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Klusmeier selected to lead academic success endeavors at KU

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

LAWRENCE — Susan Klusmeier, who has served in various roles at the University of Kansas since 2016, and for the past 11 months as interim vice provost for undergraduate studies, will be the new vice provost for academic success.

The title change also signals a new name for the office to better reflect its critical ties to student success, one of the Core Institutional Priorities that are part of KU’s new strategic plan, Jayhawks Rising.

“I’m confident that Susan possesses the leadership, insight and skills KU needs now and well into the future,” said Barbara Bichelmeyer, provost and executive vice chancellor. “Susan has a distinguished career that demonstrates a commitment to providing students with resources that can help them master the academic rigor of their courses and excel as scholars and contributors to our community and society. We were fortunate to have had an exceptionally talented applicant pool, as well as a finalist with such in-depth knowledge of KU and the opportunities ahead.”

As vice provost for academic success, Klusmeier will continue to have responsibility for the nine units that currently operate under the title of the Office of Undergraduate Studies: First-Year Experience, Undergraduate Advising Center, Academic Achievement & Access Center, KU Writing Center, University Career Center, Office of Fellowships, Center for Service Learning, Center for Undergraduate Research and the Military-Affiliated Student Center. Klusmeier, who has taught at KU and other institutions, will also be named a courtesy assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies in the School of Education.

Bichelmeyer said the rationale for the name change is twofold: first, to better reflect the work of the office, which currently serves both undergraduate and graduate students; and second, to focus the purpose and responsibilities of the office, which are to improve academic success of all KU students on the Lawrence and Edwards campuses and to provide leadership in supporting all academic units as they work to improve student success.

Klusmeier’s previous role as assistant vice provost in the office will remain unfilled at this time.

Klusmeier expressed both pride for the work of people in the units she leads and confidence for how they will shape the success of KU students into the future.

“I am honored to lead a talented team within undergraduate studies and to continue our focus on collaboration, advocacy and innovation to provide academic resources that foster success for all students,” Klusmeier said. “I have been inspired by the thoughtfulness, nimbleness and flexibility of our units as we continue to provide the quality services and engagement while we all work, teach and learn remotely – and look forward to building upon what we learn from this experience to strengthen how we work with and support the Jayhawk community in the future.”

In June 2019, Klusmeier, then assistant vice provost for undergraduate studies, was named interim vice provost upon the departure of DeAngela Burns-Wallace to lead the Kansas Department of Administration. From 2016 to 2019, Klusmeier served KU as director of strategic initiatives in undergraduate studies.

Prior to coming to KU in 2016, Klusmeier held several positions at the University of Missouri. The roles focused on student success initiatives, academic advising, diversity and inclusion, and enrollment management. She has also previously worked in residence life at Ohio State University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Klusmeier has been recognized for her work in higher education at national, regional and institutional levels, and she has received recognition from NACADA – The Global Community for Academic Advising and INROADS. Klusmeier is an active member of NASPA – Student Affairs Professionals in Higher Education, and she served as a member of the NASPA 2020 Annual Conference Leadership Committee. She is also a member of the advisory board for KU’s Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity. She enjoys working with and mentoring emerging professionals in higher education.

Klusmeier earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master's degree in education with an emphasis in higher education administration from KU. She holds a doctorate in education from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on the professionalization of academic advising and the role policy plays in adviser retention. She was born and raised outside of Chicago.

Bichelmeyer added a note of gratitude for those who took part in the search process, either as a KU community member or as a participant in the search and interview process.

“Thank you to all who took part in the search process and provided feedback on this important position,” Bichelmeyer said. “I am especially appreciative of the search committee, led by Vice Provost for Student Affairs Tammara Durham and Dean of Pharmacy Ron Ragan, for their hard work. They recruited excellent candidates without the aid of an external search firm and worked quickly to ensure this important leadership role received the attention it deserves at a time of immense change and challenge.”

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