Dr. Karla Leeper, executive vice president for operations at Augusta University and AU Health System, will join the University of Kansas as vice chancellor for strategic communications and public affairs, effective Nov. 1.
“Since 2014, Karla has served as a valuable leader at Augusta University, helping navigate mergers, name changes and presidential transitions. As part of the President’s Executive Cabinet, she has led teams that support the mission and strategic priorities of Augusta University,” said Augusta University President Brooks A. Keel, PhD. “We appreciate her years of service at Augusta University and wish Karla all the best as she returns to support her alma mater.”
In this role, Leeper will serve as a senior advisor to Chancellor Douglas A. Girod and the university’s leadership team on issues of communications and public affairs. She will oversee all messaging to advance KU’s interests at the local, state and national levels, and she will have responsibility for marketing, branding, internal and external communications and message integration across all KU campuses, affiliates and partners.
“Karla’s extensive background in communications, public affairs and higher education administration, coupled with her experience as a full-time faculty member in communication studies, make her an ideal fit for this position,” Girod said. “I have no doubt she will immediately benefit our efforts to elevate KU’s status, attract top students and scholars, and improve in every aspect of our mission.”
At Augusta University, Leeper oversees marketing and communications, facilities and human resources. Prior to that, from 2015-18, she served as the institution’s executive vice president for strategic communication and chief marketing officer. Before joining Augusta University, she served as a tenured faculty member in communication studies, vice president for board and executive affairs and chief of staff to the president at Baylor University. She received her doctorate and master’s degrees from KU and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa.
“I am thrilled to be coming back to serve the University of Kansas,” Leeper said. “It will be an honor to come to work every day with the mission of sharing the stories of the great work being done by our faculty, staff and students.”