Letters to campus

September 2014

Dear Faculty and Staff,

The fall semester is upon us! The weather is cooling down, the colors are starting to change and football season is here.

Like many of you, I always think I am ready for the start of the fall semester, and then my schedule goes crazy with weekend and evening events. I have often wondered if there is any other way to attend all of the different university events associated with the start of the year.

This past week, I was looking through some of our movie collection and came across "Star Wars Episode 2: The Attack of the Clones" — and had a brilliant thought! What if I secretly cloned myself (at least for the first six weeks of the semester), and then I could be at multiple places at the same time. All of this thinking made me a bit tired, so I lay down on the couch and took a quick nap. Imagine my surprise when I woke up and found three different "Kirk-clones" all sitting around the living room. The following conversation ensued between Kirk1, Kirk2, Kirk3 and myself.

Kirk1: Hey, did all of you get to meet some of the new leaders on campus? I just came from our annual Purple Jacket ceremony where we recognized some of these newly appointed leaders.

Me: Yes, we did welcome several new leaders to campus. Cheryl Johnson is our new (and first!) Vice President for Human Capital, who came to us from JVisions Inc. in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Karen Burg is our new Vice President for Research, who came to us after serving as Interim Dean of the Graduate School at Clemson University. Darren Dawson is our new Dean of Engineering, who most recently served as the Department Head of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Clemson University. We also presented jackets to Cindy Bontrager, Vice President for Finance and Administration, and Marcelo Sabates, Vice Provost for International Programs, who were both appointed to their positions during the previous academic year. I appreciate the fresh ideas and energy these new leaders bring to K-State!

Kirk2: While you were greeting new leaders, I was cheering on the Cats at the football game on Thursday night. What a great atmosphere, although getting up and going to work on Friday was pretty difficult!

Kirk3: It might have been a great atmosphere, but it was pretty disruptive to campus. Why don't we play all of our games on Saturday afternoon? That way a football game doesn't interfere with evening classes, exam schedules and other academic issues.

Kirk1: I also heard that it was a huge moneymaker for K-State athletics, so what are they going to do with the extra money brought in by a Thursday night game?

Me: Hold on a minute! First, the Big 12 Conference is an equal revenue sharing conference, which means at the end of the year all of the money coming in from television appearances is split evenly 10 ways. All conference schools receive the same amount of money, so we don't gain any new funds at K-State from playing in a Thursday game.

However, the exposure we receive by playing a Thursday night game is tremendous. The network estimates that more than 3.8 million people watched some part of the football game, which is publicity that we could never afford to purchase. Additionally, as we continue to foster town-gown relationships, the financial impact on our community is significant when out-of-town guests come and spend a long weekend in the Little Apple.

Finally, as part of the TV contract with the Big 12 Conference, we have to play some games on non-Saturdays. Knowing that a Thursday game presents challenges to the campus, we try to make sure we play these every other year.

Kirk1: In addition to welcoming new leaders to campus, I attended the Kansas Board of Regents meeting this past week. Now that was fun!

Kirk3: I wonder why I never get to go to Regents meetings. What actually happened this month?

Kirk2: All I have to say is "Go Cats!"

Me: Quiet down! Starting with the September Regents meeting, the Division of Communications and Marketing began publishing a meeting summary in K-State Today. This way, the university community has some sense of actions the Regents take that are important to Kansas State University.

Kirk3: Having new leaders is nice, but how are we supposed to know what is happening across our campuses?

Kirk1: I know you send monthly letters. Will we see others like yours?

Kirk2: Did you know K-State Volleyball started the season 13-1? Did you know K-State Equestrian beat #2 South Carolina this past week! The VolleyCats and HorseCats are awesome!

Me: I have asked all of our senior leadership team to provide periodic letters to campus on what is happening in their units. These letters will come out in K-State Today during the academic year, so watch for news and information to let you know what the future holds.

Kirk2: I have to go watch the Cats play now . . .

Kirk1: I need to go and visit with some of our new faculty members and learn a bit about them . . .

Kirk3: I am going to go and check out K-State Today so I know what is happening on campus . . .

Me: So, are all three of you always right?

Kirk1, Kirk2, Kirk3 (simultaneously) – Yes!

Me: What a silly idea to clone myself. I will need to come up with a better way to get to all the events I need to attend.

Who knows which of the "Kirk-clones" you may encounter on campus. Nonetheless, have a great October!

Go Cats!

Kirk