One of the first finalists for provost gave her proposed initiatives to mend ongoing issues at the University of Kansas in a presentation to students, staff and faculty on Tuesday evening.
Margaret Raymond, a dean and professor of law at the University of Wisconsin, told audience members in the Burge Union she saw three challenges at the University:
The University needs more diversity and inclusion efforts.
Access to resources for pell grant students needs to improve, given the rising costs of higher education.
The University is in need of more financial resources, especially as state appropriations decrease for public higher education.
“I’ve worked on these challenges as a dean,” Raymond said. “And I welcome to do it as a provost.”
Raymond’s past track record includes raising over $35 million for the law school at the University of Wisconsin and improving employment opportunities for graduate students at the law school, said Steven Soper, one of the co-chairs of the provost search committee, ahead of Raymond’s presentation.
Raymond said campus entities can work together creatively to figure out how to resolve these issues. After meeting University members throughout the day, she said she felt optimistic that many of these challenges could be tackled.
Ron Barrett-Gonzalez, an aerospace engineering professor, asked Raymond more about whether she would pursue raises for faculty members. Barrett-Gonzalez sat on the committee at the University that dissected its budget.
“We are dead last in faculty compensation in the [Association of American Universities],” Barrett-Gonzalez said. “We haven’t seen as faculty and staff an increasable raise in a decade — we barely got above inflation this year.”
Raymond said the new budget model was exciting because it would increase a raise pool. Good employees need to get rewarded and should be a regular part of being at the University, she said, especially because faculty can leave to go to other universities.
“No matter how much people love this place, if they are under-marketed and they are feeling overworked and under-compensated, they’re going to go somewhere else,” Raymond said. “If you want to keep those folks, you have to be proactive.”
The University also has a shared governance system, which means each entity on campus — like students, staff and faculty — has a senate body to represent them. One of the audience members asked Raymond how she would be supportive of the shared governance system at the University.
Raymond pointed to her previous experience as a faculty senate president. She said she was supportive of shared governance, and she would always appreciate the reminder to include governance in conversations about decisions being made within administration.
Another audience member asked Raymond how she would rally members of the University together, considering many have felt unmotivated following the budget cut. Raymond’s answer said part of it involved being able to “recapture joy.”
“I think we got to get lit up by what’s happening here, and we have to tell that to people,” Raymond said. “There’s a lot of tremendous things happening here. And we need to recapture the notion there is something unique and special and magnificent about those things.”
Raymond is the first of four finalists to present. Interim Provost Carl Lejuez is one of the finalists for the provost position. The other two finalists’ names have not been announced as of Wednesday.
Lejuez’s presentation will be at 4 p.m. Thursday in the Kansas Union’s Big 12 Room.