KU News 10/21: Third College of Liberal Arts & Sciences executive dean candidate to present Oct. 25

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Contact: Evan Riggs, Office of the Provost, 785-864-1085, [email protected], @KUProvost
Third College of Liberal Arts & Sciences executive dean candidate to present Oct. 25
LAWRENCE – The third candidate for the University of Kansas College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (CLAS) executive dean position will give a public presentation from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25, in the Beren Petroleum Conference Center in Slawson Hall.
The presentation will be livestreamed, and the passcode is 427695.
Mitchell McKinney is the third of four candidates who will present their vision for the College in today’s rapidly changing landscape of higher education. The College is the largest academic unit at the university, and the executive dean will strategically and collaboratively lead the school in its scholarly and educational contributions.
McKinney currently serves as the dean of the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Akron, a position he’s held since 2021. He spent the previous 21 years at the University of Missouri in a variety of appointments, most recently as the faculty fellow for academic affairs from 2016 until 2020.
Candidates for the executive dean position are announced approximately two business days before their scheduled campus visit. Public presentations for each of the candidates have been scheduled in the Beren Petroleum Conference Center in Slawson Hall on the following dates:
1. Alfred López: 2-3 p.m. Oct. 17
2. Arash Mafi: 2-3 p.m. Oct. 19
3. Mitchell McKinney: 2:30-3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25
4. Candidate 4: 2-3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28

Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to offer their impressions and observations of each candidate online through a limited-time feedback survey. Feedback on McKinney’s presentation is due by 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27. A recording of his presentation will be available the morning after the presentation on the search website until the survey closes.
Each candidate will meet with Chancellor Douglas A. Girod, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Barbara A. Bichelmeyer, senior administrators, College chairs and directors, KU deans, KU Endowment, the KU Alumni Association, university governance, graduate and undergraduate students, and the College dean’s office executive committee and administrative staff.
As a dean at the University of Akron, McKinney oversees the largest degree-granting college at the university, where he provides leadership for 24 schools and 10 departments and 10 academic centers and institutes. He also holds a professor appointment in the School of Communication and Department of Political Science and is a research fellow at the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics.
McKinney joined the University of Akron from the University of Missouri, where he served as professor of communication and director and founder of the political communication institute. During his tenure at MU, he held several academic leadership positions, including director of graduate studies and chair of the department of communication, one of MU’s largest academic units. He also served as faculty fellow for academic personnel in the Office of the Provost at MU.
Additionally, McKinney is a prominent scholar of presidential debates. He served as an adviser to the U.S. Commission on Presidential Debates where his work was instrumental in developing presidential town hall debates and other innovations in the structure and practice of televised debates in the United States. He also advised national election commissions in several countries around the world, including South Korea, Germany, Great Britain and New Zealand, assisting these nations in developing and implementing their own televised presidential and party leader debates.
McKinney is the author or co-author of nine books and more than 100 journal articles and book chapters. He has served as a staff member in the U.S. Senate and the White House. He has served as associate director of the National Communication Association in Washington, D.C., and as president of the Central States Communication Association.
McKinney earned a bachelor’s degree from Western Kentucky University in speech communication and government, a master’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in organizational and political communication, and a doctorate from KU in political and organizational communication.
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