Emporia State receives green light to move rapidly with faculty, program realignment


University’s president keen to implement workforce management policy

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by Tim Carpenter, Kansas Reflector
September 14, 2022

TOPEKA — The Kansas Board of Regents endorsed a request Wednesday by Emporia State University administrators to initiate a process of transforming the campus workforce and realigning academic offerings to address harsh financial and enrollment trends.

The state Board of Regents unanimously approved ESU president Ken Hush’s request to implement a policy established by the higher education governance board allowing the system’s six public universities to expedite dismissal of tenured faculty and other employees.

Reforms implemented by Hush are expected to include elimination or merger of academic programs in ways that correspond to personnel changes.

“Our next step is to share the details about this transformation to those individuals directly affected and our campus community,” Hush said. “We anticipate our colleagues and students will receive details by the end of this week, although that could be subject to change if necessary.”

Hush, who graduated from ESU but was an unusual presidential hire given his lack of a graduate degree, said the objective was to make use of the flexibility to “transform ESU in the best interest of our students” and come to terms with the university’s structural deficits.

On Friday, the Faculty Senate at ESU approved a resolution urging the Board of Regents to reject the proposal to undermine tenure at the university.

ESU administrators said last week they would seek permission from the Board of Regents to exercise provisions of the board’s workforce management policy. The policy was hatched in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic to provide campus administrators liberty to abbreviate the process of removing employees.

Program discontinuance based on problematic credit-hour production and enrollment trends is expected to influence which faculty and staff were let go at Emporia State, but adjustments must be initiated before the Board of Regents policy lapsed in December.

No other state university in Kansas has gone on record with plans to make use of the workforce policy.

Kansas Reflector is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Kansas Reflector maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sherman Smith for questions: Follow Kansas Reflector on Facebook and Twitter.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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