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President Schulz and Dean Shanklin

This is the official chat transcript from September 29, 2011. It reads top-to-bottom.

Matthew Sellner Good evening, we’d like to thank President Schulz and Dean Shanklin for attending this evening’s online chat. This chat is specifically for graduate students to ask questions related to graduate student concerns and issues. I’m Matthew Sellner Graduate Student Council President, our other moderators are Tammy Sonnentag, GSC President-elect, and Graciela Andrango, GSC Treasurer. Please submit your questions using the form in the sidebar.

Kirk Schulz Greetings K-State graduate students! I am looking forward to some great questions and productive dialog tonight.

Carol Shanklin Good evening, K-State graduate students! I look forward to our interaction this evening.

Matthew Sellner I'd like to start this chat off with a question of my own for President Schulz, we had talked previously about GRA tuition remission and that was a goal of K-State's specifically for Vision 2025. I haven't heard many updates concerning this, where does it stand currently?

John Lantz asks:President Schulz & Dean Shanklin - How do you see the graduate school looking in the next 15 years in terms of the graduate student experience?

Carol Shanklin I anticipate that K-State will have 1-2 times the number of graduate students enrolled on our three campus. We will have more internationally recognized doctoral programs and masters degree programs that is responsive to workforce needs in the regional. More of our programs will be interdiscplinary in nature.

Kirk Schulz GRA tuition continues to be a topic of discussion in among the senior leadership team, and once again this year, we expect to include some funds in our university level budget proposals which will be circulated to campus. It will take us several million $ to fix this - but we have to start somewhere. This topic comes up often and frequently - along with graduate student health insurance as something we have got to work on solving.

Carol Shanklin The Deans Council is also discussing GRA stipends levels for our different graduate assistantship appointments for masters and doctoral students. I believe all our administrators are wanted to provide the most competitive compensation package--stipend, tuition, health insurance, etc to attract the best students to K-State.

John Lantz asks:President Schulz & Dean Shanklin - How do you see the graduate school looking in the next 15 years in terms of the graduate student experience?

Kirk Schulz We are including the Graduate Educational experience as one of 7 key themes in K-State 2025, which shows the importance we are placing on graduate education in the K-State of the future. I agree with Dean Shanklin that we will continue to grow our graduate presence - but I am looking forward to ensuring our graduate students are an integral part of the K-State community and anticipate seeing greater recognition that graduate education is a key part of K-State's mission.

Tammy Sonnentag Graduate students may sometimes feel unsure about whether or not they are making the most of their gradaute school experience to ensure that they are well prepared for their future careers. Hearing about the experiences of successful individuals may be helpful. President Schulz and Dean Shanklin, what experiences did you have or what actions did you take as a graduate student that you feel contributed to your success as a professional in your field and/or as a university administrator? Also, is there anything that you would have changed about your graduate student experience?

Kirk Schulz Excellent question. I was active at my alma mater on campus - both as an undergraduate and as a graduate student. So, anything students can do to show leadership and initiative is always a good thing to pursue. Virginia Tech is doing some very interesting things in helping graduate students prepare for careers after graduation, and we have invited the VP & Dean of Graduate Studies at Tech (Dr. Karen DePauw) to visit Kansas State in early 2012 to talk about what she is doing. While doing an outstanding job in your research is important (and paramount!), it is important we do all we can to ensure graduate students will be successful in their careers after K-State.

John Lantz asks:K-State announced our enrollment numbers the other day. What were the grad student enrollment numbers and how have they trended over time? Also along those lines, the undergraduate side of our university spends a lot of time recruiting excellent students out of high school and junior colleges, what do we do to recruit top notch graduate students?

Carol Shanklin Good question Tammy. Identifying mentors including your major professor and other key professionals in your field was a key to my success as a graduate student and continues to be today. Involvement in professional and community organizations that developed my leadership skills has been important throughout my career. Some aspects of graduate student life really have not changed significant--stipends levels; balancing assistantship responsiblities, research, and academics; and expectations for scholarly presentations and publications are just a few things that have not changed. Students and the experiences they bring to their graduate programs has probably changed the most.

Bipin Pandey asks:Hi, this is Bipin, a graduate student in chemistry. My question/concern is regarding the use of microscope facility in the biology department. We have a great Scanning electron microscope in the campus but access to it is limited as a single person is handling all the microscope facilities. So in regard to making K-State a top 50 research university by 2025, use of facilities on campus to its fullest potential is necessary. I would like to draw the Presidents attention towards this issue. Thanks.

