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Fall 2011 Student Chat with President Schulz

This is the official chat transcript from October 25, 2011. It reads top-to-bottom.

Nathan Spriggs Good evening everyone! We’d like to thank President Schulz for taking time out of his busy schedule for this evening’s online chat. This chat is an opportunity for you to ask the President questions regarding current university/student issues, concerns, or needs. To submit a question, use the form in the sidebar. Let's begin!

Kirk Schulz Good evening! I am looking forward to some great questions tonight. I am still a little tired from cheering for all of those K-State touchdowns Saturday in Lawrence - what a GREAT time to be a wildcat!

Katrene Bormann asks:In your opinion, how has the attitude of college students changed as technology has become a more dominant aspect of our daily lives?

Kirk Schulz I think that technology has made communications much easier than when I was in school. Today, you can email or text your professors to get help - when I was in school you had to go only to specific office hours - email and the web didn't exist. The only downside is that sometimes when students are angry - they can shoot off an email note that probably they wouldn't send when they weren't upset. However, in my mind technology has made a huge positive difference in the university environment!

Andrew Blattner asks:President Schultz, I feel that many universities have "more" incentives to be in the honors program than we offer here at Kansas State. Have ideas like Priority enrollment or scholarship dorms been considered? elaborate?

Kirk Schulz I want K-State to have a fantastic honors experience. In order to continue to build and expand our honors program, we will need to raise some significant private funds to endow the program and provide additional funds for programmatic needs. My son Andrew has visited a couple of schools in this region that have large, well funded honors programs - and it is certainly something that some students consider when making a college choice. I am personally committed to finding additional donor support to grow our honors program at K-State - so I am optimistic this will continue to grow at K-State much the same way our School of Leadership Studies has grown.

Jeremy Pelton asks:Any chance we get to hear about Football Facility improvements before the end of October?

Kirk Schulz We are continuing to assess what we need to be doing with our football facility - which includes discussing the project with major university supporters to be sure they believe this is a good direction to go. I have seen some preliminary plans - and I am blown away about how it looks. I wish I could tell you that there would be something sooner - but it will still be a month or more before any plans are unveiled.

Paige Strecker asks:How much tuition money goes towards athletics? Are there plans to change this amount?

Kirk Schulz Last year, K-State provided about $1.6M in state general funds towards intercollegiate athletics. After discussing this with John Currie we will be withdrawing this support over the next three years, at which time intercollegiate athletics will be completely self supporting. These funds will be reinvested in academic programs at Kansas State - so in the end - this will be a win for everyone.

Ross Jensby asks:Are there any current plans for new buildings or building remodeling?

Kirk Schulz We have several key building projects which are underway or in the works. Currently, we are building the Basketball Training Facility and building a new wing on Justin Hall. Other upcoming projects include a new Purple Masque Theatre and a new feedmill complex. We are in initial stages of planning for a new state-of-the-art general classroom building, a student welcome center, and possible new residence halls.

Matt Marchesini asks:What has been your favorite moment so far as K-State's President?

Kirk Schulz Boy - I have had a bunch. I was introduced as the new K-State President at the Texas Tech men's basketball game in February of 2009 - and got a standing O from the crowd. Another one - when we beat KU in men's basketball last year in Bramlage. My final one - when I left a major donor's office where he had pledged a $5M gift to K-State to help endow our first deanship. I have many more - but these are a few!

Brett Seidl asks:What steps are being taken to address concerns from student related to on campus parking?

Kirk Schulz Ah - along with EMAW and EcoCat one of my favorite topics! There is never enough parking that is cheap and close enough to different places on campus to keep everyone happy. This was a problem when I was a student and on all 4 campuses where I have worked. We continue to assess needs, and we certainly welcome student input as to what solutions make the most sense. So - I really don't have a good answer - but if you have suggestions drop me a note at kirks@k-state.edu

Katrene Bormann asks:If we could bring any big-name entertainer on to campus, who would you like to see?

Kirk Schulz I would love to see Robin Williams in concert - or Larry the Cable Guy. I love them both - but their concerts are not family friendly.

Craig Johnson asks:K-State is home to one of the best engineering schools in the region. What is K-State's administration doing to improve the College of Engineering as the K-State 2025 plan moves forward?

Kirk Schulz This past year, the Kansas Legislature passed a bill which will provide additional funding to the engineering programs at K-State, KU, and Wichita State. Dean John English is working on a plan to increase engineering graduates from K-State with these additional monies - which will also result in a new wing on the engineering complex. So - you will see substantial investment in engineering over the next 18 months!

Hannah Miller asks:Hey Kirk! What's the best thing about being President of a Big 12 University?

Kirk Schulz I get to do something different every day! As an example, today I visited with the Tilford Conference, had a meeting with our Athletic Director, visited with the evaluation team looking at our engineering programs, talked with Amy Button Renz on our new international alumni chapters in Australia and Indonesia, and had a Big 12 Conference call on expansion - all before 5 p.m.! Finally, I get to brag about what you all do as students all over Kansas - so I have the best job at K-State!

Nathan Spriggs asks:Hey President Schulz, one of my greatest experiences since coming to K-State was the opportunity to study abroad during spring semester of my sophomore year. Studying abroad allowed me to see and compare my field of study on a global level. Within K-State 2025 are there plans to create additional opportunities for students to seek and afford this experience?

Kirk Schulz I am very interested in finding more opportunities for students to study abroad. In particular, we are working on the "K-State Initiative for Australia" that would seek to find lots of opportunities for our students to study in Australia. There are many similarities between Australia and Kansas, and we already have some terrific research relationships between K-State and colleagues in Australia. I am also working to raise more private funds for study abroad scholarships so that more K-State students can have the opportunity to have anything from a 1-week experience to a semester long experience outside of the U.S.

