Letters from the Vice Provost
January 13, 2015
I offer the second quarterly update from the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies.
Of the 87 action items in the Theme II Implementation Plan first submitted by Vice President Bosco and me in December 2012, we estimate that at least 27 have been completed and that 44 are currently in progress. With last year's record 83.27 percent first-to-second year retention rate, Kansas State University has already achieved an important 2015 milestone in our implementation timeline.
Analysis provided by Education Advisory Board consultants last fall demonstrated that K-State undergraduates are making excellent progress toward graduation. Excluding five-year and de facto five-year programs of study, students require on average approximately eight semesters to graduate. Perfect.
The Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry launched a competitive grant program last semester. Twenty of the nearly 100 submitted proposals were funded. Congratulations are due to all the participants and especially to the inaugural grant recipients and their faculty mentors.
Due to the fruitful collaboration between the Information Systems Office and the K-State advising community, the fall semester witnessed the advent of a new KSU Advisor Center. Usage is as high as user praise. Additional significant upgrades are planned for the spring and summer.
The College of Education's inaugural screening of "A Walk in My Shoes: First Generation College Students," brought further attention, including that of First Lady Michelle Obama, to K-State's founding land-grant mission to serve students who aspire to be the first in their family to earn bachelor's degrees. More work needs to be done, however, as recent data shows that fewer than half of K-State's first-generation students have gone on in fact to earn bachelor's degrees at K-State. Program note: Rusty Earl's moving film will air at 8 p.m. Jan. 23 on PBS stations across Kansas.
The honor and integrity system received Faculty Senate approval last semester for an expansion of the Honor Council. As a result and due to the much-appreciated efforts of faculty, staff and student volunteers, the time required to fully and fairly consider each case has dropped significantly.
The K-State 8 Council last semester submitted its initial and generally positive report to the provost. The council is encouraging and supporting expansion of assessment methods as well as improved communication with instructors concerning K-State 8 General Education guidelines and goals.
Kansas State University expects to soon conclude an agreement with the University of Kansas which will permit our pre-law students to benefit from interaction with KU Law faculty and, after three years of undergraduate study, accelerated admission and scholarship support at the KU School of Law.
Stephanie Banister, Louise Benjamin and I participated in the November 2014 biennial national meeting of the Reinvention Center in Washington, D.C. In December, I joined Justin Kastner and University Honors Program students for an immersion trip to the Dallas area. In February, I plan to join our K-State First team at the 34th annual First Year Experience national conference, also in Dallas.
Happy New Year!
Steven P. Dandaneau, Ph.D.
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies