Chancellor Douglas A. Girod

Message: Transforming KU to achieve our shared aspirations

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dear Colleagues,

As you know, the effects of the national recession and resulting state budget crisis have not spared the University of Kansas. In this context, it is clear that we must do things differently if we are to maintain current standards of quality, let alone make the improvements that are necessary to ensure KU’s future success.

That’s why, since April, the university has been undertaking an intensive self-study called Changing for Excellence, with the goal of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of our administrative functions. To maintain our status as a leading research university, and to achieve the higher aspirations we all have for KU, we must transform and improve the way we operate.

Change is always a challenging process, and no matter how positive the goal, it often causes anxiety. I want to thank the hundreds of KU faculty and staff who have participated so far through the town halls, in interviews, and by providing feedback online. Your thoughts and ideas have been vital to this interactive process and will continue to be as we move into the next phase.

Based on the feedback you provided, information collected by the teams from Huron Consulting, who have interviewed stakeholders at all levels of our institution, and guidance from the advisory committees, the executive committee has identified the following 12 areas to focus on during Phase 2. Some areas span all campuses, while others will focus on a subset.

  1. Administrative support (KUMC)
  2. Budgeting process (Lawrence/Edwards)
  3. Campus construction (All campuses)
  4. Creation of service centers (Lawrence/Edwards)
  5. Enrollment management (Lawrence/Edwards)
  6. Facilities maintenance and upkeep (All campuses)
  7. Human resources (All campuses)
  8. Information technology (All campuses)
  9. Libraries (All campuses)
  10. Procurement (All campuses)
  11. Research administration (Lawrence/Edwards)
  12. Research administration (KUMC)

Through October, the Huron team will develop business cases and implementation plans, which will include assessments of the costs and benefits of the proposals. Faculty and staff stakeholders, whose participation has been vital during the first phase of the study, will continue to provide important input in the development of the business cases and implementation plans.

The executive committee will carefully review the resulting cases and plans before making any decisions about which plans to implement. More detail on the scope of the 12 areas can be found online in this report from Huron.

As always, our goal will be to identify ways we can improve our level of service and cost-effectiveness with minimal disruption to faculty, students and staff. Indeed, changing how we operate will likely open up greater opportunities for everyone to contribute to the success of our university.

We will have the next Changing for Excellence town hall meeting on August 24 at 10:30 a.m. in Woodruff Auditorium in the Kansas Union and August 26 at noon in the School of Nursing Auditorium.

I encourage you to attend and ask that supervisors allow time for staff members who wish to attend. The August 24 event will also be available as a live stream and the August 26 event will be broadcast on ITV. Videos of past events are available at

Change is always difficult, but if we realize the gains that are possible, we will strengthen this university for the future and allow us to excel in our mission of educating leaders, building healthy communities, and making discoveries that change the world.

Bernadette Gray-Little

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times
Chancellor's Vision

The mission of the University of Kansas is to lift students and society by educating leaders, building healthy communities, and making discoveries that change the world.

We will do that by raising the expectations we have for ourselves, the aspirations we have for our state, and the hopes we have for our world.