Dear Campus Community,
Last week, I told our Board of Trustees and the University Senate that I would redouble my efforts to engage in the next year in more significant and substantive ways with UK’s faculty, staff and student leaders.
But I didn’t want to wait to start that process. Yesterday, I met for more than an hour via Zoom with more than 60 elected faculty, staff and student leaders as well as members of our senior administration. Before the end of the academic year, I wanted to address head-on some issues of concern I’ve been hearing as well as some concrete steps I am taking. The following is a brief recap:
- As I communicated yesterday, Provost David Blackwell and I have decided to halt the search process for Dean of the Graduate School. We had an outstanding candidate and campus leader in Dr. Ann Vail. However, concerns from a number of people about the selection process have been expressed, such that we believe we should start a new search this fall.
- Our acting provost, who I hope to appoint soon, will meet early with leadership in the College of Arts & Sciences to work toward re-starting a search for a permanent dean this fall.
- Finally, I reaffirmed my commitment to a foundational value for us – shared governance. It’s the essential idea that all of us – particularly our elected leaders among faculty, staff and students – must rely on each other, listen to one another and act in a way that advances the best interests of our university and our Commonwealth.
- To that end, in response to several resolutions adopted recently by the University Senate, I committed yesterday to starting a conversation this summer with our elected leaders to determine whether university regulations with respect to searches for important positions work the way they should. Specifically, we want to ensure that shared governance is honored in how elected voices in these processes are appropriately represented and heard. And I believe we also want to make sure that these committees are more diverse and representative of the community we are and the community we aspire to be.
As we close out what I know has been such a trying year for so many in our community, I am heartened by the resolve and resiliency we have demonstrated. It hasn’t been easy. And I know that challenges remain. But I also know there is no challenge that our community – and our people – can’t meet. You make what we do as Kentucky’s university possible. As this academic year draws to a close, I hope you will find time for rest and renewal.
I remain excited for what the future holds for this special place.