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Office of the President

Letters to Campus

December 2010

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Greetings from Anderson Hall! The semester is drawing to a close, which means that everyone is incredibly busy finishing up grading, trying to complete all of the material listed on the syllabus, and in general winding down what has been an incredibly busy semester.

So far, we have been blessed with reasonable weather, albeit a little colder than we might sometimes like. I would like to remind everyone to check our weather policy online. As a reminder, our policy calls for the Vice President for Administration and Finance to evaluate conditions on campus during inclement weather, and to call me at about 5:30 a.m. with a recommendation on closure. We will always post a message on the main university website that details our weather status, and we have elected this year to use the text messaging service to send short messages detailing conditions on campus during inclement weather. As in previous years, we will also communicate any closures through the radio and other media. Generally, you should ALWAYS assume that campus is open unless you hear differently. If you have any questions or concerns about our campus weather policy, please drop me a note.

This month, I want to focus the remainder of my letter on K-State 2025. Over the past several months, we have selected our major goal -- to be recognized as a Top 50 Public Research University by 2025. We have facilitated campus-wide involvement in reviewing benchmarking data surrounding our eight nationally-recognized benchmarks, and we have received significant feedback on the overall goal and benchmarking data. I appreciate the strong level of involvement and dialog on-campus and off-campus thus far -- which is critical to the long-term success of the K-State 2025 planning process.

One of my concerns when initiating and delivering the benchmarking presentation to campus is that members of the K-State family would hold back and not share their honest feelings about our Top 50 goal. Boy, was I ever wrong! We received many frank and honest responses focused on the benchmarking data which brought forward constructive suggestions on the future of Kansas State University.

All of the data from the focus groups and our online responses is now compiled and listed on the K-State 2025 website. I invite you to scan the comments and suggestions which were put forward. These comments come from more than 450 participants in 49 focus groups along with 166 online participants. This level of involvement is outstanding -- and I appreciate the time that many of you took in providing feedback to us on our benchmarking data and Top 50 goal.

So, we have completed Step 2 as identified on the K-State 2025 timeline -- what is next? Step 3 in the process is to examine all of the data described above, and to use this information to choose themes which have arisen out of the focus group sessions. These K-State 2025 themes should be broad university-wide themes that are appropriate for K-State to use to develop a 15-year visionary plan. Additionally, there should be room for everyone at K-State to fit their expertise and passion under one of the proposed themes. Stated another way -- there must be room in the K-State 2025 visionary plan for everyone in the K-State family!

The president's cabinet looked over the focus group and online data, and in conjunction with the Faculty Senate, Classified Senate, and Student Senate, proposes the following university-wide themes for the K-State 2025 plan:

Theme 1: Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activities

Theme 2: Undergraduate Educational Experience

Theme 3: Graduate Scholarly Experience

Theme 4: Faculty and Staff

Theme 5: Facilities and Infrastructure

Theme 6: Engagement and Extension

Theme 7: Athletics

The next step in the planning process is to assemble a committee of faculty, staff, students, and alumni to develop a set of clear goals and objectives for each theme (thus, seven different committees). These committees will be selected in collaboration with the Faculty Senate Committee on University Planning (FSCOUP), the Classified Senate, and the Student Senate. Each committee will have no more than 12 members, and will be tasked with developing a vision in each thematic area that will consist of a long-term plan with measurable goals and objectives. This step will take several months, and should start at the beginning of the Spring 2011 semester.

As you look through the proposed themes, there are several university-wide initiatives that really should be incorporated into each theme. These are key educational items that transcend inclusion into a single theme -- but rather are university-wide issues that need to be considered in all that we do. As such, we have identified seven proposed common elements that must be included in each thematic area. These common elements include: Diversity, International, Sustainability, Communications and Marketing, Service and Outreach, External Constituents, and Culture.

While we have included a significant number of people in the K-State 2025 planning process, I am committed to pausing as we move forward to provide an opportunity for the K-State community to provide feedback and suggestions. We want to ask "what have we missed with our proposed seven different proposed themes?" What university-wide issues are missing in the seven proposed common elements? I invite you to go to the K-State 2025 website and provide us with your feedback and suggestions.

My goal at the end of the K-State 2025 planning process is to have a visionary plan that is inclusive of the K-State family, is exciting and innovative, and most importantly, is a plan that has enjoyed campus wide involvement and participation.

If at the end of this process, our faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends consider K-State 2025 "Kirk's plan" and not the university's plan, then we will never accomplish our Top 50 goal. So, my wish for this holiday season is for you to continue to participate, to continue to dialog with colleagues, and to continue to be involved to help make our K-State 2025 visionary plan "yours"!

Go Cats!