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At My Four-Month Anniversary as a Wildcat

At my four-month anniversary as a proud member of the University of Kentucky team, I am excited to provide the campus with an update on what we have achieved together.


I am reminded daily that people really do make the place. And this is a special place. I have truly enjoyed getting to know you. And, I want to say thank you so much for all of the work you are doing.


With a focus on people, job number 1 in the Provost's office is to support -- and advocate for -- the work of our faculty and staff as they advance the teaching, research and service missions of Kentucky's indispensable institution. Here are a few key updates on our office’s efforts and progress in supporting your work:


·Mission of Provost’s Office Team. The Provost’s Office senior leadership team and I are really focusing on what our vision and mission as an office should entail. At its core, we must be a resource for the campus, one that empowers the work of faculty, staff and students. Here is a review of our vision of the office.


·Structure of Provost’s Office. To maximize our efforts toward that end, we've restructured the provost's office, ensuring that student success at all levels is fundamental to everyone's efforts and job descriptions. We've also continued to streamline our organization to strengthen that focus and support the work of faculty and staff. Here is our new structure.

As part of our reorganization, we've used an open position to fill the critical post of Executive Director of Strategic Planning. Kirsten Turner, who has served in senior leadership positions including Chief of Staff in the College of Arts & Sciences for the last nine years, will officially join us in January to lead the Office of Strategic Planning. She already, though, has started working with us as this effort takes off.


·Major Initiatives. In particular, the Provost’s Office is helping lead a number of major initiatives – expansion of our Living Learning Programs, a renewed focus on diversity and inclusion, enhancing our academic brand, and service learning reaccreditation, to name a few. We keep the initiatives list up-to-date here on our website.


·Strategic Plan. Working with President Capilouto and the executive team, this past week we officially launched our strategic planning process. "see tomorrow: The University of Kentucky Strategic Plan" ( is focused on the guiding principles endorsed by our Board of Trustees at their October retreat:

o   Creating a vibrant undergraduate learning community

o   Advancing a high quality graduate and professional education portfolio

o   Cultivating a robust research environment

o   Developing a strong and sustainable UK infrastructure

o   Creating a positive work environment for faculty and staff

o   Having a meaningful impact on the Commonwealth and community


Nearly 120 people -- faculty, students and staff -- representing every college and UK Libraries comprise these very active working groups. They are diverse, balanced in terms of gender and faculty/staff representation. Over the next several months, we'll be working to engage the entire campus in open dialogue about the future of our campus. I encourage everyone to reach out and join in that dialogue about our future. You can find out more about how to get involved by contacting us at


·Financial Model. Eric Monday, Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration and I, along with our teams, continue to partner with the campus in the development and implementation of a new, values-based financial model. We've entered a second phase of model's design and implementation, focusing between now and June 2014, on working with colleges and units to understand how the new financial model creates a more transparent flow of dollars and resources throughout the university. This is a partnership. And in a partnership, we not only talk, but more importantly, we listen. We make changes where necessary to make the model and process better. That's the process we're underway with now and making it work is a steadfast commitment we share.


·Dean Searches. As many of you know, we've welcomed one new dean this semester, Nancy Cox, who takes over leadership in January of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, as we welcome back current Dean Scott Smith to the faculty. Three other deans' searches -- Nursing, Design and Health Sciences -- are underway as well as one for the critical position of associate provost for undergraduate education. I'm providing regular updates to the colleges about these searches and you can stay informed about our progress as well at


We are in a time of tremendous challenge – and, in many ways, opportunity – in higher education.  Challenge and opportunity often mean change, and I am honored to work with a team that is committed to respecting our institution’s proud history while evolving together to prepare for our future.  To succeed in that environment, we must be committed – always – to a sense of transparency, openness and collaboration.


People do make the place. And, I am proud to be part of an institution with people committed to making lives and communities better through the transformative power of education, research, and service. Thank you for all that you do each and every day.


Happy Holidays!





This report provides an overview of the Office's efforts over the past semester and provides a preview of some of the initiatives that the Provost and her team will be working on over the next semester.

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