LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Just a few days in to her tenure, Dr. Kim Schatzel said she's received a warm welcome at the University of Louisville, where she's now serving as president.
Schatzel, who comes to UofL from Towson University, near Baltimore, sat down with WHAS11 Monday to discuss her plans for the school.
Schatzel said to start, she's on a "listening tour," talking to students, faculty and staff about what they need from the university.
"I want to be able to ask people if they were me, what would they want to know," she said.
She said graduation rates are one key metric for determining how a university is doing.
While she was there, Towson saw a 72% six-year graduation rate, and Black, Latinx and Pell-eligible students graduated at the same rate. Schatzel called that a key indicator of the success diversity, equity and inclusion work on campus.
She believes UofL is already on strong footing to create student success.
"I want to learn more about what can we do better, what can we do in terms of being able to expand those resources and their accessibility with the students," Schatzel said. "But it's really not about what we don't have, it's really about expanding what we already do well already so it impacts more students."
Schatzel said she is committed to diversity and inclusive success for students. She said part of that is encouraging diversity in the university's faculty.
"I know there is a commitment on this campus to increase that diversity," Schatzel said. "For our students if you don't see it you can't be it, it's very important and I know as a woman what it's like," she said.
Schatzel, who comes from a business background herself, said she is meeting with business and community leaders and legislators during her first few weeks.
She said UofL should be a strong community partner, noting the university's workforce and economic impacts on the Commonwealth. Those are top of mind as legislators head back to Frankfort Tuesday.
"We have some asks that we have in place that we'll be looking to advance," she said of the legislative session. "But I'm looking to be able to have my first chance to be able to meet the legislators in Frankfort."
With rising college costs, Schatzel said the university needs to focus on accessibility, alternative pathways to education and smart spending internally.
"Every dollar that we spend comes either from the pockets of our students or from the legislature of the Commonweath, so for us to be effective and efficient in how we spend those dollars is important," she said.
On sports, Schatzel said she'll be the Cards' number one fan, and that she is confident in Josh Heird and his team.
Schatzel is less than a week into her new role, but said she and her husband are "already Cardinals."
She said her listening tour of the university will last about 60 days.
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