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University Relations

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September 28, 2005
Contact: Lynn Bretz, University Relations, (785) 864-8866.

KU provost to step down after 13 years; oversaw strong gains in academic quality

LAWRENCE -- David E. Shulenburger, who has overseen impressive gains in the academic profile of University of Kansas students and a renewed emphasis on effective teaching, announced today that he will step down as executive vice chancellor and provost of the Lawrence campus at the end of June 2006.

"David Shulenburger has guided the Lawrence campus to remarkable success and growth in quality during his tenure," said Chancellor Robert E. Hemenway. "This university is a better place thanks to his strong and intelligent leadership.

"He is a gifted administrator who will be sorely missed, and I personally will lament his departure. We have had a highly productive partnership, and I will always value his advice and counsel. Fortunately, he will remain on the faculty, and his wisdom will be available to us as we continue to build this university."

Shulenburger has overseen the Lawrence campus academic enterprise since 1993, when he was vice chancellor for academic affairs. After a national search, Hemenway named Shulenburger provost in 1996, to serve as the Lawrence campus chief academic and operating officer. In 2002, Hemenway appointed him executive vice chancellor.

"It has been a great privilege and enormously rewarding for me personally and professionally to serve the University of Kansas in the capacity of provost and executive vice chancellor," said Shulenburger. "But I have thought about this decision for some time, and it is simply time to step down."

Shulenburger has played a critical role in an administration characterized by strong leadership and support for the campus, according to a 2003 site visit report by the National Institute for Effective Educational Practice. "Many people with whom we talked mentioned their respect for the Provost," the report stated.

Hemenway said he would appoint quickly a search committee, broadly representative of the campus, to begin a national search for Shulenburger's replacement, with a hiring goal of July 1.

Shulenburger, a labor economist, will return to teaching in the School of Business. He leaves a long legacy of achievements as provost. Among them:

Principal architect of KU's tuition enhancement plan. With the chancellor, Shulenburger earned remarkable consensus from students, faculty and staff, alumni and the Kansas Board of Regents to target revenue from Regents-approved tuition increases for areas of need. In four years, more than $35 million in tuition revenue has funded new faculty positions and programs, classroom improvements, technology upgrades, graduate teaching assistant salaries, libraries, student hourly wages, faculty and staff salaries, and advising and other student program support. An additional $7 million has provided tuition grants for students who show need. This fall, as he welcomed 97 new faculty to the Lawrence campus, Shulenburger noted that tuition enhancement was an investment paying promised dividends: "KU is among very few public institutions able to hire new faculty in this period of overall retrenchment, and we are bringing in faculty at all ranks, not just entry-level. The new ideas and perspectives these individuals will contribute to KU will shape the institution for decades into the future."

Renewed emphasis on the teaching and learning environment. Under the Shulenburger era, KU distinguished itself as one of 20 high-performing universities whose "effective educational practices" were included in the 2005 book "Student Success in College." The study tapped only two major research universities -- KU and the University of Michigan -- in the group of 20 institutions "that do an outstanding job of involving students in their education," as USA Today reported in August. The 20 institutions were selected from over 700 who participated in the National Survey of Student Engagement.

A more diverse campus, with record improvements in student profiles. The proportion of minority students on the Lawrence campus has grown from 7.8 percent in fall 1993 to 11.8 percent in fall 2005. The freshman retention rate of African-American students has jumped from 63.3 percent for the fall 1993 entering class to 82.1 percent for the fall 2004 entering class. ACT scores of entering freshmen have risen from 23.3 in fall 1993 to 24.4 in fall 2005. The overall freshman retention rate has improved from 74.9 percent for the fall 1993 entering class to 82.4 percent for the fall 2004 entering class. Students report higher satisfaction with their KU experience. A survey of seniors, taken every five years, revealed in 2005 that 91 percent of students were satisfied with their overall education at KU, compared to an historic average of 78 percent.

Strong commendation from KU's accrediting agency, the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. In awarding KU the maximum 10-year accreditation in 2005, NCA cited KU's strong gains in its academic profile and did not identify any concerns. In the previous review in 1994, NCA had identified nine areas of concern, each of which KU successfully had addressed 10 years later.

Strong emphasis on advising and writing skills. In 1998, the Freshman-Sophomore Advising Center and the KU Writing Center opened. Both centers provide one-on-one support to students to guide academic lives and improve writing skills � key factors in student success. The College Board, recognizing the provost's leadership, in 2002 appointed him to the National Commission on Writing Education. He shared this service with 16 other national academic leaders and an ex-officio member who was also a Jayhawk -- former KU Chancellor Gene Budig.

National recognition for stressing international education. In 2004, KU was named one of only five universities to receive the Paul Simons award for an internationalized curriculum and high numbers of students who study abroad.

Record research funding. Since 1993, research expenditures at KU have more than doubled. In the past three years, Lawrence campus faculty won major grants worth a total of $40 million for two National Science Foundation centers � an accomplishment shared by only four other institutions (universities of Arizona, California-Berkeley, Illinois and Washington).

Expansion of facilities and infrastructure. Shulenburger played a major role in acquiring Smith Hall; the Life Sciences Research Laboratory complex at 15th Street and Wakarusa Drive; the 300 acres at Sunflower, outside of DeSoto; and construction of the $40 million Multidisciplinary Research Building on west campus, which will open in December.

Notable track record in hiring and mentoring deans. Two deans hired by Shulenburger have gone on to lead major public universities: Kim Wilcox, provost of Michigan State University, and Sally Frost Mason, provost of Purdue University. Both formerly were deans of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, KU's largest school. Former KU Dean of Fine Arts Toni-Marie Montgomery, also a Shulenburger hire, now leads Northwestern University's School of Music, one of the top music schools in the nation.

Leader of a national dialogue on the economics of scholarly communication in the digital era. For drawing attention to making scholarly publications affordable and his proposal to create a National Electronic Article Repository, Shulenburger received commendation from the Association of Research Libraries.

A native of Salisbury, N. C., Shulenburger earned his Ph.D. and M.A. degrees from the University of Illinois and the B.A. from Lenoir Rhyne College. His research is in the areas of labor and industrial relations and economics with a major focus on wage determination.

After serving as a faculty member at Clemson University and a labor economist for the U.S. Department of Labor, Shulenburger joined the KU faculty as assistant professor of business in 1974. He held various positions including associate dean and undergraduate program director in the School of Business before being named associate vice chancellor for academic affairs in 1988.

Shulenburger received the Shutz Award for Distinguished Teaching on Economic Systems and has chaired the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges Council on Academic Affairs.


The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus. | (785) 864-3256 | 1314 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045