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2025 Visionary Plan

Phase 6: Comments on Strategic Action Plans Proposed by Theme Committees

During April and May 2011, the K-State community was asked to provide feedback on the 2025 draft thematic strategic action plans proposed by the seven university theme committees. This report compiles the online comments and suggestions received during the formal comment period. The report is organized by the questions posed in the online survey.

  1. Do you agree with the seven proposed thematic goals to support K-State 2025?
  2. Is there anything missing that should be included in each thematic action plan? If so, what is missing?
  3. Do you have any general comments?

Goals | Theme 1 | Theme 2 |Theme 3 | Theme 4 | Theme 5 | Theme 6 | Theme 7 | Comments

Thematic Goals

Do you agree with the seven proposed thematic goals to support K-State 2025?
Yes

How is it that there no representative from the performing arts (music, dance, theatre) on the committee that deals with creative activities? Why is this? Am I missing something? What does "creative arts" include to those on this committee, anyway?

Charlie Griffin, Head
Communication Studies Theatre and Dance

I wish the k-state website would provide more information about new facilities and planned facilities now and in your vision for this plan. For example, I have yet to see a picture of the new parking facility at the union.

Transferring from Fort Hays State University I notice the difference on how they take pride on restoring and renovating their historical buildings on campus and keeping them up to date for example, Picken Hall, their equivalent iconic building to our Anderson Hall. It shows by the beauty of the campus, they also have beautiful landscaping and fountains and sculptures throughout the grounds. Most of the classrooms are also modernized. At KSU I feel there is a lag in keeping the classrooms and campus up to date and they don't focus much on the aesthetic appeal. I think it would be great benefit for branding by improving the aesthetic appeal of the campus. For visiting potential students, from out of state, these first impressions can be deciding factors and why lose students to the rival school with greener pastures.

Some action should be taken to include development of a competitive post-doctoral community at KSU.

Post-doctoral scholars form the backbone of much of the research conducted here. First-class research universities attract stellar post-docs who drive research that in turn elevates the research profile of not only host labs but the university. The ability of the university to attract such individuals creates a synergistic relationship that thereby sustains a high-caliber environment.

I have noticed that the current post-doctoral population here consists of an unacceptably large proportion of individuals who view the position not as a career position that is driven by the desire to advance a field, but rather as a "job".

I am a coauthor of the `REPORT OF THE RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE TASK FORCE`, June 15, 2010. We purposefully emphasized specific recognition of post doctoral fellows (referred to as `postdocs` or `post-docs` in the document)as an essential element of the K-State workforce that has traditionally had virtually no visibility and recognition.

You will find 28 search hits for `post` that refer to post doctoral fellows in that document. The research enterprise will suffer without addressing the points we made in that document; they are pointedly omitted from even the definition of `Faculty and Staff` in Theme 5.

As a fellow administrator in an academic environment, I appreciate and am impressed with the comprehensiveness of the benchmarks established with this effort. However, like many, if not all academic institutional performance enhancement initiatives, this plan seems to lack any real subsistence with regard to enforcement or adherence to the new standards. What will happen if the benchmarks are never reached? Will tenured professors and directors be held accountable for the performance of their divisions or departments? How? For too long have staff and faculty of universities in this country held the cushy notion of being irreplaceable and immune to budgetary constraints based upon performance metrics. I would implore you to not only focus on the means in which to improve our performance in the selected benchmarks, but also to focus upon the recourse for those who do not meet pre-established expectations for the K-State of the future. I look to the progress our great University will make in the coming years. Go State!

I am an undergraduate, so I see the freshman to sophomore retention rate first hand. There are a lot of people who fail out that first year because of personal issues, whether it be family or local, which could be work-related or possibly just doing a little too much partying, or because the classes simply put too much stress on any one person. I cannot comment for the school of business, but instead mostly for the school of engineering which I attend, more specifically the degree programs of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Chemical Engineering. We have a faculty comprised of professor who may or may not enjoy or even want to teach but they must because there are no other people available to fill that void. The reprocussions of this come first hand to students by way of failing tests and overall bad GPA for students that would otherwise have stellar 3.0+ GPA's if it were not unreasonable tests and exams. Saying that, there needs to be a lot more oversight in test taking. If a Professor is simply not cutting it by giving out tests that do not show a good understanding of concepts actually taught in the class, either start making them actually do their job or get someone in there that can. Part of the 2025 goal is to increase retention of freshman moving onto their second year, and this is one of the better recommendations to make that happen for the College of Engineering. This could indirectly or directly affect merits for faculty becoming part of one of the United States National Academies.

I would like to see KSU include a global component in the same manor discussed at Harvard. KSU has a great number of exchange programs and sends far more students abroad than when I attended. Please consider weaving this into the undergraduate experience for the majority of KSU students.

Basically, I agree. I am bothered that excellence in teaching is only an implied goal in these themes. Effective teaching is the core responsibility of any institute of higher education, and teaching responsibilities distinguish university faculty from members of a research institute.

Teaching is scarcely mentioned in the action plan for Theme 3. A focus on teaching skills for undergraduate education in the action plan for Theme 2 is well placed, but we should not ignore teaching responsibilities and skills in graduate programs.

Many well thought out activities listed. The only change I would like to see would be to place more emphasis on the relationship between faculty and administration. This is always an importyant relationship to pay attention to as we move intot he future.

Please see comments below for each theme related to international engagement, a common element that is to be included in each theme.

See Theme 4

I totally agree with the student-centered approach; however, I believe some thought needs to be put into how to get faculty who are faculty-centered on board. I work in a department where the majority of faculty who are tenured are NOT student-centered, they are much more focused on themselves and the ease of their schedules, etc. than in enhancing the educational environment for our students and holding students up to high expectations. Every time I have tried to steer discussions toward being more student-centered, the discussion reverts instead to faculty-centered issues. This makes me suspect that these individuals have no concept of what student-centered means. There will truly need to be some major education done and in terms of faculty who have tenure who think that they can do whatever they want regardless of what the administration wants...there's got to be something to make them buy in. Their excuse in the past for lack of buy-in has been that they aren't being paid enough and never get raises (I don't for a minute believe that this is a valid excuse because I don't think they would be willing to change with a raise, but that's the excuse).

Change is hard for people and especially for people negatively entrenched in their old ways. Systemic change is even more difficult. The current university consultant Rusty Andrews has proved himself repeatedly to being ineffective in my department and in other departments to effect any kind of systemic personnel attitude and behavior change. I think some new thinking and some new blood needs to come into this.

  1. Yes, I agree that these seven themes captures what our strategic plan should focus on.
  2. A general comment is the observation that the “Outcomes – Impact” section for all themes is mostly qualitative rather than quantitative. I presume “SMART” goals would be developed for the short/medium/long term outcomes in order to measure ourselves with respect to progress!? One would hope that we focus on a few measurable metrics (in addition to the ones already defined for Top 50 progress) that we can easily and consistently track than have too many that no one can keep up with documenting.
  3. Another general comment is that all of these activities and outcomes/impact ideas read great but let’s be sure we don’t assume none of them exist at KSU currently. Somewhere along the timeline we should identify successful examples that already exist at KSU and could serve as implementation examples for the rest of the university.
No

I don't know why Athletics is placed at the same level as the others.

I want to see more emphasis on the arts and sciences department. Athletics gets its own category in themes but I see nothing of the arts. Fix it, please.

Facilities and infrastructure need to be at least 2nd on the list, if not first. None of these thematic goals can be achieved without DRAMATIC improvements to the teaching and research infrastructure on campus, not to mention the agricultural research centers located around campus.

I would take all outcomes dealing with research out of the UG Education Experience Goal and put them in the RSCAD Goal. UG Ed Experience should prepare graduates to succeed in their careers through meaningful application of theory and technology not doing research.

Undergraduate Educational Experience
Kansas State University will build a connected, diverse, empowered, engaged, participatory culture of learning and excellence that prepares students for their professional, community, social, and personal lives. (No Research in this Goal)

Athletics should not be a separate theme - that somehow implies it is more important than particular colleges and degree programs.

There is too much emphasis on athletics and not enough on developing academic excellence through the exploration of multicultural, inclusive, and global knowledge generation.

I am not sure why athletics needs to be in a plan designed to bring the university up to a different academic level.

How much did we pay for wordles?

Well, I think attempting to achieve a mythical ranking should not be the goal of a public school like kansas state.

Undergraduate education should be listed first and be the primary focus of our land grant university. This initiative has created even more of a perception by faculty that teaching is not valued on this campus. Many programs and departments have significant problems with indifference to poor teaching, particularly in the service classes.

I would like to see a clear commitment to extending the university's international roles. At one point this was designated some sort of "cross-cutting" emphasis that might relate to each of the seven specified themes. Now it is difficult, if not impossible, to find even mention of internationalization.

I already sent a note on this, but ideally, drop facilities and athletics as central themes and add internationalization.

I think that trying to encompass so many areas is not feasible. We should concentrate on research, scholarship, creativity and discovery. This is the area where we want to be recognized and excel. The success of faculty and students (graduate and undergraduate) and improvements in infrastructure will follow by supporting this one theme. Trying to be diplomatic and pleasing everybody in all areas is not feasible. Resources need to be concentrated in one theme, research and creativity.

Overall, a very "positive" document. It would be wonderful if we can accomplish even half of this. I do see some significant new directions proposed, but not a lot of details as to how we will get there. Most of the outcome statements are pretty generic, and I am left with some assumptions about changing emphasis that I do not understand (ie. "Dramatically improve advising services for students and develop flexible and effective academic advising models appropriate to the diverse needs of our students, including “regular” students". Does this mean a more centrally controlled advising or more dispersed faculty advising? What is a "regular" student?) Just one example.

I do have some concerns with the overall process as follows:

Although I appreciate the fact that any attempt to move in a "new direction" will need major promotional efforts, right now the "2025" focus has becoming overbearing. Do realize that potential students and their families are still most interested in a "student focused" experience, and that has served us well for the past two decades. For some, they will be excited to be more involved in the research aspects of K-State. For most of our potential students, they could care less, and don't really know or understand the research mission of K-State, or any other school. This probably hit home to me most recently in the press releases announcing the new Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences which clearly emphasized his research credentials and his fit for our new 2025 goals (a good one it appears). However, in all of the documents I saw, there was not one mention of his previous teaching or student service experience - yet he will lead our college primarily responsible for most of our undergraduate teaching. Let's remember to keep a balance.

Retention numbers. As we have been assured by the current administration whenever asked, there seems to be no plan to increase undergraduate admissions standards, and I do not see that addressed (either that we will or will not) in the documents. However, I worry that if we are not "moving up" in the rankings in a few years, the pressure will mount to do that - since several of the criteria used in these rankings, specifically undergrad retention, undergrad graduation rates and undergrad participation in research, would indeed improve if we moved that direction. That will likely have negative enrollment implications, at least in the short term (Why these measures are so important to being a top research university I really don't understand, but that is another story that we probably will not change. Perhaps such students require less "advising and mentoring" which we may not have as much time to do with a greater research focus?).

One thing that is missing is a budget - shouldn't all proposals have a budget? Clearly the costs to implement this will be massive. Although mention is made throughout of "increased financial support" for various aspects, clearly what is outlined here is way more than the state of Kansas plus all of our friends and alummi will be capable of supporting at their very highest possible level. And, I expect there will be some pushback in support for a change to a "research focus" and to some of the proposed marketing strategies that I have also heard are ongoing (ie. change of the official logo removing the powercat, focus on research vs. the undergraduate program which has been highly successful over the past 20 years and "saved" this institution from becoming "division 2"). In fact, there does not seem to be much in here about the marketing and communications effort - perhaps that train has already left the station. Back to the budget - it is not clear if the intent is to have a major reallocation of existing resources to accomplish or new goals, or if that will be dependent on increased new financial resources. If we don't see the new money, will be not be able to proceed? Needs clarification.

I believe that we should strive for excellence for ourselves and our university. I do believe having a written plan, goals and objectives are essential to help move K-State forward. However, I do believe that trying to fit K-State into “boxes” as described by one ranking system is the wrong approach and changes the direction of emphasis for the wrong reasons. As the language say “people want to invest in a winner—and the different constituent groups who support Kansas State want to invest in a university they perceive as moving upward to new heights of achievement”. I believe it is terribly short sided that we have to be a “winner” in a ranking system as defined by one entity.

One change I would like to see is how the public of Kansas view K-state? Is not this one of the most important aspects? Nothing in the current plan directly addresses our stalk holder efforts and support of people of Kansas. Why is not a aspect that we can hold ourselves up to brag about? We have such strong stalk folder support, many of the focus areas will take faculty away from stalk holder activities and areas of importance for them. That is reality and it is clearly documented that other states that have shifted away from this that we are suppose to aspire to be have already lost stalk holder support (university of IL, Un of Minn, Colorado state, Univ. of Neb). People who do not know this should do more investigating on how these decisions affect the long term support of in-state stake holders.

For the Faculty and Staff theme (which should not have been combined, just because we park in the same lots), the really astonishing omission was the lack of any attention whatsover to the BIGGEST wordle theme, namely, MORALE. This must be included if the faculty is to aspire to the goals to which the central administration aspires.

Also omitted, astonishingly, was the need for SUPPORT, MONEY, FUNDING (really synonymous, so that it was inappropriate methodologically to separate them out), key wordle terms as well) for the faculty (which does not, as the wordle indicated absolutely include pay, though that is clearly related to becoming a top research university, when our pay is significantly lower than our peers, and undoubtedly MUCH lower than a "top" university.

The other significant information from the polls was the fact that funding (support, etc.) was so often listed as crucial, but NOWHERE on the athletic section. This clearly points to the extreme and damaging impact of the flush of funds available to those programs, and the reducing and inadequate funds for EVERYTHING else. We have too often been given the standard line that they are separate, but why is NOTHING being done to bring them more into line, particularly given the track record of responsibility for academics, and the corresponding lack for athletics (hence their self-admission of INTEGRITY as their highest goal.) Athletics has far too long traded on the integrity and responsibility of the rest of the university to maintain its reputation, prestige, and income.

Goals | Theme 1 | Theme 2 |Theme 3 | Theme 4 | Theme 5 | Theme 6 | Theme 7 | Comments

Theme 1: Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities, Discovery

Is there anything missing that should be included in the action plan for "Theme 1: Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities, Discovery"?
No

I believe it is very well defined.

