U of L names Provost Lori Gonzalez as Interim University President Monday, Dec 13 2021 

By Madelin Shelton — 

The U of L board of trustees conducted a special meeting this morning at 8:30 a.m. to appoint Lori Gonzalez as Interim University President. The decision comes after the university announced Thursday that President Neeli Bendapudi would be leaving U of L to serve as President at Penn State University.

Gonzalez, who has served as executive vice president and university provost (EVPUP) since April of this year, discussed her enthusiasm in a statement to the Cardinal Community. “Since I arrived to Louisville in April to serve as executive vice president and provost, I have come to appreciate even more how special our institution is. Our students pursue their studies with passion and enthusiasm; our faculty invest time and wisdom into sharing their knowledge and dedication to the mission; our staff take great pride in supporting our mission and our students and faculty; and our supporters are passionate about their Cardinal institution.”

Gonzalez also expressed her optimism about where the university is headed. “Our university has tremendous momentum. We thank President Bendapui for her leadership in moving us forward. All strong organizations evolve, as the University of Louisville has done for more than 223 years. We are defined by our Cardinal Principles, by our actions and by our compassion for one another, not by any one individual and certainly not by others.”

Gonzalez joined the university as EVPUP after serving as vice chancellor for academic, faculty and student affairs at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis.

Photo Courtesy // University of Louisville

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U of L AAUP rallies in opposition to new faculty policy Wednesday, Nov 3 2021 

By Madelin Shelton — 

Multiple members of a U of L faculty group rallied Oct. 29 to pressure the Board of Trustees  to reject a proposed Faculty Accountability Policy. Despite objections, the Board of Trustees passed the policy and it went into effect Friday.

The rally, held in Grawemeyer Hall, expressed dissatisfaction with the new policy by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and called on the board to send it back for additional revisions.

“The FAP is a radical administration proposal for the disciplining of individual faculty members, including for various vague offenses, such as ‘disrespect’ and ‘chronic attendance problems,’” the AAUP said in an email to faculty.

Michael Cunningham, Professor and Psychologist in the Department of Communication and the current President of the U of L AAUP chapter, said, “We see that our rights and our prerogatives and the administration’s respect for faculty is being trampled. Then we were asked to endure pay cuts, benefits cuts and retirement plan cuts.”

The AAUP has outlined five problems with the policy. The AAUP claims it is in direct violation of the Redbook, the basic governance document for U of L. The Redbook gives faculty legislative authority over all policies and procedures pertaining to personnel.

This new accountability policy was drafted by a Faculty Accountability Committee created under former Provost Beth Boehm. The AAUP argues faculty control over the creation of this policy was inadequate according to the Redbook.

Dr. David Schultz is a U of L biology professor and the current Faculty Senate Chair. As the Faculty Senate Chair, he sits on the Board of Trustees as the faculty constituency representative. He does not see the new policy as violating the Redbook. “If there’s going to be bad conduct by the faculty which is going to be, and historically has been, a rare event, the administration still has the power under the Redbook to enact then some sort of corrective actions for that misconduct,” Schultz said.

The policy was in response to two separate incidents of faculty misconduct. In one a faculty member is alleged to have provided alcohol to underage students. In the other  a faculty member is alleged to have not completed the mandatory annual human subjects protection training.

Schultz said that part of the reason this policy was created was an inconsistency in corrective actions put upon faculty in different units. “If a faculty member in one unit did something, and another faculty member in another unit did the exact same thing, you could end up with a difference in how the corrective action was applied. This policy is meant to make it a consistent application across all units,” he said.

Second, the AAUP states that the policy embodies unilateral administration decision-making about disciplining faculty. The policy outlines an undefined supervisor who will investigate alleged faculty misconduct and determine the extent of disciplinary action. The AAUP had proposed a faculty peer review step to the committee, but it was not included.

When asked about the extent of faculty input on the policy, Schultz said that faculty feedback was included throughout the entire process. “The policy went through numerous different faculty organizations for faculty input.” Specifically, Schultz mentioned that the policy went through the Faculty Senate Executive Committee multiple times, the Commission on Diversity, Race and Equity, and the Commission on the Status of Women. All of these, Schultz said, have a dominant faculty perspective.

The AAUP  argues the policy lacks explicit due process and procedural justice protections.