Kirk Schulz Thanks for your question and concern. As we move forward with K-State 2025, one of the areas of opportunity is for shared equipment facilities across campus that have financial support from the central administration. We will be looking at this over the next couple of years - and I suspect that we will have many more shared facilities in the future.

Heath Yates asks:The Olathe campus just opened. Are there plans in the works to make it a urban campus? That is, offer PhD programs to career individuals who might work during day and attend courses at night? If so, what PhD programs would the Olathe campus consider?

Kirk Schulz Yes, Yes, and Yes! We want to make great use of the urban location for K-State Olathe, which will include both M.S. and Ph.D. programs. Initially, we will be offering M.S. degrees, but should expand to doctoral programs in the next several years. We are still in discussions about what program offerings will be initially done at K-State Olathe - and I expect some announcements on this in the next 6 weeks or so.

Neil Erdwien asks:How do you see the ratio of graduate to undergraduate students changing between now and 2025?

Carol Shanklin Total graduate student enrollment was slightly higher than last fall. We have approximately 4100 graduate students both on campus and enrolled by distance. Recruitment of graduate student is really different than undergraduate students. The graduate faculty are critical to our recruitment efforts. This includes their publications, presesntations, and involvement at scientific and professional meetings. Update and dynamic websites are important recruitment tools. When the Graduate School participates in recruitment activities we focus our efforts on recruiting underrepresented students from all disciplines. We recently participate in the Big 10 and other University Graduate Fair at Purdue which has been an excellent recruitment event. Friday evening I interacted with students attending the Heartland McNair Fair. Our summer REU and SUROP programs are other effective mechanisms for recruiting students. You as a current graduate student also play an important role when you present at national and international meetings.

Neil Erdwien asks:How do you see the ratio of graduate to undergraduate students changing between now and 2025?

Kirk Schulz I think we will see our graduate numbers increase over time - especially with K-State Olathe coming on line with exclusive graduate content. The enrollment of K-State Olathe could be several thousand students in 14 years - which could drastically change the ration of UG to graduate students. As you also know our doctoral student enrollment and graduation rate is a key benchmark for our top 50 goal, so I would also suspect that we will see increased numbers of doctoral students in the future.

Heath Yates asks:The Olathe campus just opened. Are there plans in the works to make it a urban campus? That is, offer PhD programs to career individuals who might work during day and attend courses at night? If so, what PhD programs would the Olathe campus consider?

Carol Shanklin The focus of academic programs at the K-State Olathe is graduate education. We are currently exploring a variety of academic offerings that will be targeted toward the working professional. We are working closely with our graduate programs on campus to identify how they wish to expand their program to K-State Olathe as well as exploring new graduate program opportunities.

Matthew Sellner Besides Olathe and Salina, is K-State planning on opening any other satellite campuses in the next 10-20 years?

Carol Shanklin While we are waiting for another question from the graduate students, I want to share with those participating in the Chat that the Graduate School has developed some U-Tubes that are available or will be available within the next two days. An U-Tube orientation video was developed for our distance graduate student and is currently available. Within the next two days, a U-Tube video on Graduation Deadlines and Requirements will be posted on our website.

Kirk Schulz Matt - I don't see us opening any additional domestic campuses. However, I do think we will see expansion of our domestic campuses to bring new facilities and infrastructure on-line in Manhattan, Salina, and Olathe. The opportunities to really capitalize on NBAF will be present in all three places, and I would like us to focus on those. However, I do believe that we will open up an additional campus internationally - perhaps in somewhere like Australia.

Graciela Andrango asks:As an international student, I wonder what the opportunities for us to have teaching experience is? Does this opportunity starts on our first semester or do professors expect us to adjust to the culture at the first place?

Kirk Schulz I think this is very dependent on what department and program that you are enrolled in. If you would like to gain some teaching experience, talk with your Advisor and with the Department Head. If they can't find any opportunities for you, I would suggest you visit directly with Dean Shanklin.

Graciela Andrango asks:As an international student, I wonder what the opportunities for us to have teaching experience is? Does this opportunity starts on our first semester or do professors expect us to adjust to the culture at the first place?

