I hope you had a joyful holiday season and that you’re ready to start another productive year as a member of our university community. With classes beginning today, I would like to use this message to preview highlights for the spring semester and update you on key initiatives.
First, please join me in recognizing the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and embracing it as an opportunity to reflect on our efforts to make KU a welcoming place for all. Though the official holiday was yesterday, there are opportunities to recognize Dr. King’s legacy throughout the week, including today’s campus march and roundtable discussions.
The Kansas legislative session has begun, and we continue to partner with lawmakers on issues related to higher education. To start the session, Governor Laura Kelly has asked legislators to consider an additional $11.9 million for state universities. We look forward to working with her and legislators to ensure KU has the resources to pursue its mission and maintain affordability for students and families.
In addition to state support, private donations are crucial to KU. With this in mind, on February 20 we will host the annual One Day. One KU 24-hour giving campaign. Last year’s campaign raised more than $1 million for students, faculty and programming across all KU campuses, and we hope to exceed that mark this year.
As a top public research institution and member of the Association of American Universities, we will continue to empower and support research-productive faculty and strengthen the culture of research at KU. To help do this, on April 22 we will host a new university research awards event during which we will celebrate winners of our top research awards. We will share additional details soon.
Beyond doing meaningful research, we must continue to communicate our research to the public. With this in mind, in February our Life Span Institute will offer a workshop to help KU faculty develop techniques to convey their discoveries to audiences throughout society. Space is limited, so RSVP today.
This semester we continue our strategic planning process, which began in November with Visioning Day. The Office of the Provost is aggregating the feedback you provided that day and will share next steps soon. Thank you for your participation in this opportunity to shape KU’s future.
Last but not least, this semester we welcome Barbara Bichelmeyer as our provost and executive vice chancellor. While her first official day in Lawrence is February 24, she is already communicating with many of you to ensure she can hit the ground running when she arrives. Barbara is a talented researcher and administrator, as well as a proud KU alumna with an unabashed love for this place. For these reasons and more, I look forward to her leadership.
Welcome back, Jayhawks. I am excited to begin another semester of education, service and research on behalf the state and society we serve.
Douglas A. Girod