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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 5: Faculty and Staff

Thematic Goal
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.

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?

As a 2025 skeptic (meaning, I don't believe under the current scheme of things this is realistic goal; though I applaud the goal in principle), faculty and staff need to be given more than buzz words and public relations verbiage; in particular, clear statement on how these goals will be attained.
We are missing an aspect of a culture of wellness on campus. An integrated focus on the well-being of students, staff and faculty.
There is a lack of emphasis on staff well-being. I would like to see some initiatives focused on the overall health and well-being of our faculty and staff (including mental health, physical health, emotional health, stress management, etc.).
In keeping with the work/life balance proposal, I suggest we move current work days from 7:30-4:30 with an option to take a 30 minute lunch break and be off at 4:00. This will ensure that those who commute to/from work get home at a reasonable hour to enjoy extra curricular activities with family. I commute from Junction City and as it stands now, I get off at 5 and by the time I pick up my 2 kids that I have in daycare, I get home at 6 PM which does not allow me to enroll them in any sports or attend any of their school events. This has forced me to look elsewhere for a job even if it means getting a pay cut.
This plan appears to prioritize what staff and faculty can do for the university and some attempts to attend to faculty and staff needs as they're providing service to the university. I would like to see the plan incorporate more attention to caring for the well-being of faculty and staff. I think the benefits and EAP at K-State are wonderful and have taken advantage of the resources. That said, the continued message to "do more with less" has been harmful to myself and the staff around me. It has created stress and strain which has affected both physical and mental health as well as the morale and interpersonal dynamics in the office- which is directly related to the thematic goal of Theme 5. We cannot continue to be asked to do more with less. I work in student services and being overworked and burned out only hurts me, my coworkers, and most importantly the students I work with, because I can't as effectively do my job (either because I'm at work and exhausted or I'm taking time off and therefore not available to students).   We need to find a way to hire more staff and share the workload. Students' needs, concerns, and crises will not decrease, therefore we need to respond to help them manage them, and we as staff need more help in doing this.   I also think it's very important to state that providing more staff for student support needs to be creatively funded in a way that doesn't result in charging the students more for tuition or fees (either privilege fee or a fee directly at the office they're seeking services from). Many students are already financially stressed (and those who are are sometimes the ones with the most need for additional help), so adding additional costs for them is not a viable option. Please help us help students by prioritizing the health and well-being of the staff and faculty. Related to above, I would like to see K-State an antibullying policy for both students and faculty/staff. Currently, staff are able to treat each other in very poor ways, which no recourse for the recipient. Although we have the Principles of Community, OIE, and unit policies around staff interactions, it can be very hard to prove discrimination particularly when it's subtle. So, when staff act out against other staff, and the burden falls on the person who received the mistreatment it's disheartening and bad for morale. I think helping staff take care of themselves could help reduce mistreatment due to mismanaged stress and clearer expectations and guidelines about what happens when a staff member is acting out would help protect those being mistreated.
Compensate the Talented and High performing diverse workforce of faculty and researchers that are already and have been for many years performing above and beyond the expectations of the departments.
Raises for unclassified professionals and University Support Staff, if the goal is to increase the # of faculty then staff should receive a raise to compensate for the increase in work load. 
We have not really had a raise in 10 years. The statements about compensation sounds hollow. What about faculty morale?
Unless you can find a way to properly update salaries of faculty and staff, make them competitive in the market AND reward merit, KState 2025 is a moot point. The University is only as good as the people in it. And people are leaving at every turn, mostly due to disheartened, frustrated lack of proper recognition of merit. Pick your battles and get your priorities straight. There is no amount of pats in the back that can compensate for poor salaries
Identify or create a stable source of funding for staff positions, including raises. 
This is a good plan, but due to the decision to fund facilities and other projects rather than adequately investing in faculty, the goal of compensating faculty adequately has been sorely neglected. I have been here for 27 years, and I'm not going anywhere else (except to retire within the next 4 years) but I have never seen morale among faculty so low as the present. In part, this is due to looking forward to armed students in July. But, if we were being paid decently to put our lives on the line to teach our students, faculty might cope better. As it is, good faculty seem to be leaving here in droves. It is a critical problem that should get top priority. I reiterate: there should be no NEW administrative positions filled, or NEW construction initiated until faculty salaries are improved.
