Archive for Thursday, September 22, 2016

KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little to step down in summer 2017

KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little

KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little

September 22, 2016, 2:11 p.m. Updated September 22, 2016, 6:41 p.m.


University of Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little will step down from the job next summer, she and the university announced Thursday.

Gray-Little, 71, is KU’s first black and first female chancellor. The university’s 17th chancellor overall, she has held the job since 2009.

The chancellor’s announcement comes as several of her key initiatives are recently completed or winding down.

“During the past seven years, we have made tremendous strides as a university and positioned KU for even greater achievements in the future. We have completed many critical initiatives, and many more are nearing completion,” Gray-Little wrote in a message to campus shared Thursday.

“Now is an ideal time for the University of Kansas to identify a new leader to guide the next chapter in the university’s history.”

Details about the search for Gray-Little’s replacement have yet to be shared, but Kansas Board of Regents representatives said her early announcement allows them to conduct a thorough search and possibly eliminate the need for an interim chancellor.

“She’s given us a good long time so we can be thoughtful and deliberative about crafting the process,” Regents Chairwoman Zoe Newton said. “We’ve got some time.”

Gray-Little told the Regents several months ago she was considering retirement, Regent Bill Feuerborn said.

“Most of us knew that it was probably going to come sooner than later,” he said.

Newton and Feuerborn said they anticipate a closed search, meaning candidates or finalists will not be publicly announced until one is hired. The Regents currently are conducting a search — also closed — for a new president at Kansas State University.

“You just have so many more applicants,” Feuerborn said. “If somebody has a job at a university, then it’s on the nightly news that they’re applying for a job in Kansas, it can come back on them professionally.”

Feuerborn called the KU chancellor’s job — which oversees both KU’s Lawrence campus and KU Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan. — among the most important in the state. Gray-Little’s current salary is $510,041, the most of any state university leader, according to figures from the Kansas Board of Regents.

“We have to be sure we get the right person,” Feuerborn said. “It needs to be a person that is high in academics and high in business, because you’re running a billion-dollar business. It takes a special person.”

Feuerborn said Gray-Little has done an excellent job and “raised the standard” of academics at KU. Newton called her a “transformative” leader, praising her guidance and also her fundraising success.

Bold Aspirations, the five-year strategic plan rolled out during Gray-Little’s tenure, wraps up in 2017.

It includes the goal of redeveloping KU’s Central District. Plans and financing for the $350 million Central District project have been approved, shovels are turning and construction is slated to be completed before the end of 2018.

KU Endowment’s “Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas” ended June 30 with a total of $1.66 billion raised, the largest higher education fundraising effort so far in state history.

KU cited a number of Gray-Little’s other achievements in a news release on Thursday, including:

• Creating new admission procedures — which took effect this semester — and revamping financial aid by creating four-year renewable scholarships and expanding the Jayhawk Generations Scholarship. Those and increasing resources for marketing led to four straight years of freshman class growth. 

• Securing state funding for KU’s Foundation Distinguished Professor initiative, which hired 12 “eminent” scholars to support the university’s strategic initiative themes. The final hire was announced earlier this year.

• Launching KU’s first universitywide curriculum, the KU Core, which incorporates both classes and experiences.

• Overseeing the university’s expansion of its KU School of Medicine-Wichita program from a two-year program into a four-year program in 2011, and the creation of the new School of Medicine at Salina the same year. 

• Overseeing the “Changing for Excellence” efficiency and cost-saving initiative.

Though it will be her last at KU, the coming school year will remain busy, Gray-Little wrote.

“We have much work to do as an institution between now and then, including improving our retention, persistence and graduation rates; enhancing our research enterprise; growing further our faculty scholarship and sponsored inquiry; and continuing to attract investment in our people and programs,” she said in her campus message.

In addition to her role at KU, Gray-Little holds several national positions in academia.

In 2013, she was named to the boards of directors of the Association of American Universities and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. She currently is chairwoman of the board of directors of the APLU.

Prior to being hired at KU, she was executive vice chancellor and provost at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a native of eastern North Carolina.

A professor of psychology, Gray-Little received her bachelor’s degree from Marywood College in Scranton, Pa., and her master’s and doctoral degrees in psychology from Saint Louis University, according to her KU biography.

She was not available for additional comment Thursday afternoon.

Contact KU and higher ed reporter Sara Shepherd
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Chris Bohling 1 year, 7 months ago

The way the university's been treated by the state lately I'd be getting out too if I were in her position.

Joe Blackford II 1 year, 7 months ago

"The university, in conjunction with the Kansas Board of Regents, will announce details of the search process for Gray-Little’s successor in the coming weeks."

Odds are KU will have a new chancellor before the Board of Regents can find a KSU presidential candidate who can pass the background investigation for a Top Secret - Sensitive Compartmented Information clearance. (A TS-SCI is necessary for anyone actually knowing what goes on within the KSU Biosecurity Research Institute &/or NBAF.)

Why not pass the KSU TS-SCI rejects on to KU for consideration, & save Kansans some tax $$$$?

Tristan Moody 1 year, 7 months ago

In fairness, just getting the TS/SCI process done will take the better part of a year, and that's just how long it takes to find out whether or not you get the clearance. If they want someone quickly, they'll need to hire someone who is already cleared.

Joe Blackford II 1 year, 7 months ago

In fairness, the last KSU VP for R & D left in < a year. Clearance failure, IDK?

