Leadership structure to change at KU’s Edwards Campus; top positions will be left vacant to save salary costs

A courtyard on the south side of the BEST Building at the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park.

Three officials within the University of Kansas system will take on greater roles at KU’s Edwards Campus, located in Overland Park, to replace Dave Cook, the former executive vice chancellor at Edwards who took a role at the Lawrence campus in May.

Stuart Day, currently associate vice chancellor of the Edwards Campus, will take on an expanded role under the title of dean of Edwards Campus and School of Professional Studies. Day has previously served in administrative roles at the Lawrence campus and was “instrumental” in creating the School of Professional studies, which was approved by the Kansas Board of Regents in 2019, KU Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer said in announcing the changes Tuesday.

“This moment also presents us with an opportunity to create stronger alignment and integration between the academic portfolio of the Lawrence and Edwards campuses,” she said. “I’m very excited and very confident these changes will improve our ability to work together across campuses to meet the educational and workforce development needs of the State of Kansas and the Greater Kansas City Region.”

Cook’s previous position as executive vice chancellor of the campus, as well as Day’s former position as associate vice chancellor will remain unfilled.

KU spokesperson Erinn Barcomb-Peterson clarified that Cook also served as the dean of the School of Professional Studies in the short time between when the school was approved in 2019 and before leaving the Edwards Campus to take the role at the Lawrence campus in May.

Day’s assumption of the role of dean of the campus and of the school merges both roles Cook held into one position, Barcomb-Peterson said. Since Day’s former associate vice chancellor position will be held vacant, the university will merge the three budget lines and by extension save two salaries, Barcomb-Peterson said.

Cook’s former position paid a salary of $235,700 and Day’s a salary of $235,526, according to 2019 state payroll records. It’s unclear what Day’s salary may change to in the new role.

KU is currently staring down a $120 million budget shortfall in the next fiscal year because of losses from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to Day’s new role, Bichelmeyer announced that Sharon Graham, currently the assistant vice chancellor for professional and continuing education, will become the vice provost for Lifelong and Professional Education. Graham’s office will oversee plans to provide more noncredit programming across KU.

Finally, Bichelmeyer announced that Chris Gregory, who currently serves as the marketing director and spokesperson for the Edwards campus, will serve as the senior director of Strategic Alignment and Marketing. The change is an effort to more closely align the academic programs at the Lawrence and Edwards campuses, Bichelmeyer said.

“To this end, (KU) leadership will review and evaluate the Edwards Campus financial model – both the revenue sharing model and the costing model – and will work to create a model that incentivizes synergy and collaboration between the campuses,” she said.

The message did not specify when the leadership changes would take effect.

Contact Conner Mitchell

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