University Senate Meeting Minutes

Meeting Details:

Fiscal Year: FY2023
Time: 3:15 p.m.
Location: Zoom
Guest Speaker: Karla Leeper (Vice Chancellor, Strategic Communications & Public Affairs)
Minutes Recorded By: Caty Movich
Minutes Approved on:


Attending Members

  • Andi Back
  • Andrea Herstowski
  • Angela Davis
  • Ani Kokobobo
  • Anne Patterson
  • Ben Chappell
  • Betsy Barnhart
  • Brad Osborn
  • Brian Moss
  • Chris Wallace
  • Corey Maley
  • DaNae Estabine
  • Douglas Girod
  • Ethan Sharp
  • Geraldo Sousa
  • Hara Talasila
  • Hollie Hall
  • Jeremy Mcleod
  • Jessica Chilcoat
  • Josh Arpin
  • Kim Conard
  • Kristin Villa
  • Laura Hines
  • Lea Currie
  • Liz Barton
  • Mahasweta Banerjee
  • Mary Dykmann
  • Maya Stiller
  • Mizuki Azuma
  • Nate Brunsell
  • Nils Gore
  • Patricia Gaston
  • Rafael Acosta
  • Rana Esfandiary
  • Roberta Schwartz
  • Russell Ostermann
  • Sarah Wilson Merriman
  • Scott Cossel
  • Sean Seyer
  • Teri Chambers
  • Tim Hossler
  • Yvonnes Chen

Other Attendees

  • Ana Chicas-Mosier
  • Angela Andres
  • Anne Thuro
  • Carolyn Kocken
  • Caty Movich
  • Christy Little
  • Gretchen H.
  • Jeff Chasen
  • Jennifer Roberts
  • Karla Leeper
  • Lisa Cloar
  • Lumen Mulligan
  • Monroe Hanson
  • Stephanie Phan
  • Suzanne Scales
  • Teresa MacDonald

Approval of Previous Minutes

Meeting minutes from December 1, 2022. Motion to approve by Chris Wallace. Seconded by Teri Chambers. Motion passed unanimously.

Guest Speaker Presentation

Guest Speaker: Karla Leeper (Vice Chancellor, Strategic Communications & Public Affairs)

Karla Leeper

  1. Introduction and professional background
    1. Karla has background as a faculty member before she moved into an administration cabinet position as Chief of Staff to the university president at a prior institution. She has worked in marketing and HR, among other departments.
  2. General thoughts about positioning KU’s image
    1. Karla’s experience as a student at KU has influenced her goals for telling KU’s story. She wants to emphasize the community and care she found at KU.
    2. Identified places where KU can improve, notably its internal communication. Karla wants to partner with Governance and staff council, union and student organizations, etc. She emphasized that she wants her office to be available to answer questions.
  3. Q&A
    1. KU’s governance system is unique since it brings together very different constituents, i.e., faculty, staff, students. How might that influence communication approaches at KU?
      1. Important to think about both substance and method of communication for each of these constituents. We need to work on that at KU and especially make sure that we are utilizing the communication methods that people want.
      2. We should also think about constituents’ abilities to tell their own stories. E.g., we can encourage and support faculty and staff experts to contribute publicly.
    2. What are some of the internal communication struggles that were mentioned? What is your philosophy on internal communications when it comes to Governance communicating with the rest of campus?
      1. Karla is still working on understanding the culture at KU, which is crucial.
      2. Email has its pros and cons, but people often don’t read it. The relationship with IT needs improvement to better figure out if email is being effective, but we also need to think about other communication methods that may work better. Email open rates are very low.
      3. Governance needs to be able to communication with constituents, but right now the email distribution lists are not functioning in a way that supports this.
      4. One option is to sub-divide email distribution lists to give unit leaders better autonomy. People are more likely to read email if it comes from someone they know/have been in contact with.
    3. What about external communication?
      1. We do not currently have a “brand campaign.” Need to emphasize our academics in addition to our athletics and our student recruitment, which are the two things currently defining the university in terms of marketing.
      2. We will be working on this during spring 23, aiming for something that focuses on research. We need to create a local and national presence.
    4. Communicating with students
      1. The media landscape is currently very fragmented. You need to find people rather than them finding you.
        1. Geofencing
        2. Karla has had previous success with an institutional app that is connected to the calendar, directory, and HR systems. Users can have personal profiles and tailored feeds. This greater control makes people more attentive.
      2. How much does KU emphasize that students need to check their email? What should be students’ second-highest priority after their individual classes? Do they know this?
        1. Important deadlines and crucial resources. Streamline all those things in one place and make it super consistent.
      3. It is important to remember that this isn’t a student problem, it’s across the university and across constituents. The problem is a lack of community, and as a result students and others feel that communications are not actually meant for them.
    5. KU Info was a valuable resource that is now gone. Great place for questions to be answered and unfamiliar things to be communicated.

