Dr. David Cook was named the 15th president of North Dakota State University on February 2022.
Most recently he was vice chancellor for the Office of Public Affairs & Economic Development at the University of Kansas (KU). KU is one of 66 Association of American Universities institutions in North America, comprised of 2,800 faculty, 7,200 staff, and 28,100 students. This flagship institution of Kansas and Big-12 conference school has an annual budget of $1.2 billion. It has five campus locations across the state of Kansas and supports dozens online degree programs. His primary responsibilities were to shape and promote KU’s strategic priorities, advance the institution’s reputation and brand, and advise and represent the Chancellor across stakeholders, including the Kansas Board of Regents, state and federal legislators, donors, alumni, athletics, faculty, staff, and students. Dr. Cook’s economic development role focused on growing entrepreneurship, collaborating with industry, commercialization, providing student success and experiential learning opportunities, and aligning educational offerings with workforce needs of the region to create jobs and enhance the social mobility of students and citizens of Kansas. A cornerstone of this effort is the expansion of KU’s Innovation Park, which houses more than 60 corporate tenants and start-up companies.
Prior to his vice presidency, Dr. Cook served as vice chancellor of the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park, KS. Under his leadership, the Edwards Campus enrollment grew by more than 40% in six years. Growth was supported by the overhaul of enrollment management, strategic marketing, and student services and academic program development processes, which led to the launch of nearly 40 new academic degree programs and certificates – many for diverse and non-traditional students. It also involved working with shared governance and university leaders to launch a School of Professional Studies – the first new school at KU since 1993. Dr. Cook also led the university’s professional and continuing education operation, providing a broad range of non-degree education and executive trainings to 50,000 participants annually. It included the administration of the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center, a 275-acre campus that educated the majority of municipal, county and state law enforcement officers in Kansas.
Dr. Cook spent 14 years at the University of Kansas Medical Center—the final seven years as a member of the leadership cabinet. KUMC includes schools of medicine, nursing, and health professions, with 2,100 faculty, 4,000 staff, 3,300 students, and a $100 million research budget. Across multiple roles, he represented and led KUMC’s strategic interests with key constituents and stakeholders across Kansas, a critical function for the state’s lone academic medical center. This included creating and leading the Institute for Community Engagement which collectively enrolled 35,000+ health professionals in accredited Continuing Education programs; connected 6,000+ telemedicine participants; provided over 120 outreach flights for 2,000+ patient consultations; and recruited dozens of physicians to practice in rural/underserved communities to alleviate health profession shortages. The Institute also supported 54 active community-based grants totaling $25.3M, typically focused on health disparities facing vulnerable populations.
Dr. Cook earned tenure in KU’s School of Medicine and was later promoted to the rank of Professor in KU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. As a faculty member, he’s taught over 20 different courses in both the School of Medicine and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. His research achievements include being a Principal or Co-Principal Investigator on nearly $11 million in extramural funding. He has been funded on 30 different grants and contracts totaling nearly $31 million.
Dr. Cook was an American Council on Education Fellow at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill where he studied UNC’s School of Public Health, its overall research enterprise, its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and overall community engagement. During the fellowship, he was able to visit and study dozens of universities to better understand opportunities and challenges facing higher education. One specific initiative involved studying how diversity, cultural competency and professionalism were managed at other universities, bringing lessons back to KUMC to launch a Diversity Council which is still active today.
Dr. Cook has a master’s and Doctorate degree from the University of Kansas. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Iowa State University. He lives in Olathe, Kansas with his wife Katie. They have three children Gage, Ella, and Peyton.