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Liliana Merubia has worked with the provost for 10 years

CAMPUS CLOSEUPLiliana Merubia - Senior assistant to the provost

Years at current job: One month and eight days (as of Aug. 10)

Job duties: My position supports the provost by tracking issues, coordinating and managing special projects. I also handle teaching awards. As an adviser to the provost, it is my responsibility to keep my eye on matters where the provost needs to focus most urgently. Since he and I are both new to KU, I am spending a great deal of time asking questions and gathering information about university policies and procedures. In other words, I am learning everything I possibly can about KU.

What has your impression been of KU thus far?

My impression is that I've only begun to scratch the surface of all that is good and valuable here. Although I've been here just a short time, there is a collective spirit of congeniality that appears to be inherent in the culture. That's a sweeping generalization, but I think it's true. Staff and faculty are immediately friendly, and the students I've met on campus and in the community are equally gracious. Another thing that truly affects me on a daily basis is the beauty of the campus. It says a lot about the people who care for the campus and maintain its beauty. From my building I can see the rolling hills, the beautiful trees, flowers, birds and rabbits. It takes my breath away.

What convinced you to follow Richard Lariviere from Texas to Kansas?

It was a big decision, but I knew it was a good opportunity for me to grow professionally. When I visited the campus, I met a handful of key staff people who were very helpful and kind. They impressed me very much. Another determining factor was my belief in Provost Lariviere's ability and leadership skills.

What do you like most about your profession?

Many things. I enjoy juggling priorities and keeping abreast of several issues simultaneously. I also find it rewarding to identify large goals, then move toward those goals strategically and incrementally. I also enjoy being around people who are passionate about their work. What they do doesn't matter to me, it could be anything, it's their passion that is infectious and inspires me.

Have you had a chance to meet and work with the extended administration outside the office of the provost?

I'm just starting to build professional relationships with staff and faculty outside the provost's office. It's something I'm keen to develop.

How did you begin your professional work with Richard Lariviere?

I started working for Provost Lariviere 10 years ago when he was the associate vice president for international programs at UT. I THINK I got the job because of my experience working with international faculty and students; also because of my international background. My family is South American. I was born in Argentina and grew up in Texas. It was obvious to me in my first week of work that he has the qualities required of top administrators, and it turns out I was right.

What aspects of your job might others not realize you're involved with?

I just started ... you will have to ask me in a year.

What are your goals for your career at the University of Kansas?

I hope to gain a better understanding of how large state universities balance external forces and internal forces. How do we balance the public's right-to-know, the legislature, other state entities, the business community, etc.? How do we engage alumni and garner more support from them? Those issues interest me. It's also important for me to expand my portfolio. I came here for the opportunity to build on the experience that I currently have and gain expertise in an area completely different from what I've done before. I'm very excited to have this opportunity in Kansas and at KU!

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