are pretty smart folks. Join their ranks by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.