The AAUP also says the policy ignores  the need for creative problem-solving in perceptions of misconduct. Instead, they claim, the standards include little more than “administrator-imposed punishments.”

Schultz stated that the policy does not create a new power for the administration to use against faculty and clarified that although the policy has been put into effect, that does not mean it can’t be changed and revised later. “The provost has agreed to report back on how this is being applied and if the faculty senate feels there is problems with this policy, the senate can then take action, request changes, and bring this up to the provost and to the president as well,” he said.

Faculty asked for an emphasis on creative problem-solving to misconduct, but it did not end up in the final version. The policy instead included the following: “Faculty behavior may warrant remedial action. For example, a faculty member may be required to complete University-mandated training.”

According to the AAUP, “Not only does the statement not convey any expectation of insight and creativity, but it conveys a top-down mandate rather than a collaborative solution in which the faculty member is an active and equal participant.”

Finally, the AAUP declares the policy undermines faculty morale by sending the wrong message at the worst possible time.

Cunningham also pointed to the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) report.

“The recent Harvard-U of L ‘Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education’ (COACHE) report documented serious levels of U of L faculty dissatisfaction in nine major areas, including Governance, Leadership and Compensation,” said the AAUP’s email.

Cunningham, who attended the rally, was given five minutes to lay out the faculty’s case in opposition to the policy. Current Provost Lori Stewart Gonzalez spoke in favor of the policy, and ultimately the board approved it.

Once Cunningham and other members of the AAUP saw the board’s intent to move the policy forward, they walked out of the meeting before its official ending.

Work on the accountability policy began in 2019.

To date, the policy has not received an approval vote from the Faculty Senate or any other governing body composed of faculty.

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U of L reaches vaccination goal; resists easing restrictions Thursday, Sep 16 2021 

By Madelin Shelton — 

U of L recently surpassed its 80 percent vaccination rate goal but has decided to keep certain health precautions in place.

Originally, the 80 percent goal was set to serve as a checkpoint for easing restrictions related to COVID-19, including the mask mandate for public, indoor spaces reimplemented on Aug. 9. The university has changed course and decided to keep the mask mandate in place, citing increased transmission numbers in the Jefferson County area and CDC guidance related to the transmissibility of the virus.

“Additionally, our university’s public health experts tell us higher percentages of vaccination rates across campus should be reached for optimal herd immunity,” said Executive Vice President and University Provost (EVPUP) Lori Stewart Gonzalez.

Gonzalez also said the university will closely monitor the situation and will update us when they have deemed it appropriate to ease COVID-19 restrictions.

Pop-up vaccination sites on campus will continue tomorrow, Sept. 17, in the Bingham Humanities lobby from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for students, faculty and staff to continue getting vaccinated. The pop-up sites will take a pause next week but will continue again starting Sept. 27., although individuals can still get vaccinated at the Health Sciences Center (HSC) Campus Health Center during that time. The locations and times of the university’s pop-up sites can be found here.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L prepares transition for in-person fall semester Monday, Mar 15 2021 

By Madelin Shelton — 

The university announced on March 13 that it plans to make a “return to normal” for fall 2021 by having more in-person courses. The decision comes after six months of planning from the Academic Scenario Planning Committee and the Coordinating Committee.

“In our case, a return to normal means we expect to offer students a robust residential experience with in-person classes and fully staffed student services again,” Executive Vice President and University Provost Beth Boehm said.

Elements of this plan include a fall 2021 schedule with face-to-face and 100% digital course designations and incorporating some online expectation into in-person courses. Most courses will be in person, but some online courses will be available for students that accommodate their learning styles and schedules.

In addition, any combination of in-person and online courses may be taken for the same resident or nonresident full-time rate.

Boehm said in the email that the university will still be prepared to flip some in-person courses to online or hybrid if the pandemic continues into the fall.

However, hybrid courses will not be continuing into the fall. “Because many students and faculty find the hybrid designation confusing, and because we do not expect to be required to physically distance to the same extent as this year, all courses will be marked as either face-to-face or 100% digital,” Boehm said.

“As always, our priority this fall will be to keep faculty, staff and students safe on campus while providing a first-class, in-person education for students,” Boehm said.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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The Cardinal interviews incoming University Provost, Lori Gonzalez Tuesday, Jan 19 2021 

By Madelin Shelton — 

Dr. Lori Gonzalez, the newly selected executive vice president and university provost (EVPUP), was recently interviewed by The Louisville Cardinal and outlined her upcoming position at the University of Louisville.

