Campus News

Message from UK President Eli Capilouto: Our continued partnership

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 20, 2024) — University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto sent a message to campus about the conversations he is having with faculty, staff and students across campus about shared governance.

He also recently sat down to answer some frequently asked questions about this feedback process in respect to shared governance, along with the ongoing work to accelerate the university’s efforts to advance Kentucky.

You can listen to the UK at the Half, which summarized this conversation by clicking on the audio file above. You can watch the entire conversation by clicking on the YouTube link above. 

Below is the full campus message sent to the campus community on Tuesday, March 20. 


Campus Community,

I engaged Monday with members of our community who participated in the monthly University Senate meeting. With this dialogue, I’ve now met hundreds of people across the expanse of our campus, in groups large and small, to talk about our institution’s future.

The conversations are about how our sense of, and support for, shared governance can undergird our mission to advance this state in all that we do. It was a respectful, direct and thoughtful exchange about the direction our Board has given me to recommend changes to our Governing Regulations that will better position us to align what we do with the state’s needs and priorities.

What I am hearing in these rich discussions is a deep passion for and commitment to our institution and its mission. I know as well that among some of our faculty there are concerns about a process that brings unknowns and uncertainty in a world around us where so much is already changing.

Believe me, with so much happening in our world and our state relative to higher education, I understand that sentiment. I sought to assure our faculty — who do so much to support the success of our students, extend the boundaries of discovery and heal and serve our state — that any changes to our regulations must make clear, and will make clear, the primacy that faculty have with respect to our curriculum.

That is essential. So, too, is the important voice that faculty must have, and will continue to have, in the analysis and approval of programs and the review of peer faculty performance. Further, we should delineate more clearly how we define and implement important terms and functions such as educational policymaking and educational practice. And it’s critical that we make clear, as our Board has directed, the essential role of the Trustees as the ultimate authority for all policymaking at our institution.

It also has become increasingly clear to me — particularly from the conversations I’ve had, not a study or report from a consultant — that our rules and regulations need more clarity, and our governance structure must have more voices and people at the table involved in decisions and dialogue about our community. We need a stronger voice for students. We need a stronger voice for staff.

So many people in our community have so much to offer, as well as deep expertise on a broad range of important topics. But they don’t see themselves or their role as leaders and advisors in our current governance structure. We need to find ways to change that.

Against that backdrop, even as we will continue to gather feedback about this important process, it is time to begin outlining more substantively the principles and details for changes we could recommend to the Board for refinement of our Governing Regulations. 

To that end, by the end of the month, I will release detailed principles to leaders of each of our shared governance groups — faculty, staff and students. I will give them a first look at the principles and then meet with each of them to gather additional feedback. I will then release them to the entire campus for feedback.

I will continue that iterative process over the next few weeks — a release of principles and meetings with our shared governance groups to listen and learn more. I will then provide details to the entire community at each step along the way. At the same time, we will continue to gather feedback through this form.

Our plan remains to take recommended changes to the Board of Trustees at the April meeting. If those changes meet with Board approval after consideration, we will gather another month of feedback from our campus before going to the Board at their next meeting for a final reading and vote.

This is what learning institutions do. They listen. They talk. They debate and discuss. They treat each other with respect, even when they disagree on some issues.

As always, we remain firmly fixed on what we do agree on — our mission and north star to advance Kentucky. That is what we are doing. And I know that is where we will always remain focused. Thank you for all you do, across this sprawling and special community, to make such progress possible.

Eli Capilouto

This is a photo of the University of Kentucky campus.
University of Kentucky campus. Mark Cornelison | UK Photo