Archive for Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Heard on the Hill: Huron recommendations bring changes in KU facilities department; KU looking for new director of undergraduate research; lecture to focus on anti-evolution controversies

February 8, 2012


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• Many thanks to the awesome tipsters in facilities operations who continue to keep me apprised of what’s going on there.

Given the conflicting accounts I heard, it sounds like communication of these issues from the top down continues to be a challenge, to put it mildly.

I spoke to Gavin Young, a spokesman for the provost’s office on Tuesday morning, and here’s what he told me at that time about the changes in the office:

Doug Riat is no longer the director of facilities operations but is still employed by KU. His future role has not been determined.

Also, Vince Avila, associate director of facilities planning and development for student housing, had been named as interim director of facilities operations.

And, yes, Young told me, these changes are being made because of the ongoing “Changing for Excellence” efficiency review that was assisted by the Huron Consulting Group.

“The restructuring of leadership of all the facilities units is a key part of the Huron recommendations,” Young said.

No other actions had been taken, he said. I’ll continue to watch for these changes, and thanks again to the folks who tipped me off.

• Meanwhile, KU just posted a new job for a director of undergraduate research (with an expected salary of between $70,000 and $80,000).

It’s a new post, and a KU spokesman told me that one challenge identified during the strategic planning process is that there is no central place for undergraduates interested in research to go to find opportunities.

These opportunities will likely play a part in KU’s new general education requirements.

This new person would play a role in helping faculty create undergraduate research opportunities and matching students up with those opportunities.

The new post would report to the senior vice provost for academic affairs and contribute to the development of a Center for Experiential Learning.

• Another installment in the Hall Center for the Humanities’ lecture series is set for next week.

KU associate history professor Jeff Moran is scheduled to speak at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16 in the Commons at Spooner Hall. His topic? “The Antievolution Controversies and American Culture.”

Kansas, of course, knows a thing or two about antievolution controversy.

Moran, a scholar of sex education and evolution, has taught at KU since 1998, when he arrived from Brown University.

His upcoming book is “American Genesis: Antievolution Controversies from Scopes to Intelligent Design.”

The lecture is free and open to the public.

• Be like the facilities folks. Keep those great tips for Heard on the Hill coming to


McGee 6 years, 3 months ago

If the “restructuring of leadership” plan has not been directly communicated to the facilities employees and there are “conflicting accounts,” clearly the inefficiencies are rooted at levels well above facilities operations. Then any plan focused solely on middle management is half-hearted at best and will kneecap any real success.

darby 6 years, 3 months ago

Thanks, Andy. Strong finally informed us after your column :)

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