Letters to campus

August 2015

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Welcome back from your summer endeavors! Over the next couple of weeks, we will start having more of our new and returning students back on our campuses. Let’s make sure to help these new students if they look a little lost!

Let me also take this opportunity to welcome our newest faculty and staff to the Wildcat family. I hope you find your experience at K-State to be fulfilling, and please let me know (kirks@k-state.edu) if there is anything I can do to make your first year here the best it can be.

I try to send out a monthly letter focused around timely topics I believe are important to share with the broader university community. For August, I will put out two different notes; this one is focused around goals and objectives for the upcoming academic year and the next letter (mid-August) will focus on the 2015-16 academic year budget.

Each summer, I sit down with the Kansas Board of Regents to discuss my goals and objectives for the upcoming academic year as part of my annual evaluation. Every five years, I also undergo a 360-degree evaluation where the Regents ask both internal and external members of the K-State family to give their perspectives on my performance as president.

My 360-degree results were positive in most areas of the university. Generally, the university family felt that campus communications, K-State 2025 and working with external constituencies were strengths. Opportunities for improvement focused around more strongly linking K-State 2025 to budgetary priorities and more deliberately utilizing metrics for strategic decision-making.

So, how do I go about assembling my annual goals and objectives? I ask each member of the cabinet to submit their goals to me based on the themes and common elements that are the foundation of K-State 2025, and I then use many of these in formulating my own goals. I review progress on these goals at mid-year with both the Kansas Board of Regents and our senior leadership team.

My goals for the upcoming year include:

Theme I – Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities, and Discovery

  1. Promote the successes of our Feed the Future labs through global research news and dissemination of results.
  2. Grow reported research expenditures to more than $185 million annually.
  3. Promote and support Prairie Studies Initiative (PSI), a cross-disciplinary research initiative.
  4. Continue to leverage the Global Food Systems (GFS) grant to grow interdisciplinary global food systems research activities.
  5. Establish a university-wide task force to make recommendations on Indirect Cost Recovery distributions.

Theme II – Undergraduate Educational Experience

  1. Launch an Enrollment Management Task Force to examine the balance between all student groups (undergraduate and graduate) in crafting university-wide enrollment goals from 2016 to 2021.
  2. Increase the first-year retention rate to above 83 percent.
  3. Increase the six-year graduation rate to above 61 percent.
  4. Establish baseline for undergraduate research and creative inquiry activity for Kansas State University.
  5. Reposition Salina campus to focus on technology-oriented programs and expanded regional reach.
  6. Expand student life involvement on the alumni database to provide future opportunities for alumni engagement.

Theme III – Graduate Scholarly Experience

  1. Implement targeted campaigns to focus on unique graduate experiences at each campus: Manhattan campus focus on research; Olathe focus on flexible professional master’s degrees; Salina focus on technology credentials; Global Campus focus on career growth.
  2. Gain final K-State and KBOR approval for a certificate and Professional Science Master’s in the School of Interdisciplinary and Applied Studies at K-State Olathe.
  3. Launch an Enrollment Management Task Force to examine the balance between all student groups (undergraduate and graduate) in crafting university-wide enrollment goals from 2016 to 2021.
  4. Provide enhanced professional development opportunities for graduate students, including programming specific to Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities, and Discovery.
  5. Develop a funding strategy to provide tuition assistance and financial support for Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs).

Theme IV – Engagement, Extension, Outreach, and Service

  1. Expand distribution of K-State Research and Extension radio network statewide using successful television news program as model.
  2. Conduct outreach campaigns in key Kansas markets to support economic growth and enrollment initiatives.
  3. Develop a network of university partners led by K-State to utilize the BRI in preparation for joint research projects in NBAF.
  4. Communicate to Kansas residents the information needed to address the K-State Research and Extension Grand Challenges (water, health, feeding 9 billion in 2050, community and rural vitality, and growing tomorrow’s leaders) with a goal of enhancing the quality of life and livelihoods of people and their communities.
  5. Work with the KSU Institute of Commercialization, KSU Foundation, Office of Corporate Engagement, and Vice President for Research to develop a coordinated strategy to promote economic growth based on talent, professional training, and innovation. This includes supporting the NBAF/Department of Homeland Security initiative, as well as the North Campus Corridor initiative.

Theme V – Faculty and Staff

  1. Develop a new three-year plan (2016-2019) detailing a K-State faculty and staff compensation improvement plan and monitor impact on improving competitive salaries as compared to peer institutions.
  2. Hire a dean for the College of Business Administration.
  3. Support dialogue and development of action plans to address key findings in the university climate survey, including sexual harassment and assault, increasing diversity, faculty and staff retention, and student sense of belonging.
  4. Continue to support Human Capital Services' changes to improve the hiring process, including the implementation of enabling technology; reorganization of units within HCS; redesign of their website; and employment of a total rewards system including competency-based position decisions.
  5. Increase the number of K-State faculty and staff members being nominated for regional and national awards.
  6. Initiate a university-wide award recognizing excellence in Research, Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Discovery.
  7. Establish a task force to identify recommendations for development of a faculty salary incentive program.

Theme VI – Facilities and Infrastructure

  1. Improve communication efforts during intensive times of campus construction to manage expectations and inform community of project status and upcoming changes.
  2. Revise Manhattan campus mapping software to include more robust campus tours to support visitation, updated 911-address structure and new construction completions.
  3. Continue to develop the research park/research corridor plans and begin implementing opportunities associated with those plans.
  4. Develop a campus-wide plan for energy and water conservation with a goal in reducing campus utility costs.
  5. Complete Phase I of the campus space migration project to reassign space being vacated from new construction: Calvin Hall, Holtz Hall, Foundation Tower and Nichols Hall.
  6. Expand the chilled water capacity on campus to absorb the additional growth of square footage being built on campus, and upgrade the existing chilled water distribution piping to increase the flow and create redundancy in the system. Replace chillers at the end of their lifecycle with more efficient chillers.
  7. Manage the construction of major capital improvement projects on campus ensuring project is within budget and completed timely: College of Engineering renovation and expansion, College of Business Administration building, Bill Snyder Family Stadium expansion, Wefald Residence Hall and Dining Center, Berney Family Welcome Center, K-State Student Union renovation, and Seaton Hall renovation and expansion.

Theme VII – Athletics

  1. Complete and open Vanier Football Complex.
  2. Secure $8 million in philanthropic pledges for Bill Snyder Family Stadium Phase IIIB and $13 million in total funding. Proceed with construction in time for 2016 season.
  3. Complete reconstruction of soccer/football practice fields and prepare for inaugural season of K-State soccer, continuing K-State's commitment to enhancing opportunities for female student-athletes.
  4. Develop long-term improvement plans and funding strategies for soccer, baseball, golf, volleyball and track facilities.
  5. Implement new cost-of-attendance scholarship model.
  6. Reassess and update 2010 KSA strategic plan.
  7. Work with Big 12 Conference and NCAA to develop concepts for explaining the benefits of participation in collegiate athletics for students who plan non-athletic careers.

K-State 2025 Common Elements

Diversity
  1. Continue to integrate diversity messages in all internal and external communications including the support of community-specific communications campaigns for recruiting purposes.
  2. Secure two $2.5 million+ lead gifts for $16 million Campus Multicultural Center.
  3. Continue the K-State Alumni Association’s focus on growth of multicultural and international programing.
International
  1. Promote communications for support of the Office of International Programs and Office of the Provost initiatives, including the Confucius Institute.
Sustainability
  1. Hire a K-State sustainability director to work with the university community to advance the K-State 2025 sustainability plan.
  2. Promote the communication of the K-State 2025 sustainability strategic plan.
  3. Develop a new campus transportation system that shifts vehicular traffic off of core campus streets. Explore implementation and funding of a park and ride system that provides easy access parking on the perimeter of campus with shuttle routes running routinely throughout campus to efficiently move students, faculty, staff and visitors around campus.
  4. Develop a campus-wide enterprise risk management assessment.
Communications and Marketing
  1. Continue efforts to integrate creative themes and elements across all platforms, refreshing overall web presence, institutional television spot and print advertising templates. Extend creative concept across platforms and campuses.
  2. Establish a community-focused Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities, and Discovery communications and marketing strategy.
  3. Continue to enhance and execute Corporate Engagement marketing and communications plan.
  4. Enhance reporting K-State 2025 progress with an updated website and aligned university, college, and department annual reporting.
External Constituents
  1. Create an online networking opportunity for alumni and students to support the global alumni Wildcat community.
  2. Redesign and rebrand the monthly @K-State newsletter that reaches over 90,000 members of the Wildcat community.
  3. Establish an annual Excellence Award to recognize a K-State graduate of distinction by the Alumni Association.
Culture
  1. Promote the cultural opportunities of Kansas State University to increase visitation and awareness of University Gardens; Beach Museum of Art; Department of Art; School of Music, Theatre, and Dance; and McCain Auditorium performing arts series.
  2. Increase student attendance to the Beach Museum of Art by 500 (7.5 percent increase.)
  3. Increase number of McCain patrons by 7.5 percent to 425.
  4. Integrate undergraduate and graduate students into the Beach Museum and McCain Auditorium via educational programming, public exhibits and performances.
Funding
  1. Grow KSU Foundation endowment assets to more than $525 million.
  2. Raise total new gifts and pledges of $140 million in FY 2016.
  3. Raise in excess of $750 million towards $1 billion goal in Innovation and Inspiration Campaign by October 2015.
  4. Support “Innovation and Inspiration” campaign from launch through completion by integrating messages into all university platforms.
  5. Implement new budget request process developed by the University Budget Advisory Committee for increased transparency and closer alignment to K-State 2025 goals and outcomes.
  6. Continue to adapt to the changing state funding model by identifying additional strategies for revenue generation and/or cost savings or internal reallocations to support university priorities.
Technology
  1. Deploy media asset management tool providing improved search, sharing and archiving of video, audio and photographic assets.
  2. Research social media management tools to aggregate across platforms and provide real-time reporting for crisis management situations.
  3. Select and deploy a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system in collaboration with Information Technology Services (ITS) and other key corporate engagement collaborating units.
  4. Develop a plan and identify funding to implement common data warehousing and dashboards to assist in strategic financial decisions.
  5. Select and deploy a web-based research educational training program for Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities, and Discovery investigators.
  6. Deploy a commercial software package for job applicant tracking to implement recommendations made to streamline hiring at K-State.

If you have made it this far in this long list of goals, I congratulate you. This list is ambitious, and I appreciate the K-State family as we strive together to improve our university. I know you have additional goals and objectives for the upcoming academic year, and good luck to each of you as we start the 2015-16 academic year!

Go Cats!

Kirk