An update on this week’s Kansas Board of Regents meeting
Earlier today, the Kansas Board of Regents wrapped up its monthly meeting in Topeka. Below is a brief summary of topics from the meeting that may be of interest to members of our university community.
Workforce Management policy
You will recall in January 2021 the Kansas Board of Regents enacted a Workforce Management policy that gave universities flexibility in dismissing employees to address budget challenges caused by the pandemic.
Earlier today, the Regents set a December 2022 expiration date for the policy. As you know, KU has not used the policy, and we will not use it before it expires.
KU’s ability to manage the financial challenges of the pandemic without using the Regents policy is due to the great work so many of you have done during the past two years. Specifically, faculty, staff and administrators across the university have worked hard to enable us to hold steady on enrollment, improve our business practices and develop a more transparent budget process that incentivizes teaching and research while enabling long-term planning. For these and other reasons, we have not used – and will not use – the Workforce Management policy.
That said, KU still faces financial challenges, and we must continue making difficult decisions to ensure we are positioned for the future. The good news is, we now have a clearer picture of these challenges – and opportunities – than we did two years ago, as well as a plan to address them. For an overview of our financial situation, I encourage you to review CFO Jeff DeWitt’s presentation from March 15. (You can view it as a video or a PowerPoint.)
Freedom of expression and academic freedom
Additionally, the Regents and university leaders had a good discussion about freedom of expression on campus, including academic freedom. At the board’s request, KU and the other universities earlier this spring reviewed campus policies to ensure they encourage free expression to the greatest extent possible. The Regents agree with our belief that free expression and academic freedom are foundational to higher education and should be encouraged and protected. For additional information about free speech and academic freedom at KU, visit our Freedom of Expression webpage or our Policy Library.
Continued engagement with governance
We know the abovementioned topics have been of interest to members of our community, particularly university governance leaders. Recently we had the opportunity to meet with governance leaders to discuss these and other topics related to their “Resolution to Restore Shared Governance at KU,” which was passed March 3. We will continue these discussions regarding collaboration, communication and governance at KU.
Thank you for all you are doing for the university.
Doug and Barb
Douglas A. Girod
Barbara A. Bichelmeyer
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor