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K-State Today

December 12, 2014



K-State 2025 Snapshots of Success: Faculty and Staff (Theme 5) and Facilities and Infrastructure (Theme 6)

By President Kirk Schulz and Provost April Mason

President Kirk Schulz and Provost April Mason

When the K-State 2025 initiative began in 2010, we heard loud and clear from focus groups and online comments that areas of utmost importance to the future of K-State were faculty and staff as well as facilities and infrastructure. These areas became two of our seven 2025 themes. Today we are continuing our visionary plan theme progress reports for the past academic year with Theme 5: Faculty and Staff and Theme 6: Facilities and Infrastructure.

Our Faculty and Staff goal is to "foster a work environment that encourages creativity, excellence, and high morale in faculty and staff, responds to changing needs, embraces diversity, values communication and collaboration, and is respectful, trusting, fair, and collegial for all." Our Theme 5 action plan envisions a talented and high performing, diverse workforce recognized for excellence and award-winning faculty and researchers; total compensation for faculty and staff competitive with aspirant university and regional employers; stable funding available for recruitment and retention of top level faculty and staff; and an optimal number of faculty and staff comparable with our benchmark institutions. 

Our Facilities and Infrastructure goal is to "provide facilities and infrastructure that meet our evolving needs at a competitive level with our benchmark institutions and are an asset to recruit and retain quality students, faculty, researchers, and staff." Our Theme 6 action plan envisions signature facilities that promote collaborative learning and working environments, multidisciplinary work, and integrated interaction between students, faculty, researchers, staff and administrators. It calls for high-quality, technology-enabled classroom space, research laboratories, and specialty spaces; well-maintained buildings, utilities, technology infrastructure, and grounds; and facilities and landscapes that enhance social interaction, learning, and collaboration consistent with the image of a highly ranked land-grant research and teaching institution.

In addition to the university visionary plan, virtually all the college and major unit strategic plans and their aligned fundraising goals include targeted outcomes for faculty and staff, and facilities and infrastructure. Major investments are being made in these two priority areas thanks in large part to the philanthropic giving of our alumni and friends, increased tuition and reallocation of our general use funds. We invite you to read the fall 2014 issue of "Good for K-State" to learn more about the impact that philanthropic giving is making in these areas. More details on the investment of general use funds to these areas can be found in the president's June 13, 2013 and June 30, 2014 letters to campus.

Faculty and Staff
We, as a university, made a decision several years ago to invest funds in faculty and staff as a strategic priority. Implementation of the first year of a three year compensation improvement plan to advance our goal for competitive compensation for faculty and staff started summer 2013. More than $13 million out of a $16.9 million in new base budget investment for FY 15 was approved for faculty and staff compensation and for new positions. It is too early to tell to what extent, if any, these investments are impacting our peer rankings in regard to competitive compensation, but these investments are significant during a time of fiscal constraint. Private giving also is increasing our endowment support for faculty. Ten new endowed faculty funds were established last year, bringing the total to 27 created since 2010. Fundraising activity on all endowed faculty funds increased from $6.5 million in FY 2013 to $14.4 million last year.

The number of faculty in full-time professor to instructor ranks increased by 115 between FY 12 and FY 14 as reported to the Oklahoma Salary Survey last year. We also have an increasingly diverse faculty population. The university's 2013-2014 full-time faculty numbers included a 14.29 percent increase in African-American members, a 3.51 percent increase in Asian faculty members, a 2.33 percent increase in Hispanic faculty, a 16.67 percent increase in Native American faculty, and a 10 percent increase in multiracial faculty. International visiting scholars also increased by approximately 20 percent, consistent with our internationalization plan directions.

Our classified staff voted last year to leave the state classified system to become unclassified university support staff. We want to thank the Alternative Services Committee for its work coordinating and facilitating the vote and transition planning for this very important change in our staffing. 

Creating and maintaining a welcoming and inclusive university community that promotes the success of all is vital to us. A university Climate Survey Committee was appointed last year to plan our first-ever university climate survey for all employees and students. That survey was implemented this fall and we will have the results to be shared across the university late spring 2015.

Facilities and Infrastructure
Walking across our campuses, you can see the impact of the first major investments in new academic facilities in many years. Over the past two years, the university invested $89.4 million in academic facilities and infrastructure capital improvements and deferred maintenance. An additional $167.1 million is planned for investment in FY 15 with $550 million planned over the next five years.

Last year, the state of Kansas provided $1.5 million for planning the Seaton Complex revitalization for our College of Architecture, Planning, & Design. The Mosier Hall Research Center construction was completed to house the Institute of Computational Comparative Medicine and the Nanotechnology Innovation Center. A Veteran's Center was created in the Student Union. Ground-breaking ceremonies were held for the Bulk Solids Innovation Center in Salina, the new $40 million wing on the Durland Hall engineering complex, and the new College of Business Administration building.

Planning moved forward for the new Equine Performance Testing Center, the Berney Family Welcome Center and Purple Mask Theater in the renovated Memorial Stadium; the new 540-bed Wefald residence hall and dining center; renovations for Kramer Dining Hall and the Marlatt and Goodnow residence halls, and an expansion and renovation of the K-State Student Union. You can find more details on our facilities and infrastructure improvements in the Aug. 1 K-State Today article.

Building on opportunities afforded by the construction of the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility (NABF), the university initiated development of a North Campus Corridor Master Plan with the City of Manhattan. A task force was appointed last spring to coordinate development of this plan, which will provide a road map for future growth and capital investment in our North Campus Corridor. 

In the short term, the university theme plans call for more effective, efficient and responsive administrative services in Faculty and Staff and Facilities and Infrastructure. Expected outcomes include integrated university HR processes that place employees in the right positions with the right skill sets at the right time as well as responsive, timely and strategic facilities services that are aligned with campus operational needs and future planning.

A nationwide search for the university's first vice president for human capital services was completed last spring with the hire of Cheryl Johnson and planning began for the consolidation and transformation of university HR-related structures, processes and services. The Division of Facilities reorganized with a new customer service center and implemented a new web-based facilities maintenance management system to improve their services and efficiency. These changes are laying the foundation for further improvements in these service areas. Colleges and major units also are making changes. For example, K-State Libraries reduced hiring time from posting to date of offer by 35 percent. We want to thank the individuals in these administrative areas for the work they are doing to benefit us all and ask for your patience, support and willingness to change as these services continue to evolve.

We can't end this letter without mentioning a topic that came up repeatedly during our fall visits. Many of you have asked what will happen with existing space when it becomes available as our new buildings are opened in the coming years. When we return for spring semester, we will develop a transparent space request and allocation process in consultation with our university community. By March, we hope to have a process by which ideas for space usage in buildings such as Calvin Hall can be proposed and considered. 

Look for another theme letter next week as we conclude with Theme 7: Athletics.

Go Cats and thanks for all you do!
President Kirk Schulz
Provost and Senior Vice President April Mason