Is there an assumption that P&T policies and annual evaluation processes and procedures are currently appropriate for this area? The issue is specifically mentioned in themes 2 and 4. Seems as if it deserves mention in this theme as well.

Generally I agree with Theme 1. I would ask that as plans are put in place the following areas are considered: 1) Tuition waivers for GRA – I agree this is a great area to progress to. However placing the complete burden on the faculty to pay for the tuition will result in decreased graduate student numbers at KSU. This is clearly the case at per institutions that have implement tuition waivers were the major professor is responsible for paying for it (Iowa State, Michigan State as examples). This has directly resulted in decreased numbers of graduate students. In y program of 10 current students, I know I would have to reduce numbers by 20-25%. It is not possible to have al grants cover the tuition costs, it is not realistic. Less graduate students = less PhD students = less opportunity to accomplish the goals of being a top 50. 2) I believe that faculty awards are to qualify for the top 50 is so narrow it forgoes the national and international recognition bestowed on our faculty in there are of expertise. This is part of the problem of fitting into the “box” of one ranking system.

Yes

A sense of reality. Federal and state support for research will not likely increase for quite some time. Finding efficiencies are very important. Prioritization will be important.

I do not support increasing the resources of the Graduate School. I would in fact devolve its functions to the Colleges.

Beware the siren call of "interdisciplinarity". What exactly does this mean> Keep the focus on quality, even if it is intradisciplinary.

Beware "Centers", which come in strong with grant support, but then become unfunded liabilities (e.g., BRI? Hopefully not.).

Do we have any plan at all to usefully incorporate NBAF into the KSU research enterprise? This is the one new "Center" that is actually sustainable.

The goal of demoralizing faculty who are not in "high priority" areas should be more explicitly stated. Facing what promises to be a third year without salary increases, these faculty are now receiving the implicit message that they are not essential to the university. Granted, most of them will get the point when they read that better compensation for faculty in "high priority" areas will be sought immediately and that faculty in areas of lesser priority will have to wait for 6-10 years before any concern is shown for them. Still, it would be clearer if there were a statement that faculty who are not in the Schools of Engineering, Agriculture, Architecture, Business or Vet Med should consider seeking positions somewhere other than K-State.

Researchers that involved undergraduates with productive outputs (e.g., papers, etc.) should be rewarded. It is amazing that UG research improvements are listed as an "intermediate" and "long-term" goal. This should happen on the short-term level as well. It's simple, provide awards for tenure-track and tenured faculty that include undergraduates on published research. Full stop. Otherwise, graduate students and research associates will continue to be the default setting. At this point, there are administrators in the College of Agriculture who suggest that research outputs that emphasize UG should be minimized for tenure-track faculty. This attitude is only just beginning to change, apparently.

Move the outcomes dealing with research from UG Ed Experience to RSCAD. i.e. Successful integration of undergraduate education and meaningful research is standard practice. (This belongs in Research. Why should teaching involve pushing students to research??) We should be preparing them for their careers not teaching them how to do research.

Faculty with extension appointments need to be required to publish as required by the enabling legislation

I believe the common elements "diversity" and "international" were not well addressed in this action plan.

Arguably the two most important aspects of Theme 1 are almost not visible they are so far down the list. However, almost everything else is possible IF these things are promoted:

15. Diversify and increase the number of tenure-line faculty with research expectations

18.c Fostering a culture of productivity, creativity, and innovation

Interestingly, neither of these appears obvious in the short, intermediate, or long-term outcomes.

Short -term states: enhanced visibility and appreciation for this theme.

However, short-term there also should be more emphasis placed on Theme 1 (i.e. scholarly activity) in order for faculty to get tenure and promotion. There should be some minimum level of expectation across campus among faculty in regards to scholarly activity. Allowing each unit to "make its own rules", which may require little or nothing of substance in this area, without any real review of the criteria at the university level, short circuits this entire Theme. This is addressed in Theme 5 #4, but it needs to be addressed here.

Intermediate outcomes should include an increase in the number of faculty who publish, exhibit, etc. annually.

The document states: Establish major nationally recognized research centers that promote interdisciplinary collaboration and innovative research and are supported by core facilities and infrastructure.

I am bothered by theme components continually referring to new areas of emphasis, promotion of new collaboration, etc. What about assisting programs that are already nationally/internationally recognized programs and already collaborate extensively. New facilities, funding, and staffing can make them even better , even more attractive to students, and make Kansas State the "go-to" place for work of that type.

Opportunities for postdoctoral fellows are missing. Postdoctoral fellows are an integral part of all leading research universities. Research laboratorties with national and international recognition require and attract postdoctoral fellows.

All of this is pointless unless teaching and service loads are eased for research faculty.

Post-doctoral fellows are critically important resources for the research in KSU. Supporting post-doctoral fellows must be included.

Expansion of research will most likely result in an increased number of international researchers and faculty. At present, K-State processes the work visas for the alien workers. However, we outsource the permanent residency process to immigration attorneys. At the very minimum, K-State should begin processing permanent residency cases for faculty.

Although the university would incur some expense in staffing, it will save departments the cost of the attorney fees they are required to pay. This fee can range from $1,500 to $2,000 per case. Second, it will attract and help retain the alien workers. The expense of working with an immigration attorney is significant. If this process was done on campus, then the employee would not incur legal fees, which can be several thousand dollars. In effect this is less money coming out of their salaries. In addition, the person processing these cases on campus would be more accessible to departments and employees.

Contingency plans to address what will happen if we invest heavily (programs and positions) in research at a time when government funding will be decreasing.

General comments:

Nothing in this theme discusses the University funding of RSCAD. Funding for current, limited activities in RSCAD comes from the SRO returned to the departments. To implement most of the items listed in RSCAD, Central Administration will need to infuse significant additional funding. If the central administration tries to implement RSCAD by diversion of SRO funding that is going to the departments and colleges at present, it would affect all departments and have a particularly adverse effect on the stronger RSCAD departments adversely. Departmental funding of research in terms of start up funds will be severely diminished. This, in turn, will result in the departments not being able to pursue the best directions in research.

The almost exclusive focus on interdisciplinary RSCAD and large centers leaves the individual investigator out. While it is clear that we need more focus on centers, etc., we also need to encourage “old-fashioned” individual investigators who are doing good work now. This is also a retention issue as the individual investigators are the most mobile and more institutional support might help us keep them at K-State.

Specific Comments:

Item 1 & 3 The focus on funding (instead of scholarly activities and achievements) seems excessive here.

8. Nothing in this list about recruiting grad students includes full ride fellowships for truly outstanding grad students. Without that type of support we cannot compete.

9. Perhaps it’s better to have a local umbrella program that enhances undergraduate research by incorporating various programs such as McNair, Developing Scholars, WESP and Honors.

16. Recruit and retain talented and diverse faculty should be the number 1 item. Also, there is no specific mention of start-up and continued retention plans (not just a last moment retention package or a counter-offer after someone gets an offer from somewhere else). They may be considered to be in item a, but both need to be mentioned explicitly.

Amit Chakrabarti and Dean Zollman

I have never seen Centers really work at K-State because salary lines are housed in departments. Even the Food Science Institute is little more than a center for offering continuing education courses. It adds little value to the researchers who are supported within departments. The Center for Basic Cancer Research is largely a Biology effort that gives a little bit of token money to other units. Also, I have seen very successful Institutes and Centers lose funding regardless of performance when Dean's and Head's have to cut. Centers are the first to be cut and departments are the last to be cut. In Sum, you need to redefine the funding of centers and tenths of lines need to be housed in centers for it to work.

A vital Input to include would be to provide researchers access to Qualitative analysis services (e.g., NVivo 9, Atlas.TI). Statistical (e.g., SAS, SPSS) services are now provided by the College of Ag, but there is not a similar service provided for qualitative data analysis. This service needs to be provided.

International engagement is to be one of the common elements in each Vision 2025 Theme. On that basis and after reviewing the proposed strategic action plan for Theme 1, members of the International Activities Council submit the following recommendations for this theme.

Theme 1: Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities and Discovery

Activity: Identify strategic international partnerships that encourage multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research.
Short Term: Identify at least one international strategic partnership that would involve at least three K-State colleges; the office of international programs and senior administration provide support to establish and maintain the partnership.

Activity: Encourage faculty to take international sabbaticals
Short/Long Term: Include international activity in considerations for promotion and tenure

Activity: Expand and enhance international research collaborations in which faculty are currently engaged
Short Term: Review and update the university database of faculty research activities

Activity: Identify new opportunities for collaborative international research based on university strengths.
Short Term: Pursue international partners in these areas.

Responses to specific activities:

#2. Establish international research centers
#6. Include international contacts in the capabilities inventory
#8 a and c. Assure that this especially applies to international graduate students
#13. Grants office should add expertise and assistance in grant writing in an international context (UN, USAID, international foundations)
#16. Recruit international experts

It is essential for Kansas State University to be fully engaged with the international community if it is to serve its constituents, support its faculty and staff and to achieve its goal of becoming a Top 50 university by 2025. It is with this awareness that we submit these suggestions. Thank you for your consideration.

See the suggestions of the K-State International Activities Council.

Make sure that the Distinguished Teaching Scholar has a clear agenda. Nominees for the award need to be more carefully screened to make sure that they can take command of their own research and not feel subservient to someone else's agenda. Otherwise the title loses its integrity. The award is suppose to represent the very top of the teaching research pyramid. Recipients ought to exhibit the leadership and expertise the award was intended to honor and the confidence and resourcefulness of independent sustained research to bring their projects to fruition.

Item 1 – Wanted clarification as to what are the strategic areas mentioned.
Needed the involvement of graduate students
Grants and pre-awards cause a large bottleneck
Need a more definitive proactive role of the VP across campus

Resources

  • Financial
  • Infrastructure
  • Human
  • Faculty (22+ Add)
  • Research, Teaching, Extension

Physical Space Upgrades

Foundation (Fundraising arm)

Executive Masters Programs

Faculty increase

Balance of Undergrad/Post Grad/Doctorate Education
Focus on the top areas of doctoral program in College of Ag

  1. Ag
  2. Engineering
  3. Vet Med

Contract Research

What with the absence the last couple years of any sort of merit pay raises or the possibility of any such raises, many faculty have given up and stopped pursuing their research agendas, the notion being, "What's the use, if those efforts won't be acknowledged in any way in any event." However, I hope that the efforts of those faculty who ARE still going out there and delivering papers and conducting workshops and serving on committees of various professional societies -- often at their own expense without any subsidies or travel reimbursements offered to them from their home departments (the money just isn't there in some cases) -- will not be swept under the carpet once the state and the university are in positions to award merit pay raises once again. To that end, departments need to be urged STRONGLY to revisit and revise their merit pay and annual activity report policies so as to account for meritorious research agendas on the part of the those faculty who did not give up and continued to pursue their research even in the "dry" period. Such revisions to policies would be a huge morale boost to those of us who aren't just "resting on our laurels."

There is no mention of the place/importance of international research work that I can find not only in this section, but throughout the other themes either. Perhaps it is "hidden" in the engagement section, but will the overuse of the word "engagement" throughout, it is not clear what that really includes. In agriculture, we have long been and continue to be involved in research supporting international agricultural development. Should that emphasis be increased? Decreased?

See comments on Faculty and Staff.

Funding for research and scholarship and international conferences is far too low, and seemingly reduced, to pretend to have any aspiration of being a major research university.

  1. Yes, I think a few aspects need to be addressed in terms of Activities and Outcomes/Impact.
  2. The key questions are "what are the university's strategic areas?" and "who will define them?" The answers to these two questions inform and determine the course of action for the other activities under this theme (as well as the other themes). Without answering them, the plan will not be and cannot be "strategic"! It will take real leadership and courage to answer these questions because we simply cannot be all things to all people. Some RSCAD areas are obvious areas of strength and have a sufficient core of faculty expertise assembled worthy of additional and strategic investment by the university (and ideally private-public partnerships) to reach/assure Top 50 recognition and impact status. Other areas have evolved as a result of hiring decisions that weren’t always strategic and often duplicated expertise at other BOR institutions ("we too" mentality). The State of Kansas has too small of a population and is too limited in financial resources to afford duplication of expertise and resources. Will KSU have the courage to lead by example and define its strategic areas by differentiating itself and focusing on unique strengths rather than duplicative programs? And, will we have the courage to push back on other BOR institutions that encroach on "our strategic areas" now and in the future?
  3. A good example is item 8.d that aims to increase the number of disciplines with graduate programs. That does not sound strategic!?
  4. Encouraging and increasing the participation of undergraduate students in support of RSCAD efforts is absolutely of strategic importance. It is a good way to get more of our domestic undergraduates thinking about pursuing graduate degrees ideally at KSU.

I focused attention on the outcomes:

 

Additional outcome:
Scholarly and creative activities are valued contributions of the academy when represented through teaching and extension/engagement. Activities would require extensive education of faculty on examples of and how to evaluate scholarship of learning and of engagement. This will not happen without focus and UNDERSTANDING by all of administration, especially department heads. Advocacy for a broader defined scholarship definition is needed within every academic department.

  • Better recognition of scholarship of teaching and scholarship of extension/engagement and scholarly activities.
  • Improved infrastructure to support faculty in the development of multi-institutional, and multi-disciplinary activities.
  • Recognition of the land-grant mission to serve the people through solution-based research that addresses specific issues related to Kansas and the region

We need to get away from multiple little research centers (or centers in general) and focus on ones that are providing a service/true recognition for what they do. There are centers currently on campus that I understood do not provide any real research but have been given the status of a research center. If the center is not viable, then it needs to be dismantled and not kept just because it has been here for 10 years.

Goals | Theme 1 | Theme 2 |Theme 3 | Theme 4 | Theme 5 | Theme 6 | Theme 7 | Comments

Theme 2: Undergraduate Experience

Is there anything missing that should be included in the action plan for "Theme 2: Undergraduate Educational Experience"?
No

In a recent survey conducted among K-State faculty members, several specifically noted that the 2025 themes made no mention at all of "teaching." I realize that the action plan for Theme 2 includes teaching. But apparently the omission of "teaching" in the theme statement is seen -- by some -- as indicative of the lower value that Kansas State University places on teaching, especially in comparison to research. That would be an unfortunate, unintended message.

