November 26, 2012
A case of excellence: University President Kirk Schulz named 2012 CASE Executive Leader of the Year
While Kansas State University is on its way to becoming a Top 50 public research university, its president is being recognized as a leader in higher education.
Kirk Schulz, Kansas State University president, is receiving the 2012 Chief Executive Leadership Award by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, or CASE. The award recognizes the leadership of a higher education chief executive officer who demonstrates the ability to create a vision and inspire others.
The award will be presented to Schulz on Dec. 11 at the council's District V and VI joint conference in Chicago.
"I was so surprised to learn that I had been nominated for the council's Chief Executive Leadership Award, and was even more surprised to learn that I had received it," Schulz said. "According to the selection committee's comments, they were thoroughly impressed with the initiatives started at Kansas State University and the strides we've made since I joined in 2009. Committee members were also enthused by the comprehensive K-State 2025 plan that will elevate Kansas State to a Top 50 public research university by 2025."
According to the criteria used by the selection committee, Chief Executive Leadership Award recipients have established a positive image for the institution; increased the institution's stature in the community; encouraged innovation among employees; and actively supported advancement.
"In less than four years at the helm, Kirk Schulz has made a significant impact on the university, building on and even surpassing accomplishments made by prior presidents with decades of experience in the position," said Kent Bradley, K-State Alumni Association board chairman. "It's obvious that he is passionate about Kansas State University and gives tirelessly to actively support the advancement of the university."
On behalf of the K-State Alumni Association, Bradley nominated Schulz for the award with a letter highlighting some of his accomplishments.
Shortly after arriving at Kansas State University, Schulz began unifying the various communications offices across campus. The strategy, One K-State, One Voice, brands the university with unified messages that enhance its national image, Bradley said.
To further strengthen and unify the university, Schulz -- a consummate communicator -- invests countless hours visiting with students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, community leaders, reporters, industry leaders, elected officials and government leaders to share university updates and solicit feedback and comments. He often shares this feedback to his thousands of Twitter followers.
In his first 18 months, Schulz developed K-State 2025, a future vision for Kansas State University as a Top 50 public research university. The plan, which includes metrics and expected outcomes, has been met with excitement from the university and alumni community. Similarly, the Kansas Board of Regents recognized it as a model for reinventing and transforming land-grant institutions.
The university's stature has also increased locally, nationally and globally. Schulz is involved in numerous organization and boards, works with the Kansas congressional delegation, the office of the governor and the Kansas Legislature. He also plays a significant role in continuing the momentum for the federal National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, which will be built on campus.
Schulz is recognized as an effective leader in the higher education community. This was especially evident when the Big 12 Conference was facing significant challenges in 2011, Bradley said. Schulz was placed in a leadership role to develop a strategy to stabilize the conference, select new leadership and move the conference forward. His involvement and the results were met with many accolades across the nation.
Schulz began his position as the university's 13th president in 2009, when the nation was experiencing one of its most difficult economies in history. Since then, he has also overseen record student enrollment every year; the opening of a new graduate-level campus in Olathe; a new era of athletics transparency that has fueled donor resurgence and doubled athletics contributions in three years; a record $137 million in research funding brought in by faculty in fiscal year 2011-2012; the opening of a recruitment office in Vietnam; the start of academic and research initiatives with Australia; three consecutive years of record gift giving to the Kansas State University Foundation; the recruitment of high-profile faculty and staff, including the first National Academy of Sciences member at the university; the continuation of the K-State Alumni Association's ranking, with nearly 39,000 members, as No. 1 in the Big 12 for percentage of graduates who are members; and represents the Big 12 Conference on the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Board of Directors.
"President Schulz has had an enormous effect on Kansas State University in a very short period of time," Bradley said. "Those of us who have had the opportunity to work with him have witnessed firsthand his incredible leadership. At the core, he is successful in large part because he is sincere, he has integrity, he cares and he genuinely wants the best for the university and its stakeholders. He is, without a doubt, the right leader at the right time for Kansas State University."