A lot still needs to happen with the Total Rewards goal setting.   K-State's spending on support staff members at the Department level is out of control. State employees that hold the position of Administrative Assistant should not be making exorbitant amounts while others that perform professional work, such as finance and budgeting, are paid well under the national average.
Something needs to be said here about continued process improvement for the Total Rewards Initiative and addressing the salary inequity/compression that exists.
Regular equity checks to make sure that faculty and staff are compensated according to their actual output and merit. As it stands now, department heads have WAY TOO MUCH POWER to give raises and bonuses (in the form of summer salary, etc) to their most loyal faculty members while taking advantage of others.
Every faculty member should have an academic home.   Extension family and consumer field faculty do not have an academic home. We only have a dotted line in the Human Ecology academic infrastructure.   We are not recognized for faculty awards or included in graduations, automatically. It feels a little like we are seen as second class faculty.   Also, Extension truly needs a diverse workforce/faculty.
There need to be guidelines for such things as department votes on tenure. In our department (a major, PhD-granting one), faculty can vote "no" and have their votes counted without providing any explanation at all. When this has been done, usually the only reason is hostility towards women or towards people who actually do any work.Faculty need serious training on discrimination and implicit bias and fair hiring practices. There should be external members of every hiring committee to keep an eye on things.     There is still a huge amount of sexism in STEM fields and probably elsewhere.We cannot recruit -- and retain -- faculty of color or in other underrepresented groups without a tremendous amount more of support for them. We need concrete and visible programs on campus to make it clear what the tone of our institution is (ought to be, in fact). Faculty -- not just higher level staff -- need to be surveyed about their department's staff members. In my department the ones who are most incompetent have kept their positions by kowtowing to the department head, while they harass and mistreat other hard-working staff as well as faculty and graduate students. This has gone on for decades.More support is needed for female staff and faculty. Subsidized good quality childcare is critical.   The wait-lists on campus are long and the prices are crazy when compared with the starting salary of an assistant professor.
There needs to be more consistent guidelines for annual evaluations of staff. If you are doing a fantastic job, but your supervisor doesn't like you, you may get a low evaluation. There is no consistency between supervisors in filling out evaluations and no oversight or realistic means to contest a lower-than-expected evaluation. Also, if your evaluation is low, you are not eligible for any pay raises. This method of evaluating non tenure track employees is patently unfair and is used in my part of campus as a means to keep salaries below minimum competitive salaries in other institutions. I believe the university needs fewer new administrators and higher wages for the long-term survivors that work hard for far too few rewards. 
Implement a system of ANNUAL reviews for Administrators by faculty and staff (e.g. Deans and Central Administration). This is consistent with #10 Continue to reaffirm our tradition of shared governance.
What's missing in the College of Human Ecology is the actual activity of #10 - We have a total lack of "shared governance, transparency, timely communication, and inclusive participation." We need outcomes for administration regarding their performance, everything here is focused on "faculty achieving excellence in performing their jobs" - what about some evidence that our administrators are qualified to do what they are assigned to do in their leadership positions? They are supposed to be helping the rest of us do more with less. Maybe this theme needs to be updated to be "Faculty, Staff, and Administrative Leadership" ? That would be a better indicator that we all share in these responsibilities.
I don't see that there is shared governance any longer which is sad.   We no longer have annual reviews of our administration. I understand that that this is true for Deans across the campus and not only in Human Ecology. Faculty in Ag have told me they have called and asked the Provost to review their Dean but were told no. This is a serious issues when there is no over site other with such an institution of just a couple of individuals - such place can and in the case of our university IS going down hill fast. Administration just isn't seeing it because they are not getting feedback from the little people. In the college of Human Ecology we have a dictatorship. The faculty are scared to death to say anything as our Dean Buckwalter will and does not listen. All decisions are his. There is no transparency, communication and inclusiveness. People are losing their love that they have had for this institution.   There is so much apathy - all the way from the bottom to the top faculty.
Retaining USS Staff that have been here many years (25 to 45).   It seems to me that everything that has been implemented does nothing for USS Staff that has been here for a long time. Such as, more vacation leave. Example: I received 1.8 hrs with the change in vacation leave, but someone with two years received 96.2 hrs of leave.   Doesn't really help out the long term employees at all.
Employee recognition program for longevity and and for those who do an exceptional job. Cost of Living raises.