She did release the NEWS that ~ 35% of KSU's Research $ were dedicated to the GD Biosecurity Research Institute (aka Pat Roberts Hall) for the next 16 years! Shulz exited with that news awaiting the next president(s).

Gen. Myers may have kept his TS-SCI, as Dubya broke long-standing security protocols, permitting "employees" to transfer between agencies, TS intact.

My knowledge of TS-SCI clearance investigations is dated (no social media). Can't say how long it takes a "investigator" to complete a background check. I'm sure contractors are speedier @ blessing employees, can't keep them on the payroll when they're not working..

The Manhattan Area Technical College purchased the 2008 tornado's Chapman schools' classroom trailers for NBAF "training." My guess would be that those will be individuals awaiting completion of background investigations & likely on the NBAF payroll, as was the case when I worked @ Defense Mapping Agency Aerospace Center (TS-SCIF), 1981-85.

Dubya also gave free rein to contractors investigating employees. Edward Snowden a case in point.

AS TO FAIRNESS: Kansans were never informed just how "safe" he National Bio and Agro-defense Facility would NOT be => that the news an Army researcher was the Anthrax Mailer & that Uncle had been researching @ SECRET level, when it should have been TS-SCI (see: Dual Use Research Of Concern, aka my researcher turned out to be Homeland Security's terrorist.

"Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC) is life sciences research that, based on current understanding, can be reasonably anticipated to provide knowledge, information, products, or technologies that could be directly misapplied to pose a significant threat with broad potential consequences to public health and safety, agricultural crops and other plants, animals, the environment, materiel, or national security. The United States Government’s oversight of DURC is aimed at preserving the benefits of life sciences research while minimizing the risk of misuse of the knowledge, information, products, or technologies provided by such research."

Now imagine KSU/Manhattan keeping a smile on the faces of 300 potential bio-terrorists for 50 YEARS (2023-2073).

Chuck Woodling 1 year, 7 months ago

A lame duck chancellor bodes not well for changes needed now in the athletic dept. Unless, as they should, name Neeli Bundapudi as G-L's replacement before the end of the calendar year. KU desperately needs someone with Neeli's charisma.

Joe Blackford II 1 year, 7 months ago

charisma ?????????

Bendapudi hawks CoC:

Video touts unity between Chamber, state

By Mary Clark in The Hutchinson News

"Gov. Sam Brownback and top leaders in the Kansas Legislature took turns before the camera for a new video promoting the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.

The University Of Kansas' School Of Business Dean Neeli Bendapudi is the only person from academia who appears. . . .

Bendapudi served as master of ceremonies at the Chamber's annual banquet this year, and she "was a natural for inclusion in the video," O'Neal said."

Joe Blackford II 1 year, 7 months ago

Listen to all these business types tout KS CoC "united for business" => eliminating taxes on business. How's that working out?

Paul Jones 1 year, 7 months ago

Chuck you just make the case why semi professional sports should be removed from the university system. With all the problems facing KU all the sports fans care about is the one part of KU that has more money than brains.

Harlan Hobbs 1 year, 7 months ago

Frankly, Ms. Gray-Little's tenure has been lackluster. I'm sure that the budget situation was a factor in her decision, but I would also bet that the recent shift to the left in university policies has taken its toll as well. I know of many alums, myself included, who have cancelled their pledges to the KU Endowment Association due to the kowtowing that the administration has done to far left wing special interest groups, and the attempts to squelch freedom of speech.

A similar shift at the University of Missouri cost them millions of dollars in financial support, as well as a reduction in enrollment. Would be interested to hear the honest numbers at KU. Can't imagine that KU's experience has been much better.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 7 months ago

The Chamber of Commerce represents very right wing politics which could send KU down the tubes and KU up for sale to the highest bidder.... can we say Koch ALEC's?

KU needs a new someone with incredible academic stature who would not want to come in and push established teaching staff out of jobs.

Nor should KU bring in any former politicians or CEO's to run a university for they too will sink KU. After all politicians and too many CEO's have yet to show any special skills in money management much less academic management.

Far far too many politicians and CEO's are over paid and over estimated.....

Phil Minkin 1 year, 7 months ago

That's one way to avoid guns and Brownback

David Holroyd 1 year, 7 months ago

Has anyone considered that SHE is going to retire and enjoy herself? She is my age...she doesn't need more money but rather time for her family, grandkids. Get over it. She is moving on just as did Franklin Murphy, Clarke Wescoe, Gene Budig, Del Shankel and Ray Nichols and Larry Chalmers.

At least she stuck it out until Dolph got rid of the newspaper. That's a good one!:)

Go enjoy yourself Ms. Bernadette Gray Little and Shade too. It's a shame no one really knew how much time he spent in the community sharing his time with young people and students on campus. The problem in Lawrence is that the locals think the campus in Lawrence is all she had to focus on. Not true, the KU Med Center is a bigger fish in the pan as well as the other entities of the University of Kansas.

Will this new Provost take over....possibly. Will she stay for long term. most likely not. If picked she is kinda like Clarke Wescoe was, riding in on his repuation at the Med Center. Ms.Bundpudi would be no different. Good luck to the current Chancellor. One thing for sure, she could write a book about Lawrence and with her background in would be a humdinger!

I just hated to see her cave in to signing documents for a parking garage/bus hub and metered angled parking with HERE....'cause the university lawyers tell her it looks good. I think she was used!

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