For many reasons I like the broader perspective of the learning experience for undergraduates that is reflected in Theme 2. However, it may be important to include the word "teaching" since it is the core responsibility of any institute of higher education and teaching responsibilities distinguish university faculty from members of a research institute.

Yes

Not missing, but maybe not emphasized enough. I think our undergraduate recruiting needs to be totally revamped. It continues to focus on Kansas high school graduates, which is good, but not good enough!

Too many items here without any sense of importance.

My big items:

  1. Fight like hell for the top high school students in the state. As a HS parent, I can tell you that KU is out-recruiting us.
  2. Aggressively recruit Latino students; this is the only growth sector in the state, and we seem way behind.
  3. More systematically pick out and nurture high achieving students early in their stay at KSU.
  4. Replace the TeVals (widely discredited) with a tool that actually results in improved teaching.
  5. Reform the Honor Code away from its "Cops and Robbers" philosophy towards one that infuses academic integrity throughout the university.
  6. Figure out a better way to convince a typical student that "K-State cares about you".

Effective teaching must be based upon peer-review and peer-based developmental teaching activities not TEVALs. The use of TEVALs on this campus has generated a "Least Common Denominator" teaching culture where students generally encounter low expectations across the board (most instructors do not want to risk lower TEVALs) and when seriously challenged, "reward" instructors with lower TEVAL scores. Thus, innovative and "high expectation" instructors that put pressure on students to excel are generally viewed as being L, LM, or M among their semester cohort of instructors, if students in the class feel they didn't earn the grade they expected or were required to move out of their comfort zone with the amount of work or input demanded by the instructor. Students should ALWAYS feel that the class was "too hard" or the expectations were "too high". This is the sign that students were pushed beyond their intellectual/personal boundaries and have matured into better students.

Thus, the use of TEVALs needs to be seriously addressed. Until then, UG quality and "student product" will be greatly limited.

Regular communication efforts with parents. This communication is not student specific but is a regular update on significant campus events, key dates and reminder of resources available to student.

This is the most important outcome:

Excellent reputation for high quality teaching and advising that prepares students for their professional, community,social, and personal lives (Leave Research out of Theme 2) also..

What about Student Competition Teams participating in National/International competition. That is some of the best marketing we can buy and a true learning experience that impacts recruiting and retention.

Yes-experintial learning is minimized.

I believe the common elements "diversity" and "international" were not well addressed in this action plan. International experiences should be an integral part of the undergraduate educational experience.

If by "...evaluating and revising internal programs, such as those offered by the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (CATL), for advancing such pedagogy and explore alternatives to better integrate and engage faculty in such learning..." this theme means to suggest some sort of sunstantive overall or revamping of CATL, then I would strongly agree [the theme's wording is a bit ambiguous]. CATL suffers from outmoded ways of thinking. It is bogged down by the sheer weight of its too many diverse initiatives and co-sponsorships which do not encourage faculty involved in the planning of those initiatives to innovate to their fullest creative and unbridled potential. CATL has become tired and worn and is falling behind the times when it comes to keeping pace with both national best practices and the fundamental changes taking place in young people today. The TEVAL form is so antiquated that it is of little use to the faculty anymore. Different value systems and motivations for (and understandings of) learning exist today versus 30 years ago; the TEVAL needs to be replaced. Let the faculty -- not administrators -- have more say in the guiding the efforts of CATL. Infuse that office with new blood or at least a second, competent, authoritative voice with substantial credentials behind it.

We cannot keep admitting students who are not prepared for college. It gives them a false sense of hope and puts a great burden on already overworked faculty to bring these students up to speed, sometimes at the expense of students who are capable of excelling. We don't do these underprepared students any favors by admitting them. They belong in community colleges or trade schools.

Also, we need to eliminate majors that have no business being four-year degrees, e.g., kinesiology, entrepreneurship, apparel and textiles (and others in human ecology). We should focus on giving students a full four year education, not an associates degree in disguise. In addition, I don't see any need for separate agricultural programs such as agricultural economics, agricultural communication and journalism, and agricultural education. We have economics, communications, and education programs already.

Retool CATL. Start by getting rid of the directorship form of administration. Make faculty (and faculty only) full cohorts in its day-to-day operations and agenda-setting. Otherwise, the university risks falling further and further behind in keeping pace with best practices in teaching, learning, assessment.

Take the politicking out of teaching awards. It seems that some people get awards on no other basis than having previously received other awards. Make certain that announcements initiating nomination processes are more widely distributed; not all department heads and deans seem to be making an effort to disperse calls for nominations to their full respective faculties.

An emphasis on recruitment, both on the undergraduate and post-graduate level, that helps us bring highly qualified students to our programs. Perhaps recruiting could be brought to the college and even department level instead of relying on the university level. (Or maybe it's just my department that doesn't take part in recruiting?)

Take another look at General Education. The newly instituted program has clay feet and will eventually collapse under its own weight when scrutinized in all its particulars. First, it is a watered-down version ( plagiarized ? ) of Harvard's General Education plan that does not respond to who we are as a land grant institution in the middle of America. Second, there was essentially no rigorous screening process to approve courses for Gen Ed status -- no request to submit course outlines, syllabi, learning objectives, or justifications that courses were, indeed, covering the content area(s) they claimed to be be covering. Third, most students in most disciplines can fulfill Gen Ed simply by taking their current roster of required courses within their respective existing curricula. In fact, many curriculum committees and faculty bodies across campus tagged courses specifically with that strategy in mind -- to use current curricula to satisfy Gen Ed requirements. Students, quite contrary to the intentions of Gen Ed, will not be forced to go outside their own required programs of study and explore other areas of learning in other colleges/departments to fulfill Gen Ed (except in those instances where they are already required to take courses outside their own majors in order to fulfill their degree program curricular requirements). Fourth, accreditation standards for many disciplines are themselves even more rigorous than this Gen Ed program. Fifth, assessment of Gen Ed, as currently conceived, has no teeth to it; there is no way to prove that the Gen Ed courses as a group are making a significant difference in student learning versus the totality of courses in each student's program of study.

The University Honors Program has, as one of its requirements for student completion, is an Honors Project. In most cases, this project is a research and discovery activity (students also do creative scholarly work in the Humanities, Human Ecology, etc.). This requirement fits perfectly with the university’s goal of “increased participation by undergraduates in expanded opportunities for meaningful research.”

Most departments are aware of their honors students’ involvement in research (as the students fulfill their project requirement) but I think an explicit mention of the University Honors Program and its emphasis on research would be advantageous both to our program and to the departments as they explore mechanisms for getting their students involved in “meaningful” research.

Certainly, if I am a researcher and am being encouraged to get undergraduates involved in my laboratory, honors students would be an excellent pool from which to select research assistants. There are not a lot of win-win opportunities in our business but this would certainly seem to be one of them.

Make a commitment to mean what you say in this regard, rather than paying lip service to teaching initiatives.

General Comments

This whole theme seems to be focused on centralized activities. In the end good students will identify with Departments, Labs, Centers, even individual faculty. Moving toward support of academic units (silos or otherwise) which integrate RSCAD and undergraduate education will serve us better than centralized efforts to engage either faculty or students.

We need vastly improved facilities for undergraduate education, particularly at the upper levels. Nothing in this theme addresses the lack of good equipment for teaching, the outdated classrooms or the cramped quarters.

We need a plan to eliminate the present process of switching scholarships given by the Central Administration to Departmental funding after the first year. This plan was introduced over 15 years ago as a temporary measure. No effort has ever been made to change it. The Departments now have very little control over their scholarship funds because most of them go to students who were selected by Central Administration. If more scholarship (item 6b) means more of this approach to encumbering Departmental scholarships without Departmental input, the item should be eliminated.

Support for undergraduates as teaching assistants (UTAs) would enrich their educational experience enormously.

Amit Chakrabarti and Dean Zollman

Given that department funding is not tied to the number of undergraduate majors and/or credit hour production, the action items are a waist of time. When the Provost recently stated "credit hour production doesn't matter", the 2025 plan for undergraduate education doesn't matter.

International engagement is to be one of the common elements in each Vision 2025 Theme. On that basis and after reviewing the proposed strategic action plan for Theme 2, members of the International Activities Council submit the following recommendations for this theme.

Theme 2: Undergraduate Educational Experience

Activity: Require that all undergraduate students participate in a class or experience that encourages awareness and understanding of international perspectives.
Short Term: Every college identifies a minimum of three courses that would meet this requirement; the Office of International Programs prepares a list of accepted experiences.

Activity: Increase the opportunities for learning abroad across all colleges.
Short Term: Include study abroad scholarships on college development/fundraising priorities.

Activity: Develop opportunities for internships abroad.
Short Term: Colleges, foundation, and the office of international programs work to create a least one international internship every summer in every college.

Activity: Encourage colleges and departments to develop an international overlay to their degree programs and note successful completion on transcripts, assuring their students engage in study of other cultures and nationalities.

Response to specific activities:

#3. Include international faculty
#6.Include recruitment of highly qualified international students
#10a. Emphasize international experience

It is essential for Kansas State University to be fully engaged with the international community if it is to serve its constituents, support its faculty and staff and to achieve its goal of becoming a Top 50 university by 2025. It is with this awareness that we submit these suggestions. Thank you for your consideration.

dump the TEVALs. they are outdated and are terribly abused and misused by students and faculty alike. we need something that keeps pace with the attitudes of the new generation of students and something that reflects the new condiions of learning since digital technology hit big.

As former Regent Nelson Galle has commented, every K-State undergraduate should have an international experience, such as study abroad, service abroad, or at least sufficient involvement with international students and faculty at K-State to be prepared to live and work in a global community. The current description of undergraduate education is woefully inadequate in its ignoring of these international dimensions.

I hear that there is to be yet ANOTHER "center" of some sort for past practices in teaching - a community of learners center(?). How many of these centers do we need? The Center for Advancing Teaching and Learning is becoming bloated and lacks transparency when it comes to faculty involvement in its operations. CATL treats faculty like cattle. Bad acronym!

Point 1- is there national data showing that learning communities are effective. Huge push to increase learning communities but do they really work?

Point 2- Concern about quality control if the process becomes more centralized. Concerned that this may pull resources from Colleges who currently provide good support for their own students. Suggest that the plan include capitalizing on existing knowledge base and build community among support groups.

Point 4- Does not mention scholarship of teaching/learning. (impact) d) We already have programs developed. People are not taking advantage of the current programs and the people that attend are not the faculty/staff that need to be in attendance. c.) Is it the faculty members responsibility? What does this really mean; building community in the classroom or focus on learning communities?

Point 8&9- Need to be combined. No reason for them to have separate bullets.

Point 6- Need to think about what type of student population we serve. Still need to recruit high achieving students but to not forget about being a public institution serving families in Kansas.

Point 10- What qualifies as a "research endeavor"

BIG MISSING ITEMS: Where is the focus on international study/opportunities; extracurricular activities/leadership development opportunities; on-campus work experience. These are all very important parts of undergraduate education.

They felt that some points were too vague (ie. #10)
No mention of International study or opportunities for students.
Leadership development not mentioned.

Point 1- is there national data showing that learning communities are effective. Huge push to increase learning communities but do they really work?

Point 2- Concern about quality control if the process becomes more centralized. Concerned that this may pull resources from Colleges who currently provide support. Suggest that the plan include capitalizing on existing knowledge base and build community among support groups.

Point 4- Does not mention scholarship of teaching/learning. (impact) d) We already have programs developed. People are not taking advantage of the current program of the people that attend are not the faculty/staff that need to be in attendance. c.) Is it the faculty members responsibility? What does this really mean, building community in the classroom or focus on learning communities?

Point 8&9- Need to be put together. No reason for them to have separate bullets.

Point 6- Need to think about what type of student population we serve. Still need to recruit high achieving students but to not forget about being a public institution serving families in Kansas.

Point 10- What qualifies as a "research endeavor"

Missing items: International study/opportunities; extracurricular activities/leadership development opportunities; on-campus work experience.

Tie research assignments in class to actual research where possible. Utilize ongoing industry research and assist post grad. Enhance retention given relevancy of work.

Investigate broader distribution of a portion of scholarship pool to improve student retention due to economic issues.
Utilize “cross-pollenization” across college lines within university and providing for broader education experience thereby increasing efficiencies.
Clarify, review for eliminating tenure policy. Does this correlate to meeting objects of KS 2025? University needs to be nimble-providing incentives for excellence.
Provide for periodic student feedback related to “activities”
Develop Action Plan for increasing financial aid
Develop activity related to leadership development
Develop activity related to international learning exposure
Review on-line learning protocol. Maintain balance between on line and classroom education.

See my general comments above on Retention Numbers (third paragraph). What we do with admission standards in the future is important here.

I see very little mention of leadership or student activities outside of the classroom. There is one statement, "Develop and support an effective integrated First Year Experience (FYE) with strong, long-term leadership". But little additional comment on leadership development. For the past two decades, this has been a major focus of both the marketing and reality of the K-State undergrad experience (ie. the growth of the Leadership Studies program for example). Our support of student activities has been top priority, and faculty involvement is critical to that success. In general, we have been supported for those efforts (at least is has not been a "negative" in evaluation as it can become if it is perceived as detracting from other objectives). I think this has been a critical part of our "student focused" mantra. I would see this possibly changing as we move toward more focus on student involvement in the research mission. We have provided leadership opportunities for a lot of students with a diverse array of student activities, but not all faculty have been involved, and frankly are not interested or effective at such. Good research mentoring must be more one-on-one. Faculty leading learning communities is a whole different type of faculty advising. Faculty may need "training and support" for both. So, bottom line, since I don't see leadership as a focus in this section, I presume it is being de-emphasized in "2025". If that is not the case, then it needs to be included here.

There is clearly a heavy emphasis on the learning community concept throughout this section. K-State is far behind many of our peers in this area, both intellectual learning communities and residential. Are we even talking about residential living communities here? There is a hint of that, but no specifics. I see this as a major new approach for us. It involves new student services, all colleges, student services units, and most importantly faculty who are not currently involved in student activities. It is a good concept - and hopefully can be added without taking away from other areas (see paragraph above)- but there is only so much faculty time available for this type of service.

