My first few weeks as president of The University of Tulsa have been among the most energizing and exciting of my career. Getting to know TU again through the eyes of our optimistic students, faculty, staff, alumni and donors is invigorating.
We are now turning our attention to what the fall will look like at TU. There is much work to be done before we welcome freshmen to campus on Aug. 18, and I look forward to meeting new and returning students and faculty in the coming month.
As is typical during summer in higher education, TU is experiencing some shifts among our staff that I wanted to share with you:
- Our new Title IX coordinator and equal opportunity officer is Kathleen Smith, who has served at the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Community College and the U.S. Center for SafeSport, where she responded to reports of misconduct within the Olympic sports community. In this critical role at TU, Kathleen will report directly to the Office of the President. She holds a law degree from OU, where she also served as an adjunct faculty member. Kathleen’s first day at TU is Aug. 9, so please join me in welcoming her to campus next month.
- Chief Financial Officer John Bury has accepted a new position as vice president for strategy and enrollment at University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. John has served TU in institutional research, graduate programs enrollment and financial roles for 25 years. While his knowledge of TU is deep and will be missed, he has set the conditions for continued success in this key area during this time of transition. I am grateful for his commitment to our organization, and I share your desire to congratulate this TU alumnus and wish him all the best in his new endeavor. Associate Vice President and Controller Mike Thesenvitz has agreed to serve as interim CFO during our national search to fill this critical post.
- Chief Information Officer Paige Francis also has announced her decision to return to Arkansas for a “dream job” in the philanthropic world. Paige brought a fresh perspective to our Office of Information Technology and served in several crucial project management roles during the past two years. Her enthusiasm, dedication and can-do attitude are greatly appreciated. I’m pleased to share that former WPX Energy CIO Angela Kouplen will lead our IT team while we look for a permanent replacement. Angela is a TU alumna and served as senior vice president of administration at WPX, where she worked on IT, human resources, facilities and diversity issues. She will join us on campus in August.
- I have asked Associate Vice President Victor Soe to serve as vice president of institutional research. In this enhanced role, Victor will collect and analyze vital data and create reports that inform strategy and increase our effectiveness across all units. Many of you have worked with Victor for years, and his team has been holding demonstrations for those who utilize our data visualization platform, Tableau. The decision to elevate this position is indicative of the confidence I have in Victor to strengthen this important process. I look forward to digging deeper into the numbers as I learn more about TU and plan for an even brighter future.
Thanks to those who have taken me up on my offer to meet, ask questions and discuss our great university. If you would like to schedule a time to talk, just follow this link. If you simply have a novel thought to share, please send it to me and Chief of Staff Jennifer Bennett at IdeasforTU@utulsa.edu.