Bernadette Gray-Little

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Bernadette Gray-Little
Bernadette Gray-Little.png
Gray-Little on January 22, 2015 addresses the crowd before President Obama speaks.
17th Chancellor of University of Kansas
Assumed office
August 15, 2009
Preceded by Robert Hemenway
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
In office
July 1, 2006 – July 31, 2009
Personal details
Born (1945-10-31) October 31, 1945 (age 70)
Washington, North Carolina
Residence Lawrence, Kansas
Alma mater Marywood University (B.S)
Saint Louis University
(M.S. and PhD)
Profession Educator, writer
Website Office of the Chancellor

Bernadette Gray-Little is the chancellor of the University of Kansas. In this position she oversees the university's main campus in Lawrence, its medical center campuses in Kansas City, Salina and Wichita, the Edwards Campus in Overland Park, and a number of other facilities around Kansas. She replaced chancellor Robert Hemenway in August 2009.[1][2]


Bernadette Gray-Little was born Bernadette Gray in Washington, North Carolina in 1945. She received her B.A. from Marywood University (Scranton, PA) and an M.S. and PhD in psychology from Saint Louis University. As part of a Fulbright Foundation fellowship, she conducted postdoctoral research in cross-cultural psychology in Denmark. She has also been a Social Science Research Council Fellow and a recipient of a Ford Foundation Senior Scholar Fellowship through the National Research Council.

Employment history[edit]

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • 1971–1976 Assistant Director and Supervisor, Family Practice Center
  • 1971–1982 Professor, Assistant to Full, Psychology
  • 1983–1993 Director, Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
  • 1993–1998 Chair, Department of Psychology
  • 1999–2001 Senior Associate Dean – Undergraduate Education
  • 2001–2004 Executive Associate Provost
  • 2004–2006 Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
  • 2006–2009 Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
University of Kansas
  • 2009–Present Chancellor
Boards and committees

Gray-Little was one of four university leaders selected to represent the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities at a White House summit on math and science education in January 2010. She has held a number of leadership positions and memberships on a variety of boards and committees, including several with the American Psychological Association. She also served as a faculty affiliate at the Center for Creative leadership from 1998–2004. Gray-Little currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Online Computer Library Center and the board of US Bank.

Priorities as KU Chancellor[edit]

At the University of Kansas, Gray-Little initially identified three goals for the university.

The first is enhancing undergraduate education, which encompasses the student experience from recruitment through graduation and is designed to raise KU's graduation rate. Based on recommendations from task forces she commissioned, KU is changing the way it recruits students, including providing renewable 4-year scholarships; adding student services geared toward helping students early in their academic careers; and undertaking a renewal of the university's general education requirements.[3]

The second goal involves raising the scholarly profile of the university by removing barriers that may prevent faculty from devoting time to research, as well as providing incentives for research and creative work, such as the creation of the University Scholarly Achievement Awards to recognize outstanding KU scholars. Providing additional support to graduate students is also an important part of this effort.[4]

Gray-Little's third initial goal was to secure the resources needed for the university to achieve its mission as an international research university, and the only Kansas university to be a member of the elite Association of American Universities. A comprehensive fundraising campaign called Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas will have its public launch in April 2011.[5]

These priorities are central to strategic planning and implementation processes at KU and the KU Medical Center.[6][7] Combined, these initiatives are called Bold Aspirations.

Bold Aspirations is designed to help the university achieve its mission of lifting students and society by educating leaders, building healthy communities, and making discoveries that will change the world. In December 2011, she presented the university's goals to the Kansas Board of Regents, including targets for student retention and graduation rates, per-faculty federal research expenditures, and academic rankings.

Areas of research[edit]

As a psychologist, Gray-Little's research has investigated the relevance of the client and clinician's ethnic/racial membership to the diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders. She has also researched the social determinants of self-esteem and factors associated with self-esteem in children and adolescents of varied ethnic groups. And she's researched relationship satisfaction, decision-making and influence strategies, and conflict among couples.


  1. ^ Board of Regents makes historic selection for KU chancellor. (May 29, 2009). Retrieved on 2015-11-29.
  2. ^ Hilley, Justin (May 29, 2009). "Chancellor announced in Topeka – The University Daily Kansan: News". Retrieved August 31, 2015. 
  3. ^ Chancellor's Strategic Initiatives Archived May 9, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Four researchers chosen for first-ever University Scholarly Achievement Awards. (April 11, 2011). Retrieved on 2015-11-29.
  5. ^ Talent pool grows for KU’s campaign steering committee. (March 10, 2011). Retrieved on 2015-11-29.
  6. ^ Provost's Strategic Planning site. Retrieved on November 29, 2015.
  7. ^ KUMC Strategic Planning site. (February 21, 2014). Retrieved on 2015-11-29.

External links[edit]