Carol Shanklin For graduate students who wish to pursue an academic career teaching experience is an important professional development opporutnity. Department heads determine which students to award GTAs. I strongly encourage you to visit with both your graduate program director and department heads and share your interest in obtaining teaching experience. I would also recommend you attend seminars that are offered to our faculty.

Carol Shanklin I will be attending the Center for Integration of Teaching, Research and Learning at the University of Wisconsin later in October to learn more about how K-State graduate students can access some of the excellent resources available through the CITRL. Later this semester or early next I'll work with the GSC Professional Development Committee to schedule a workshop or dialogue about these resources.

Heath Yates asks:Where does computer science factor into the top 50 goal? I know many universities are expanding their computer programs into something that resembles an engineering school. In other words, are there plans at KSU to expand from a computer science program to a school of computing?

Kirk Schulz As we move through the K-State 2025 process, we are asking each school and similar academic unit to develop their own plans that fit under the K-State 2025 umbrella. As such, the College of Engineering will need to work with the CS department to decide on future steps and research directions.

Heath Yates asks:Where does computer science factor into the top 50 goal? I know many universities are expanding their computer programs into something that resembles an engineering school. In other words, are there plans at KSU to expand from a computer science program to a school of computing?

Carol Shanklin Each College and Department will be engaged in strategic planning this year and next to determine how they plan to work toward achieving 2025 vision. I encourage graduate students to engage in these discussions as colleges, departments, and programs envision their future. As the Graduate School develops our strategic plan, I will be engaging graduate students in the process.

Tammy Sonnentag President Schultz, according to recent news, you visited an East-coast school with a financial model that used more privatized income than state funding. If KSU were to go to such a model how would that be implemented?

Graciela Andrango asks:As K-State works towards the 2025 plan, I wonder how the expectations for graduate students have changed?

Carol Shanklin President Schulz and I need to know what are the priority needs and wants of graduate students. It is imperative for the graduate students to communicate opening and honestly with the two of us and other academic leaders so we can more effectively address your needs. From my perspective graduate students today want the same things that were important to President Schulz and me as graduate student: quality mentoring, excellent courses, up-to-date facilities need for scholarly endeavors, library resources, and competitive compensation. There may be more emphasis or concern relative to quality of student life issues than there was when I was a graduate student. Networking opportunities continues important to a good graduate experience. Build your personal and professional networks as a graduate student.

Kirk Schulz Tammy - we are visiting North Carolina State University in October to see how they do things and to bring back some good ideas. They are one of our "aspirational" peers, and so we are taking the entire senior administrative team there on a two day trip (I am sure the entire university will run extremely smoothly with all of us gone!). It should be very educational, and is something I would like to do each year.

Heath Yates asks:I know TA stipends vary across the campus. However, given the expansion in GRA funding. Are there similar discussions about expanding TA funding across campus in order to increase the number of graduate TA's and pay?

Carol Shanklin As I noted earlier, during our Deans Council Meeting last week stipend levels for all graduate assistants (GTA,GRA, and GA) was discussed. The topic will be on future agendas as current data on stipends for this semester is summarized. I believe senior administrators and our deans are all concerned about stipends and tuition support for graduate students on appointments at K-State since each individual is contributing to more or more components of K-State's mission.

Graciela Andrango asks:As K-State works towards the 2025 plan, I wonder how the expectations for graduate students have changed?

Kirk Schulz I believe that graduate students have been given a more significant voice in setting the aspirational goals as in K-State 2025. If we are going to achieve our Top 50 goal, we will need to continue to have graduate students voice their opinions on campus direction and to play a leadership role in making K-State a better place.

Kirk Schulz Graduate students - excellent questions tonight! Thanks for participating and sharing your concerns. Good luck this semester and don't hesitate to share your opinions, concerns, and successes as you have them. Go Cats!

Carol Shanklin Graduate students--thanks for engaging with President Schulz and me this evening. Please take advantage of other opportunities that the Graduate Student Council is making available this semester from social networking events to professional development workshops. Stay engaged in the strategic planning process. Best wishes for much success this semester.

Matthew Sellner This concludes our chat for the evening. Thanks again to President Schulz and Dean Shanklin for answering questions. If you have any other comments or questions please e-mail the Graduate Student Council at egsc@k-state.edu. Our next GSC meeting is Monday October 3, 2011 at noon in Union 213. We hope to have additional online chats with President Schulz and Dean Shanklin in the Spring Semester.