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K-State Today

June 1, 2020

Project management framework announced for reawakening efforts

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

The university continues on the path toward reopening campuses and preparing for the next academic year. To support the pivot from a crisis management mode to preparing for future success, a project management framework has been established to support the COVID-19 Executive Leadership Group. The new framework will assist in identifying and prioritizing key issues and communication strategies within themed areas that cut across the university. Cabinet-level leaders have been assigned to each area, which include subgroups for specific issues and plans.

The Executive Leadership Group continues to meet daily for strategic planning, providing substantive input on and helping to coordinate plans. This group retains the current membership and focuses on identifying and addressing emerging issues.

In addition, a Guidance, Protocol, and Standards Team, GPS, was formed to staff the drafting and review of guidance, protocols, and standards that are needed due to COVID-19 and identified by groups in the themed areas. To facilitate this work, the small, agile GPS Team will consult with subject matter experts as necessary. The GPS team will cross-check university level plans with other plans and public health official guidance, while seeking feedback from the Executive Leadership Group. The team will be led by Emily Lehning, special assistant to the provost, working in consultation with the office of general counsel. Lehning will work with relevant administrators to communicate the guidance, protocols and standards that are approved by the president or other applicable executive leaders. Leaders of the themed areas, described below, will then implement these across their units and integrate them into plans.

The president and provost’s office staff will handle the overall coordination and project management for reopening the university.

The themed planning areas include:

  • Campus life, covering housing, dining, student engagement and co-curricular experiences, student behavior, and well-being for new and returning students. Work on this theme will be led by Thomas Lane, vice president for student life and dean of students.
  • Academics, encompassing instruction, recruitment, retention, and student success. Work in this area will be led by Chuck Taber, provost and executive vice president. An academic instruction working group has already been formed to recommend plans for teaching in the next academic year.
  • Finances and resource realignment, including tuition and fee structures, refunds, financial planning, projections, and resource realignment. This work will be led by Ethan Erickson, chief financial officer and director of budget planning.
  • Operations, facilities and human resources, led by Jay Stephens, vice president for human capital services and Cindy Bontrager, vice president for university operations.
  • Research operations, led by Peter Dorhout, vice president for research.
  • Health, wellness and risk mitigation, including detection and treatment, led by Kyle Goerl, Lafene Health Center medical director, and Thomas Lane.
  • University events, led by Linda Cook, president’s chief of staff and director of community relations.
  • Communications, including internal and external communication strategies and plans, led by Jeff Morris, vice president for communications and marketing.  

The Emergency Management Working Group, a collaborative team of support function personnel, will meet weekly to share information and discuss issues impacting K-State’s operational effectiveness.

The Executive Reawakening Team, the Reawakening Policies and Protocols Group and the Academic Continuity Work Group will be discontinued under this new framework. The Executive Leadership Group appreciates the many hours of service and leadership provided by these groups.