What activities or outcomes are no longer needed?

All of these useless training classes. What we really need are classes on how to hone current computer skills to keep up with the ever evolving software that we all use on a day to day basis.
If we are going to keep losing our funding, then can we reasonably say that we can that we can expect an outcome of retaining and recruiting qualified faculty. If we can't actually let staff go who are clearly not performing in their positions - why say it?

General suggestions and comments

I think this overall goal is good, but what does it mean. There are so many excellent faculty and we work and excel and get asked /told to do more and more. But the bottom line on all of these areas is resources. We cannot ever achieve the 2025 goals without more resources. And we do surveys, and more surveys. 3 years ago we did focus groups with expensive outside evaluators, and nothing seems to ever come of it. We get reports, but then we have another survey, like this one. Will we ever SEE changes? Not with current resource levels.
Unless you can find a way to properly update salaries of faculty and staff, make them competitive in the market AND reward merit, KState 2025 is a moot point. The University is only as good as the people in it. And people are leaving at every turn, mostly due to disheartened, frustrated lack of proper recognition of merit. Pick your battles and get your priorities straight. There is no amount of pats in the back or social niceties that can compensate for poor salaries.
If you want this university to grow and succeed you've got to include the faculty and make things beneficial for them and not have administration sit at the top like gods. You have to have some type of incentive (we have not gotten raises in so many years, I think 5 and this can not continue). 
The path towards K-State 2025 Plan probably should "Actually" start. Rectify the issues of the new titles and pay scales for the staff (we really are the backbone of this campus functioning, a bunch of high titles do NOT do the work. They spout orders and take away moral at this point). Buildings are great for a smoke screen and may help with raising enrollment but then the "REAL" seeps out. Starting a line of fires and then not putting them out with not complete a mission by 2025 just creates more fire.
As a department head, through tremendous effort on my part and sacrifice of other great things we cannot do in the department because there are no funds, I have been able to pay adequately to hire and keep very good faculty members. I know that others have not made the hard choices I have made and they still do not pay as well as they should. The problem I have is that faculty pay is inadequate for the pressures to perform more tasks, faster, with more outcomes and with far less support from staff. The few staff positions we have are under the same pressures. From a human resource perspective, we have a failing system!
I feel the MOST important issue for KSU employees is salary. This is a huge reason people leave the university. I love my job, but with a family to support I fear there may come a time I am forced to quick because, as cost of living increases, my income will no longer be enough. Even as it is now, we nearly qualify for state assistance programs like WIC and KanCare. My job is not an entry level position either, so I know if we have fears that others do, too. Even small annual raises would be better than nothing. Please, I'm begging the University to help!
If you cannot give raises -- ever -- you will not recruit and retain the most talented faculty and staff. It's really that simple. Reclassifying staff by creating larger job families, serves only to blur the actual responsibilities and comparison to the market. I expect that if the current trend continues, we will lose increasing numbers of talented individuals. Those talented individuals who remain for other reasons will become more and more frustrated and disillusioned with the university. Your budget demonstrates what you value, and people clearly aren't at the top of the list.
Compensate the employees that have been working for many years below their pay scales and have not been compensated for over 8 years.   Come On. Do you really expect people to stay forever with no pay increases or incentives of any kind?
Uncertainty in wages and little or no chance for raises within your job classification discourages attempts at providing your best service. If the only way to increase your wages is to take another job within or out of the system the university loses continuity and experience that makes everyone's life easier and more productive. Constant churn at lower paid positions wears out those that cover while replacements are found and degrades the quality of service, and has led to lower standards to compensate. It may be called "efficiency", but it's just a way to lessen the workload for those that are trying to do their jobs continuously shorthanded.
Figure out a way to actually give raises, if you don't give us an extra day at Christmas or something. You say you appreciate that we keep doing more with less, act on the appreciation with something we could use (a day off or a raise). Or free memberships to the rec. All faculty and staff at Oklahoma State University get free membership to their rec facilities.
Pay continues to lag, causing morale to drop. When we can't be confident that our representation in Topeka is advocating as strongly as need be for our interests, what confidence can we have that we will have the support we need to work AND live here? Couple the lagging pay with the incredibly increases in health insurance, and the university is facing (already experiencing) a recipe for mass exodus.
There continues to be a huge problem with realizing this goal, due to state funding cuts. Faculty and staff hiring and salaries are in a very poor state.