Katrene Bormann asks:What would you consider the ideal enrollment number for K-State to be in terms of achieving the 2025 goals?

Kirk Schulz I don't have any particular enrollment goal, but I really don't want to see K-State in Manhattan get too big. I believe that we are currently large enough so that there are lots of majors and things to do - but not so large that we become impersonal and unfriendly. I do believe that with K-State Olathe opening, and with an increased enrollment at K-State Salina that our overall enrollment will increase - but I like the current size of our Manhattan campus.

Natalie Rauth asks:Poor decisions were made by several city commissioners this summer regarding public transportation, rental inspections, and workplace discrimination. What is your advice for students who are interested in voicing their opinions on these issues?

Kirk Schulz I believe that students really need to work to make themselves heard. First, register to vote in Manhattan, and then support candidates who are pro-student. Second, make sure that you are communicating frequently and professionally with elected officials. I cannot overemphasize that students must be involved in community decisions - so make yourself heard!

Andrew Wagner asks:Recently the Board of Regents made changes to the enrollment requirements for Kansas schools. Does K-State plan increase our own requirements above and beyond the set standards to reach the goal of the 2025 visionary plan?

Kirk Schulz Presently, we have no intention of changing the admission requirements at Kansas State University. I believe we want K-State to "be easy to get into - but hard to get out of" - so that we give students a chance who want to come and work hard and have great opportunity.

Jeremy Pelton asks:With the nations college loan default rate rising, is there any foreseeable major risk of damage to K-State if the college loan bubble were to "burst?"

Kirk Schulz I think that anything that happens which will prevent students from being able to pay the cost of receiving a college degree could certainly have a significant effect at K-State. We have more students with some sort of need based financial need than any other school in Kansas or the Big 12 - so anything like this can certainly have a major effect here.

Natalie Rauth asks:Hi President Schulz! Over the past few years, the international student population at K-State has grown dramatically. Those students are a fantastic asset to our campus culture and it is important that they continue to play a part in our community. What is being done from an administration standpoint to keep the students happy that are already here, as well as to continue to increase the number that enroll?

Kirk Schulz I think we continue to ask ourselves what can we do better to meet student's needs who are from outside the U.S.? Marcelo Sabates, our Interim Vice Provost for International Programs, is doing a great job working with faculty, staff, and students on improving our international experiences both here and abroad. We do need students from other countries to let us know what we could be doing to make their stay here better.

Grant Hill asks:Now that K-State and Manhattan have won the Take Charge Challenge, what do you believe will be the next step for K-State in the area of sustainability? Where do you see sustainability at K-State by 2025?

Kirk Schulz I think that winning Take Charge Challenge has moved our sustainability efforts more into the mainstream of campus. So - what is next? I will want our sustainability team on campus to continue to bring forward good ideas on what we can do to build on our recent success.

Kyle Reynolds asks:I love the new classroom in Umberger! What will be some of the next rooms to be remodeled, and what sort of timeline are we working with?

Kirk Schulz I have not been by to see the room - but I have heard it is fantastic from both a student and instructor point of view. As we renovate our historical buildings on campus, we will want to use Umberger as a model for how we can do modifications to our existing buildings that really enhance our educational experience.

Katrene Bormann asks:What do you see as K-State's biggest challenge in accomplishing the goals of 2025 being?

Kirk Schulz We need to continue to believe that we can be better! I love many things about K-State - but we need to keep the can do attitude and aim high. Certainly money will be an issue, but I really have been impressed with how the K-State family has responded to our Top 50 challenge by rolling up their sleeves and pitching in to make this vision a reality.

Kyle Reynolds asks:What's your favorite kind of doughnut to get at Varsity Doughnuts???

Kirk Schulz I love an easy one! A Maple long john and a cup o' joe! I know it is going to be a great day with the breakfast of champions!

Katrene Bormann asks:Can you discuss the future of the K-State Olathe campus? How do you see it collaborating with the Manhattan campus in the future?

Kirk Schulz We are focusing on graduate education on our K-State Olathe campus. Provost April Mason is working to identify which graduate programs we will offer in Olathe starting in August of 2012 - and we want to build on our strengths as we move forward there. As such, we will work on degree programs in Agriculture, Education, Engineering, Business, and Human Ecology over the first couple of years.

Nathan Spriggs asks:7-0! Coach Snyder and the team have lead us through an exciting college football season. What is your official prediction for the ‘Cats against Oklahoma this weekend?

Kirk Schulz I can't give my official predication until game day - but here is a hint - the Cats Win to go 8-0!

Emilee Taylor asks:As we grow as a student body towards our 2025 plan, how do you anticipate us maintaining our small school, family atmosphere with big opportunities and diverse experiences?

Kirk Schulz This is a great question. I think that we have to always ask ourselves as we do new things - are we doing things to get better and improve or simply just to change. We need to be sure that as we do new things arising from the 2025 plan that they really do make life better on campus. I do believe we can get too large - so while I like some enrollment growth, we don't want to get too big too fast. Finally, we need to be sure that we continue to keep students really involved on campus - and you can help ensure we keep the family atmosphere which is a hallmark of our campus.

Kirk Schulz Folks - this has been great - terrific questions. Good luck with the rest of the semester and lets go beat OU! Go State!

Nathan Spriggs Thank you President Schulz and thanks to all who participated. Have a great week. Go 'Cats!