In the section on Engagement, there is a strong emphasis on service learning. Even a statement "All undergraduate students engaged in at least one engagement/service learning project". Yet I see little mention of that in this undergraduate educational experience section. Number 10 mentions "high impact experiential learning and research endeavors", but the subheadings seem to be mostly about research. Seems that there should be more connection here between the two sections here! This will not only have to be connected to the teaching mission, but certainly to the student activities and leadership efforts which provide one of the most active existing avenues for student service. As stated two paragraphs above, the role of student activities seems to be missing from the undergrad experience goals also.

I see no details about international experiences. Yet today we announced the search for an associate provost for international programs with the following statement: "The Kansas State University strategic plan, K-State 2025, is being developed with internationalization as a common element to all seven themes identified in the plan." I don't see that in the details of the plan as stated above in the research section. I am not really a big fan of international experience for undergrads, but I expect if you looked at the goals of most of our peers we are trying to "catch", they have specific numerical goals for percentage of undergrads with international experiences. Do we want to state such?

Advising. I am unsure what some of the intent of the statements relating to advising are about. For example, "Dramatically improve advising services for students and develop flexible and effective academic advising models appropriate to the diverse needs of our students, including “regular” students". Does this mean a more centrally controlled advising or more dispersed faculty advising? What is a "regular" student? There does not seem to be anything specific in the outcomes that clarifies this. I like the idea of expanding the first year experience beyond freshmen to include anyone in their first year, such as transfer students. We need to focus more on advising for transfers. Our transfer retention rates are terrible, but seldom discussed. How does that factor into the "rankings"? What we really need is remediation coursework for transfer students, but BOR policies make this impossible!

Recruitment. Again it appears that there are some underlying major changes in store (ie. under activities: "Revamping and updating our recruiting philosophy and organization of recruiting services to address the changing demographics of our student population, recognizing that one size does not fit all"; and under outcomes: "Successful recruitment and retention strategies that address our entire (underlined?) student population". I am left wondering exactly what this means. I think our recruitment strategies for the past two decades have certainly been effective (and in fact saved the institution from becoming second tier). What are the specific changes are are suggested here? Needs clarification.

I worry about the integrity and substance of our newly inaugurated general education program, the K-State Eight. When so many degree-granting programs across campus are telling their students that they can fulfill the requirements of the K-State Eight simply by taking the required courses already included their longstanding curricula, then are our students really being exposed to the intentions of a true general or liberal education? The K-State Eight does not seem to urge students to explore areas of intellectual inquiry outside their majors. There was no rigorous screening process put in place when courses were tagged, no requirement to submit courses syllabi, no requests for justificatios as to the logic behind the tagging (double-tagging, and so on. We all know the "dirty little secret": it's all smoke and mirrors, but it's easier that way than putting in the real work and heavy lifting needed to make sure that our students are prepared for life-long learning and global literacy. And when it comes to assessment of the K-State Eight, that all seems rather blurry, too. Will students, after four or five years of coursework and dozens of courses, really be able to recall which of their required courses were facilitators of a general education and which weren't, which fostered their liberal education and which did not? I doubt it.

I'm happy to see undergraduate research considered important, though it should not take away from basic undergraduate instruction.

While undergraduate international travel should be encouraged more, programs that emphasize faculty led programs should be emphasized more than "big box" commercial programs. International Programs needs to do far more for this, as well as other units that support international travel.

  1. Item 4 should be first on the list under this theme. Developing, promoting and rewarding excellent teaching and support teacher development is key to future success. Under item “a” the phrase “scholarship of teaching and learning” should be added as many of our faculty do not seem to understand the difference btw being a “good” or “excellent” teacher in the classroom (incl advising students, recruiting and placing them etc.) and “scholarly activities and contributions” such as obtaining grants to develop new courses, course materials, learning experiences etc, evaluating/assessing them, and then publishing the results. Currently we seem to force excellent teaching professors who are mediocre researchers to conduct research in order to generate mediocre scholarly contributions to the literature in order to satisfy T&P expectations. Instead, we should encourage outstanding teaching professors to pursue scholarly activities related to teaching and learning, and then grant them T&P on that basis.
  2. Additionally, we need to create another faculty category beyond “instructor” and other than “clinical faculty” that allows us to bring in outstanding individuals with industry and government experience who can teach as “professors of the practice” alongside our tenure-track faculty and enhance academic programs such as Leadership Studies, Entrepreneurship, and others that are closely tied with certain industries we serve such as Grain Science.
  3. Other activities not mentioned are international study opportunities and leadership development (including “judging teams” for crops and animals that are very common in agriculture).

1 b) improving academic venues and creating structures for “unstructured” participation that encourage and integrate substance, social interaction, and community.

Please explain what "unstructured" participation is referring to in the above statement. What do you mean by "integrate substance, social interaction, and community"?

There hasn't been a pay increase for faculty in three years. Where is the funding going to come from to create and manage things such as "learning communities"?

I see an abundance of new programs to "entice" and "pamper" students but very little if anything is mentioned about high standards and expectations of our students. Top-notch schools have waiting lists and turn away prospective students because of academic rigor, high standards of performance, and high expectations of students. This aspect of the plan seems to be missing.

Good point - Item 4 e)developing standards and requiring mandatory training for teaching online.

A number of the "outcomes" are vague and use words such as "excellent", "successful", "improve". Are these measurable?

Have too many "new" programs been suggested (learning communities, online community hubs, first-year experience, a formal program for UG research, community-based learning, ...) without any thought to what we "take off our plate"? i.e. "assessment mandates". One can't do everything.

Outcome missing:

Faculty feel rewarded for outstanding advising and teaching. Not to push advising off the role of a faculty.

  • The proposed outcomes and activities completely ignore the need to globalize the curriculum and to engage students in international study
  • The proposed outcomes and activities do not adequately address the need to develop leadership skills of our students
  • The proposed outcomes and activities do not adequately address the need to have students participate in engagement/ service learning activities
  • The document seems to suggest that student service be consolidated into university centers. It is critical that colleges, departments and faculty stay engaged in student service activities
  • Items related to evaluation of teaching need to include scholarship of teaching
  • A relatively low percentage of prospective students will be attracted to the undergraduate research initiatives outlined in this section. This is an important, albeit small, group of students and we need to enhance research opportunities. However, this section also needs a statement such as #3 from the Athletics section that promotes the traditions, personal attention, and students-first approach that makes our alumni bleed purple

While rewarding great teaching should be a no brainer, we also need to do something about the people who are using outdated information/methods as well as those that are barely functional. It should be addressed - what are the plans for mediocre instructors? We cannot expect the best students when we do not provide them the best instructors....

We keep pushing international studies which is great but we seem to be lacking in offering classes that could help our students prepare for a career in an international aspect....this should be addressed.

Goals | Theme 1 | Theme 2 |Theme 3 | Theme 4 | Theme 5 | Theme 6 | Theme 7 | Comments

Theme 3: Graduate Scholarly Experience

Is there anything missing that should be included in the action plan for "Theme 3: Graduate Scholarly Experience"?
No

Teaching is relevant to this theme. Again, the word is not used at all in the theme statement and mentioned in the action plan only in relationship to "increased funding for graduate research and teaching" -- whatever that means.

Generally I agree with Theme 3. I strongly caution one area that could be taken way, way too far – 3d - raising the minimum standards for admission and qualifying exams to “Top 50” levels in our graduate programs. I do believe that we have to have standards that we bring in high quality students – however, DO NOT implement an arrogant admission system for our graduate students. In fact currently we get a large pool of excellent students who do not fit into the testing “box” of other peer institutions. In fact, I have personally mentored PhD and MS students that would not qualify for the standards of their home BS institution and now are national and international leaders in their area of study and expertise. We will miss out on a huge opportunity to raise standards to an equal level of what others have done which has prevented them from keeping high quality students. The decision should largely fall on the faculty to make the decision and we should trust them to do so. I agree that we need to explore admission standards, but I strongly disagree with the language to do it simply “to do it because the others are doing it” This could be one of the worst things I read in the entire plan in my opinion.

Yes

Related to item 17C: I think this needs much more attention/weight. Much of the "quality" problem here at KSU is directly the results of poor quality advising and low programmatic/graduate school standards. In my own department, there are a few "problem" graduate faculty members who do no/little/poor scholarship and do an EXCEEDINGLY poor job of graduate advising, concerning themselves more with being drinking buddies with their students than asking them to meet their full scholarly potential. These advisors produce theses and dissertations that are simply shameful, and the students go our, interview for jobs, and display that shameful quality to the world. This directly undermines the the efforts of the productive faculty to raise our research reputation. Other R1 institutions conduct regular reviews of their graduate faculty (every 3 years, for example), and if they do not meet certain standards of scholarship and advising, they are removed from the graduate faculty and given an increased undergraduate teaching load. KSU desperately needs such a system.

The two best things we can do to improve the graduate experience are:

  1. Implement GRA tuition waivers, which will allow for higher stipends from grants.
  2. Develop a meaningful number of NSF-level high prestige fellowships (~30K/year).

As mentioned above, the Graduate School seems adrift to me, especially since its split from the VP for Research. Most graduate research and scholarship happens in the Colleges, and most support for this research is generated in the Colleges. Why not move the graduate student management there as well?

The terms "outstanding mentoring" and "expectation of excellence" are relatively meaningless short-term goals. Even if K-State was to not achieve top 50 status, these should be our goals. What does "outstanding" mean? What does "excellence" mean?

A campus wide required graduate student core group of classes that include writing, presentation skills, statistics, publishing, resource acquisition and collaborative multi-discipline research. These are basic skills that all graduate students will need to be successful.

No tuition and fees should be paid for GRAs

I was surprised NOT to see any mention in any of the outcomes/impacts of:

  1. increased number of graduate students participating in international experiences
  2. increased number of graduate student research and scholarly publications/exhibitions, etc at national and international venues.

We need to eliminate or decrease the minimum number of credit hours for a Ph.D. Currently, 90 hours are required. This is an antiquated system. Some schools have decreased this to 75 hours. Other do not have a minimum number of credits required by the graduate school. Each Ph.D. program at Penn State has core course requirements. Once those requirements have been met, and the student is a Ph.D. candidate, the students enrolls in a 0 credit hour research course. There is a fixed fee for this course, but no tuition is charged, saving the department from having to cover a tuition waiver if the student is a GTA.

Add a section identifying and valuing graduate teaching excellence. The current model seems to value graduate students only in the research area but, in reality, GTAs are too often thrown into classrooms to cover for faculty.

General Comments

 

To accomplish these goals faculty will need much more time than they have now. That can only be accomplished by adding more faculty members.

Number of faculty is a key indicator for the high ranking of an institution. For example, Physics brings in more federal funding per faculty members than many institutions in the top 50 ranking, but falls below the top-50 ranking because the number of our faculty members is almost half of many high ranking physics departments.

Specific Comments

3. For graduate students, two career family issues are sometimes an issue which is not covered here.

Amit Chakrabarti and Dean Zollman

International engagement is to be one of the common elements in each Vision 2025 Theme. On that basis and after reviewing the proposed strategic action plan for Theme 3, members of the International Activities Council submit the following recommendations for this theme.

Theme 3: Graduate Scholarly Experience

Response to specific activities:

#3. Recruit international graduate students; determine what will attract them to K-State
#4. Emphasize service to international graduate students 
#10. Specifically include appropriate international societies 
#12. Include involvement of foreign corporations 
#15. Include the international audience with distance education
#17. Recruit internationally for highly qualified faculty

It is essential for Kansas State University to be fully engaged with the international community if it is to serve its constituents, support its faculty and staff and to achieve its goal of becoming a Top 50 university by 2025. It is with this awareness that we submit these suggestions. Thank you for your consideration

Many of our graduate students are from abroad. The percentage used to be around 25%, I believe. At least this theme uses the word "international," once.

They felt that some items were quite strong (i.e. #3d)
Under short- term outcomes they felt the statement “expectation of excellence for the graduate scholarly experience” was too vague. 
Seemed to contain a lot of redundancies 
Recruit a more diverse student body 
Some outcomes listed are not measurable 
Does not seem to be aware of what is going on NOW – we should focus on what works and apply to areas that need improvement. 
Item 17c – we must teach our people to be mentors – this must be strengthened. 
Item 18 – they feel that this is a goal and not an activity. 
There was no mention of graduate fellowship 
Curtis brought up that we should cross list courses with other universities to have greater breadth for students. 
Need to define the role of colleges in the graduate experience.

Good mentoring activities included:

  • Activities should focus on both international and local/regional students; lots of interaction between demographics
  • Enhance activities that focus on hands-on experiences with local opportunities
  • Take MANRRS model and expand
    Flexibility with graduate programs/degree. What does the “job” look like in 2025?
  • Difference in the graduate student that goes to graduate school after undergrad and someone that is in the workforce and decides to return. What does that look like?
  • On-Site, distance interdisciplinary focus 
    What is the process that allows continual improvement of degree program and how it meets the demand for graduates? 
    How do we achieve resource availability/funding? 
    Orientation for graduate students –like orientation activities for undergraduate? 
    Opportunity with NBAF and businesses, people it will attract.
  • Faculty and staff attraction and retention:
    • Flexibility and opportunity for joint appointment
    • Stay in the workforce while attaining that advanced degree
      Need to communicate the successes and achievements to help with acquiring resources.

Not as much emphasis on student service for grads as for undergrads. Perhaps more emphasis on this area.

The disparate support for GTA's across campus must be addressed. This is not merely a market matter, as may be the case in hiring, but a matter of our educating our undergraduates in the best way possible.

