Editorial: Choice awaited

Delays in selecting an executive vice chancellor are hurting the Kansas University Medical Center.

December 16, 2012


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.


Jack Martin 5 years, 6 months ago

Please stop lying about the KUMC Executive Vice Chancellor search. You have been repeatedly told, including by the chair of the search committee, that there was no nomination of a single internal candidate. http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2012/nov...

What is "difficult to understand" is this newspaper's obsession with misinforming its readers about this subject. Surely your ax has been ground down to the handle by now, hasn't it?

Lawrence Morgan 5 years, 6 months ago

Jack Martin, you are a well-paid stooge for the administration, which apparently does not want to answer these, and other questions, in detail. The Chancellor should be answering these questions, not someone like you.

Your statement, "What is difficult to understand...surely your ax has been ground down to the handle by now, hasn't it?" should be grounds for your dismissal.

I am a KU graduate, and I have worked, especially in Africa, for the last years, so don't use me as your scapegoat, either. I don't like people like you making this kind of remark, when there are many aspects of this, and other cases, that have never been even minutely discussed.

I personally know of two medical students, outstanding in their undergraduate years, who have chosen other schools based on disarray in the KU Med Center and Hospital. There must be many others, as well.

The Chancellor has fallen way behind in many areas - championing on-line classes, reducing student debt, changing curriculum, welcoming students of all ages to classes day and night, as only a few examples, and there are many others. There has NEVER to date been any lengthy articles on what the university plans to do in these areas.

The Chancellor should be replying to all these areas in detail, not your statements, which appear to come from a lackey, not the kind of KU official I would want to have in your position. Your reply is unprofessional for your position.

KU likes to think it is above the students of Lawrence and Kansas, but that is not the case. The taxpayers of Kansas, plus many other people who live in other states but have grown up in Kansas and attended KU - all of us provide funding, and it belongs to all of us, not just a few.

Bradley Kemp 5 years, 6 months ago

The editorial contains two questions -- essentially identical -- that have long ago been repeatedly answered. It also repeats claims that have been more than adequately refuted.

Mr. Martin's comment is perfectly appropriate. I for one am glad that KU has someone who will diligently set the record straight when the Journal World editorializes along these lines. Although I haven't worked in Africa, whatever that might have to do with it.

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