|Candidate Kathleen Long discusses impressions of campus|
Dr. Kathleen Long, dean and professor, College of Nursing, University of Florida, Gainesville, the second of five presidential candidates to visit campus, discussed her impressions of UND and focused on partnerships during her public talk Jan. 14.
Long was nominated for the provost position at UND several years ago, and said the enthusiasm of the students, the involvement, shared governance, the commitment of deans and vice presidents, the unique and stellar programs, American Indian programs, rural health, energy and environment -- all anchored in the liberal arts -- resulted in a positive impression.
“What attracted me most was the people,” she said. “I found them genuine, straightforward, open, and energetic.” She said she was encouraged to apply for the presidency and is interested in the position because UND is a terrific place with warm people and world-changing ideas, well-positioned to take on new challenges. She feels her strengths are a good fit with the University, and can offer a demonstrated ability to work effectively via shared governance.
“I have made hard decisions in concert with the governmental structure,” she said, adding that nursing faculty at the University of Florida have demonstrated the highest morale on campus for the last two surveys.
She said she has a thorough understanding of health sciences, medical schools, and health systems, a proven ability to work across disciplines, and has led initiatives in multi-disciplinary education.
She said she can bring entrepreneurship and budget management beyond college boundaries, and helped build the Faculty Practice Association, the first incorporated in Florida and one of just a few in the country, which supports nine faculty positions. She has also led in the development of five institutional cooperative doctoral programs, which has allowed the university to pool resources and maintain quality. She has chaired a committee for the University of Florida Foundation, which is currently engaged in a $1.5 billion campaign.
Upon coming to Florida, she said, she was mentored and schooled in fundraising. The nursing college is in its second year of a $14 million campaign, of which half has been raised. “If you know about nursing campaigns,” she said, “you know that’s pretty successful.”
She said she’s directly involved with diversity efforts and support for under-represented groups, including health care, advising, and research on American Indian reservations.
She spent 14 years at Montana State, which is similar to UND, and 13 years at Florida, one of the largest universities in the country, and she said the combination allows her to understand issues and bring new ideas to UND.
Her vision of UND, she said, is a shared vision with the UND community. She said the current UND strategic plan is comprehensive, lofty, inclusive, and challenging. She would set priorities and build bridges and partnerships within UND and North Dakota to maximize resources.
What if, said Long, innovative marketing and results spread enthusiasm around UND? What if the Chronicle of Higher Education wrote about how UND rose above the logo controversy to build stronger programs? What if the UND Senate was empowered to partner and develop new academic programs? What if we could convince EPSCoR that we could address challenges and develop solutions to increase research and develop a new state model? What if entrepreneurial efforts across UND could benefit the University and world?
She said that she realizes some people wonder whether an “outsider” can understand UND and build relationships with the chancellor, legislature, and state. She said she’s demonstrated a history of adapting quickly and well, and can build positive relationships with wide constituencies.
In 1980, Long left Johns Hopkins University for Montana State and adapted quickly, making significant contributions, including increased federal grants, developing a network of state support, and advanced nursing and honors.
In 1995, she was named nursing dean at Florida, and worked hard to establish networks at an institution with 50,000 students and 10,000 faculty and staff. She said she again adapted quickly, with help from others, and made significant contributions at the university and national level. In fact, she was one of two nurses invited to the Oval Office to witness President Bush sign a bill she helped develop. She also secured increased funding, and she and her faculty helped develop a clinic for underserved communities.
To both jobs, she said, she brought energy and passion. “I am confident I can bring that to UND,” she said. “With your help I will learn quickly and well, and represent UND with pride and grace.” Being an insider has more to do with commitment, passion, and energy, she said. “And I think green can quickly become my favorite color.”
She then responded to questions from the audience, summarized below.
When it comes to football plays, Long joked, she knows them well enough to write them. Hiring an athletic director is critically important, she said, and we need someone with expertise in Division I who can improve athletics and balance the academic mission. Both UND and Florida have been successful at that. “If you’re asking if the athletic director should report to the president, my answer is yes,” she said to applause.
One person asked if we need another person with health experience when we have strong leaders in medicine and nursing. Long said that the president does not perform the jobs of vice presidents or deans. The value, she said, is having someone who understands the complexity of health care. “What people want in a president,” she said, is someone who is thoughtful, who understands the value of a liberal arts education.” She said she earned her doctorate in sociology, anthropology, and psychology because she wanted to work outside nursing, and added that she has done extensive work with honors programs. She understands the breadth of the university, entrepreneurship, budgeting, and can develop creative partnerships that will help increase research and resources. “I can bring that,” she said. “I can reach out to the people of the University and the state, make friends, and develop partnerships with the legislature and the state.”
Regarding improving the faculty recruitment and tenure/promotion process, Long said she doesn’t know the UND process, but assumes that, like elsewhere, the process belongs to faculty. The president’s job, she said, is to ensure that the faculty have an active voice. She believes that mentoring junior faculty is critically important. “There’s nothing sadder than not being able to help them achieve tenure and promotion,” she said. She would work with deans to improve recruitment and mentoring.
When it comes to increasing enrollment, Long said that if she were a junior or senior anywhere in the country who knew about UND, she’d sign up. Her goal, she said, would be that every potential student who is a good fit, both within North Dakota and without, be targeted. She said she’d like to increase recruitment money and send student leaders to meet prospective students. “I think the UND experience speaks for itself,” she said, focusing on programs and student leadership.
Support programs are critically important, Long said, and good investments. “The college experience isn’t just academic.” Social and emotional help are important, and graduates should feel good about UND.
One person asked Long to discuss both a negative and positive trend in higher education. She said that the public is losing confidence in higher education, and wondering if the cost is worthwhile. Accountability is important, she said, and UND has a head start in avoiding that problem. She said she’s encouraged by the Legislative Roundtable and other efforts within the state. One positive trend, she said, is that increasing numbers of people recognize that a college education is not just preparation for a job, but for a career. Education is a lifelong process, and UND is well on its way to offering that.
Outsourcing jobs is a delicate balancing act, Long said. Managing resources is important, but we need to take human equations into account. Outsourcing, she said, is often not the panacea that it’s thought to be, may not save money, and you can lose devoted employees. She said that there is no easy answer, and that one of the things that attracts her most to UND is its people.
The three most important things she would try to accomplish in the first year are:
* Become a credible, positive, respected spokesperson for UND and the state, and maintain and strengthen relationships with the Board of Higher Education, chancellor, and legislature. With help and good advice, she said, she believes she can achieve this goal.
* Encourage more cross-disciplinary initiatives, including starting entrepreneurial partnerships within UND and the state.
* Set priorities within the strategic plan, find resources and devote them to this goal. “Not all money can come from state appropriations,” she said.
When asked how she would enhance UND as its spokesperson, she said that there is no silver bullet. People are often candid with newcomers, she said. She would listen to opinions, discuss them with people on campus, and work to understand nuances to determine if this was a real or perceived negative, then address them. She would engage faculty and staff. “The president can’t fix it alone,” she said, adding she would work to turn negative opinions into positive ones.
She would further develop marketing and branding of UND, and recruit students in North Dakota and beyond. “There are a lot of reasons students would want to come, and we need to get that message out.” Responding to a subsequent question about “feeder” programs, such as developing an undergraduate cell biology degree that would offer an opportunity for more graduate programs, Long said that she would certainly look at new programs that fit within the strategic plan.
-- Jan Orvik, Writer/Editor, University Relations, email@example.com, 777-3621