  1. Tuition waivers for all GRAs is a noble but unreasonable goal. What is needed is a consistent manner of making sure graduate stipends and tuition are budgeted in every external grant including grants to Kansas commodity organizations that supposedly don’t allow tuition to be paid on their grants. Given that commodity (and presumably other KS organizations) pay no to minimal overhead on grants, it should be possible to help them understand that supporting a graduate student requires funds for his/her stipend and tuition. Beyond that, if a professor or a dept offers a graduate student a GRA appointment they need to be required to pay them a “reasonable” stipend and either pay for their tuition directly or provide additional compensation so the student can pay the tuition (there are certain tax implications for either option and whatever is to the advantage of the student should be the goal). Additionally, the amount of tuition support “owed” for a GRA should be limited to the maximum needed to obtain his/her MS (30 cr) or PhD (60 cr) degree (they are on their own beyond those limits). The current problem with the GTA tuition waiver is that GTAs load up on the number of course credits they can take while serving as GTAs because they may not get reappointed rather than spacing course credits out over the length of their degree POS.
  2. No mention seem to be made about the assessment of graduate student learning outcomes!?
  3. More university graduate fellowships are needed in order to attract outstanding domestic graduate students. The Donoghue scholarships are great add-ons to GRA offers $25-$30,000 fellowships plus tuition are needed to attract domestic students from other institutions into our graduate program.
  4. The roles of colleges at the Associate Dean for Academic Programs level needs to be defined. They should have a voice in graduate education and especially graduate course and program offerings as budget lines for “graduate” faculty come through the colleges and not through the Graduate School. Associate Deans could be excellent advocates for graduate programs and help ensure program quality.
  5. Item 15… in addition to developing guidelines for grad level distance ed courses we also need assessment and a definition for “quality programs”. Financial incentives and compensation also need to be addressed to assure a balance btw reasonable load for teaching grad courses and advising grad students by distance (right now the more of both the more $$$) and assuring the quality of the courses and mentoring of the grad courses. Perhaps we need more non-thesis MS degrees as an option for dist ed rather than a thesis-based MS by distance that may never be publishable.
  6. Another important change needed to improve quality of graduate education at KSU is the need to provide faculty the option to “grade” research progress of their graduate student each semester. Currently, graduate students enrolled for research credits receive an automatic “I” no matter their progress each semester and once they defend these “I” credits are converted to “C” (credit). Why do we not use “S” for satisfactory completion of research each semester, and “U” for unsatisfactory with two “U” semesters in a row putting a student on “notice” similarly when their GPA drops below 3.0? Also, “I” would be given when a graduate student has not completed certain research work and would be changed when work is completed just as an “I” for a regular course. At KSU a major professor never has the opportunity to give his/her graduate student a “grade” for their academic progress unless the student takes a course (incl indep study) from them.

Outcome:
Graduate programs to prepare students for Extension / engaged work.

  • To provide flexibility in employment opportunities, graduate students should be cross-trained in research (grantsmanship, publication, etc), teaching and extension/outreach.
  • Activity #17 seems to be better placed in the Faculty and Staff section of the document.
  • Placing "model" faculty in a department or college can be a very slippery slope and create great animosity among the current faculty.

I am all for paying the GRA's and the GTA's a fair salary (taking into consideration that they are often also getting some sort of tuition break) but I think we need to make sure that those GTA's are fluent in English...this has been a problem here at K-State for some time and it really isn't fair to the students paying for a class.

Goals | Theme 1 | Theme 2 |Theme 3 | Theme 4 | Theme 5 | Theme 6 | Theme 7 | Comments

Theme 4: Engagement, Extension, Outreach, and Service

Is there anything missing that should be included in the action plan for "Theme 4: Engagement, Extension, Outreach, and Service"?
No
Yes

After reading this section, I don't know what "Engagement" means, despite the incessant capitalization and italicization.

Big ticket items to me.

  1. Maintain focus on agriculture and military.
  2. Engage the Latino community before it is too late.
  3. Take on KU more aggresively in areas where it gets the most attention, despite K-State's superior reputation (e.g. philosophy, physics).

What is the reward or merit system that will be used to remunerate faculty for these types of activities that are rarely acknowledged on a merit or tenure document? If there is no reward, there will be no service. Faculty should not be expected to constantly "take one for the team" in this regard.

Yes-there needs to be a renewall of the extension mission from dinosaurs to contemporary advocates for the states economic devleopment and well being. The current leadership has no clue how to go about this transformation. There needs to be a more concerted effort to conduct applied research and have evidence based programs that work to reshape the debate on the future of Kansas's economic well-being. This is another way of saying clean house and get some new leadership into extension to renew the mission. I keep getting emails from interests groups to ask Congress not to cut Smith Lever funds, but I can no longer do that-in fat I am not in favor of cutting these funds due to the inertia to change.

11. Measure and report the impacts we have engaging and educating the people of Kansas and beyond by considering strategies such as requesting that departments develop engagement plans and annually reporting the impact engagement work by every unit.

Although this sounds good, the IMPACT measurement is critical. What is a measure of successful impact? It is not number of people contacts, number of dollars spent for engagement, or even "feel good" measures of how people say they plan to use information, services, etc provided by the university. Those are commonly used, but practically useless. Real measures require that the relevant impact be stated up front and the actual impact measured after a period of time. What funding will there be for this? How will we do this? I realize the answer is different depending on the goals/objectives of the engagement, but the typical "measures" just don't really tell us much. Things like " we helped x community build a web-site" or "Twelve people know how to better use their food stamps" are actual examples of engagement "successes" used by people at Kansas State Univ., but those statement actually mean nothing. A website was built, but what did that accomplish for the community - lowering taxes by by streamlined access to information, faster response times, etc. And saying that X number of people learned how to do something better does not mean that they actually did so. Did learning how to better use their food stamps actually result in better nutrition or less percentage of food being thrown out? These are the measures that are needed and we need to expect people involved in engagement to provide those, but they have to have the funding, time, and expertise to do so.

Overall, I am glad that the planning/visioning teams see the value of Engagement. I am curious to learn more about the thinking behind expanding the role of the University (an educational institution) in relation to emergency response (action #2). Certainly Readiness and Recovery are roles an educational institution could provide to help communities do better planning, and to be more resilient and sustainable following a disaster. Extension is very involved in the EDEN system, and across the state helping to integrate mapping, street naming and house numbering into emergency response systems. Extension is also good at helping to facilitate processes for community recovery and planning post disaster. The KSU Center for Engagement and Community Development worked directly with more than a dozen communities within the last year to help them develop plans for community emergency readiness and community action planning.

There are several goals that relate to changes in our KSU system for recognizing and supporting engaged work. This is essential to moving KSU forward. I believe departments must provide recognition and advancement associated with faculty providing meaningful, engaged work. Their engaged work upholds the relevance of the work of the University, builds "good will", elevates the public view of the University, strengthens recruitment efforts, broadens the potential base of philanthropy, and builds political capital for KSU. Supporting the engaged work of faculty that risk outreach and engagement is an investment in them and in the future of the University.

KSU is fortunate to have the Center for Engagement and Community Development. Through CECD, KSU has gained international attention and recognition through the International Community Development Society, and reached the designation of Carnegie Engaged Institution. The Center has gained reputation among University audiences as an "up and coming" leader in University engagement.

Support of the engaged work of KSU should become regular feature of the KSU electronic news updates, should hold clear prominence on the KSU website, and should become a feature of KSU promotion by telling powerful engagement stories through web, TV, and radio.

Several action steps refer to "redefining" scholarship, or "defining engagement". I am not sure that we need to redefine scholarship or define engagement differently. There is a basis of literature on scholarly engagement. I am convinced that KSU faculty and Extension staff need to better understand and embrace the concepts of engagement in our research, outreach, and scholarly activities. We need to go through a process of learning and applying these concepts to our daily work and integrating them into our systems of evaluation and recognition. It also helps to incentivize the work. Project funding for Engaged work has proven effective at KSU. Sometimes it does not take a great deal of money to help motive and detail efforts for engaged work. Even $5,000 department mini grants can support strong engagement projects.

I would like to see more emphais on the "COMMON GOOD" as an engagement activity. As we have more outside funding needs, we will need to show citizens in the state that this funding is not tainting our mission. Much more visible support for propjects that are not easily funded, but that provide solutions and good will to communities around the state will assist in our state government funding.

I also think we are too silent on issues debated within the state such as immigration, evolution, and the environment. We seem complicit with poor science when we are too silent.

It is critical that we emphasize the two-way street of information transfer to and from the land-grant university through the Extension Service. Through the Extension offices K-State has a presence in each Kansas county. Information is shared from the academic and research programs of the university via the Extension professionals. In turn, the citizens of Kansas can communicate their needs and concerns back to the university via their Extension personnel.

It appears there has been a concerted effort to substitute the term "engagement" for "Extension". I think it important to not lose sight of the term "Extension" as it is a national system with a long history of "engagement".

International engagement is to be one of the common elements in each Vision 2025 Theme. On that basis and after reviewing the proposed strategic action plan for Theme 4, members of the International Activities Council submit the following recommendations for this theme.

Theme 4: Engagement, Extension, Outreach, and Service

Response to specific activities:

#3. Add international
#6. Make sure that any definition of engagement includes an international component
#13. This is especially important in international service 
#14. Make sure international alumni are included 
#21. Add: in the national and international communities to end of sentence

 

It is essential for Kansas State University to be fully engaged with the international community if it is to serve its constituents, support its faculty and staff and to achieve its goal of becoming a Top 50 university by 2025. It is with this awareness that we submit these suggestions. Thank you for your consideration.

See IAC suggestions on this and other themes.

The various impacts are not aligned with activities. In the assumptions, I believe you should share that there is an Extension Office in every county. Extension has been the primary engagement arm of the land grant university by design. Why not expand that network so that all University Colleges have Extension personnel appointments so that Extension can take the "engagement" aspects of the "total" university to the citizens of Kansas?? No need to create centers of engagement in every college, use the network that is already established.

Why not have impacts on the public value of K-State with the actual users of the information - families, youth, producers, businesses, city and local governments, etc.

Attached are suggestions to Theme 4 of the 2025 effort.

Three main changes are suggested-

  1. The last Assumption dealing with "The Arts play a valuable role in Engagement" has been deleted. While not disagreeing, once a specific discipline has been noted, are there others that should be noted? The list would be endless to be fair to all, so hence the deletion.
  2. Under Activities- What we plan to do... Number 3 (below)is an addition to basically learn what engagement is currently occurring before new actions are considered.
  3. Overall, Theme 4 looks comprehensive and useful. 23 separate/unconnected activities seemed to be a lot to read, so I collected those activities common to faculty and those common to students (activities 8 and 9). This reduced activities section to nine and with a little word smithing, shortened Theme 4 hopefully without losing the original intent of the written material. (Shortened version of Theme 4 follows this message)

Thanks for your consideration to these suggestions and your total effort to develop Theme 4. I would be available to discuss further if needed.

James P. Murphy
Interim Assistant Director of Extension
123 Umberger Hall
KSU, jmurphy@ksu.edu, 532 5838

Theme 4 suggestions follow
Theme 4: Engagement - Proposed Strategic Action Plan

Visionary Goal: By 2025, Kansas State University will be recognized as one of the nation’s Top 50 Public Research Universities.

Overarching Thematic Goal: Kansas State University will become a national leader and an educational model of a public research land-grant university that integrates programs of research, education, and engagement.

Assumptions:

  • "Engagement" refers to Extension, Outreach, and Service functions of Kansas State University.
  • The integration of Engagement is central to the future of Kansas State University.
  • Engagement will add value and identity to a public research land-grant university.
  • The university’s commitment to Engagement must be at a level that brings national recognition.
  • Engagement at K-State is synergistic with our research and educational efforts, not an add-on.
  • University Engagement activities extend to and benefit from our presence on the Olathe and Salina campuses as well as the statewide Extension Offices.
  • Respect and reciprocity for individuals, communities, companies, organizations, and state and federal programs is integral to our Engagement activities.

Inputs & Resources

Activities, What we plan to do…

  1. Establish a common understanding of Engagement by clearly defining engagement, Extension, outreach, and service and establish clear and measureable connections and impacts between scholarship, research, creative activities, teaching, and Engagement activities.
  2. Identify a central office and senior level administrator responsible to promote and coordinate research and education efforts into Engagement activities across campus, report impacts of Engagement, and designate Engagement liaisons to serve as champions and advocates.
  3. Become knowledgeable about existing Extension programs, Advance Manufacturing institute, Engineering Extension and other outreach/ service activities.
  4. Expand our Engagement with local, state, regional, national, and international communities and ensure the communities have a voice in defining our Engagement activities. Recognize our current capacity and increase our ability to respond to emergencies through research that identifies best practices applicable to a given need.
  5. Promote and expand efforts towards recognition as a top military-inclusive university by providing services and programs to meet a broad range of needs.
  6. Involve our Kansas audience in the new Engagement planning. Respond to demographic changes in the state in a timely and transparent way to assist in our efforts to reach diverse populations.
  7. Improve Kansas State University facilities and information technology to enhance and facilitate collaboration and interaction among faculty, staff, students, our Engagement partners, and the communities we serve.
  8. Encourage faculty to integrate Engagement in their work by
    1. revising promotion and tenure and evaluation processes to recognize and value the impact of engagement activities,
    2. providing the support and information for faculty to be able to more easily incorporate engagement in their work,
    3. assisting faculty to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of engagement work,
    4. supporting faculty in efforts to generate funding through engagement activities.
    5. encouraging cross-disciplinary Engagement activities
    6. expanding and strengthening Engagement partnerships with other institutions in the academic, government, non-profit, and corporate sectors.
    7. establish a system to link students, faculty, and alumni with Engagement opportunities.
    8. encourage research on campus to generate a product to be accessible to the general public.
    9. increase emphasis on recruiting, hiring, and retaining diverse faculty and staff with an appreciation and commitment to Engagement.
    10. increase funding and resources to support Engagement activities, including grant management and impact reporting activities.
  9. Fully integrate Engagement into the undergraduate, graduate, and other student learning experience through strategies such as:
    1. establishing guidelines that define a quality service learning experience and assign leadership, accountability, and resources to coordinate service learning.
    2. increasing the number of students involved in community-based research,
    3. creating flexibility in semester-long offerings (modules),
    4. noting Engagement experiences on transcripts,
    5. increasing research grants and funding available to involve undergraduates in research activities.
    6. developing an Engagement minor or certificate program.
    7. building our capacity to respond to community needs and seek resources to
    8. increasing involvement in K-12 engagement initiatives at the local, state, and national level.

What we expect to happen in 1-5 years...

