Vice chancellor of KU’s Edwards Campus named to senior role at Lawrence campus

photo by: Lauren Fox

Dave Cook gives a presentation for KU's provost position in the Burge Union on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019.

Updated at 3:28 p.m. Tuesday

Dave Cook, vice chancellor of the University of Kansas’ Edwards Campus, will take a role at the Lawrence campus as the vice chancellor for public affairs and economic development, KU Chancellor Douglas Girod announced Tuesday.

The position had been filled on an interim basis by Julie Murray, Girod’s chief of staff, since November, after former public affairs vice chancellor Reggie Robinson was named president and CEO of the Kansas Health Foundation.

Cook, who has been Edwards Campus vice chancellor since 2014, was a candidate for KU’s formerly vacant provost position in 2019.

The vice chancellor for public affairs is responsible for the coordination of KU’s strategic messaging, as well as representing the university’s legislative priorities across all levels of government.

Girod said Tuesday that the need to broadly emphasize economic development at KU is something that preceded the COVID-19 pandemic. The chancellor estimated last week that the university would lose “tens of millions” of dollars through the duration of the crisis.

“Now more than ever, KU needs to be innovative in how we recruit students, develop new teaching models, partner with industry, serve an increasingly diverse population, and align our campuses for maximum impact,” Girod said in a campus message. “Dave has expertise in all of these areas, and as such, he is a great fit for this position.”

Cook will begin the new role May 1, which means a search for his replacement as Edwards Campus chancellor will be underway in the weeks to come. Girod said Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer would communicate those details in the coming days.

Cook will make $271,000 in the role, according to his contract, which was signed and given to the Journal-World Tuesday. That figure includes an “administrative supplement” of $60,000 and $25,000 for continued external engagement on behalf of the KU Edwards Campus. That engagement comes at Bichelmeyer’s discretion.

Cook’s moving expenses to Lawrence will be covered, and he will get a $7,000 yearly vehicle allowance. He will be entitled to 22 vacation days per year and 12 sick days per year that can accrue with no limit.

The salary figure is around a 12% raise from when Robinson held the role; he was paid $241,300 annually, state records show.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that the decision to emphasize economic development preceded the coronavirus pandemic.

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