Throughout its history, the University of Kansas has been a community of outstanding scholars and leaders who believe in the power of higher education. Today, we have a special opportunity to welcome another remarkable scholar and leader — and to do so with excitement and optimism about our university’s future.
It is my pleasure to announce Barbara Bichelmeyer as the next provost and executive vice chancellor of the Lawrence campus. She will begin her new role in late February.
As many of you observed during her campus visit, Barbara is a talented researcher and administrator, as well as a proud KU alumna with an unabashed love for this place. She is currently the provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she also served as interim chancellor. Prior to that, she excelled in multiple leadership roles at Indiana University-Bloomington – a fellow Association of American Universities institution – and elsewhere within the IU system.
My excitement about Barbara goes beyond her credentials. I’ve had the pleasure of working with her for years on initiatives to enhance higher education’s role in regional economic development. As a result of our work together, I have come to know Barbara as a genuine and compassionate person who cares deeply about students, research and higher education. Moreover, she is a Jayhawk to the core and committed to this university’s success. For all these reasons, I have no doubt she will be a strong and effective leader.
I will tell you, this was not an easy decision — and that’s a good thing. Our national search produced four outstanding finalists who each offered distinctive strengths that would benefit KU. That said, when I consider KU’s challenges and opportunities, and my vision for KU, I am confident Barbara is the right fit at the right time for our university.
I want to thank the search committee, including co-chairs Michelle Mohr Carney and Steven Soper, for guiding us through this process. I also want to thank everyone who participated in the process by attending the finalists’ campus presentations and providing feedback. Your input was central to my decision.
Importantly, I would like to express my deep appreciation for Carl Lejuez, who has provided strong leadership and energy as our interim provost amid challenging circumstances. KU is in a better place today as a result of his efforts during the past 19 months. Please join me in thanking Carl as he returns to his role as dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.
As I said at Visioning Day, despite challenges in higher education, KU is in a position of strength and poised to determine its destiny. My vision is for KU to be a destination for talented scholars nationwide, an engine of economic growth, and a strong member of the Association of American Universities. I look forward to working with Barbara, and all of you, in pursuit of that vision.
Douglas A. Girod