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Lawrence and Douglas county

KU to choose among internal candidates for new vice provost job

June 13, 2013


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With a new university-wide curriculum going into place this fall, Kansas University will fill a new administrator job this summer to oversee undergraduate academics.

KU on Thursday announced four KU faculty members as finalists for the new position, to be called vice provost and dean of undergraduate studies.

Leaders decided on an internal search because the university already has a number of efforts underway to improve retention and education of undergraduates, said Sara Rosen, KU’s senior vice provost for academic affairs.

“It was important to get somebody who knows very well where we’re going and what we’re doing,” Rosen said.

The search will fill the last of four new vice provost positions created in 2011, when KU announced a reorganization in the Office of the Provost.

Leaders waited until now to fill the undergraduate studies job, Rosen said, to allow a number of new efforts in that area to get up and running — especially KU’s first-ever university-wide undergraduate curriculum, called the KU Core. The new curriculum will greatly reduce the number of general-education requirements for most undergraduates and it will go into effect for freshmen entering KU this fall, as well as a few other students who may opt in.

The new vice provost and dean will oversee KU’s efforts to retain and graduate more undergraduates, including the new curriculum. KU’s strategic plan, “Bold Aspirations,” lays out goals of 90 percent freshman retention and a 70 percent six-year graduation rate. The most recent figures in those areas are about 80 percent and 60 percent, respectively.

The new job will not have any budgetary effect on KU, Rosen said, as it will replace another position in the provost’s office, special assistant to the provost.

In that position, professor Christopher Haufler helped with the formation of the new curriculum. Haufler, also a professor and chairman of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, is one of the candidates for the new vice provost job.

The other finalists are:

• Ann Cudd, an associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and a distinguished professor of philosophy.

• Amy Devitt, a professor of English, Frances L. Steifel teaching professor and Chancellors Club teaching professor.

• Paul Atchley, a professor and chairman for undergraduate studies for the Department of Psychology.

Each of the candidates will appear at a public presentation and question-and-answer session on campus next week: Cudd from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Monday in the Kansas Union’s Malott Room; Haufler from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday in the Malott Room; Devitt from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the Malott Room; and Atchley from 1 to 2 p.m. Thursday in the Union’s Centennial Room.

More information about each candidate is available on the provost office’s webpage,

The new vice provost will report to Rosen, who said she hopes to have the job filled by the beginning of the fall semester in August.


Frank A Janzen 4 years, 11 months ago

More top-heavy administrators sucking money out of KU.

Frank A Janzen 4 years, 11 months ago

September/October 2011, Washington Monthly: "Administrators Ate My Tuition" Want to get college costs in line? Start by cutting the overgrown management ranks. By Benjamin Ginsberg "Apparently, as colleges and universities have had more money to spend, they have not chosen to spend it on expanding their instructional resources—that is, on paying faculty. They have chosen, instead, to enhance their administrative and staff resources. A comprehensive study published by the Delta Cost Project in 2010 reported that between 1998 and 2008, America’s...colleges increased spending on instruction by 22 percent while increasing spending on administration and staff support by 36 percent. Parents who wonder why college tuition is so high and why it increases so much each year may be less than pleased to learn that their sons and daughters will have an opportunity to interact with more administrators and staffers— but not more professors. Well, you can’t have everything."

Chris Phillips 4 years, 11 months ago

Perses,,,so it is your opinion that the information frankfussman provided is invalid when applied to KU? I tend to think that students would benefit more from a professor than from an administrator.

NewKansan 4 years, 11 months ago

My gosh. Each hire at KU does not have to have a direct benefit to students. Administrators like this handle bigger issues regarding the university rather than research agendas or teaching classes. As a result, students are indirectly affected.

People that like to make snarky comments as shown above usually have no idea how a university works.

fu7il3 4 years, 11 months ago

It does look bad when KU complained that budget cuts would endanger keeping top faculty and then creates an entirely new, likely high-paying administrative position.

Eddie Muñoz 4 years, 11 months ago

"The new job will not have any budgetary effect on KU, Rosen said, as it will replace another position in the provost’s office, special assistant to the provost."

Clark Coan 4 years, 11 months ago

By filling the job internally, you keep the same mindset. An outsider can bring a new perspective and possible innovations. Bad idea to fill the job internally.

Eddie Muñoz 4 years, 11 months ago

Normally, yes, but in this case there are a lot of new efforts underway and it would slow down the process to have to train an outside person. In this case hiring someone with institutional knowledge is a really good idea.

yourworstnightmare 4 years, 11 months ago

Joining the Deanery, Chancellory, or Provostery is the best sure-fire way to get a big raise and to do less work. Who wants to do teaching, research, and service for little money when you could become an administrator, make big bucks, and do very little with little or no accountability.

It's the KU way.

NewKansan 4 years, 11 months ago

And how do you know this? Every dean that I've ever known has worked their butts off. I don't have any personal experience with Chancellors or Provosts, but if you know something we don't about their work schedule...please enlighten us.

yourworstnightmare 4 years, 11 months ago

Experience. I agree that there are some deans, provosts and chancellors who work hard and do a good job. There are others who are placeholders who collect a big salary.

I am all for high salaries for these positions to get the best people. The trick is getting the best people, and having accountability standards in place so that the performance of these highly-paid employees can be monitored, and actions taken if they are not performing.

As it is now, appointment of these positions is often more political than merit-based. Also, once one crosses the threshold of being a KU administrator, there is no going back. It is a lifetime job with a high salary and little or no accountability.

This is a recipe for mediocrity.

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