August 19, 2021
Advancing leadership, engagement and honors to build a signature land-grant experience
I am writing today to share some organizational changes I am making within the provost's office to better position leadership, engagement and the university honors program for innovation and growth across the university and to advance a distinctive "signature" K-State land-grant educational experience as a differentiator for student recruitment.
Over the past year, a planning group led by Gregg Hadley, director of extension, and Tim Steffensmeier, professor of communication studies, was charged to consider how to build on the foundation set by the Center for Engagement and Community Development, or CECD. The group submitted its report in the spring. Acting on its recommendation, I am establishing an office of engagement within the provost's office, specifically in the Staley School of Leadership Studies.
An academic unit that serves the university and reports to the provost, the Staley School has a proven record of incubating and growing successful academic programs and community partnerships. Its organizational culture of collaborating with colleges, other campus units and community stakeholders in service learning and engaged work positions the Staley School well to advance the vision for engagement set out in K-State 2025 Theme Four: Engagement, Extension, Outreach, and Service to "be a national leader and model for a re-invented and transformed public research land-grant university integrating research, education, and engagement." Leadership and engagement explicitly linked in this way highlights our university's land-grant identity and offers opportunity to integrate engagement into the student experience as envisioned in K-State 2025.
I am also reassigning the University Honors Program to the Staley School. Like leadership studies and engagement, the University Honors Program is universitywide, working collaboratively with all colleges. Since the 2013 K-State 2025 Theme 2 Implementation Plan, it has been a stated university goal to strengthen the university honors program to attract high-achieving students. An honors experience connected with leadership and engagement will differentiate the K-State honors program, and attract and engage this student population in powerful and engaged learning experiences that prepare students to lead on global challenges. The Staley School has the academic infrastructure and administrative capacity to advance the honors program's current plans while envisioning new growth. The Office of Student Success will continue to collaborate with the honors program to enact its mission of enriching and supporting the student experience.
It is our hope that by positioning leadership and engaged learning together with the University Honors Program, we can develop a signature land-grant student experience to be launched for recruiting students next spring for fall 2023. As an academic unit with a history and baked-in culture of student recruitment and engagement, the Staley School can serve as an effective central partner with our colleges to build and deliver that differentiating K-State student experience.
The organizational realignment of the Staley School, an office of engagement and the University Honors Program will be effective in October 2021. I want to thank the engagement planning group, student success and university honors program leadership, and the Staley School for their investment and support of these transitions. I look forward to what we will build together.
Provost and Executive Vice President