Welcome back! I hope your summer was relaxing and productive, and I am excited to continue working with you to advance our university’s mission of education, service and research. I remain deeply appreciative of everything you do to enhance our efforts as a leading public research institution and member of the Association of American Universities.
The University of Kansas begins this academic year in a position of strength. On the Lawrence campus, thanks to our willingness to make tough decisions last year and think strategically about our future, we have right-sized our budget and are finalizing a new budget model that will ensure funding for foundational priorities. Chief among these priorities are merit raises, which we are able to provide this semester thanks in part to assistance from the Kansas Legislature.
Adding to our position of strength are the new leaders who join us this semester: Simon Atkinson, vice chancellor for research; Ronald Ragan, dean of the School of Pharmacy; and Dr. Akinlolu Ojo, executive dean of the School of Medicine. Relatedly, the search for our next Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor is progressing well, and we expect to have finalists on campus this fall.
Other factors contributing to our position of strength include enhanced partnerships with state lawmakers – who last year restored $14 million to our budget – and our success in student enrollment, as evidenced by our five straight years of overall enrollment growth.
All of this is to say, while challenges remain, KU begins this semester in a stronger and more sustainable place. As a result, we are now positioned to pivot to the development a new strategic plan to replace the university’s Bold Aspirations framework. This strategic planning process will launch later this semester and conclude by spring 2020, and it will incorporate the great strategic planning work already completed by KU Medical Center, academic units such as the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and other units such as Student Affairs. We will share details about this strategic planning process and opportunities for you to engage in the coming weeks.
Welcome back, Jayhawks. I am excited to get started on another academic year with you.
Douglas A. Girod
University of Kansas