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Undergraduate Chat with Kirk

This is the official chat transcript from February 15, 2011. It reads top-to-bottom.

Kirk Schulz Good evening everyone! Like most of you - I am a bit tired after celebrating the big win over KU last night in Men's basketball. My fingers are loose and ready to type - so submit your questions!

Danny Unruh As President Schulz mentioned, we are ready to begin!

Aniruddha Rao asks:What are the policies on campus closing for snow days?

Kirk Schulz This is one of the most challenging things I get to do as President. Why? No matter what the decision is on weather closure, someone is going to be mad and not feel that we are concerned with their safety. In general, Bruce Shubert, our VP for Administration and Finance, will drive around campus at about 5 a.m. to check the condition of campus. (Note - our work crews arrive at about 4 am to start clearing sidewalks and parking lots). He calls either myself or Provost April Mason (depending on who is in town) with a recommendation at about 6 a.m. or so. We then make a decision, and send out a text message letting everyone know if campus is open or closed. It may not be the best - but until we can come up with a better policy this is what we will stick to.

Jacob Unruh asks:Mr. President, are you a cat-guy or a dog-guy? Everyone wants to know.

Kirk Schulz This is an easy one - a "cat" guy all of the way! We have two cats at the Prez Rez - Amber and Onyx. My wife is more of a "dog" person - so for right now I have won the pet contest!

Annika Schneider asks:Will there be funding for men's tennis in the next three years?

Kirk Schulz Excellent question - and one that John Currie, our Athletic Director, should really address. Interestingly, we used to have a varsity men's tennis team back when K-State was in the Big 8 conference - I have met several of our former varsity athletes. Right now, our focus is really on ensuring that we are providing appropriate facilities and funding for our 16 varsity sports.

Tori Marshall asks:What was your favorite class as an undergraduate student?

Kirk Schulz I had many classes I liked - but if I was going to take all of my classes over again I would take the "History of Science" sequence over again - it was a great class and I still enjoy reading about the history of science and technology. A close second would probably be Chemical Engineering Unit Operations Laboratory!

Jena Sauber asks:Are there going to be any new buildings on campus soon?

Kirk Schulz Actually, we are starting to discuss this topic now in Anderson Hall. One of our greatest needs is a general purpose classroom building that would be located in the central part of campus. We estimate such a building would probably cost about $11M to $12M - and I would guess that this will be the newest on campus building. How soon? Who knows but probably within the next 3 to 4 years.

Natalie Rauth asks:Kirk! The Student Governing Association needs a raffle prize for SGA Hears You Week. Would you cook dinner for some students at your house? You can order pizza! PLEASE!

Kirk Schulz We would be happy to help with this. Send me an email note (kirks@k-state.edu) and lets see what we can work out!

Nathan Balkenbusch asks:How are we going to implement technology in more classrooms?

Kirk Schulz We need to constantly update our classrooms, and I know that Provost April Mason is working to provide funding to keep our technology up-to-date and current. While we bring a few more classrooms up to date each year, we still have a long way to go. It is like eating an elephant - you just have to do it one bite at a time!

Annie Oliver asks:I will be graduating in May and would still love to be involved as an alumna off-campus. What is the best way I can plan to do so?

Kirk Schulz At graduation, each student receives a complimentary first year membership to the K-State alumni association. Our alumni association is the top in the Big 12 (yeah - the one with 10 teams!) for the past 15 years in the % of alumni who are members of the alumni association. No matter where you live in the U.S. - there are K-Staters to be found. So - get involved with fellow alumni at watch parties, scholarship fundraisers, and in general celebrating what are sure to be more convincing wins over the Chickenhawks!

Hannah Miller asks:What is your thoughts on the proposed budget cuts to the state of Kansas? How is the University going to deal with them?

Kirk Schulz We have endured several years of significant budget cuts - which has eroded our ability to keep our buildings up to date, to keep technology enhancements in the classroom, and to keep our grounds up to date (just to name a few things...). This year, the Governor has proposed a flat budget for higher education - which is certainly good news in a pretty tough economy. We will certainly need to propose a modest tuition and fees increase (this is being worked on by the SGA) - but we won't see many new buildings or other major projects happening on campus until we see additional state resources. All of that being said - our faculty and staff will still work to be sure that all of you are getting a great K-State educational experience.

Justin Meyer asks:Does K-State take into consideration the fact that some parents are unable to assist students with their tuition, regardless of what the FAFSA says? I'm in need of financial aid for the upcoming year...

Kirk Schulz Yes, we do try and take this into account. My suggestion would be to visit with our folks over in financial aid, and see what suggestions they have. If you aren't sure who to talk with, shoot me an email (kirks@k-state.edu) and I will get you in touch with some folks who can help.

