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Staff Fellows Program 2021-2022

Applications will be accepted October 22nd – November 12th

While student mental health has been and should continue to be a priority, we know faculty and staff have often struggled with their own stress and mental health, exacerbated by the past year and half of challenges brought on by the COVID 19 pandemic.   Poor employee mental health hurts everyone: the World Health Organization estimates that depression and anxiety cost the US economy $1 trillion dollars in revenue each year due to lost productivity. Failure to address employee mental health has devasting results for individuals and organizations, and higher ed is not exempt from these statistics.

KU is committed to taking action that will address the mental health of our employees.  Our mission depends on creating a safe, supportive network for all employees to thrive and contribute their best personally and professionally.

This year’s Staff Fellows project will pick up the work of the 2019/2020 Staff Fellows cohort, analyze the recommendations, and develop an implementation strategy to address the mental health needs of employees.  The work of this years’ cohort will include:

  • Review and prioritize, given current needs, the recommendations from the 2019/2020 Staff Fellows report Mental Health at KU: Addressing Stigma, Barriers and Resources
  • Develop an implementation plan and cost analysis to present to senior leaders
  • Research next steps and create recommendations for further action

Program Structure

This professional development program provides leadership development for employees at all levels of the organization, including those without direct reports, and/or operational, group or department managers. Through this program, participants will gain familiarity with campus, engage university senior leaders, explore leadership through mentoring, assigned readings, and project work.

Participants meet in person for three-hour sessions, approximately twice monthly, during the academic year.

During the program year, participants are expected to attend all three-hour sessions and to commit time in between sessions to complete readings, meet with their mentor, and perform project-related assignments. Sessions are typically held on Friday mornings and will be in person at an on-campus location. Project work in small groups may be held over Zoom.


Required Qualifications

  • Unclassified Professional Staff (UPS) and University Support Staff (USS) with two continuous years of full-time employment at KU.
  • The ability to commit to a three-hour time block twice per month along with time in between sessions to complete readings, attend mentoring and perform project work.
  • Interest and availability to work on a group project throughout the duration of the fellowship.
  • Enthusiasm for the larger mission of KU and desire to engage in that mission.
  • A history of exceptional work at the University of Kansas, as documented by a supervisor’s letter of endorsement addressing the candidate’s potential for leadership.
  • The ability to work collaboratively with a cohort of other fellows in a seminar style of learning.
  • Experience with project management in an official or unofficial capacity.

Application Procedure

Interested staff should complete an application, which includes information about the candidates’ career at KU, along with completion of several short essay questions. The essay questions focus on career goals, interest in the program, suitability to the program, and overall interest in the project topic. Upon completion, candidates’ supervisors receive an email requesting support for the application.

A review committee then meets with select candidates for a short interview. Following the full review process, the committee selects a cohort of employees to participate in the program.

2020-21 Program Dates

Session 1 - Dec 3

Session 2 - Dec 17

Session 3 - Jan 7

Session 4 - Jan 21

Session 5 - Feb 4

Session 6 - Feb 18

Session 7 - March 4

Session 8 - March 18

Session 9 - April 1

Session 10 - April 15

Session 11 - April 29

Session 12 - May 13

Session 13 - May 27

Session 14 - June 10

Session 15 - June 24

Please contact Human Resource Management at hrdept@ku.edu or 785-864-4946 for more information about the program.

Previous Staff Fellows Projects

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