  • Enhanced integration between academics and student service learning
  • Increased participation by undergraduates in expanded opportunities for meaningful Engagement experiences
  • Increased recognition of our services as a source of expertise, information, and tools for disciplines worldwide
  • Increased numbers and diversity of faculty and staff participating in Engagement activities
  • Increased extramural funding for Engagement initiatives at the local, state, national, and international level
  • Recognition as leaders in Engagement within our state and nation
  • Enhanced visibility and appreciation for Engagement and its interconnectedness with research and education within our university community

What we expect to happen in 6-10 years…

  • Exposure on a national level as a leader/partner engaged in significant social, political, health, economic and environmental issues
  • All undergraduate students engaged in at least one engagement /service learning project
  • Increased number of graduate students involved in Engagement
  • Increased appreciation by K-State graduates for lifelong involvement in engagement and service
  • Increased capacity to respond to emergencies worldwide
  • Preferred destination for faculty, staff, and students who value Engagement as integral to their academic and personal lives

What we expect to happen in 11-15 years…

  • Nationally recognized as a leader and educational model for a re-invented land grant university which that integrates research, education, and Engagement programs to Kansas and American communities.
  • Internationally recognized as global leaders and informational sources for Engagement to rural and urban communities.

The major impression they got was that the “idea of extension was foreign to the writer of this list”
Didn’t tap into the “native Knowledge” of what is working and we aren’t capitalizing on it.
Goals not wide enough
This de-emphasizes the Extension process
Public value should be included and is not evident.

1. GREATLY INCREASE EXTENSION’S SERVICE TO URBAN AREAS

Urban dwellers have many needs which KSU has the expertise to address: horticulture, home repair, personal finance, nutrition. Build on successful existing programs like Master Gardeners and Master Food Volunteers. If the urban lawmakers do not see Extension helping their urban constituents, then they would not support urban tax dollars funding extension.

Just to give one example, many urban dwellers would like to find easier and cheaper ways to eat more healthful foods. KSU has expertise in this area, and some county Extension offices have a demonstration kitchen in their meeting room. Extension already has programs geared to limited income people. Consider having meetings for the general public, showing how easily basic foods can be prepared for family meals. Meals so easy that people would only spend 5 minutes of preparation time (10 minutes including cooking time) to prepare food, rather than grabbing fast food, or heating prepared food. It takes little additional time for them to make twice as much, so there are healthful leftovers for additional family members, or for their next day’s meal.

Meetings could be scheduled about lunch and supper time. Where participants would pay a fee to cover food cost. They listen to instruction and watch foods being prepared, and eat the food while they watch the next set of foods being prepared. 4-H members and community volunteers could assist in these meetings.

Even for middle & upper income families, it is possible that less than half of teenagers and young adults feel comfortable just frying hamburgers or preparing a salad. And less than a forth would feel comfortable cooking a simple roast or casserole. . There may even be a demand for “higher end” cooking instruction where people learn to prepare simple gourmet meals, with bullet proof recipes. For these mid and upper income people there would not be welfare type of funding for the food. So food cost would have to be covered by free will donations at the meeting and financial donations.

Families sometimes discover that one of their members needs special meals for a health condition, like diabetes, and would appreciate help with this Probably the easiest way to test the waters with this would be to have a couple of counties jus try it to see what happens. Obviously this Dean’s Advisory group is not trying to give detailed advice on cooking classes, but we are merely giving one specific example about how extension could easily become more relevant to the urban taxpayers. And of course, farm folk could attend the same cooking meetings.

2. DELIVER MUCH MORE INFORMATION WITH FEWER DOLLARS AND PEOPLE

The days of sending an Extension specialist 200 miles to give a talk in every county seat are gone. 50 years ago many counties had 50 hog producers; today many counties have less than 2. So we need virtual meeting, skype, web casts, and YouTube clips. Or we could email a swine program in Power Point with audio to all interested producers across the state. Then start an on line discussion with them about the presentation. And then use email to set up a conference call where all that are interested call in to join a discussion with the specialist that produced the Power Point presentation. During the conference call participants could be on line and the specialist would be posting information for all to view. The full content of this conference call would be posted online for participants to refresh their memory, and non-participants to view.

3. DELIVER MORE PUBLICATIONS TO MORE PEOPLE WITH LESS COST

Twenty years ago people would walk into their county extension office and there would be a wall of free extension publications. Today there is much more information available and there are less funds for printing. Why have swine publications on the wall just in case the one swine producer in the county happens to walk in. Do not merely tell producers, “All the information you want is out on the web somewhere, you go find it yourself. Do tell producers, “Let extension help you find the information you want on the web so you can find it yourself any time you want. But if you have any difficulties, get back to us and we will solve it.” For the few people that don’t have a computer, they can still have the local extension office find and print the information for them.

4. ENGAGE THE YOUNG PEOPLE

Engage students, 4-H, and FFA by having them assist older producers to use computers to access Extension information. They would bookmark Extension sites in producer’s computers, show how to find and print information, and set their computers up for webcasts and accessing Power Point presentations. Most 17 year olds know much more about this than most 71 year olds. Have the young people be your own “Geek Squad”. 4-H clubs could have members have as a project assisting older people to use computers, and the people helped would be encouraged to make a donation to the 4-H club. Undergraduate Ag students at KSU could be given part time jobs of responding to email and phone call requests for help in finding extension information and working through simple computer problems. Much of this part time work could be done from their dorm room.

5. ENGAGE THE LARGE COMMERCIAL PRODUCERS

Much of production Ag is getting so large they already have consultants. So KSU Extension needs to sharpen its information to remain relevant to them. They pay a lot of taxes, and they are a likely source for making large donations to KSU, so we must serve them.

Help producers find the best information from other Land Grant Universities. It is better to have 3 fantastic specialists in the nation for a specific topic, than have 3 duds in every state. For example a Glenn Tonsor caliber of a livestock marketing specialist could service several states. There is not much difference in the marketing of livestock in Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, and Oklahoma.

Although mentioned in the introductory "assumptions", very little indication in the rest of the section how existing and historically strong K-State Research and Extension programs will be "rated" or "prioritized" in the future. Are we just to assume since Extension has been a long-term component of the Land Grant mission, all will continue as in the past under the existing model? Or does 2025 create a different model with KSRE incorporated under a broader engagement mission? Needs clarification.

The "public humanities" should be included as a specific general goal related to engagement and outreach: a perfect fit for a land-grant university.

  1. The overarching thematic goal statement seems off target. Engagement should be about making sure KSU becomes a positive economic engine for the State of Kansas, and through its efforts and other programs positively impacts our citizenry. Engagement should result in a change of behavior by those who are being engaged.
  2. It seems that most of the activities and outcomes/impact focus on engaging undergraduate student in some sort of service learning experience. That is part of engagement but not all of it. Extension is present in all counties and a successful example that should/could serve as a model/template for engaging the rest of the university in the engagement effort. There is lots of existing knowledge in the system already to build on.
  3. In terms of leadership, a senior administrator at the VP/Vice Provost level is needed to assure coordination with research and teaching, and integration across extension, outreach (incl international) and service.

Outcome:

Extension agents recognized as catalysts for success in engaged community-based projects.

Statewide network of Extension presence viewed as an asset to Kansas State University.

New faculty understand the diversity of the state and opportunities within their field of study to enhance extension work.

Require engagement to be clearly defined and expected as scholarly endeavors of faculty for promotion within every academic unit.

  • The assumptions mention the benfits of the state-wide Extension offices. Given the direction of some other states, an impact/outcome of maintaining a strong, county-based Extension program needs to be added.
  • Engagement and Extension are not one and the same. The importance of county-based Extension programs in identifying researchable issues that are critical to the State citizenry and relaying these back to campus researchers seems to be lost in this document
  • #9 -ambassadors for engagement? Kind of the role of our Extension faculty, isn't it?
  • #16 - not needed
  • #19 - include scholarship of engagement

Assumptions should include that Extension is available in all 105 counties in Kansas. Additionally, Arts play a valuable role in Engagement - what about Sciences? Outcome/Impacts needs to focus on the community development opportunities as the University is active in all counties. Build upon the strengths currently.

The Center for Engagement and Community Development should be the vehicle to drive this strategic theme. CECD has been working on the very issues presented in this thematic area. It has the most information and the broadest engagement vision on campus. It has worked across colleges and disciplines. It has also worked with campus faculty, KSRE, and Campus Compact and its service learning mission. Its staff is strongly committed to the Engagement, Extension, Outreach, and Service mission. CECD is prepared to provide leadership in this thematic area.

Goals | Theme 1 | Theme 2 |Theme 3 | Theme 4 | Theme 5 | Theme 6 | Theme 7 | Comments

Theme 5: Faculty and Staff

Is there anything missing that should be included in the action plan for "Theme 5: Faculty and Staff"?
No

I notice that P&T policies are specifically emphasized in these themes when referring to the evaluation of faculty and staff. In many ways, annual evaluation policies and procedures have a greater impact on faculty and staff than P&T policies -- which don't affect staff (unclassified professionals, classified staff, GTAs, GRAs, GAs, and student workers).

Does "performance evaluation processes and measures" refer to annual evaluations? This may be a matter of consistency. I would suggest using the same phrase consistently throughout the action plans. It may also be important to use a phrase that faculty and staff are familiar with. I would say that "annual evaluations" would be the most universally understood at Kansas State University.

Salina might be better served with more rotation of administrators. Ten to 15 year terms may be causing stagnancy. New styles of leadership and ideas are always good for an educational institution and growth.

So, I suggest we elevate faculty - administrative relationship issues as a goal in this section for our future. For the most part, we are doing well in this area, but with future challenges we need to pay constant attention to a maintaining a positive relationship and not assume this happens by chance. I prefer to see this as an added action plan goal in this section.

Well written section. Hope we can accomplish even a part of this.

Define high priority areas.

Yes

The too long list obscures two central demands:

  1. Increase the number of high quality faculty. Pay them more and support them better so they will stay. New faculty are more important to a 2025 goal than current faculty.
  2. Decrease the number of single task faculty or staff. Given economic realities, the only way to get good is to have faculty who can teach and perform research, staff who can perform research and engagement, etc.

Although this is addressed to a certain degree, fair salaries among peers at the point of hire is important. In our department we have junior faculty being paid >10K difference at the point of hire. Differences in salary should be merit-based, not recruitment based. Several faculty that have left K-State in the past 5 years have pointed to dramatic salary discrepancies as a reason for leaving. In other words, someone that starts at 65K will never catch up to a peer, who started the same year at 75K, regardless if merit or promotion increases. This can and has become a problem. Instituting a campus-wide peer-equity system is likely important in this regard. Once again, this is not to be confused with post-hire merit-based raises.

Also, a system of rewards should be in place that go above and beyond merit. For example, a once in a career $2500 reward for teaching or research excellence is not a reward system. A system has to be in place where faculty (and staff) can be awarded at the departmental level ($1000), college-level ($1500), university level ($2000) and Presidential level ($2500). Thus, many folks are getting awards at many levels for teaching, research, service, UG engagement, etc. If a graded award system, such as this, is put in place for each of the themes, or elements therewith, achieving top 50 status will be remarkably swift. Monies at all levels must be budgeted for this and viewed as a top priority. The current view among faculty and staff is that efforts at K-State are mostly thankless energy expenditures without much chance of recognition. This was the view of a largely ignored retiring staff member who had worked for this university for almost 40 years.

So, this gets to the point that evaluation should be based on "reward" not "criticism" -- crazy, I know. Criticism and non-reward is the default setting for all but the most magnificent <1% on this campus (the "King Midasae" so to speak. This is an underlying attitudinal problem and lack of administrative wisdom that must be addressed before forward action can be taken.

Focus on hiring the best minds for the next 15 years

Under assumptions the statement "Institutional Support refers to the start-up package, technology, equipment, and facilities necessary to support effective job performance and productivity." I am disappointed that the statement does not include the word "staff" as part of the institutional support. People desperately need support staff who are not solely at the beck and call of administration. For example, administrative, clerical, and IT support, etc need to be available easily to groups of FACULTY/STAFF, not just to administrators. And they shouldn't have to all be paid from individual faculty grant funds.

Make sure that administrators, especially at the department level, understand HR policies so that they may serve as advocates for those faculty with legitimate reasons to avail themselves of the full benefits provided by federal, state, and university HR policies instead of impediments over which faculty have to overcome in addition to all the normal red tape.

Reaffirmation and enhancement of the tradition of shared governance underlying the administration of Kansas State University. Promotion of transparency, timely communication and inclusive participation of the constituency.

There must be a mechanism for non-tenure-track faculty to be promoted and to earn raises, and these faculty must be provided with some level of job security. Currently, these faculty are hired year-by-year. They don't know until June if they will have a job at K-State in August. If not, it is too late for them to find employment in academia. This is not fair to them. These faculty, through their large teaching loads, provide a great service to the university, to the students, and to the research faculty (who can then focus on research).

From first comment:
I am a coauthor of the `REPORT OF THE RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE TASK FORCE`, June 15, 2010. We purposefully emphasized specific recognition of post doctoral fellows (referred to as `postdocs` or `post-docs` in the document)as an essential element of the K-State workforce that has traditionally had virtually no visibility and recognition.

You will find 28 search hits for `post` that refer to post doctoral fellows in that document. The research enterprise will suffer without addressing the points we made in that document; they are pointedly omitted from even the definition of `Faculty and Staff` in Theme 5.

Make certain that all department heads/chairs are thoroughly versed in the faculty performance evaluation policies and procedures so that they understand the nuances and built-in flexibilities within the system and are less likely therefore to impose their own value systems.

Consider creating a separate teaching track for faculty that values them as much as research faculty.

General Comments 
The goals seem reasonable. We worry that in this and other themes a lot of emphasis is placed on revising procedures, rules, etc. The result could be that we spend a lot of our time discussing revision when we would be better off if we spent that time directly addressing the end goals. If we recruit the appropriate type of faculty and staff the changes in procedures will follow. If we expend most of our energy creating procedures for recruiting and promoting, we won’t have the time and energy for the actual recruiting and other actions.

Amit Chakrabarti and Dean Zollman

bottom up, not top down

International engagement is to be one of the common elements in each Vision 2025 Theme. On that basis and after reviewing the proposed strategic action plan for Theme 5, members of the International Activities Council submit the following recommendations for this theme.

Theme 5:Faculty and Staff

Activity: Encourage the recruitment and support of diverse and international faculty and staff
Short Term: Require external searches to include notifications to international publications and research organizations when possible.

Response to specific activities:

#4. Include international activity as part of considerations for promotion and tenure 
#8. Include encouragement and support for international sabbaticals

It is essential for Kansas State University to be fully engaged with the international community if it is to serve its constituents, support its faculty and staff and to achieve its goal of becoming a Top 50 university by 2025. It is with this awareness that we submit these suggestions. Thank you for your consideration.

