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Appointment Bolsters KU’s Community Engagement Efforts in Greater Kansas City

Friday, February 12, 2016

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas has appointed a veteran Sprint Corporation manager, Julie Burkhart, as its new director of community engagement. Located primarily at the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park, she will develop and coordinate a point of entry among the resources of the university and the needs of industry and the community.

“Business vitality in Greater Kansas City is crucial to the economic success of the state and the region,” said Julie Nagel, KU’s interim associate vice chancellor for innovation and entrepreneurship. “Having someone with Julie’s corporate experience and community credibility in this new role positions KU to make an even greater contribution to meeting the needs of Kansans.”

Burkhart reports to Nagel, whose KU Innovation and Collaboration (KUIC) group manages KU’s intellectual property, licensing and startup company activities, as well as strategic partnerships with companies. KUIC also leads the university’s economic development mission at all campuses.

In addition, Burkhart partners closely with David Cook, vice chancellor at KU Edwards. She will be involved directly in KU’s overall efforts to increase workforce development, community-based research and service, entrepreneurship and economic development.

“Julie’s primary role,” Cook said, “is to facilitate matches between KU resources, expertise and capabilities and the needs of the companies and communities we serve in this region. Having her on board supports KU’s strategic emphasis on community-engaged scholarship and outreach, and will help us advance those initiatives at KU Edwards.”

Burkhart spent the past 18 years at Sprint in progressively more responsible positions, most recently serving as talent acquisition manager and president of its Women’s Employee Resource Group. She was Sprint’s 2013 Diversity Award recipient and was selected for its High Performing Manager Program in 2010. Her academic background includes a bachelor's degree in family life and human development from Kansas State University and a master's degree in business communication from Fort Hays State University. She is also completing requirements for Master Certified Knowledge Management Professional Certification.

“My career at Sprint is a great foundation for my new role at KU,” Burkhart said. “I know about the workforce development and research demands of area companies, and I’m also familiar with the communities that support and are served by the university. I look forward to working with KUIC and the faculty and staff at KU Edwards to increase our presence and our impact in this region.”