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2025 Visionary Plan

If you have questions or comments, or suggestions, please send an email to 2025@k-state.edu

Feedback for Theme 2: Undergraduate Educational Experience

Thematic Goal
Build a connected, diverse, empowered, engaged, participatory culture of learning and excellence that promotes undergraduate student success and prepares students for their professional, community, social, and personal lives.

What is missing that should be added?
What activities or outcomes are no longer needed?
General suggestions and comments

What is missing that should be added?

Affordability. Our enrollment is suffering from a lack of focus on need based scholarships. I support refocusing university fundraising and resources on student need based scholarships. It's as simple as: more money for scholarships = more students at K-State = more students staying in Kansas = more tax revenue and economic output. It's that simple. If more students can afford to come here, they will come. That's key to our land grant mission.
What is missing is a consideration not just of increasing student financial aid, but refocusing it to aid in retention. In many universities in Scotland, financial aid is tied to successful completion of degree programs, not first year recruitment.   For example, the major financial aid is given in the final year of the program - complete the first 3 years with a 2.5 GPA and tuition for the final year is paid. This encourages student retention rather than encouraging students to come and leave after they have spent all their financial aid the first year.
We are missing an aspect of a culture of wellness on campus. An integrated focus on the well-being of students, staff and faculty. This culture will build a foundation for students to grow, learn about how to holistically address their needs, and create life-long habits and knowledge to shape their future. This actually align with activity one listed above. We have many resources on campus to accomplish this culture of wellness, it is just currently siloed and not able to be a concerted effort. 
We are missing an emphasis on student wellness and healthy functioning.
The plan seems to well cover the academic and training side of the undergraduate student experience quite well. It's inspiring and makes me want to be a student again. What appears to be missing is attention to students' well-being. Our society and what's evidenced by this plan is an on-going push to do and be more.   That, in addition to all the transitions that happen during college and emerging adulthood is a lot of pressure to put on students. I think it's prudent that included in the revised 2025 plan is attention to students' emotional and physical well-being, including efforts to help them learn to take care of their needs. This includes emotion regulation skills, problem solving skills, and improved interpersonal skills. To meet these ends, supporting the Lafene Health Center and Counseling Services office could be quite helpful. Both provide services that help students with growth and self-understanding and help equip them with tools (e.g., medication, psychotherapy, nutrition counseling) that can be crucial for success in college. When students do seek these services, running into waitlists is not helpful. Increasing the staff at both agencies and supporting staff development and self-care so that they can be present and at their best to be able to help students is so important. I believe this is also likely the case for staff at Office of Student Life whose caseloads appear to grow and grow as the semester goes on and the stress rises for students. We must take care of each other and we must be able to take care of ourselves in order to help students be at their best.
Administrational Transparency--You guys make choices as though you don't think yourself accountable to your undergraduate students. This is disrespectful to us, and it shows that you don't value us as functioning adults with merited interests and perspectives. The administration's actions throughout the lawsuits this year were reprehensible, and made me uncomfortable as a female student. I love K-State. I truly believe the administration wants the best for us. That's why the dismissive and vague response to the events was so frustrating.
Ensuring graduates are ready to adapt to and compete with the threat of workforce automation.
Training of educators!!! Hiring educators who WANT to teach.
I think that part of "better advising" should include a consistent advising program across campus, so students switching majors can do so more smoothly, and all students get the same advising experience no matter their college. I would also like to see advising more focused on students' goals for their career (for example go to nursing school, get my CPA, etc.), rather than simply checking boxes to fulfill requirements for graduation from K-State. It would also help if all students were required to develop a long-range plan for their courses and update that as their goals change. This would help students by providing direction and better planning in the earlier semesters. Too many students are unaware of exactly what requirements they have yet to meet, and end up cramming in as much as possible their senior year. I think many students would appreciate some reassurance that their teacher evaluations are being heard. I actually had a teacher tell our class that nobody would see the evaluations except for her, so it wouldn't matter what we said. This has to change if students are to feel that their opinions have any respect from faculty at all. Additionally, I think it would be hugely beneficial for the University if colleges were to show more support and interaction with each other. Right now there seems to be some hostility between colleges for various reasons, and if they could work together a little more on projects or objectives I think that would help the campus attitude in general.
Administrators need to see the connection between "excellent academic advising" and creating a career path for advisors, so they feel valued, which contributes to advisor retention and "excellent, customized academic advising".
K-State has an Honors Program pretty much in name only.   A subset of top students--especially in the humanities--currently have no real incentive to stay at K-State over KU, from an academic standpoint. Without this an related areas being addressed, it's hard to see how to address the concern of attractive and keeping top students in all disciplines.
We must diversity our student body not only in culture but in age.   Why do we not place greater emphasis on recruitment of adults who started a degree but did not finish or who wish to start a degree or to re-career? It is perplexing that we place so much emphasis on high school students. KSU is way behind on recognizing its commitment to the rest of the citizens beyond 18 to 23 years of age. Adults need the flexible course hours on weekends, evenings and online or summer intensive courses.   They need professional development and UG and Grad degrees. 

What activities or outcomes are no longer needed?

#10 is so vague as to be meaningless.

General suggestions and comments

I think this is one of the more tangible 2025 initiatives and really one of our strengths. We have poured resources into UG teaching and especially research and it shows! This has always been an area where we excel and adding research engagement extends the success of our students.
A lot of emphasis is placed on students being successful and striving for excellence. I believe a major piece of this is supporting them in their wellbeing (physical health, mental health, coping strategies, building resilience). This wellness piece will support them both in their academic and professional lives but also in their personal lives. If students are not developing resiliency, they will not be able to maintain long-term success.
Professional development for educators, on pedagogy, will vastly improve how they teach. We can have more engaged classrooms where retention rate is vastly improved.
It isn't that there are things that aren't needed, but some things that need to be refocused. For example, we keep focusing on the "student experience". That is important but focusing on that to the exclusion of rigor in courses is detrimental long-term. We need a good student experience, but we also need to provide a high quality rigorous education - that almost is de-emphasized in this document with "hire good teachers". Where is "create rigorous programs that meet current workforce needs".
Some of our syllabi need to be updated, but this is regular maintenance one does at an institution of higher learning.
If we don't do this well, we need to lock the doors and walk away. We need to value diverse academic programs to be a university so don't start cutting "expensive" programs, academic areas like philosophy, that are perceived as unnecessary by those who do not appreciate the need for well-educated citizens to support democracy, quality of life, and ingenuity needed to make discoveries and drive the economy.
There is an obvious prima facie conflict between a) the enhanced undergraduate experience, and b) enhanced faculty research output in line with top 50 R1 institutions. Though a) and b) are not in principle always in conflict, in many areas of research it is inevitable that without more resources (including faculty lines to lower class sizes), realizing a) will come as the expense of b), or vice versa.
I think we have made significant process on improving the educational experience of students here through the Kstate First programs, which have improved retention and graduation rates. However, we have not made adequate progress in terms of improving diversity. I was very disappointed to learn that the plan to improve diversity was to hire two more administrators! The gold standard to improving diversity is to hire more women and people of color into faculty positions. The plan to implement a bystander intervention program, however, should be applauded, as it should communicate quite clearly that sexual assault is not tolerated at Kstate. Bystander intervention, though, will not be sufficient. We must also clearly communicate that sexual assault, both on and off campus, will be investigated and sanctioned. Otherwise, the university gives a free pass to students to commit sexual assault at fraternities, which is where many of my students who have been raped tell me the assault occurred.