What about some recognition of the fact that many of our outstanding faculty are international, in their home countries, in their research, in their collaboration with colleagues at other universities, in some of their awards and recognition? Is this university providing the sort of support that it should to retain new international faculty?

The University Handbook! Follow it, please! Everyone! Too often I've encountered individuals, from teaching colleagues to lower-level administrators and even on to the highest ecelons of administration, who are too ignorant of or deliberately choose to circumvent the provisions of the University Handbook. Somehow they are allowed to get away with it. What value is a document ... in this case one that has been honed and finetuned by many constituencies over many years ... if it just sits out there unreferenced and under-utlizied and mis-understood? "Rules" ought to be rules for everyone in all situations. No person is more important than the rules by which the larger community purports to operate.

It will become increasingly difficult to attract and maintain quality individuals in a stagnant compensation environment.

Non-monetary compensation

  • Don't forget about this: Flex hours and summer hours

Tenure Review

  • Who does it has a big impact on result
  • Recommend an independent review of tenure and promotion policies conducted by a group that has no vested interest in result.

Why does the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning exist in an adversarily relation to the faculty of this university? Over the years I have heard too many subtly condescending remarks about the faculty emanating from that office. The only way to ease the tensions that exist between CATL and the faculty is to separate out its functions -- those administrative functions related to assessment ought to be partitioned from initiatives which seek to improve teaching skills. It is the faculty, through hard-won experience over the years in the trenches on a daily basis, who possess the really substantive (up-to-date and current) wisdom when it comes to best practices in teaching and learning. Those lessons ought to be shared with others without having to pass through the "filter" that is CATL as it is currently structured. The director of CATL needs to respect that collective faculty wisdom instead of trying to micro-manage it. Remarks regarding the appropriateness (or not) of the CATL acronym are insensitive in their implied disparagement of faculty as a herd. Responses to faculty-expressed concerns about TEVALs as valid measuring instruments (or not) are too dismissive. Accusations that faculty are inimical to best teaching practices (and instruction therein) are not just anecdotal but unsupportable. Use the collective wisdom of the faculty to improve teaching and learning practices on this campus, not the lens of a single individual in CATL.

See comments on the Changes needed. This primarily calls attention to the amazing omission of what was most important to the Faculty response needs, namely MORALE, but also to omission of its emphasis on increased funding and support. If nothing is done to address and indeed to improve morale, the entire 2025 proposal is simply doomed from the start. Why is not this addressed, and why was it ignored or eliminated from consideration? It certainly does not follow from other goals and themes, and needs to be addressed in itself.

  1. The key challenge for making the 2025 Strategic Plan a success is changing the culture at K-State in order to create a Top 50 mind set. This will require a significant turn over in the current faculty and staff (at least a third perhaps more), and expansion of the current faculty and staff numbers (by at least a third). Together that would result in more than 50% of new faculty and staff ideally in fewer than 10 years. New people will bring new ideas and help challenge the status quo which will help to move change forward and create the new “Top 50” culture.
  2. To attract new faculty we will need higher salaries, larger start up packages, better job opps on and off campus for spouses, and improved facilities. Substantial new resources will be required to achieve this and more emphasis needs to be placed on private-public partnerships.
  3. Performance evaluations of all faculty and staff, as well as the P&T process must become more consistent among departments and colleges across the entire university.

-Cap over-load pay at 20% of salary (equivalent to number of consulting days per month)

-Encourage/insist that all areas of the University (especially in the administrative areas) understand the importance of and the value of education. We are an educational institution and should require our directors/managers to have an advanced degree.

Goals | Theme 1 | Theme 2 |Theme 3 | Theme 4 | Theme 5 | Theme 6 | Theme 7 | Comments

Theme 6: Facilities and Infrastructure

Is there anything missing that should be included in the action plan for "Theme 6: Facilities and Infrastructure"?
No

This section looks reasonable and credible.

Stop building new buildings when there are so many older buildings that haven't been maintained, much less updated. Faculty office space is horrible in some departments. We have so many classrooms that need to be upgraded to technology classrooms (at least a built in projector with podium).

The university ought to have a plan in place that regularly and periodically refurbishes faculty offices. Some have not been updated, painted, refurnished in years and years. I know of offices that haven't been updated in over 20 years. Faculty should not be expected to provide their own furniture or have to scavenge through the discarded and warehoused cast-offs from other offices.

Facilities and Infrastructure improvements will require a unique, innovative, and untapped resource to accomplish the work.

Ensure that multiple departments are not spending money on the same equipment - especially items that are used on an irregular basis.

Yes

For real estate, the motto is "Location. Location. Location." For the university administrator, the motto should be "Infrastructure. Infrastructure. Infrastructure." It may sound silly, but a "fresh coat of paint does wonders". It changes the attitudes of those who have to work in a building that is reminiscent of the 60s, or teach in a lecture hall that is reminiscent of the 80s, or do research in a building where consistent electricity or water cannot be guaranteed. I think if you look at the universities that are currently in the top 50, you will see that careful attention has been paid to the facade of the campus and facilities. Yes, infrastructure quality should go deeper than a facade, but until the cracks in sidewalk, scuffs on the wall, ability for elevators to work, glass to be unbroken, air conditioning and heating to function in a seasonably reasonable manner, overhead projectors to be installed in teaching halls, physical plant vehicles to appear well-maintained, car pool vehicles to be functional and/or reliable, toilets that flush dependably so that restrooms do not smell like urinals, research labs with humidity controls so that experiments are not ruined, greenhouses that are modernized similar to universities half our size, etc., then K-State will NEVER EVER be a top 50 research institution. The "small stuff" has to be taken care of before the big infrastructure problems can even be addressed. It's almost like a third world country in certain buildings/facilities on this campus -- and I've been in the research facilities in "third word" countries. Let's get serious folks!

Not only does there need to be desperate need for updating the classrooms, but an important thing to consider is the beauty of the campus. The landscaping could be improved. It's depressing to come from a campus that had beautiful fountains and sculptures, pine and willow trees, throughout to one with not much variation and only one plain, boring fountain in front of the Union.

A need for adequate parking for faculty/staff and visitors is not addressed at all. Administrators have reserved parking, but those who aren't administrators fight for parking that is not a long way from our buildings. (Sorry, but parking at the stadium and foundation do not count as real parking). Either require that administrators use those facilities or stop pretending that parking 1/2 a mile away and schlepping papers, computers, etc across campus in the rain, snow, blazing heat, freezing cold etc. is truly close enough. And visitors - the very people who will have to fund our new initiatives - have next to no alternatives close to most buildings on campus.

That's all wonderful, but I'd really like to get our toilets to work. Faculty who work in my building often use the restrooms in the building next door because ours are so ancient and unpleasant. That's not a complaint about their upkeep -- they facilities are decades old an in desperate need of upgrades. Which, in turns, effects our recruitment negatively.

I seriously doubt any real change can be effected without a complete top-down cultural change in Facilities. It was 97 degrees yesterday and the central air conditioning in my work area was not working. Two calls were made to Facilities. I'm on Day 2 of no AC, made another call to Facilities, and I sent my workers home.

Facilities will fix the same window AC units in my lab several times in one year instead of buying new ones. Facilities will let sidewalks turn to rubble and not repair them (see the sidewalk between Waters Hall and the parking lot to the north. Damaged but not repaired in the tornado, and torn up this year by a tree-planting truck and not repaired).

Facilities will pull custodians to other buildings because they are so short-handed, but treat the custodians like dirt. My custodian apologizes when I have to empty my own trash because they are busy working in other buildings due to a lack of personnel.

I am evaluated yearly on performance and efficiency. Facilities should be no different, but I have no hope that Facilities will change in any meaningful way.

More focus on sustainability efforts and specific initiatives to decrease energy use, water use, and environmental impacts of campus operations.

General Comments 
Quality housing for students is an important goal. However, to accomplish that goal the University will need to get involved in local political issues such as rental inspections. That will be a big change from the hands-off approach of the past 40+ years.

Short term housing for visitors, particularly international visitors, is an absolute “must have” if we are to claim to be a strong research university. It can be done with minimal financial investment. The situation should be improved immediately.

An audit of Facilities Services is long overdue.

Amit Chakrabarti and Dean Zollman

International engagement is to be one of the common elements in each Vision 2025 Theme. On that basis and after reviewing the proposed strategic action plan for Theme 6, members of the International Activities Council submit the following recommendations for this theme.

Theme 6: Facilities and Infrastructure

Activity: Assure that the university offers an accommodating and welcoming environment to international students and guests. 
Short Term: Provide housing/lodging that meets international visitor needs 
Short Term: Collaborate with the local community to provide public transportation on campus and in the community

It is essential for Kansas State University to be fully engaged with the international community if it is to serve its constituents, support its faculty and staff and to achieve its goal of becoming a Top 50 university by 2025. It is with this awareness that we submit these suggestions. Thank you for your consideration.

I question whether this should even be a central theme.

Promote/develop public/private partnerships.

  • Needs to be stated prominently

Expand this to all colleges

Regionalized “Ag Backer” Groups to facilitate funding. (3 in mind) Indy/Minneapolis, St. Louis, Dallas

If learning communities are to have a residential focus (which as stated above it is not clear if we are going that direction), then there should be some mention of needed changes in housing to accommodate such. See comments in the undergraduate experience section.

  1. I would make Item 8 the first item of priority. Without a Master Plan aligned with Vision 2025, it will be challenging to identify facility priorities.
  2. Furthermore, we need to be thinking very creatively in terms of new infrastructure. For example, why do we always have to build and own our facilities? Why don’t we let the private sector build and own them, and then we lease the space from them for the purpose and length of time we need? The private sector can typically build specialized space faster and less expensive than the State can. And, they know how to maintain their facilities especially if they want to keep tenants happy and extending their leases.
  • If these lists set the priorities then a few things in #10 need to be deleted. Faculty club? Imagineering center? Unique conference center? Appears to be a few pet projects in the list.
  • Parking on the north end of campus needs to be addressed.

From the Campus Planning and Development Advisory Committee:

The Proposed Strategic Action Plan was discussed and compared to the Master Plan. The suggestion was made that the current Master Plan could be tweaked to be more useful, by identifying potential building sites, concentrating buildings by use on the core of the campus or on the periphery, additions to buildings, and where other developments should be located. In addition, we need to identify specific issues that would help translate the 2025 plan into bricks & mortar, identify specific cases where the current Master Plan has been used effectively and how to modify it so that it continues to help move the campus toward the 2025 plan.

There were also concerns that item # 1 in “Activities” section of the Proposed Strategic Action Plan needed to be clarified, and that # 5 might actually be an “Outcome.” It was suggested that instead of creating a new Campus Master Plan in #8, to revise the current Master Plan to include more than landscapes and circulation. The Master Plan needs to be broader and be developed beyond an Executive Summary. In addition, the area of sustainability is not yet fully developed. In #12 regarding utilities, need to include the utilities infrastructure. Basically, the Master Plan needs to be revised and continue to be revised because it needs to be dynamic to incorporate changes. We suggest a special task force including some members from CPDA to revise/improve the Campus Master Plan.

We need strategies to invest in infrastructure because K-State can’t add new buildings without adding to the infrastructure. Basically, can’t expand without expanding infrastructure. Facilities has hired a person who is doing building modeling to determine what happens when you add or discontinue a program and thus, analyze the infrastructure capacity. The Deferred Maintenance issue has the potential of undermining all of our other initiatives towards improving the campus.

The Dean’s Council met earlier in the year and each Dean provided projected needs and aspirations which also included shortcomings and current needs.

We hope by signature buildings we do not mean edifices of extreme form manipulation or material distinction for the sake of standing out from the rest of the campus. Rather, this should be about buildings, new and existing (remodeled), that are responsible in their responses to environmental issues, social interaction, and supporting teaching and research in the 21st century all the while contributing to the quality of spaces and aura of our campus. In the end their 'signature' should be that these edifices convey our core beliefs in education, supporting great teaching, learning, service, and research while contributing to our shared commitment to making this the institution of choice in higher education.

Goals | Theme 1 | Theme 2 |Theme 3 | Theme 4 | Theme 5 | Theme 6 | Theme 7 | Comments

Theme 7: Athletics

Is there anything missing that should be included in the action plan for "Theme 7: Athletics"?
No

Whoever came up with the idea of Thursday evening football games ought to be fired. BAD IDEA! Exactly the sort of thing that diminishes the prime mission of this institution - i.e., education.

Athletics is important, like it or not. Strength in Athletics is an underlying and intangible "ranking" factor.

#3 should be copied to the undergraduate and graduate sections. Very well stated!

Yes

Address two structural flaws:

  1. The Athletic department has no business running an academic support program. Conflict of interest is manifest, and risk of misconduct too high. The AD shout contract this task to the College of A&S, and then let A&S run it.
  2. The support of women's sports excepting basketball and volleyball seems like a cynical attempt to minimally satisfy Title 9. Why do we support four country club sports that relatively few Kansas HS girls play (golf, tennis, rowing, equestrian), while not fielding teams in soccer and softball, the two highest participation sports in the state? KU fields teams in these sports, and the legitimacy they derive from this will only grow with time. Note the potential of soccer for recruitment in Johnson County and Latino communities, two "must-win" areas for KSU in the future.

Athletics is the key commercial or advertising mechanism that we have for this campus. If you leave Kansas, no one has heard of K-State. So, the branding effort must also be a SHORT-TERM effort. What are you going to do so that "KSU" is not thought of a "Kennesaw State University" on the other side of the Mississippii River. Currently, that's what people think when those letters are used together, and they will continue to be used for a long time, regardless of rebranding efforts. Kennesaw State University is also number two on Google, after "Kansas City Southern" on the NYSE. K-State is number three! Really? Thus, athletic branding can help here, but it diffuses to recognition beyond athletics. This is an important consideration.

