What is taking so long?
It is puzzling why it is taking so long for Kansas University Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little to announce whom she has selected to become the new executive vice chancellor of the KU Medical Center.
Several weeks ago, three men were interviewed for the job: one from Louisiana State University, one from the University of Washington and an internal candidate currently at the KU School of Medicine.
This actually was the second round of interviews; a first try to nominate a candidate ended with the chancellor rejecting an internal candidate favored by the search committee.
What is causing the delay?
It seems obvious that, if the same internal candidate was favored by the search committee in the second go-round, it would be relatively easy for this individual to be named by the chancellor. He could move into the vice chancellorship quickly and easily with no troubles related to moving from another town, seeking housing, negotiating salary and a benefit package, etc.
The chancellor’s delay in announcing her selection raises many questions and suggests she, or perhaps the provost, again may have rejected the internal candidate.
This then leaves the two outside candidates, and the delay may indicate trouble in negotiating a compensation package with either the LSU or the Washington candidate. As one well-placed individual suggested, maybe the chancellor has “misfired” on the selection process and didn’t have an agreement or a negotiating package ready to present to either of the two outside candidates.
In the meantime, the longer this selection drags on, the greater the frustration among medical center staff members. Also, it is well known that the internal candidate is championed by a significant number of the doctors and researchers — and what are they to think if the chancellor again turns down this candidate? Plus, it is known the former executive vice chancellor, who also served as dean of the school of medicine, did not have the best relations with KU Hospital and it is believed the internal candidate would bring about a much better relationship between the two entities.
Something isn’t right or doesn’t make sense concerning the unnecessary and long delay in selecting a vice chancellor. The School of Medicine also is being handicapped by the overly long delay in selecting its new dean while waiting for the vice chancellor selection to be made.
The medical center has been penalized due to the lack of leadership, vision and enthusiasm for far too long, and it is difficult to understand the lack of positive action from the chancellor’s office and hard to overstate the damage done to the school and medical center by the long delay in filling these two important positions.