Chancellor Gray-Little discusses post-tenure review, state funding

In her third discussion with The University Daily Kansan, Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little discussed state funding, a post-tenure review initiative and faculty survey results.

Post-tenure reviews

At its December meeting, the Kansas Board of Regents will consider requiring universities to conduct performance reviews of tenured professors.

These post-tenure reviews would be conducted every five or seven years. People in the tenured professor’s department would evaluate and assess his contributions, teaching, service and research.

“I think it could be a very helpful part of the way we look at faculty and how they’re doing, making sure a person is progressing in terms of their career and staying on track,” Gray-Little said.

If approved by the Board of Regents, the post-tenure review requirement would be implemented in the spring of 2014. Gray-Little said the faculty senate began discussing the process of the reviews and submitted a statement about it.

“It looked as if the faculty were taking a positive approach,” Gray-Little said. “I interpreted that statement as meaning it could have some benefits and the faculty wanted to make sure it was done in the right way.”

Faculty survey

The results of a statewide faculty governance survey were announced last week, and the University took the second-to-last spot among other Board of Regents schools.

The American Association of University Professors conducted the survey, which asked faculty about how much voice they have in the governing of their institution. KU faculty who completed the survey graded it on an A-F scale.

“I’m surprised that our faculty feels that they don’t have a voice in governance,” Gray-Little said. “We have a very strong shared governance experience here involving faculty, staff and students.”

Gray-Little said that the number of recent campus initiatives may have caused faculty members to have concerns with governance.

“There’s a certain amount of discomfort with change that I think anybody would feel,” she said. “A lot of things are going on right now, and maybe that makes it hard for people to feel they’re in their comfort zone.”

State funding

During a talk with the Kansas Board of Regents last week, Gov. Sam Brownback said there would be no spending increases for the higher education general fund, but additional money may be provided for specific projects.

“If we were, that would be really delightful news because that is very important, but I was not shocked to hear him say that we would not be receiving more, but I can always be hopeful,” Gray-Little said.

In the same talk with the Board of Regents, Brownback encouraged universities to focus on entrepreneurship. Gray-Little said the governor emphasizes entrepreneurship because the creation of entrepreneurs leads to the creation of businesses and jobs.

“It’s something that we are very interested in and very involved in and have been for the last few years,” Gray-Little said. “It’s something we agree with and are doing.”

Holiday plans

Thanksgiving break begins tomorrow, Nov. 21. Gray-Little said she would be traveling out of town to a large family gathering.

“I won’t be in Lawrence for Thanksgiving Day, and I won’t have to cook,” Gray-Little said. “I am one in a family of eight sisters and brothers. Seven or eight of us will be there, with assorted children and spouses and so on.”

Gray-Little said her favorite part of the holiday is seeing her family, and that she plans to eat turkey with rice, a tradition in her home state of North Carolina.

Next week, the Chancellor’s residence will be decorated for the winter holidays.

  • Updated Nov. 19, 2012 at 10:39 pm
  • Edited by Emma McElhaney