As K-State's new faculty senate president, A. Elizabeth "Betsy" Cauble, knows this year will have more than its fair share of challenges and excitement.
"The ongoing challenge is the budget and resources," Cauble said. "We're very appreciative that the legislature decided not to enact budget cuts for higher education. However, reducing costs and working with a limited budget is on everyone's mind and is a continuing challenge for everyone at K-State."
Because of this, Cauble said she and the senators will continue to look at the budget reduction suggestions as they work closely with administration to ensure that K-State is an institution that is able to move forward rather than fall behind in difficult economic times.
Other issues to be addressed include looking at the salary and benefits structures of faculty and staff and a retention and recruitment plan.
But, as Cauble is aware, with the bad comes the good, and a sense of excitement about the possibilities that lie ahead.
"One good challenge we have this year is developing relationships with the new leadership," she said. This includes working closely with Ken Stafford, chief information officer and vice provost for information technology services, and Jeff Morris, vice president of communications and marketing. Cauble said it will ensure that faculty and staff stay abreast of information technology and also have a way to produce the communications material necessary to reach the Kansas legislature.
Included on the agenda is review of a seven credit hour per semester tuition grant for dependants of K-State faculty and staff, as well as the implementation of new general education and assessment policies. Just recently, Cauble said, the senate passed a modified leave policy that benefits those with a newborn or with a new family member in the home.
She also plans to reach out to as many on campus as she can through an e-mail summarizing the senate's discussion topics after each meeting.
And then there's working toward the K-State 2025 initiative that President Kirk Schultz proposed earlier this year.
Or, as Cauble put it, "there's always a full plate." Cauble said she's confident, though, in the senate and its support when it comes to the challenges that lie ahead.
"Across the country there is not a lot of hope for higher education," Cauble said. "My goal is to really work with the committees to ensure that we have something positive in place by the time I leave."
Cauble is head of the department of sociology, anthropology and social work and has been at K-State since 1993.
Editor's note: K-Statement will feature the new president of the classified senate in a future edition.