Letters to campus
May 4, 2011
Dear Faculty and Staff,
Greetings this month from Anderson Hall. I know this is a busy time of year as everyone finishes final grading with graduation and exam week right around the corner. I continue to be impressed with the terrific attitudes of our faculty and staff, and appreciate the positive environment on our campus.
April 2011 was a historic month for Kansas State University as we opened our third campus in Olathe, Kan. Given the tough economic times in many states, it is incredible that Kansas State is able to aggressively expand our presence in the greater Kansas City metropolitan area. I appreciate the vision of President Wefald and his leadership team in recognizing the critical importance of making this a reality.
When our expansion into the Kansas City area was announced several years ago, the name of our third campus was slated to be the "Kansas State University Olathe Innovation Campus." In keeping with a consistent message of branding, the official name of the campus is simply "Kansas State University Olathe" or alternatively K-State Olathe. In this way we use a similar naming convention as our other two campuses — K-State Salina and K-State Manhattan.
This campus would not be possible without funding received from the citizens of Johnson County, who voted themselves a tax increase in November 2008 to support an increased higher education presence in Johnson County. The 1/8 cent sales tax increase provides funds to the Johnson County Education and Research Triangle (commonly known as JCERT) Authority, which in turn distributes these funds for the K-State Olathe campus, expansion of the University of Kansas Edwards campus, and to support the University of Kansas School of Medicine's Phase I Clinical Trials program. In total, we receive approximately $5 million per year to fund operations and programming at K-State Olathe from JCERT funds.
The original legislation passed allows us to use the JCERT funds for operations and to support programming in the animal health and food safety areas. For any programming outside of these areas, we will need to provide central funds to supplement the JCERT dollars. As such, we have committed to providing $250,000 this fiscal year, which will increase to $500,000 annually next year to assist with initiatives outside of animal health and food safety at K-State Olathe. As an example, some of these funds were used to invest in hiring a full-time development officer for the K-State Olathe campus, which in turn will allow us to aggressively pursue philanthropic gifts to support our newest campus. Given the size of our total university budget, $500,000 per year is not a significant amount of funding; indeed we could spend much more than this easily on programming at Olathe. However, given our current budget situation, we will need to be prudent with our resources as we build up programming in Olathe.
Over the last two years, we have worked with several groups on campus to develop an initial set of programs at K-State Olathe. The following initiatives represent our initial set of offerings in Olathe:
1. Urban Water Institute. The institute will focus on a variety of issues surrounding urban water usage in major metropolitan areas. Plans are under way for a state-of-the-art research laboratory that will support doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers.
2. U.S.-China Center for Animal Health. The center will partner with government and private institutions in China to develop novel vaccine technologies and products for the Chinese animal health market.
3. Center for Animal Health Innovation. This industry-led center, funded by an initial grant of $1 million from the Kansas Bioscience Authority, will focus on developing partnerships and opportunities for collaboration surrounding animal health initiatives along the animal health corridor.
4. Sensory Analysis Laboratory. This research laboratory will make use of the larger population base of the Kansas City area to enable greater testing of various food-based products.
5. Industry Partnerships for Food Safety and Security. Sysco Kansas City is our first industry partner in the general area of food safety and security. This partnership will allow Sysco and K-State Olathe to develop programs to educate and influence consumer behavior, create a shared message for food safety and practices, and leverage relationships with our respective customers and community partners.
These initiatives are all exciting opportunities for Kansas State University. What isn't on the list yet are academic programs that will be exclusive to the Olathe campus. Presently, we are in discussions with the University of Kansas Edwards campus about offering a joint Professional Science Masters (PSM) degree program starting sometime in 2012. We are also considering other hybrid degree offerings making effective use of our expertise in distance education coupled with some of our unique strengths in agriculture, science and engineering. At present, we don't plan to offer any undergraduate degree programs in Olathe. There are many educational institutions offering terrific undergraduate degree programs, and I would like us to focus on a mission of graduate education and research in Olathe.
Our Olathe campus is led by Dan Richardson, who serves as chief executive officer of K-State Olathe. I would like to express my appreciation for the outstanding job Dan has done in getting this campus up and operational. John Pascarella serves as associate dean for academic and research programs, and is tasked with helping to develop our academic program offerings. I know that both of these K-State Olathe leaders would be pleased to answer any questions you might have about the Olathe campus or use of our new facility there.
So, we have a beautiful 100,000-square-foot modern teaching and research facility in the largest metropolitan area in this region. What ideas do you have that we should consider at our Olathe campus? Drop me a note with suggestions on how we can build a wonderful third campus for Kansas State University.