Until significant amounts of funds are funneled from athletics into some of these other theme areas, the monies won't balance and the goals in the other themes will be difficult to achieve. In other words, how to you establish the accounts for comprehensive revision of the awards system of faculty, staff and students? Funnel money from athletics, in part, to establish the college-level teaching, research, and service awards for example. How do you put that coat of paint on the infrastructure, funnel money from athletics. The money is not going to come from the state, only so much will come from endowment and external fund-raising. However, very large sums can be garnered from athletics. A tit-for-tat, dollar-for-dollar approach with athletics has been used successfully in other universities to ensure that a revenue stream exists for the academic enhancements that function, ultimately to benefit not only the student athletes, but also the university community as a whole. This also gets the "non-athletic" portion of the university engaged and more accepting of the athletic portion of the university, when they can see tangible benefits because a teaching lab was renovated with football receipts money, for example. Yes, naive perhaps, but it is an instantaneous avenue to top 50 status.

There are alot of things missing from here. Atheltics provides financial support to non athletes and cooperates in the delivery of some academic programs. This is often ignored and the university misses an opportunity to showcase this.

Hold student-athletes to the same academic standards, including admissions standards, are non-athletes.

Address financial and ethical accountability for Athletics - as a state institution, Athletics should not get a free pass in this area. Or should Athletics be a private, for profit institution that pays taxes?

International engagement is to be one of the common elements in each Vision 2025 Theme. On that basis and after reviewing the proposed strategic action plan for Theme 7, members of the International Activities Council submit the following recommendations for this theme.

Theme 7: Athletics

Activity: Provide a rich international experience for student athletes and their fans. 
Short Term: Annually engage international athletic teams for competition and exchanges on campus.
Short Term: Provide opportunities for K-State teams to travel and compete in international venues.

It is essential for Kansas State University to be fully engaged with the international community if it is to serve its constituents, support its faculty and staff and to achieve its goal of becoming a Top 50 university by 2025. It is with this awareness that we submit these suggestions. Thank you for your consideration.

This is also questionable as a central theme. I like athletics and I appreciate and have made use of K-State's recreational facilities. But when athletic coaches of a few pre-professional sports (especially football and men's basketball) already haul in salaries that far exceed that of the university president, it seems like a somewhat twisted set of priorities to make athletics a central planning theme.

As the only focus area that didn't need or acknowledge any need for funding, the disparity between athletics and the rest of the university MUST be addressed, as is clear from everyone else's response.

  1. The parking surfaces on the East side of the Stadium should be made available for commuter and student parking throughout the year (except football weekends). A bus service running from that Stadium lot along Denison to the Union and back with multiple stops along the way that anyone with a KSU ID can ride would eliminate traffic congestion and parking problems on campus. Having the buses run on natural gas instead of diesel would set a great sustainability example.
  2. The “Inc.” concept for Athletics, Alumni Association and the Olathe campus should be explored for other KSU entities that might benefit from such a “business” structure.

Goals | Theme 1 | Theme 2 |Theme 3 | Theme 4 | Theme 5 | Theme 6 | Theme 7 | Comments

General Comments

Excellent work by the groups!

Much good work exists here, but the sheer number of bullets diminishes the message.

How about a "Top 25 for 2025"?

So in the next 1-5 years we will have "effective evaluation processes that result in accountable faculty and staff with a clear understanding of their job expectations and how they contribute to the university’s mission." Part of that objective will involve creating a hierarchy of faculty. Some, in other words, will be treasured and others will be informed that what they contribute to the university's mission is not a "high priority." Knowing that the university does not value their contributions highly, they will of course be content to wait six to ten years before anything is done to improve their compensation. They will also be glad to be held increasingly more "accountable" over that time period. They will be thrilled to increase their efforts to improve a university that views them as dispensable.

Was the 2025 plan created deliberately to deflate faculty morale and get those junior faculty not in "high priority" areas to start looking at job listings? I will definitely be checking my options this fall.

If you have questions concerning the above feedback, please contact Chris Little at crlittle@ksu.edu.

Greater emphasis on innovation, communication and relationships in all the themes. Relationships are what will allow collaborative efforts to flourish that will lead to innovation. The strength of the communication skills will determine the depth of the relationships, the ability to attract funds and the effectiveness of letting others know of our innovation.

I fear that we are moving away from the Land Grant Mission of K-State. Parents want their kids to graduate and be employable. If we don't focus on that, we are in trouble no matter how much research we do!!

Thank you to everyone for your hard work!

Most of this document is quite good and, I hope, workable. I support this overall plan, but hope that a few modifications can be made.

Well done. Comprehensive. Helps to move past the benchmarks into actionable items that, no matter the measure against the benchmarks, can make a great difference in the perceived quality of our efforts. Strive to lead!

There should be more quantifiable targets in each time period, with your priorities and initiatives toward those priorities.

I applaud the forward approach to developing action plans for a better KSU!

As you move forward with connecting the KSRE system with the KSU goals, I hope that you will rely on and grow the structure that is in place through the KSU Center for Engagement and Community Development.

While there are many examples of collaborative research and outreach partnerships the Center has been able to create, there is much more potential.

If KSU is to reach its 2025 goals, it must create a safe, equitable campus for all students and employees (see the Civil Rights Act and Title IX). There must be an open intellectual climate where all good ideas are valued and developed, even if they go against the grain of those in power who have promoted certain agendas and limited cultural assumptions. The campus was silenced about five years ago when President Wefald asked those in the sciences not to express criticism about the proposed bio-research lab. This intensified the maintenance of department- and college-based silos and stifled the exploration of knowledge and the open discussion of ideas and realities, particularly as they relate to the cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary generation of knowledge. Now that Homeland Security is building the research lab here, it is critical for everyone at K-State to be able to talk openly and to explore freely as a collective and interdisciplinary body that works for the public good and that upholds our collective well-being. This is a vital part of multicultural research and knowledge generation. An emphasis on multicultural education and diversity, open discussions, and cross-cultural community-building will help reverse the university's learned and often rewarded containment of cross-cultural connections, the open sharing of observations and thoughts, and the collective development and application of knowledge.

Nice work. I especially like the emphasis on ...

  1. recruiting and retaining excellent faculty,
  2. developing further our initial FYE efforts, and
  3. making graduate student stipends and compensation competitive with our peers.

There are some really excellent ideas here!

The overall goals are fantastic and I fully support them. Let's just not forget the details that will get us there!

Thanks for the process of allowing comments.

We're losing sight of the primary mission of K-State by chasing the fools gold of research rankings. Our most important constituents (our students, parents, alumni, and employers) don't care about other university administrators perceptions - they are more concerned about the value and opportunities provided by our programs. Why can't we use more of a business model and focus on supporting our most successful programs and doing what we do best?

Thank you for the opportunity to provide feedback.

In the Engagement Theme, the following text is included:

Build our capacity to respond to emergencies through activities such as greater participation of the university community and groups, providing emergency preparedness classes, identifying an “emergency response service” corps to deal with community crises wherever needed, and contributing through research that identifies best practices applicable to a given need.

FYI - the university common book chosen for this fall semester is "Zeitoun" by Dave Eggers. This book was chosen by the K-State Book Network (KSBN) and it will be distributed to all incoming freshmen this summer. One of the main themes of some of the activities in the fall is emergency perparedness. We are bringing Lt. Eeneral Russel Honore (Ret.) to campus for a public lecture. General Honore is a Global Preparedness Expert and was in command of the Joint Task Force Katrina ("Zeitoun" is the story of one family's struggle before, during, and after the hurricane). One of the goals of KSBN is to bring both awareness and action about disaster preparedness and relief. So this fits very well with the theme.

Two exercises were completed in the College of Agriculture and K-State Research and Extension relative to the public comment period for K-State 2025. In each case, a larger group was divided into small groups that were assigned one of the 7 themes. They were asked to discuss the theme and identify any additions/deletions and to provide general comments. The two larger groups were the COA/KSRE advisory board and the other was the department/unit heads and directors. The comments above are taken verbatim from the notes that were collected at each session. I apologize for any formatting issues.

Gary Pierzynski
Interim Dean/Director
COA/KSRE

I hope that the resources for this plan do not compromise the funds that go to the colleges and then to the departments in order to start new projects. I don't think that's the way things should be done. The resources should be new income from fundraising events or other re-allocations. Will that be enough?

Top 50 is not much to aim for when you look at the different schools in that neighborhood. Top 50/2025 should not be a buzz work/number for the upper administration, they need to infuse money into departments for scholarly/research activities.

This is a repeat of what I posted in the first section. Not sure in which section comments were really supposed to be included.

Overall, a very "positive" document. It would be wonderful if we can accomplish even half of this. I do see some significant new directions proposed, but not a lot of details as to how we will get there. Most of the outcome statements are pretty generic, and I am left with some assumptions about changing emphasis that I do not understand (ie. "Dramatically improve advising services for students and develop flexible and effective academic advising models appropriate to the diverse needs of our students, including “regular” students". Does this mean a more centrally controlled advising or more dispersed faculty advising? What is a "regular" student?) Just one example.

I do have some concerns with the overall process as follows:

Although I appreciate the fact that any attempt to move in a "new direction" will need major promotional efforts, right now the "2025" focus has becoming overbearing. Do realize that potential students and their families are still most interested in a "student focused" experience, and that has served us well for the past two decades. For some, they will be excited to be more involved in the research aspects of K-State. For most of our potential students, they could care less, and don't really know or understand the research mission of K-State, or any other school. This probably hit home to me most recently in the press releases announcing the new Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences which clearly emphasized his research credentials and his fit for our new 2025 goals (a good one it appears). However, in all of the documents I saw, there was not one mention of his previous teaching or student service experience - yet he will lead our college primarily responsible for most of our undergraduate teaching. Let's remember to keep a balance.

Retention numbers. As we have been assured by the current administration whenever asked, there seems to be no plan to increase undergraduate admissions standards, and I do not see that addressed (either that we will or will not) in the documents. However, I worry that if we are not "moving up" in the rankings in a few years, the pressure will mount to do that - since several of the criteria used in these rankings, specifically undergrad retention, undergrad graduation rates and undergrad participation in research, would indeed improve if we moved that direction. That will likely have negative enrollment implications, at least in the short term (Why these measures are so important to being a top research university I really don't understand, but that is another story that we probably will not change. Perhaps such students require less "advising and mentoring" which we may not have as much time to do with a greater research focus?).

One thing that is missing is a budget - shouldn't all proposals have a budget? Clearly the costs to implement this will be massive. Although mention is made throughout of "increased financial support" for various aspects, clearly what is outlined here is way more than the state of Kansas plus all of our friends and alummi will be capable of supporting at their very highest possible level. And, I expect there will be some pushback in support for a change to a "research focus" and to some of the proposed marketing strategies that I have also heard are ongoing (ie. change of the official logo removing the powercat, focus on research vs. the undergraduate program which has been highly successful over the past 20 years and "saved" this institution from becoming "division 2"). In fact, there does not seem to be much in here about the marketing and communications effort - perhaps that train has already left the station. Back to the budget - it is not clear if the intent is to have a major reallocation of existing resources to accomplish or new goals, or if that will be dependent on increased new financial resources. If we don't see the new money, will be not be able to proceed? Needs clarification.

Great process! Drawn from 80+ voices across campus with all community members represented - needs to be shared as the community's plan, not the administration's - to achieve the kind of endorsement and energy that is needed to implement. Would be great if K-State 2025 was led from the middle, the back, and the front.

No emphasis on supporting researchers with demonstrated excellence. There is absolutely NO hope if established researchers and rising starts choose to leave K-State. Ultimately being competitive in attracting extramural fundings means strong internal supports.

Too many department heads are University Distinguished Professors. What a Shame!

Relevant to this theme and of potential benefit here and with themes 2 and 4, the university should renew its earlier (and seemingly lost) commitment to creation of GISci Commons (for research and education).

[Contact with Shawn Hutchinson (GISSAL Director) and John Harrington, who were instrumental in the original work, would be beneficial. I am NOT one of these people, but I am a geographer and know that cutting-edge GISci facilities and human capacity would be very helpful in grant-getting, engagement (etc)--especially relevant to hazards/disaster management, and preparation of students for a high-demand field.]

In reading over all of these themes, I found the overall plan quite daunting--scary from a faculty member perspective: although 'balance' of lives and work is in there, I had a distinct feeling that pressures at work will be even higher, and it will be difficult to balance all the needs at work (and even harder to balance work and life, which isn't all that easy even now). 'Stars' will be in good shape, perhaps, in any of the focal areas, but what about those who are good producers in all areas, but stars in none?

Sorry, I've resubmitted so this makes more sense. I don't know how to unsubmit the earlier version.]

Relevant particularly to themes 1, 2 and 4, the university should renew its earlier (and seemingly lost) commitment to creation of GISci Commons (for research and education).

[Contact with Shawn Hutchinson (GISSAL Director) and John Harrington, who were instrumental in the original work, would be beneficial. I am NOT one of these people, but I am a geographer and know that cutting-edge GISci facilities and human capacity would be very helpful in grant-getting, engagement (etc)--especially relevant to hazards/disaster management, and preparation of students for a high-demand field.]

In reading over all of these themes, I found the overall plan quite daunting--scary from a faculty member perspective: although 'balance' of lives and work is in there, I had a distinct feeling that pressures at work will be even higher, and it will be difficult to balance all the needs at work (and even harder to balance work and life, which isn't all that easy even now). 'Stars' will be in good shape, perhaps, in any of the focal areas, but what about those who are good producers in all areas, but stars in none?

See above comments about the striking and unacceptable omission of MORALE from the faculty themes and goals, despite its clear importance in the responses and "wordles," and the striking inattention to the disparity between athletics and the primary functions of the university in research and education, in terms of funding.

This is an excellent effort and much appreciated. Everyone contributing to the themes is to be commended for their many contributions. I look forward to seeing Vision 2025 moving forward to implementation and beginning to impact needed change at K-State to move us forward and upward to our Top 50 goal. Thank you for initiating this effort!

Thanks for the hard work creating these action plans!

  • Even though it is identified as a common element, the virtual absence of outcomes or activities related to globalization and internationalization is concerning.
  • Likewise, the lack of recognition of the University's role in developing the next generation of leaders was disappointing.
  • We are a land-grant university and thus have a tri-partite mission of research, teaching and outreach to serve the citizens of the State. Yet the document seemed to want to dodge the use of the word Extension and failed to include the importance of Extension in helping to make K-State the people's university. Having doors to K-State throughout the state is our competitive advantage. Build upon that advantage, don't bury it.
  • K-State has the reputuation for being the land-grant university that has maintained a balance of strength in teaching, research and extension/outreach. That has been our uniqueness. I do not believe full implementation of this plan will maintain this uniqueness and balance.

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