I am writing to let you know we have filled a key position on our senior leadership team.
I am pleased to announce Dave Cook, vice chancellor of the Edwards campus and dean of the School of Professional Studies, will become our new vice chancellor for public affairs and economic development. He will begin his new role May 1.
As vice chancellor for public affairs and economic development, Dave will serve as senior advisor to me and the university’s leadership team on issues of communications, public affairs and economic development. He will oversee all messaging, outreach and government relations to advance KU’s interests at the local, state and national levels. He will have responsibility for internal and external communications and message integration across all KU campuses, affiliates and partners. And he will coordinate our economic development efforts with an initial focus on chamber and industry relations and workforce development issues.
You will note the phrase “economic development” is new to this vice chancellor title. This change reflects my belief that economic development, broadly defined, must continue to be elevated as a priority for KU.
Dave’s background in higher education policy, public affairs and workforce development make him an ideal fit for this position. Moreover, his experience across multiple KU campuses and his relationships with key partners enable him to immediately advance our efforts to elevate KU’s status, attract top students and scholars, and improve in every aspect of our mission.
As vice chancellor of the Edwards campus since 2013, Dave has been chief executive officer of the campus, launched a new instruction site in Leavenworth, and overseen Professional & Continuing Education. Additionally, he has developed extensive relationships with industry leaders, workforce development groups, elected officials and community colleges. Under his leadership, the campus increased enrollment by 36 percent and launched 16 new academic degree programs and 21 new academic certificates leveraging traditional, hybrid and online models.
Prior to his role at Edwards, Dave served for 14 years in multiple administrative and faculty positions at KU Medical Center. From 2008-13, he was associate vice chancellor of the Institute for Community Engagement and associate director of the Institute for Community & Public Health. From 2008-11, he was executive director of the Midwest Cancer Alliance. Before that, he was assistant vice chancellor for public affairs from 2005-08 and director of Health and Technology Outreach from 2002-05.
In addition to his time at KU Medical Center, from 2011-12 he completed an American Council on Education fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Dave first earned tenure as a faculty member in the KU School of Medicine. He is now a full professor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Like many universities, KU faces challenges in enrollment and funding — and that was before the unprecedented challenges we now face as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Now more than ever, KU needs to be innovative in how we recruit students, develop new teaching models, partner with industry, serve an increasingly diverse population, and align our campuses for maximum impact. Dave has expertise in all of these areas, and as such, he is a great fit for this position.
Of course, Dave moving into this new role means we will also have a change in leadership at our Edwards campus. Provost Bichelmeyer will provide additional detail about our plans for the Edwards campus within the next few days.
I want to thank Julie Murray for serving as interim vice chancellor for public affairs for the past four months while continuing her role as my chief of staff. She has guided us through a legislative session, helped frame our Strategic Planning 2020 process, and been central to our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I am grateful for her leadership during this transition period.
Please join me in welcoming Dave to his new role. I know he can count on your support as we work together to move KU forward.
Douglas A. Girod
University of Kansas