From the Provost's Desk

September 4, 2014

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to our new academic year! The president and I have begun our annual college/major unit fall visits this past week, beginning with administration and finance units as well as our new Division of Human Capital Services, Division of Communications and Marketing, K-State Salina, and vice president for research, president and provost offices. This year we have asked our two new vice presidents, Karen Burg and Cheryl Johnson, to join us whenever possible. One of my favorite parts of the year are these visits when we have the opportunity to go out and spend time with all of you, sharing progress, hearing from you, and talking about what's coming next. We are hearing about many exciting initiatives and opportunities across all our campuses: Manhattan, Salina, Olathe and the Global Campus. Continued diversity planning and our upcoming university climate survey are two of those initiatives you will be hearing a lot more about this fall.

Diversity is one of the common elements of the K-State 2025 visionary plan. As I read the K-State 2025 unit plans, diversity is in each and every one. The diversity efforts are many and different — attracting diverse students, recruiting a diverse workforce, diversifying elements of our curriculum and providing services for diverse audiences. The plans are exciting to read and show our commitment to the effort. Diversity efforts on the Kansas State University campuses are distributed across academic units, student and staff services units, offices and reporting structures, as these efforts should be. No one unit or office can or should be responsible for diversity efforts on our university.

The President's Commission on Multicultural Affairs had been working on updating our previous diversity strategic plan and I asked that they continue their planning to result in a diversity strategic plan for our K-State 2025 effort. The draft plan was posted for comment last spring and many responded. We heard your voices. Comments on the plan are here.

Analyzing the comments, it is clear we have a good plan as far as it goes — but it did not go far enough and was not inclusive enough to be our university diversity plan. I plan this fall to invite members of our greater university population to come together and take this plan further, including actions for groups who felt they were not included in the draft plan. I feel we need a diversity and inclusion plan that speaks to all individuals of Kansas State University. Our facilitated planning work will start this fall and will be informed by the upcoming climate survey. A new draft plan will be released in the spring and it is my intention to have a finalized diversity plan before the end of spring semester 2015.

K-State 2025 plans have all been released in draft form for comment. The comments we received on the draft diversity plan helped us plan the way forward to create a plan that will be comprehensive, that will look beyond current reporting structures, and will set the course for our university to be more accepting and understanding of differences and welcoming and inclusive for all.

We heard your compliments and concerns. You assisted us in plotting a different way forward.

Thank you!

   April Mason