Compliance Officer Appointed
Kenneth “Mike” Walker has been appointed chief audit and compliance officer for the University. He started his position Jan. 4.
Walker will lead the newly reorganized Office of Audit, Compliance, and Ethics. The mission of the office is to provide leadership and support to all aspects of the University’s audit and compliance activities, including those at the Health Center.
The office staff – four at Storrs and two at the Health Center – act as business consultants and advisors to ensure that the University carries out its educational, research, financial, and health care activities in compliance with all relevant University, state, and federal regulations and policies.
Walker will report administratively to President Austin, and directly to the chair of the Joint Audit and Compliance Committee of the Board of Trustees and the Health Center Board of Directors.
“At an institution of our size, scope, and complexity, the chief audit and compliance officer has an exceptionally important role to play in helping us meet our goals,” says President Philip E. Austin. “I am delighted that we were able to attract someone of Mike Walker’s talent and experience to UConn.”
Walker, who has a distinguished military career and experience in higher education, comes to UConn from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., where he was the chair of the military science department from 1992 to 1996. During that time, he taught courses in leadership and ethics, and advanced tactics for seniors. He was compliance officer at Wake Forest from 1999 to 2004.
He was inspector general for the U.S. Army, 18th Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, N.C., from 1991 to 1992, and was also director of operations during the Gulf War and its prelude from 1990 to 1991.
Walker was director of operations and assistant professor of military science at North Carolina State University in Raleigh from 1983 to 1986.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Chaminade University in Honolulu 1977, and has three master’s degrees: one in personnel management from Central Michigan University; one in military history from the Army Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; and one in education administration from Appalachian State University. He earned a doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2004.
Walker says his experience will be a benefit to the University. “Inspectors General are known for being unbiased and reporting the facts to the leadership,” he says. “Then the leadership decides a course of action based on the findings. That’s very similar to compliance and audit. We do audits based on the law as we interpret it, and try to be fair and unbiased with everyone we deal with. It’s up to us to stay on top of what’s going on with the federal and state governments to determine what regulations are pertinent, and how we can best be in compliance with those.”
He says his focus will be on education. “I’m an educator first,” he says. “An educator and a coach. I’d rather educate folks about the requirements of the law, than have the audit arm of this office check for compliance. Government regulations are sometimes “arcane and convoluted” he adds, noting “it’s part of our responsibility to decipher and communicate them, to make it easier for people to comply.”
In compliance and audit, “you are able to help faculty and staff resolve problems,” he says. “You have an opportunity to educate about what’s the right thing to do in terms of laws and regulations, and also provide a level of protection to the University in maintaining our reputation. It’s a win-win situation.”