KU begins budget streamlining by consolidating some high-ranking financial positions

photo by: Peter Hancock

University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas Girod speaks to the Kansas Board of Regents, Wednesday, May 16, 2018, at the KU Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan.

In an effort to “flatten the financial administrative structure” at the University of Kansas, KU Chancellor Douglas Girod recently announced, two of the university’s high-ranking financial positions will soon be consolidated into one.

Starting July 1, the responsibilities of KU’s vice chancellor and chief financial officer will be combined with those of Diane Goddard, KU’s long-serving vice provost of finance and administration. In her new role as CFO and vice provost for finance, Goddard will work directly with both the chancellor and provost, Girod said in his statement.

Leisa Julian, KU’s current vice chancellor and CFO, is assisting with the transition, the announcement said, and will remain in her position until June 30.

According to state payroll data, Goddard received a salary of $292,725 in 2017, the most recent year available. Julian earned $248,871 that same year. It is unclear if Goddard’s salary will change with her new position.

“As described earlier this week, budget challenges require us to examine our administrative structure and pursue means to provide essential services as efficiently as possible,” Girod said in a message to KU faculty Friday. “We have also asked deans and vice provosts to look more closely at the operations of their units and make changes accordingly.”

Last week, KU announced plans to trim $20 million from its Lawrence campus budget for the fiscal year 2019. At the time, interim Provost Carl Lejuez attributed the need for budget reductions to the “many long-term commitments and investments that each year have exceeded revenue,” combined with institutional budgeting practices “inconsistent with current challenges of higher education funding” and a decade-long downtrend in state funding.

“As a major public research university, we have made commitments and investments in facilities, programming and other infrastructure to support students, faculty and staff,” Lejuez later told the Journal-World when pressed for details. “Our commitments are all sound in their own right, and there are reasons to want to say ‘yes’ to all these things, but the current higher education funding situation means we may not be able to do so now, or we take longer before we support them.”

The cuts amount to roughly 5.9 percent across all Lawrence campus departments and units, including central administration. The budget will be implemented July 1, the start of the next fiscal year.

Girod’s message to KU faculty on Friday said the university’s administration and finance structure would be separated into two chief areas, with Goddard maintaining oversight of KU’s Office of Public Safety, budget, purchasing, the university comptroller, Shared Service Centers and the KU Card Center.

Mike Rounds, Girod said, would be elevated to vice provost for administration responsible for human resource management; facilities services; facilities design and planning; parking and transit; sustainability; and environment, health and safety.

According to the KU website, Rounds currently serves as senior associate vice provost for university administration. In 2017, he received a salary of $197,961, according to state payroll data. It’s not clear what his salary would be following his promotion.

Other staffing changes announced in Girod’s message include the appointment of Shannan Nelson, who currently oversees campus operations, to a role primarily focusing on “large capital opportunities such as securing alternative revenue streams.” In this new position, Nelson will report to Goddard, the new CFO. KU’s recently appointed chief information officer, Mary Walsh, will report to the provost, “as had been previously announced to deans and vice provosts,” Girod said.

Stuart Day, KU’s senior vice provost for academic affairs, will return to his faculty role in the department of Spanish and Portuguese, Girod added. Day’s senior vice provost position will remain unfilled, the announcement said. State records list Day’s salary as “senior vice provost/professor” as $218,294 for 2017.

Academic Affairs staff will work with Lejuez “to ensure key tasks and responsibilities continue uninterrupted,” Girod said. As part of the changes, leadership in KU’s undergraduate studies, international programs, graduate studies, the Lied Center, the Spencer Museum of Art, the Center for Online and Distance Learning, and the University Press of Kansas will now work directly with Lejuez.

“These changes flatten our central administration structure while still ensuring KU remains true to our core goals to improve the student experience, expand our outreach to the state, and grow our research enterprise,” Girod said in his announcement.


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