August 7, 2018: Academic Leadership Transition

Dear Colleagues,

I write to let you know that I have decided to step down from my position as executive vice president and provost at the end of this calendar year.

Serving the University of Minnesota in this role for nearly seven years--working with all of you to advance the academic mission of this remarkable institution--has been a great honor and privilege. My decision to step down, which has not been made lightly, is reflective of personal and family considerations which have been weighing on me for over a year. I discussed these matters with the president last year, and we tried to find a way to accommodate the pull of those concerns, but I have concluded that such an accommodation is incompatible with realism about the demands of this job.

Over the next five months, I shall work with faculty, staff, and students, and with administrative colleagues, to resolve or launch several pending initiatives of special importance. These include reorganization of the Academic Health Center, child care planning for the Twin Cities campus, and first steps on some systemwide strategic plan priorities, including enhanced enrollment coordination and a strategic framework for online education. I also expect to continue full bore with the ongoing implementation of the Twin Cities campus strategic plan.

In January, I will begin a single-semester leave--followed by a phased retirement from the faculty, during which I will continue to play a role in advancing the goals of the Twin Cities strategic plan. One special focus will be on fostering the integration of the humanities and arts into campus efforts to expand interdisciplinary collaborations addressing the most critical challenges of Minnesota and the world. The University is well-positioned to be a leader in this effort and to develop initiatives with the potential for expanded external funding.

My planned departure is not related to the president's decision to step down next June, but the coincidental timing of our transitions, while in some ways awkward, will provide an opportunity to ensure continuity of academic leadership. The president will later this fall name an interim executive vice president and provost whose leadership will seamlessly bridge the presidential search process and the ensuing transition. The many responsibilities and units of the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost will continue to be ably stewarded by our vice provosts, associate vice presidents, and many others, along with the experienced EVPP staff. Additionally, the collaborative leadership provided by our outstanding deans, chancellors, vice presidents, and faculty governance will continue apace.

I am deeply grateful to all of you and proud of the work we've done together these past six and a half years. This is a great institution, made great by your work and by the work of those who preceded us at the University of Minnesota. I have firm confidence that you will continue to ensure this institutional excellence. Again, thank you for the privilege and pleasure of working with you all.


Karen Hanson
Executive Vice President and Provost

Email sent August 7, 2018 to all faculty and the administrative email list (AEL) systemwide, and to all Twin Cities staff.