Final Spring 2023 Update from University Governance

Dear all,

It is hard to believe that we are at the end of another academic year. Please know that it has been a pleasure getting to know many of you and to serve as your representatives by advancing your important perspectives on campus issues. We feel exceptionally privileged to be in community with you, are proud of the many accomplishments of our community, and are sincerely touched by the support you have extended us this year. We hope you will extend a similar welcome to your incoming leaders: Incoming University Senate President, Kristin Villa (School of Pharmacy) and Incoming Faculty Senate President, Victor Gonzalez (CLAS).

Now that many initiatives and policy updates are finalized, we want to send a final update of our work this session.

Shared Governance Initiative

The Shared Governance Advisory Group is working to finalize their recommendations and will be presenting their report to university leadership in the coming weeks. A lot of our work was diffuse, but we are hopeful that the charter we produced around what it means to be an exceptional learning community and our other recommendations can produce positive impact for all of us. Once these materials are finalized, we will ensure they are shared through the project website.

KBOR Definition of the Bachelor’s Degree

As some of you may remember, in the Fall, the Faculty Senate held a vote that resulted in strong support of changing the definition of the Bachelor’s Degree to make it easier for transfer students to enroll at KU. This decision fell outside the scope of our policy purview, but we wanted to reflect our support for expanding access to the outstanding education we provide to students in the state and far beyond. We want to update you on this issue and let you know that the Kansas Board of Regents approved changes to the definition of a Bachelor’s Degree (pg. 52). The change capped degrees at 120 credit hours unless approved by the Board Academic Affairs Standing Committee, and now allows more than 60 credit hours to be transferred in from a community college. The KBOR policy continues to require a minimum 45 JR/SR hours, and the USRR requires a minimum of 30 hours in residence.

Policy Amendments

Below is a list of all the policies passed by the University and Faculty Senates this academic year, including the last three that were just finalized this week.

Academic Misconduct (USRR 2.6.5)

Students cannot change their grade to credit/no credit if found responsible for academic misconduct.

Religious Observances and Exams (USRR 1.3.12)

Students must be allowed to make up final examinations in the case that a mandated religious observance conflicts with the exam.

Ombuds (USRR Articles 5 and 6)

Updated the required qualifications for the Ombuds role and the general information on the function of the office at the university.

University Excused Absences (USRR Article 2)

Students must be allowed to make up classwork in the case of an excused absence. There are now definitions of what constitutes an excused absence, as well as guidance on handling such absences.

Interim Leaders (FSRR 10.5)

There should be more transparency and community input in the selection of interim leaders. Searches to fill administrative vacancies should be prioritized and not exceed 18 months.

University Senate Reorganization (CODE Articles 1, 6, and 17)

There will be equal representation from faculty, staff, and students within the University Senate and SenEx. Any amendments to USRR articles that address academic policies will require approval from Faculty Senate.

Capstone Requirement (USRR 3.1.1)

The USRR definition of the bachelor’s degree now includes the capstone requirement previously reflected in KU Core Goal 6.

Academic Forgiveness (USRR 2.8)

The requirements for academic forgiveness have been reduced to make it less prohibitive for students who previously did not do well academically to return to KU and complete their degrees.

Opportunities For Your Participation

Start the year off by investing in our Flock. You’re invited to join the Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center on Saturday, August 19th for Jayhawks Give a Flock! Help us welcome the incoming class and teach our new Jayhawks how to be prosocial bystanders.

We are currently projected to have upwards of 4,800 incoming first year students for the fall 2023 semester. As you can imagine, pulling off an event of this magnitude can only be done with the assistance of dedicated community members willing to serve as presenters throughout the day. We would love your help! Join the FLOCK today. Spring and summer training opportunities to come upon sign up.


Thank you for all you do,

Ani Kokobobo, Outgoing University Senate President

Nate Brunsell, Outgoing Faculty Senate President