Jessica Chilcoat

  1. Presentation on the USS and UPS Employee Satisfaction Survey (slides available on request)
    1. Background on survey
    2. Participation and results
    3. Ongoing and future initiatives
  2. Q&A
    1. Did KBOR have a distinct response to the presentation you gave them?
      1. Not distinctly verbalized. We can continue to report to KBOR and ask for their support when appropriate. Here at KU, both the Provost and the Chancellor have received the full report and we have had productive conversations with them.
    2. How do we build community?
      1. This is a particular struggle for newly remote employees. We need to have more in-person events, more listening sessions, and more promotion of governance in general.
      2. We’re never going to get to “pre-pandemic” in terms of community, so we need to think about what kind of community we want to be now. There are employees working outside of Lawrence and graduate students attending via online programs.
      3. Teri Chambers shared the success of the Biodiversity Institute’s recent retreat.
    3. What do the results suggest about relationships between staff and faculty?
      1. The pandemic seems to have resulted in a significant camaraderie between staff and faculty. The shared concerns demonstrated by both the staff survey and the COACHE faculty survey will likely continue bringing these two constituents together.


Student Senate Report

Reporter: Hollie Hall (Graduate Study Body President)
  1. The first full Student Senate meeting was last night. Ani presented on the shared governance visioning event. We voted on 3 pieces of legislation.
    1. Bill to create a director of justice à passed
    2. Bill to call upon KU to condemn the recent KS state legislation (KS Senate Bill 12) banning gender-affirming care for people under 21 à passed
    3. Bill to pass a referendum that would ask students whether there should be a minimum wage for student workers that would rely on increased campus fees à failed (there was not enough information regarding how much it would cost)
  2. On 2/15 Student Senate is going to the capital for State Higher Ed. Day. We plan to push for mental health resources.
  3. Next Saturday the Memorial Corporation Board meets. Alessia and Hollie will attend.
  4. From 2/6-10 is the fee review process. A 3-4% increase is allowed this year. KBOR did not allow an increase for the past few years due to the pandemic, and several areas on campus, such as transit, have suffered.
  5. Given the current events in Peru, Peruvian students were not contacted by the university with support and resources. Student Senate contacted International Student Services to highlight the importance of this.
  6. Q&A
    1. When are proposals for line funding due? 2/1. Processed by the Treasurer’s Office.
    2. The New York Times contract has been approved and communicated to campus (gives access to staff, faculty, students).

Staff Senate Report

Reporter: Jessica Chilcoat (Staff Senate President)
  1. Staff Senate has met with the Provost about the survey and requesting support.
  2. Starting Staff Senate elections soon. We will be taking nominations for the next Staff Senate President Elect before the campus-wide election in March. The transition meeting is in April. Communications will go out to campus over the next several weeks about how to nominate candidates.

Faculty Senate Report

Reporter: Nate Brunsell (Faculty Senate President)
  1. In response to faculty feedback, FacEx has decided to not implement the recent GRF allocation recommendations from the Faculty Research committee and to pursue other options.
  2. Rpk’s has issues its final report on the academic portfolio/program and teaching workload reviews they were doing for KBOR. The report has been disseminated to campus and rpk is currently soliciting feedback on the academic portfolio portion. It is crucial to communicate to KBOR how they should act on these recommendations.
  3. The team working on the results of the COACHE survey are transitioning into public engagement sessions. The kick-off forum with the provost will be followed by smaller, hybrid sessions for each academic unit. The purpose is to get faculty feedback and recommendations for proposed actions without asking for them to solve the problems.

University Senate Report

Reporter: Ani Kokobobo (University Senate President)
  1. Relying on campus email update from yesterday to serve as the report for this body
  2. The Shared Governance visioning event is upcoming.
  3. The Excused Absences policy amendment is out for 21-day campus review. There will be an informational session to answer questions.
  4. The Academic Forgiveness policy, as workshopped by the AP&P committee, will be discussed at SenEx soon.
  5. Governance was invited to attend strategic alignment meetings with the Provost and the Chancellor. Ani observed that it was a unique opportunity to hear what is happening across campus.

University Senate - Jan. 26, 2023

Member for

1 year 8 months
Submitted by Caty Movich on