Jayhawk Global aligns existing resources to meet the needs of future students

LAWRENCE – When Michelle Mohr Carney accepted the role of founding vice provost for Jayhawk Global in February, her charge from Barbara A. Bichelmeyer, provost and executive vice chancellor, was to lead the strategic development process by facilitating the design and implementation of a new organization that is responsible for promoting online education at the University of Kansas.

During the past eight months, Carney, who also serves as the dean of the School of Social Welfare, has conducted an extensive review of existing functions, processes and structures by meeting with and listening to deans, vice provosts, faculty and many internal partners. Through critical analysis from the lens of the future student, Jayhawk Global started to take shape as natural partnerships and restructuring opportunities started to evolve and became clear.

“Through months of hard work taking inventory of all available resources on campus and evaluating structures and procedures,” Carney said, “we have innovatively and strategically aligned already existing expertise and knowledge in the areas of instructional design, marketing, recruitment, enrollment management and student success to create strong partners and teams. I am confident in the organization we’ve created and excited to share our plans with the campus community.”

Jayhawk Global is an education innovation center at KU that delivers and advances nontraditional forms of learner engagement, including online degree programs, professional and workforce development, certifications, competency-based education, credit for prior experience, employee training and enrichment learning.

“KU teams will work collaboratively with our renowned scholars, academic units and noncredit entities to expand our already exceptional educational opportunities for future Jayhawks and their ever-evolving needs,” Carney said.

The landscape of online education changed dramatically due to COVID-19. The National Center for Education Statistics reported that in fall 2020, 30.3% of students at U.S. public institutions were enrolled in some, but not all, distance education courses and only 24.2% of students were not enrolled in any distance education courses.

Demand for online courses has increased locally, even as the traditional college student returns to campus. In fall 2021, 45% of students enrolled in classes on the KU Lawrence campus enrolled in at least one online course. The number of students taking an online or hybrid course across all KU campuses in fall 2021 was up 37% from fall 2019.

Jayhawk Global will advocate for and partner with academic units to coordinate and assist in creating high-quality, engaging online degree programs, minors, courses and certificates, as well as support the existing College Online degree majors and minors within the Jayhawk Global structure. To further its mission of providing outstanding support and guidance in instructional design, the Center for Online & Distance Learning (CODL) will join the Jayhawk Global team.

Lifelong and Professional Education (LPE) will also now report to the vice provost for Jayhawk Global, which should elevate existing programs and connect KU to new lifelong learners, regardless of where they are in their careers or their location. LPE currently encompasses the Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute (KFRTI), Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center (KLETC), the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and Professional Programs.

These divisions have provided noncredit education and workforce training and development since 1891. They will maintain their responsibility and operate under the Jayhawk Global umbrella out of the same locations, providing the same high-quality online and on-ground noncredit programming. A rebranding campaign to identify Jayhawk Global will be launched in the coming months, including movement of webpages to the Jayhawk Global website. 

A number of existing structures and staff will have key responsibilities in the new scope of Jayhawk Global. Emily Zentner, interim vice provost for LPE and director of LPE’s business services, will now be the assistant vice provost for finance and business operations. Stacy Cordell, director of professional programs for LPE, will now be the assistant vice provost for Academic and Professional Programs.

Valerie Hawley, who has assisted in the strategic development process and advising on marketing and student success for Jayhawk Global for several months, will continue to serve Jayhawk Global as assistant vice provost for marketing and student success. Hawley also serves as the marketing, communications and advancement director for the social welfare school.

Carney has agreed to stay on as the founding vice provost for Jayhawk Global through May 2023. This continuity will allow Jayhawk Global efforts time to grow, strengthen and prepare for a smooth transition to new leadership to be identified through a national search.

“The success of a venture like Jayhawk Global is essential to KU’s ability to advance as a leader in higher education,” Bichelmeyer said. “We are fortunate to already have great scholars and instructors who are eager to share their passion and expertise with potential students who are striving to achieve their personal goals and ambitions. Jayhawk Global will break down barriers and improve access to some of the best academic programs and most engaging education available anywhere in the world. I appreciate the detailed work Michelle and her team have undertaken to identify the structure, the initial offerings, the talent, the faculty support and the student support that will give this initiative a solid foundation. I’m excited to see what programs will help us grow Jayhawk Global and make KU’s academic programs as accessible and respected around the globe as they are at home in Kansas.”

As part of KU’s new strategic enrollment planning process, KU deans will be working with Nick Stevens, interim vice provost of enrollment management, and department chairs to consider whether they should offer their academic programs across a range of formats. In addition to the research residential format at the KU Lawrence campus, opportunities include workforce and continuing professional development at KU Edwards, online and noncredit programs through Jayhawk Global, and over time there will be more opportunities to provide certification and competency-based programs. Deans are currently informing Jayhawk Global administrators of future programming needs and opportunities.

On Oct. 1, Jayhawk Global will open the application process and launch marketing efforts for two of KU’s new online degree programs, the Master of Social Work and Doctor of Philosophy in Advanced Social Work. Later this fall, Jayhawk Global plans to open additional degree programs to admit students who will begin studies in the spring, summer and fall 2023 semesters.


Wed, 09/21/2022


Valerie Hawley

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Valerie Hawley