Annie Oliver asks:KU is planning to increase their admissions requirements (raising the minimum ACT score, etc.). Would K-State ever consider making such changes?

Kirk Schulz I am unsure what the University of Kansas might do with admissions requirements. However, I suspect that ours will remain about where they are now. I personally don't want to change ours - I want a K-State educational experience to be available to any Kansas resident who meets the Kansas Board of Regents minimum requirements. However, if KU elects to change their requirements, we will certainly examine ours and make a decision on what direction to go.

Danny Unruh We are halfway through tonight's chat. Keep posting your questions!

Luke Werhan asks:How is progress for K-State 2025 going?

Kirk Schulz K-State 2025 is moving along well. There are seven key areas (see http://www.k-state.edu/2025/) which we are focused on - including "undergraduate educational experiences". Each theme area has a committee of faculty, staff, and students looking at building a dynamic and exciting plan for the future. Once each committee has finished their work - we will put out the "draft" plan on the web for comments and suggestions. I think it will be fun to see the plan as it takes shape over the remainder of this semester!

Alexander Schram asks:In reference to the over flow situation with the residence halls, is there a plan to build any new halls in the near future?

Kirk Schulz I don't believe that we will be building any brand new residence halls in the near future - but this will largely depend on enrollment. Because of the fantastic job that Pat Bosco does - we continue to enroll more K-Staters each semester! We will continue to renovate the Jardine student complex - and we will watch enrollments to be sure we can provide appropriate housing choices to our new and continuing students.

Annie Oliver asks:Have you donated to K-State PROUD this year?

Kirk Schulz SMACK! (Head slap) - not yet - but I will! I will wear my black K-State proud shirt to the OU game on saturday.

John Reinert asks:Is K-State Proud receiving any national attention for the work we're doing through "Students Helping Students"?

Kirk Schulz Actually, we are receiving national publicity for the K-State Proud program. The Chronicle of Higher Education - the leading weekly newspaper covering higher education in the US and abroad - will be sending a team to K-State to profile the K-State Proud program (and they won't be sending a team to any other Big 12 school in the state of Kansas!). So - great job with a nationally innovative program.

Alexander Schram asks:What can clubs that might need more funding than others (design teams, intercollegiate club sports teams) do to get some extra help?

Kirk Schulz Great question - and the answer is I am not sure. Generally speaking, the best place to start is with your college dean - many of whom have private monies donated for design teams and such. I would also talk with Pat Bosco in Student Life. Finally, you can always send a request to my office!

Alexander Schram asks:What effect will NBAF have on K-State Students? Will there be jobs or internships created by its presence?

Kirk Schulz I believe that NBAF will have a profound impact on students - through internships, full time job placement opportunities, and new companies moving to Manhattan to be in close proximity to NBAF. However, since NBAF won't be open and operational until 2018 - it will be a few years before many students see tangible benefits.

Annie Oliver asks:President Schulz, the theme committees for 2025 have been set up and are underway. When we will hear what these committees have produced?

Kirk Schulz We should have the results out and posted by April, 2011. As before, we will post them on an interactive website with plenty of opportunity for comments and revision by all!

Christopher Short asks:President Schulz, who is your favorite superhero? This is really a must know.

Kirk Schulz Ah - a tough one. Growing up I was always a little partial to batman - with all the neat technology and toys - who else could it be! Now, if only he was a stylish university president by day ....

Natalie Rauth asks:What do you anticipate the tuition increase to be for the 2011-2012 school year?

Kirk Schulz I really don't know. The SGA is working with the central administration to come up with a reasonable number. We also will need to see what the final state budget looks like. I would think that it would be lower than last year.

Heather Woods asks:What sorts of programs/departments does KSU offer to assist in the transition from undergraduate education to higher education?

Kirk Schulz Excellent question - but I am not sure. Generally, the best advice on this can come from a favorite teacher that you may have in class - who are always excited to hear about anyone interested in graduate school. If you have some specific questions about a certain area - fire off an email (kirks@k-state.edu) and I will get you in touch with someone who can help.

Ryan Willcott asks:President Schulz, one of the big concerns for SGA when voting on the parking garage was its accessibility to students. We were reassured that's exactly what it was for, yet all too often I see the student parking "FULL" and hundreds of spaces open forcing students to either pay or find another lot and be late. What can we do to fix this?

Kirk Schulz Please talk with Danny and Annie about this - who should address this with Bruce Shubert. This is a start - and would be my first step.

Kirk Schulz This has been fun and I appreciate all of the questions. If there is something you have more questions about - please email me at kirks@k-state.edu and I will see what I can do. Well, football and men's and women's basketball have all beaten KU this year - good luck to the Batcats later this semester against the Jayhawks!

Danny Unruh Thanks to everyone for joining in on the chat. Have a great week!