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K-State Today

November 19, 2014

From the Provost’s Desk: Charting the future of K-State Olathe — part two

Submitted by April Mason

April Mason

Dear Colleagues,

In our K-State Today letter on June 19, Prema Arasu, CEO and vice provost, K-State Olathe, and I shared the exciting developments on the K-State Olathe campus since its formal opening in 2011 as well as the K-State 2025 Olathe strategic plan that will guide its future directions. This plan was well received by the Kansas Board of Regents when it was presented at its June meeting. Today I would like to update you on work undertaken since the June letter to support the continuing evolution of the Olathe campus as K-State's "innovation hub" in the Greater Kansas City area.

In moving to the next phase of growth for the campus, we must continue to be responsive to the needs of individuals and businesses in the region. We have modified the composition of the K-State Olathe Board of Directors to add two community/industry leaders to be appointed in the near future. In addition, effective December 2014, President Schulz will become the chair of the board. Other members include myself as provost, the vice president for research, the vice president for administration and finance, the president for the Institute for Commercialization, and three members with two-year terms including a dean and the two new community/industry leaders.

Priorities outlined in our June meeting with the Regents were the possible creation of a new School for Applied and Interdisciplinary Studies and a new Executive Master of Applied Science and Technology. In July, a university working group of 12 K-State faculty and administrators was formed to consider how to further these initiatives. The working group was co-chaired by John Leslie, plant pathology, and Carol Shanklin, Graduate School, and included Kathy Ankerson, interior architecture and product design; Prema Arasu, K-State Olathe; Andy Bennett, mathematics; Lynn Carlin, provost's office; Gary Clark, engineering; Brett DePaola, physics; Ruth Dyer, provost's office; Bob Larson, clinical sciences; Sue Maes, Global Campus; and Mary Tolar, Staley School of Leadership Studies.

After several meetings and thoughtful discussions, the working group in October unanimously recommended that the university move forward with requesting approval for the new school at the Olathe campus. I have submitted the request for consideration by the Council on Chief Academic Officers of the Board of Regents at its November meeting.

With emphasis on growth of its enrollment and industry-relevant applied research and educational programs, the School for Applied and Interdisciplinary Studies will provide the Olathe campus with academic authority to hire faculty, develop curriculum, offer certificate and degree programs and promote cross- and inter-disciplinary collaborations within the campus and across the university. This will enhance the capability of the Olathe campus to address regional priorities of Johnson County and the Greater Kansas City area for workforce and economic development and more effectively fulfill its mandate in food, animal health and related sectors through the Johnson County Education Research Triangle, or JCERT, Authority.

The new school will not require additional state resources beyond those currently available through the JCERT tax and K-State allocations. It will be an academic unit under the Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President. Administration of the school will be under the purview of the CEO and vice provost of the campus and two new associate deans who we are currently in the process of recruiting through national searches. A high priority for the associate dean for academic affairs and executive education will be further development of new academic programs, including a flexible executive master's degree program.

The search committee for the associate dean for research and innovation was chaired by Mike Kenney, anatomy and physiology, and included Dirk Maier, grain science and industry; Dick Hesse, Veterinary Diagnostic Lab; Marianne Swaney-Stueve, human nutrition; Keith Harris, agricultural economics; Jan Middendorf, Office of Educational Innovation and Evaluation; and Emilio Trigo, Merck Animal Health. Sue Maes, Global Campus, chaired the search committee for the associate dean for academic affairs and executive education, which included Carol Shanklin, Graduate School; Ali Malekzadeh, business administration; Judy Favor, educational leadership; William Hsu, computing and information sciences; and Allen Gross, EFL Associates. We hope to announce the hire of these new associate deans by the end of the year.

I want to thank the K-State Olathe faculty and staff as well as our university working group and search committees for their work over the past months. K-State Olathe's continued growth and success will depend on partnerships across all campuses and involvement of all stakeholders. Creating a new kind of campus in an urban center provides both new opportunities and challenges for us as a university. Much progress continues to be made as we work collaboratively to advance our goals for K-State Olathe and Kansas State University.

Thanks for all you do!

April Mason
Provost and senior vice president of Kansas State University