The Privatization of Public Universities: Implications for the Research Mission

The Barn, Valley Falls, KS

July 19-21, 2006

At the 10th annual retreat in the Merrill series The Research Mission of Public Universities, senior administrators and faculty from Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska listened to a dozen formal presentations, participated in several moderated discussions, and then conference participants continued related discussions over meals and in the relaxed atmosphere. To initiate the discussions, the keynote speaker, John D. Wiley, Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin, presented his view on why public universities will never entirely "go private."

Pictured standing, left to right: John Brighton, Donald Weeks, Ron Trewyn, Duane Nellis, Richard Barohn, Jeremy Anderson, Brian Foster, Jeff Aube, Keith Yehle, Chris Sorensen, Mike Nichols, Sally Hayden. Seated: Richard Lariviere, Jim Roberts, Bob Barnhill, Barbara Atkinson, Kim Espy, John Wiley, Mabel Rice,  Steve Warren, Dick Schiefelbusch, Joe Steinmetz

Standing, left to right: John Brighton, Donald Weeks, Ron Trewyn, Duane Nellis, Richard Barohn, Jeremy Anderson, Brian Foster, Jeff Aube, Keith Yehle, Chris Sorensen, Mike Nichols, Sally Hayden. Seated: Richard Lariviere, Jim Roberts, Bob Barnhill, Barbara Atkinson, Kim Espy, John Wiley, Mabel Rice,  Steve Warren, Dick Schiefelbusch, Joe Steinmetz

Retreat Participants

Keynote Speaker 

  • John D. Wiley, Ph.D., Chancellor, University of Wisconsin‐Madison 

Iowa State University 

  • John Brighton, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Research 

Kansas State University 

  • M. Duane Nellis, Ph.D., Provost and Professor 
  • Christopher Sorensen, Ph.D., University Distinguished Professor, Dept. of Physics  
  • Ron Trewyn, Ph.D., Vice Provost/Dean 

The University of Kansas 

  • Barbara Atkinson, M.D., Executive Vice Chancellor, KU Medical Center  
  • Jeff Aubé, Ph.D., Professor, Medicinal Chemistry 
  • Richard Barohn, M.D., Professor and Chair, Neurology Dept., KU Medical Center  
  • Robert Hemenway, Ph.D., Chancellor 
  • Richard Lariviere, Ph.D., Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor 
  • Mabel L. Rice, Ph.D., The Fred & Virginia Merrill Distinguished Professor of Advanced Studies and Director of the Merrill Center 
  • Jim Roberts, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Research and President, KU Center for Research  
  • Richard Schiefelbusch, Ph.D., Director Emeritus of the Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies and the Merrill Center, and Merrill Board member  
  • Joseph Steinmetz, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences 
  • Steven F. Warren, Ph.D., Director, Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies, and Merrill Board member 
  • Keith Yehle, Director of Government Relations 

University of Missouri 

  • Brian Foster, Ph.D., Provost 
  • Michael F. Nichols, Ph.D., Director, Office of Technology Management & Industry Relations 

University of Nebraska ‐ Lincoln 

  • Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D., Associate Vice Chancellor for Research  
  • Donald P. Weeks, Ph.D., Professor and Head, Biochemistry Department 

Other Participants 

  • Jeremy Anderson, Office of the Governor of Kansas 
  • Robert E. Barnhill, Ph.D., Vice Chancellor for Research and Technology Transfer, The University of Texas System, and Merrill Board member 
  • Reggie Robinson, J.D., President and CEO, Kansas Board of Regents  
  • Jean Schődorf, Ph.D., Kansas State Senator 


The Barn, Valley Falls 

July 19-21, 2006 

Wednesday, July 19 

Opening Reception 


  • Welcome by Mabel Rice, Director of the Merrill Center at KU  
  • Introduction of Participants 

Thursday, July 20 


Introductory Remarks – Mabel Rice 

  • Introduction of Keynote Speaker – Richard Lariviere 

Keynote Address 

  • Chancellor John D. Wiley, University of Wisconsin, “Why We Won’t See any Public Universities ‘Going Private’” 
  • Discussion – Moderator, Richard Lariviere 


Research Administrators Panel 

  • Jim Roberts, Vice Provost for Research, University of Kansas, “Defining the University’s Role in Economic Development (Better do it...or someone else will)” 
  • Kimberly Espy, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, University of Nebraska, “Privatization of Public Research Universities: The UNL Experience” 
  • Discussion – Moderator, Bob Barnhill 


Researchers Panel 

  • Jeff Aubé, Professor, Medicinal Chemistry, University of Kansas, “Paying the Pipeliner: Early-Stage Drug Discovery in Academia” 
  • Donald Weeks, Professor and Head, Biochemistry, University of Nebraska, “Privatization of Public Universities: A Risk/Benefit Analysis” 
  • Discussion – Moderator, Joe Steinmetz 


Research Administrators Panel 

  • Ron Trewyn, Vice Provost/Dean of Research, Kansas State University, “Privatizing Public Research Universities: Wealth Creation as a Laudable Goal…Not a Sleazy Perversion” 
  • Michael Nichols, Office of Tech Management, University of Missouri, “Engaging with Industry for Collaboration and Mutual Benefit” 
  • John Brighton, Vice Provost for Research, Iowa State University, “The Changing Look of Research in the Research University: Basic – to Commercialization” 
  • Discussion – Moderator, Mabel Rice 


Friday, July 21 


Opening Remarks – Mabel Rice 

Researchers Panel 

  • Richard Barohn, Professor and Chair, Neurology, KU Medical Center, “Clinical Research Resources at the University of Kansas Medical Center: General Clinical Research Centers (GCRC) and Clinical Translation Science Awards (CTSA)” 
  • Chris Sorensen, University Distinguished Professor, Physics, Kansas State University, “All Things in Moderation - Please!” 

Research Administrators Panel 

  • Duane Nellis, Provost, Kansas State University, “The Entrepreneurial Land Grant: Commercialization within the Educational Milieu” 
  • Barbara Atkinson, Executive Vice Chancellor, KU Medical Center, “Crafting a Culture of Connections and Collaborations” 
  • Discussion – Moderator, Mabel Rice 


State Level Funding Advocacy Panel; Moderator – Keith Yehle 

  • Reggie Robinson, CEO, Board of Regents, Kansas
  • Jean Schödorf, Senator, Kansas Legislature
  • Jeremy Anderson, Governor’s office, Kansas 
  • Open Discussion – Moderator, Mabel Rice 

Lunch and Departure