Inspired by Gov. Mark Parkinson's challenge for a Kansas university to be among the top 50 in the nation, K-State President Kirk Schulz and Provost and Senior Vice President April Mason have proposed an ambitious plan to take the university to greater heights within the next 15 years.
"The ranking and prestige of Kansas State University is of critical importance to our graduates as they seek jobs, our students as they apply to top tier graduate programs, our doctoral students as they look for career opportunities in the research world, and our faculty members as they compete with better funded and ranked universities on a daily basis," Schulz said. "People want to invest in a winner -- and the different constituent groups who support K-State want to invest in a university they perceive as moving upward to new heights of achievement."
A visionary plan for K-State is absolutely critical in these difficult economic times, Schulz said.
"Now is the best time to do a plan, so that as new resources become available, we have thought carefully through what we want to do as we seek to build our national reputation," he said. "Our goal should be something that has everyone squirming in their seats a bit because it may be unclear whether or not we can ever reach it."
The goal -- reaching a top 50 ranking by 2025 -- is something that everyone on campus must work toward, Mason said.
"The way K-State will accomplish this goal is by the great work of our faculty and students, both graduate and undergraduate," she said. "The teaching by our faculty, the learning measured in our students, the research that can lead to change, the outreach that assists communities are all reflections of the quality of our university."
In most categories, K-State ranks between 80 and 90 in comparison to other public research universities.
"We will need to move up 35 spots or so against a very competitive set of schools -- all of whom are also trying to grow programs and increase their national rank and stature at the same time," Schulz said.
"K-State's goal of becoming a top 50 public research university is enhanced by the decisions by the Department of Homeland Security in locating NBAF at K-State and with their selection of K-State as a Center of Excellence for Emerging Zoonotic and Animal Diseases," said Ron Trewyn, vice president for research. "That, coupled with the U.S. Department of Agriculture moving the Arthropod-Borne Animal Disease Research Unit to the city, will make Manhattan the de facto international center for food animal infectious disease research; i.e., the International CDC for Animal Health."
Schulz and Mason are launching a yearlong visionary planning process and are offering everyone on campus a chance to be involved.
"We will use a series of focus groups and electronic media to involve as many members of the campus community as possible in helping us move forward into the future," Schulz said. "The K-State 2025 initiative will determine how K-State faculty, staff, students and alumni view K-State and where they see the university in 15 years.
"This is an opportunity for us to define who we are as a university, create a vision of where we hope to be in the future and identify how we are going to get there," Schulz said.
Schulz and members of his cabinet selected eight metrics to be used to determine both K-State's current ranking and to measure progress against the top 50 goal. These metrics include: total research and development expenditures, total endowment, number of national academy members, number of faculty awards -- as defined by Center for Measuring University Performance at Arizona State University -- number of doctorates granted annually, freshman-to-sophomore retention rate, six-year graduation rate and percent of undergraduate students involved in research.
More information is available online at: http://www.k-state.edu/president/initiatives/kstate_2025/