“The things that drew me to the University of Louisville are some of the initiatives around anti-racism and improving retention rates to keep our undergraduate students enrolled and to ensure that they graduate on time,” Gonzalez said. She also enjoyed reading U of L’s Strategic Plan because it succinctly presented the university’s goals of making itself a great place to learn, work and invest.

Gonzalez further noted President Neeli Bendapudi’s involvement with students as a pulling factor.

“When I saw President Bendapudi and her videos to students, her writing to students, I just thought this was a president who cares about higher ed, cares about the students and is going to be sure that the institution is a student-first place for people to learn,” she said.

Gonzalez said that her leadership in education has prepared her best for her new role as university provost.

“I started out as a faculty member and moved into administration at the college level. I’ve been a dean, I’ve been a provost, and now I’m a vice chancellor,” she said. “I think the thing that prepares you best for leadership is enjoying the mission of the institution and believing passionately about the mission, and then enjoying working with people.”

When asked how she has worked to uphold the Cardinal principle of diversity and inclusion in the past, Gonzalez first elaborated on how she came to appreciate diversity and inclusion in her own life. Being from a small town in eastern Kentucky, Gonzalez said she didn’t have experiences with those who were different from her until she got to college.

“I started my own quest to understand my own bias that I brought from where I was raised and focusing on learning more about diversity and inclusion,” she said. “When I became dean, I brought in training opportunities for our faculty and staff around diversity and inclusion. As provost I worked really closely with the equity and diversity office to make sure programming was going. I did small things like meeting every semester with transgender students.”

When she officially takes on the role of provost, Gonzalez said she wants to help foster an environment where undergraduate students come into U of L and study their respective subjects while also learning their civic duty as citizens.

“That’s a personal passion of mine to make sure that students become more than whatever their discipline is because they’re going to be the ones to change our world for the better and I think the university has to give you the tools to know how to do that,” she said.

To specifically improve the student experience for U of L students, Gonzalez wants to work with Bendapudi to expand the experiential learning strategy that is under the “Great Place to Learn” component of the Strategic Plan. She believes focusing on this component will further help with cultivating civically engaged learners.

Gonzalez will begin serving as the EVPUP starting April 1.

Photo Courtesy // The University of Louisville 

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U of L selects next Provost Friday, Dec 4 2020 

By Madelin Shelton — 

The University of Louisville has selected Lori Stewart Gonzalez to serve as the new executive vice president and university provost (EVPUP).

Pending approval by the U of L Board of Trustees, Gonzalez will begin working on April 1, 2021, following current Provost and Executive Vice President Beth Boehm, who has served the role since 2018. Boehm will return to her position as Dean of the Graduate school.

Gonzalez currently serves as the vice chancellor for academic, faculty and student affairs at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis. U of L President Bendapudi cited her administrative experience in an email sent to the community on Gonzalez’s selection.

“As vice chancellor at the UT Health Science Center since 2015, she oversees the offices of academic, faculty, student and international affairs, education services, equity and diversity, community engagement and others,” Bendapudi said.  “As interim dean of the UT College of Health Professions, in 2016-17, she oversaw the departments of Audiology and Speech Pathology, Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Health Informatics and Information Management, Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy.”

Gonzalez’s other experience includes provost and executive chancellor at Appalachian State University, senior advisor to the senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of North Carolina General Administration, and associate dean and then dean of the College of Health Sciences at the University of Kentucky.

EVPUP Search Committee chairs Gerry Bradley, dean of the School of Dentistry, and David Jenkings, dean of the Kent School of Social Work, conveyed that Gonzalez clearly stood out to the search committee and was a fantastic fit for U of L.

“She brings a breadth of leadership experience in academia and was the consensus choice across all campus constituencies. Dr. Gonzalez showed a clear and decisive commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion that fits perfectly with President Bendapudi’s strategic work in this area. And she was truly impressive in her interactions with students, faculty and staff. We look forward to welcoming her to the University of Louisville family,” both Bradley and Jenkings said.

Gonzalez is originally from Rockcastle County, Ky. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky University, respectively. She earned her doctorate from the University of Florida Department of Speech.

Photo Courtesy of the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center

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Four finalists remain in U of L’s search for next Provost Wednesday, Dec 2 2020 

By Madelin Shelton — 

The University of Louisville has concluded its campus visits with finalists for the Executive Vice President and University Provost (EVPUP) position.

