Chancellor Gray-Little weighs in on University issues


Two weeks ago, the University called attention to its annual crime report in an all-student email. The report is required by the federal Clery Act and must detail specific on-campus crime.

The numbers, collected for the 2011 calendar year on the Lawrence campus, showed 660 crimes reported, down 4.6 percent from the 692 crimes reported in 2010.

For Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, the numbers are important not only from the student aspect but as a campus resident.

“It’s important to me because I do live on campus,” Gray-Little said. “Because I come and go around campus, I see students out, especially in the evening, and they have a right to be there.”

The report does more than list the numbers detailing campus and community safety resources. It also provides personal safety tips, such as walking in well-lit areas, not leaving spare keys hidden outside the home and using a cell phone judiciously so it’s not a distraction.

“It is important that all of us take reasonable precautions in what we do and where we go, but we need to be able to have access,” Gray-Little said.

New hires

Last week, the University announced its plan to fill 64 new faculty positions, returning the faculty size to about the number it was before hiring slowed in the last ten years.

Gray-Little said the hires would not happen immediately but over time. She said that during the past few years, faculty numbers were decreasing. The investment in new hires comes from Kansas’ legislature money and is also the result of internal efficiency, she said.

“If we look at the faculty and students number in quality, there’s nothing that’s more important than that to the University,” Gray-Little said.

Core curriculum change

As the University irons out its new KU Core curriculum changes for fall 2013, Western Civilization will no longer be a mandatory College of Liberal Arts and Sciences requirement but instead will be up to individual schools and departments.

The curriculum changes will affect other general education courses. However, Gray-Little said, the University is still making those decisions.

Gray-Little said the purpose of the change is to offer students more flexibility and give students with heavy course loads the opportunity to graduate in four years. She said it also reflects a general trend of universities across the country no longer requiring the course.

“All of the changes in the core curriculum is one: to update it, and two: to give students more flexibility,” Gray-Little said. “By reducing the number of core curriculum requirements, there is more opportunity for students with second majors or minors.”

Midterm memories

As students prepare for midterms and papers, Gray-Little recalled how difficult it could be to stay focused in her undergraduate years at Marywood University in Scranton, Pa.

She said they did not have midterms, but their fall exams were always the most difficult because they were scheduled after winter break.

“So that meant you had the opportunity during your Christmas holiday to spend time preparing for your exams,” Gray-Little said while laughing.

Gray-Little said she did not have one particular fall break activity to discuss, but she rememberd that she would leave to see shows in New York or to visit friends.

“It was just to leave, just to get away from there for awhile,” she said with a smile.

Editor’s note: The following story has been corrected. The original article incorrectly described the Western Civilization requirement as campus-wide, but it was actually only required in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The Western Civilization classes will still be offered, but the requirements will be up to individual schools and departments. 

  • Updated Oct. 11, 2012 at 5:43 pm
  • Edited by Christy Khamphilay