From the President and Provost
In July 2022, our K-State community set out on an ambitious, inclusive and comprehensive process to define our future as a “next-generation land-grant university. “
More than 10,000 surveys, interviews, focus groups, listening sessions and other conversations yielded an array of thoughts, perspectives and ideas — from those that apply to the university and all those we serve, to those with narrower but still vital bearing on the colleges, units, departments or other elements of our institution.
Our values, vision and future aspirations are a direct reflection of this input, along with significant data analysis conducted alongside this year-long engagement and planning process. This plan elevates the bold ideas generated through many of these discussions — namely, opportunities that move us in a direction that is significantly different from where we have been before and deliver tremendous value to all those we serve in bold, exciting and transformative ways.
We want to extend our heartfelt appreciation to the thousands of individuals who shared their time, talents, ideas and perspectives to inform our future, including:
- 100+ participants one-on-one and small group interviews
- 70+ listening sessions with faculty, staff, students and stakeholders across the institution and campuses
- 9 regional community visits throughout our state to hear from Kansans about the future of K-State
- 8,000+ total faculty, staff, students, parents, employers and alumni survey respondents
- 100+ members of the K-State community who served on six planning task forces
- 18 members of the K-State community who served on a branding task force to develop K-State’s future brand strategy in alignment with the university’s strategic plan
- 24 members of the K-State community who served on the Next-Gen K-State Strategic Planning Advisory Committee
- 300+ members of the K-State community who shared their feedback on the university’s draft strategic plan
Our K-State community was clear across these thousands of interactions: We must preserve, hold tightly and elevate the aspects of our university that make K-State such a special place, but we must also challenge ourselves to think and be different — to truly meet the needs of all those we serve today and those we will serve in the future. Leveraging our rich history as the nation’s first operational land-grant university, we must also continue to reinforce the distinctive opportunities and real social mobility a K-State education provides our learners — helping to positively impact our communities, our economy and the world.
This requires us to be bold and visionary in transforming our university to meet the new and emerging needs of our communities, state and world, supported by aggressive goals framed as strategic imperatives that we will rally around to drive our transformation — including growing our traditional and nontraditional enrollment to 30,000 by 2030.
How will we achieve this growth? The short answer is through transformational change. We will elevate all facets of our student and learning experience, research and discovery enterprise, and Extension and engagement activities.
We must broaden our focus beyond our traditional undergraduate and graduate student populations to serve a much broader and more expansive learning population — including urban and rural, Pell-eligible, high-achieving, first-generation, international and domestic, military and adult learners. As we work toward this bold target, we know that the differences and range of these learning populations will have different needs than those we have traditionally served. We will also aggressively work to increase our graduate student population as a key driver of this growth in tandem with our continued focus on traditional undergraduate students, including accelerating our master’s degree programs and graduate student enrollment to position K-State as a top graduate school in the region. We must push ourselves to come together and reimagine the workforce, structures and resources that will be necessary to meet the needs of our learners, achieve our goals and fulfill our land-grant mission.
This growth in our academic enterprise will work in tandem with the research part of our mission and aggressive goals we have set to grow our annual research expenditures to $300 million by 2030.
In doing so, we will focus on supporting our faculty in their in-discipline and interdisciplinary research, recognizing the value excellence in each of our disciplines holds for addressing the issues our society faces in the future. In building disciplinary excellence, we can also drive large-scale interdisciplinary research that solves grand challenges and reinforces K-State’s position as a prominent, comprehensive thought leader and innovator across disciplines that individually have long been areas of strength for our institution.
We must also lean into our land-grant heritage and mission as we reimagine how K-State engages with the communities, state and world around us. We will focus on enhancing and coordinating our engagement efforts across the university, recognizing the potential our collective impact can have when we work together and leverage all parts of our institution. We will also elevate Extension in all we do, leaning into our presence in all 105 counties to develop solutions that serve Kansans and can be extended to solve challenges across the world.
As the next generation of learners prepares to decide where and how they pursue their education and career path, we must help make this decision simple — by promising and delivering on an expectation that when they attend K-State, they will be well prepared and positioned for what comes next. This is our charge, and it is one we are prepared to rise to meet.
In the coming year, we will expand this university-level planning focus as our colleges, departments and units work to define goals, strategies and metrics that help to advance our university priorities and targets. We will also focus on making the necessary investments and adapting our systems, structures and processes to support our growth.
We look forward to working together as we implement this plan — as “One K-State” — and set the standard for next-generation land-grant universities in all we do.
Provost and Executive Vice President
Chair, Next-Gen K-State Strategic Planning Advisory Committee