KU paid executive search firm at least $82,500 for provost search

photo by: Chris Conde

Strong Hall on the University of Kansas campus is shown on Sept. 13, 2018.

The University of Kansas paid an executive search firm at least $82,500, and potentially as much as $124,500, for its provost search, according to the contract between the two agencies.

Dallas-based R. William Funk and Associates was contracted to receive $75,000 and $7,500 in professional and administrative fees, respectively. The contract also states that KU would repay the search firm up to $42,000 for out-of-pocket expenses approved in advance for candidate travel, advertising and background checks for finalists.

KU hired the search firm for its provost and executive vice chancellor search, which began in the spring of 2019.

The Journal-World recently received the contract through an open records request. KU officials were not immediately able to confirm the actual dollar amounts spent by the university.

KU entered into the contract with R. William Funk and Associates on May 2. The contract was set to last until May 1, 2020. KU announced its new provost and executive vice chancellor, Barbara Bichelmeyer, on Dec. 6.

The search firm was hired to assist KU’s university-led search committee, which included professors, staff, students and alumni.

Some attendees of the provost presentations noted that out of what was to be a nationwide search, only one of the four finalists came from an institution more than 50 miles away from KU. The other three candidates were KU’s interim provost, the vice chancellor of KU’s Edwards Campus and Bichelmeyer, who previously worked at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

R. William Funk and Associates did not immediately respond to request for comment.

One provision in the contract states that R. William Funk and Associates “shall conduct a new search … at no fee to the university if the successful candidate leaves the employment of the University within one year of placement.”

KU has worked with R. William Funk and Associates before. The firm helped recruit current Chancellor Douglas Girod as well as KU’s previous chancellor, Bernadette Gray-Little.

Here’s a copy of the contract between KU and R. William Funk and Associates:




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