The University of Kentucky is undergoing a “major reorganization” of its senior administration meant to “elevate and expand its commitment to diversity, student success, accountability and its historic land-grant mission of service,” UK President Dr. Eli Capilouto announced in a letter to the campus community.
As part of the plan, the school is placing a stronger emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion by increasing its Office for Institutional
Diversity’s (OID) budget from $3.1 million to $19.3 million “overnight” and by expanding its authority over several programs. The OID will now be responsible for the $14 million Parker Scholarship program which benefits many students of color and first-generation students each year as well as the $2.75 million Faculty Diversity Fund which is dedicated to recruiting more faculty and staff of color. The Office of Community Engagement will also be moved to the OID in an effort to strengthen the school’s relationships with the region’s communities of color.
Additionally, once the school finds a permanent vice president for institutional diversity, interim vice president Dr. George Wright will be promoted to the permanent position of senior adviser to Capilouto.
“The minds and voices of UK’s leadership team must better represent our strategic imperatives,” Capilouto wrote. “They also must better reflect our increasingly diverse world — not as symbols of our intent, but as partners who drive our progress.”
Other changes within senior leadership include a new vice president for student success, a vice president for land-grant engagement and a chief accountability officer and audit executive.
“We are caught in the chaotic currents of two pandemics — one that poisons our lungs and spirit, another our hearts and minds,” wrote Capilouto. ” … As Kentucky’s university, we cannot afford to think only about surviving. We must commit ourselves to thriving — to boldly acting now so that we meet our promise tomorrow. We must position UK for the future — with the goal of ensuring that one day COVID-19 is a page in a history book and racial injustice seems as ancient and antithetical to who we are as slavery.”