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Graduate Dean Thomas Heilke leaving KU for new position in Canada

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

LAWRENCE – Thomas Heilke, dean of graduate studies and professor of political science at the University of Kansas, has been named associate dean of the College of Graduate Studies and inaugural director of the Residential Graduate College at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan Campus. The appointment is effective Jan. 1.

Heilke, a native of Canada, joined the KU faculty in 1990 and progressed to full professor in 2004. He served as associate dean of international programs from 2003 to 2007, including six months as acting dean, and became director of the Center for Global and International Studies in 2010. He became dean of graduate studies in 2012, succeeding Sara Rosen, now senior vice provost for academic affairs.

UBC Okanagan Campus opened in 2005 and is located in the south-central British Columbia community of Kelowna. Enrollment in graduate and undergraduate programs exceeds 8,300 students from Canada and 80 other countries. The Residential Graduate College is a year-round interdisciplinary graduate college community accommodating 36 students. It began operation Sept. 1.

“It will be difficult to leave KU after 23 years in Lawrence,” said Heilke, “but I welcome a new challenge at an emerging university that’s close to family in both Alberta and British Columbia. I’ve enjoyed serving as dean at KU, especially the opportunity to help shape implementation of the `Elevating Doctoral Education’ component of the Bold Aspirations strategic plan.”

Heilke’s background includes bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Calgary and a doctorate from Duke University. He is author or co-author of more than 40 publications and a recipient of three campuswide teaching awards at KU. His new position includes appointment as a full professor of political science.

“All of us are sorry to see Thomas leave KU,” said Steve Warren, vice chancellor for research and graduate studies. “He’s made a significant contribution as dean and been an outstanding member of the faculty for more than two decades. Fortunately, he will be here through December and will continue to contribute to the `Elevating Doctoral Education’ effort.”

Warren said the search for a successor to Heilke will begin immediately. The search will be limited to KU full professors, and he hopes the position will be filled by January. The dean provides leadership and administrative direction in graduate education on the Lawrence campus, which supports research doctoral and master’s degree programs in 80 fields. KU conferred more than 2,000 such degrees last year, and graduate students make up approximately one-fourth of KU’s enrollment.