Leading KU into the Future

Douglas A. Girod began his tenure as the 18th chancellor of the University of Kansas on July 1.
He has decades of experience in leadership roles at the university. A surgeon, Girod joined the KU Medical Center faculty in 1994 and quickly rose through the academic ranks, becoming chair of the Department of Otolaryngology-head and neck surgery in 2002. He was named Executive Vice Chancellor in 2013 and also served as Interim Executive Dean of the School of Medicine until 2014.

What makes KU a special place to teach, learn and do research?

KU has been on a remarkable trajectory. We have grown the freshman class for five straight years while recruiting the most talented and diverse students in our history. We have transformed our physical campuses to provide scholars the facilities they need to excel. We have extended our reach to every corner of the state to help Kansans live happier, healthier lives. And thanks to the generosity of friends and donors, we have completed a historic fundraising campaign that will bolster our efforts for years to come.

All of this means the university is in a good place, and affords our students more opportunities for valuable experiences. I look forward to working with Jayhawks across the state and nation to build on these successes and continue our success in the future.

What will your priorities be for the university?

We will strive to improve in every aspect of our mission, elevate KU’s national stature, and attract the best students and researchers. With these goals in mind, I have three main areas I intend to focus on initially: improving the student experience, expanding our outreach to the state and growing our research enterprise. In addition, we will continue our work to ensure KU is welcoming and inclusive and that every Jayhawk feels valued.

What are your proudest professional accomplishments?

I have had the privilege of serving KU for the past 23 years, most recently as executive vice chancellor of KU Medical Center. Certainly one of the highlights of my career has been being part of the team that made the new Health Education Building a reality. It took tremendous effort and passion and the help of many partners to achieve the vision for students to learn in a modern, interprofessional environment.

This new facility is the most advanced and innovative in the country. It will have significant benefits for our students and, more broadly, for the state by enabling us to train more health care professionals for Kansas communities.

What are the first steps you plan to take as chancellor?

I have already begun meeting with faculty, staff and alumni to discuss the next chapter for KU, and I look forward to hitting the road to visit with Jayhawks across the country. I want to hear from them about KU’s strengths and areas in which we can improve. These conversations will be central to my thinking about the direction of our university as we move forward.