Letters to campus
May 24, 2012
Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,
Well, we made it through another semester successfully! In early June, I will have completed three years serving as your president – and the time has gone by very quickly. If I have counted correctly, this is my 49th letter to campus and I continue to enjoy sharing with you my thoughts and aspirations for Kansas State University. If the next three years are anything like my first three years, we are in for a fun and exhilarating ride!
We had a huge turnout for the special session of the Faculty Senate focused on salaries. A number of good ideas were put forward during the session by faculty and staff members regarding creative ways to find additional funds for salaries and benefits. Moreover, several faculty and staff members have sent me emails expressing concern over salaries and suggesting some actions the university could take to increase faculty and unclassified staff compensation.
As I mentioned at the special session, I will work with the senior leadership team at the university, as well as faculty and staff governance groups to construct a plan to address salary issues. As you might know, the Kansas Legislature adjourned this past Sunday night for the year. Unfortunately, no salary increases were passed for state employees. However, there will be a yet-to-be defined group of classified staff who will receive a market increase. At this time we do not know who will be included in the fourth group that was identified in 2007. Please stay tuned for more information and be aware that April and I will brief the campus on our plans during our August and September meetings with colleges and similar units.
Each year, my performance as president of Kansas State is reviewed by the nine-member Kansas Board of Regents. I submit a lengthy document which discusses progress made across the Kansas State campuses as a whole and includes updates on achievement of goals from the previous year as well as proposed goals for the upcoming year. In general, the Regents were pleased with the K-State 2025 planning process, our progress in fundraising, and our senior leadership team. During the upcoming year, they would like to ensure that I am putting additional effort into increasing the cooperation with the University of Kansas on joint academic and research projects.
So what are my goals for the upcoming year? As I did last year, I would like to share with you my agreed-upon goals as approved in April 2012 by the Kansas Board of Regents.
- Fundraising and Development
- Increase total gift activity to $130M in FY 2012.
- Secure total gifts and pledges in excess of $10M designated for the Campus Welcome Center.
- Recognize major donors (500K+) and chair holders with an Anderson Hall display wall (similar to major giving societies and corporate/foundation recognition displays) to promote the establishment of additional endowed positions.
- Research and Scholarship
- Increase new grant and contract activity to $160M during the upcoming year.
- Develop a fundraising plan for an interdisciplinary research building.
- Identify five to seven key research focus areas for K-State that can be used for future planning purposes.
- Develop a plan to appropriately staff the Office of Research to assist K-State faculty and staff with large proposal ($1M+) preparation similar to that done at N.C. State.
- Identify and publicize several key joint University of Kansas and Kansas State University research initiatives.
- Complete fundraising for the West Stadium Project to enhance Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
- Enhance the engagement experience of our international alumni by increasing international alumni events from 10 to 20 in FY 2012-2013.
- Continue to further define the K-State Alumni Association "link for life" brand with the alumni clubs throughout the United States and abroad. Develop signage for all alumni clubs and plan an alumni leadership conference for the fall of 2012.
- Increase event attendance by 5 percent above final 2011–2012 number (which will be in excess of 63,000).
- Continue to research scholarship fundraising opportunities for out-of-state alumni clubs through special events and explore adding a gala event in Denver (similar to Wabash Cannonball) in FY 2013-2014.
- Government Relations
- Continue to work with the Kansas delegation, the Office of the Governor, and the Kansas Legislature to secure funding for the construction of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF).
- Communications and Marketing
- Complete deployment of the enterprise-wide web content management system (CMS) integrating 90 percent of colleges and major university units into a consistent look and feel.
- Aggressively develop a robust application for mobile computing devices (tablets/smartphones) and achieve 5,000 downloads by FY 2014. The application will include a campus tour, news, and other functionality of interest to prospective and current students.
- Launch an integrated marketing campaign (Wildcat Way) designed to raise the profile of the university at the state, local, and national levels.
- Create the Center for Social Media within the Division to provide coordination, training and support for the university, with the goal of increasing the user base by 25 percent.
- Continue centralizing communications units across campus in support of the One-K-State, One-Voice initiative.
- Consistently brand 90 percent of colleges, departments, academic units, and offices by FY 2014.
- Administration and Finance
- Examine and evaluate Responsibility Centered Management (RCM) budget models for possible use at Kansas State University in future years.
- Develop and disseminate a timetable/calendar for annual budget development.
- Academic Affairs
- Hire a vice provost for undergraduate affairs to complete restructuring in the provost's office.
- Complete the Research Experience for Undergraduates at K-State task force and begin implementation of recommendations.
- Open a K-State office in Australia.
- Participate in peer-university visits to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
- Increase the number of Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science from 13 to 18.
- Student Life
- Maintain our status as the top choice among Kansas high school graduating seniors for fall 2012.
- Engage in "open-forum" Facebook and Twitter chats periodically with current students, faculty, and alumni.
- Complete planning for a new first-year residence hall to accommodate student growth.
- Corporate Engagement Office
- Hired Richard Potter to serve as director of our new Corporate Engagement Office which will coordinate corporate engagement throughout K-State's three campuses — Manhattan, Salina and Olathe — and the Kansas State University Foundation. He will help the university support a corporation's goals and maximize its connection to the university. Corporations and K-State can partner on everything from student internships to product research and development.
- Personal Development
- Choose one "out-of-office" professional development opportunity for the upcoming year to help improve fundraising and development.
Are these aggressive goals for Kansas State for the upcoming academic year? Absolutely. Will we reach and attain every one of these goals? Probably not. However, like many of you, I feel it is important that I set stretch goals which are possible but which will need a continued team effort to achieve.
If you have any questions on any of these goals please do not hesitate to reach out and send me a question or comment. I hope that all of you have a productive summer!