Faculty morale is not good. We are ashamed of this state. When we have better offers elsewhere we take them. More faculty would get better offers, by the way, if we weren't scrambling like crazy to make ends meet here.
In these issues we went backward, and are in a worse situation than when this was written. Between low salaries and guns on campus large number of highly qualified faculty have left and are leaving. Many offers we make are turned down, we are hiring at a lower level than we used to. Faculty are bogged down in paperwork, in addition. Staff is overworked and can't keep up.
ITS staff is underpaid compared to similar universities and definitely underpaid compared to what we could make in industry. Administration needs to realize that the university and ITS are interdependent. One cannot function without the other. If the network goes down everything across campus grinds to a halt. You need to recognize the essential value of ITS and compensate them fairly.
1) There are so many options for #5, but this has not even been discussed. Many universities offer bonuses for grants (5% of overhead e.g. or 2% of the grant), $ for publications, a bonus for high achievers in evaluation, etc.   even when there is no addition to salary, but none of this has been done. 2) #9 English proficiency testing for graduate students is so inflexible and then in non-existent for faculty that it is ridiculous. 3) #10 In the College of Human Ecology shared governance is completely gone - not continued at all. This is a huge problem that is affecting faculty morale and we hear is not only a College of Human Ecology problem. This needs to be addressed in this section. 4) Quit using - no money from the legislature as an excuse for doing nothing in this area. Take bold steps to reduce or eliminate non-essential programs and reallocate money to those strong essential programs that are needed and thriving. Do away with all the generic coursework required across campus - why does a student NEED to study multiple disciplines to become well rounded.   This assumes that an undergraduate student taking a single course in X becomes a more well rounded person just because they took that course. There is NO data to support that notion. Many highly ranked universities in the world (e.g. UK universities) do not have large numbers of generic course courses that students must take, yet there students are exceptionally well prepared. Getting rid of this would allow us to focus resources on fewer
There are some really great teachers in the business department. It would be nice if they would or could teach more than one course.
It's hard to believe in a vision when you have college leadership that is deceptive and unable (or unwilling) to articulate the reasons for their decisions. Administrators who are "climbers" often come in and want to change things simply so they can say they accomplished something and to build their CVs. When they are unwilling to authentically engage faculty in this process and even outright dismiss input pointing to unintended consequences of actions, they create a "mess" for those of us who are really committed to our programs (and have to do the actual work) to try to repair or do damage control. I know that CHE morale is extremely low - not the best work environment for expecting sustained "excellence."
I am concerned that tenure is declining as stable in higher education. We need to maintain our scientific integrity and tenure support this happening.
Please weed out professors in the Department of Biology that are focused solely on their research--not on teaching. After my first year at Kansas State University in the Department of Biology I have decided to switch to the College of Human Ecology because of the poor instruction I received. The administration is absent in the department. The advisors are not held accountable for their mistakes, which affects time and money that the students are spending. Even though I have not even spent my first semester in the College of Human Ecology yet, Dr. Buckwalter has introduced himself to me many times and seems very involved and genuinely interested in the wellbeing of his students, yet I could not even tell you the name of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
To not only have this implemented on main campus but at the Veterinary Health Center as well. As the VHC is part of the K-State Family as well.
Add more professional development opportunities for non-tenure track faculty, allow non-tenure track faculty to compete for university small grants (such as FDA or USRG). Many of the non-tenure track faculty have PhDs and limiting them to make the competition easier for non-tenure track faculty is not fair. Non-tenure track faculty can contribute to undergraduate research tremendously, many of the tenure track faculty mainly work with graduate students, non-tenure track faculty can focus their work on undergraduate research and provide more research experience for undergraduate students.
Campus needs to be more inclusive of all its faculty and staff.   About 75% of the emails coming from campus don't apply to field faculty. 
Instead of paying out lots of money to other companies outside the university to come up with a plan to revise the way things are handled throughout the university, why don't we just form a couple of committees to help with changes to our university and keep the money for raises or for whatever we need to change.
Department heads and deans should be chosen for their understanding of how things work at top tier institutions and for their genuine commitment to raising the tone of this place.   
I have no changes but recognize that many faculty express a desire a flattened administrative structure with fewer administrators.