The finalists included four candidates who had to answer the open forum question: “Why Provost? Why now? Why U of L? How will you define short-term (1 year) and long-term (3-5 years) success as the next Executive Vice President and University Provost at the University of Louisville?” during their respective campus visits.

Finalist number one, Donald Hall, visited campus Oct. 26. He serves as the Dean of Faculty of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering at the University of Rochester, located in Rochester, NY. In this role, Hall acts as the chief executive and academic officer of the largest academic unit on the University of Rochester’s campus and oversaw the largest fiscal entity of that university, aside from their medical center.

Finalist number two, Laurence Alexander, visited campus Nov. 5. He currently serves as the Chancellor, or Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB), where he provides leadership for the whole institution. As CEO, Alexander has broad responsibility for a wide range of operations, including leadership and articulation of UAPB’s mission and goals. Prior to this position, Alexander served as the Associate Dean at The Graduate School at the University of Florida for 13 years.

Finalist number three, Lynn Okagaki, visited campus Nov. 9. She is the current Deputy Provost for Academic Affairs at the University of Delaware, located in Newark, DE. As a part of this role, she is a member of the Provost’s senior leadership team focused on academics. She is also responsible for academic enrichment programs to improve access, retention and graduation of all students, with a special emphasis on students from low income and historically under-represented groups.

Finalist number four, Lori Gonzalez, visited campus Nov. 12. She serves as the Vice Chancellor for Academic, Faculty and Student Affairs at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, in which she provides leadership and oversight for the offices of Academic Affairs, Center for Healthcare Improvement and Patient Simulation, Equity and Diversity, Student Affairs and Community Engagement. She has previously worked as the Dean of the College of Health Sciences at the University of Kentucky from 2005-2011.

Further information about the candidates and access to the forum recordings can be found here.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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University selects finalists for Executive Vice President and University Provost position Monday, Nov 2 2020 

  • By Madelin Shelton —

The University of Louisville has selected finalists for the Executive Vice President and University Provost (EVPUP) position. Each candidate will participate in an open forum and a Q&A open to the campus community.

The candidates will respond to the following prompt for 15 minutes: Why Provost? Why now? Why U of L? How will you define short-term and long-term success as the next EVPUP at the University of Louisville? The forum will then open up to 45 minutes of Q&A.

For those wishing to attend, the forums will be available in-person, via livestream or by watching the recordings afterward. Virtual attendees can participate via Microsoft Teams Live Event.

Those attending in-person will be required to wear masks and follow social distancing and other COVID-19 guidelines. Seating will be offered on a first come, first served basis.

There are four candidates, each with separate dates and times for their open forum. Their identities, resumé and cover letter will be made available on the Search for EVPUP website shortly before their visit.

Candidate one participated in an open forum Mon., Oct. 26. The recording can be found here. Candidate two will have theirs Thurs., Nov. 5 from 10:00 to 11:10 a.m. in the Ballroom of the Student Activities Center (SAC).

Candidate three’s open forum will take place Mon., Nov. 9 from 10:00-11:10 a.m. in rooms 101 and 102 of the Kosair Charities Clinical and Translational Research Building on the Health Sciences Center (HSC) campus.

Candidate four’s open forum is Thurs., Nov. 12 from 10:00-11:10 a.m. in the Ballroom of the SAC.

Members of the U of L community are invited to fill out the feedback survey for each provost candidate after hearing from them during their campus visit.

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U of L searches for new College of A&S Dean Monday, Nov 2 2020 

By Madelin Shelton — 

The University of Louisville has selected five finalists out of a pool of 30 applicants to interview for the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences (A&S) position.

The candidates will be visiting campus on various dates to interact with College of A&S stakeholders.

Four candidates will have hybrid in-person/virtual visits, while one candidate has opted for an entirely virtual visit.

The candidates’ information will be made public on the A&S Dean Search Website one week prior to their visit. The first candidate, Georita Frierson, visited campus Oct. 29-30. Candidate two will visit Nov. 5-6.

The second candidate, Interim College of Arts & Sciences  Dean David Owen, will interact with A&S stakeholders on Nov. 5-6.

Candidates three, four and five will visit on Nov. 17-18, Nov. 19-20 and Nov. 23-24, respectively.

More information about the search can be found here.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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