community forum

Interim Provost Carl Lejuez answers questions at the first community forum of the year on Monday. The forum took place in Slawson Hall.

Interim Provost Carl Lejuez shared more specifics about the upcoming strategic plan for the University of Kansas and showed changes to the budget model Monday afternoon at the first community forum of the academic year.

Since nearly 6% of the budget was cut this past academic year, most of the focus at the community forum was about regaining financial stability and moving on from the budget cut. 

“We have to focus on innovation … the things that make the University great,” Lejuez said. 

Part of that involves the unveiling of a new strategic plan for the University. The plan is led by Chancellor Douglas Girod. It is set to launch later in the semester when a permanent provost is selected, Lejuez said. 

So far, there’s been strategic plan focus groups with faculty and staff that were nominated by the leaders of different departments on campus. Later this week, Lejuez is set to meet with University Senate executives to discuss some of their ideas for the upcoming strategic plan. 

By around April or May 2020, Girod is expected to present the full plan to campus. 

Previously, the University has rolled out strategic plans like Bold Aspirations, which included changing the recruitment process and updating facilities on campus. 

In addition to a glimpse at the new strategic plan, Lejuez shared some more differences on the new budget model from the previous budget model.

“We’re doing everything we can to create as much stability within the model as possible,” Lejuez said.

For the first time, the University has allocated money at the central level for deferred maintenance and for student mental health. Previously, the University only used money allocated from the state, which is about $11 million, to account for deferred maintenance, and student fees paid for services like Counseling and Psychological Services

“We want to be able to have our budget … in line with what our priorities are — the things we say that matter to us,” Lejuez said. 

For academic departments, the money they accrue is partially based on how many students they have enrolled in each credit hour and whether their department is in line with the University’s strategic initiatives. Departments will be evaluated partially on whether they’re pursuing research and fostering a diverse and equitable environment, Lejuez said. 

As such, schools will be peer-reviewed by other deans on campus and other vice provosts. Deans of schools will present to a group what their academic unit has done in terms of research and other initiatives. Then, those deans and vice provosts will rank that unit from one to ten, with ten being the best. Lejuez said University governance — such as the student body president, faculty senate president and other positions — will also have a role in deciding how the peer-review process works. 

The new budget model will be re-evaluated and changed every three years, Lejuez said.  

Meanwhile, the provost search is underway. Michelle Mohr Carney, the dean of the School of Social Welfare and co-chair of the committee, said the search was narrowed to nine different candidates. Those candidates will be interviewed on Oct. 1 and Oct. 2. 

It is anticipated a new provost will be selected by the end of the semester.

Lejuez confirmed he was one of the candidates Monday.