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K-State Today

May 5, 2022

Charting our future in a new K-State strategic plan

Submitted by President Linton

President Richard Linton

Dear K-State community,

After many conversations with K-State faculty, staff, students, alumni, partners and friends, it is clear that our university is ready for, and in need of, a new universitywide strategic plan. The current K-State 2025 plan has benefited our university in many ways. It created a collaborative path toward excellence; unified our faculty, staff and students on and off our campuses; connected us with new business and community partners; energized our donors and their philanthropy; and provided a purpose that we could all strive for together.

As we move forward, we should be thinking about and planning for what the Next-Generation Land-Grant University could be and how we can position K-State to be most successful and most impactful. As president, I will take a major role in leading us through this strategic planning effort and challenging us to be the best we can be. Below I have outlined the overall scope and key components of the new strategic planning effort, a projected timeline and the next steps.

Overall scope
The university requires a strategic planning process that will inspire us to build upon the capacities, partnerships and accountability of K-State 2025 and move us toward the Next-Generation Land-Grant University. It should be inclusive of all that K-State has to offer, including the ideas and interests of our students, faculty, staff, alumni, athletics and external state/federal/international partners. As the land-grant university in Kansas, our efforts should be well aligned with the needs of Kansans and with the Kansas Board of Regents' strategic plan, "Building a Future." 

Components of the strategic planning process
A new university strategic plan taking us to 2030 and beyond is the key outcome of the new strategic planning process, but understanding what is needed to implement that plan must also be part of the process. The planning process we will put in place will include five key components that will be key to successful implementation.  

  • Core values, mission and vision: We will affirm our core values, mission and collective vision as a Next-Generation Land-Grant University.
  • Programmatic priorities: We will establish programmatic priorities and strategies to support research, teaching, outreach, international activities and economic development.
  • Structure/function: We will identify strategic and more efficient structures to support our programmatic priorities and develop best practices to support our growing needs.
  • Fiscal and investment strategies: We will create transparent and defendable uses for our recurring and nonrecurring funds that support our programmatic priorities. We will identify new resource opportunities (i.e. competitive research, new partnerships, philanthropy) and strategies to realize their maximal potential.    
  • Marketing and branding: We will connect our core values, collective vision and strategic direction with the unique K-State experience so that it can be embraced and marketed across and at all levels of the university and our affiliated organizations.   

Anticipated timeline and next steps
I anticipate a yearlong planning effort with a new strategic plan in place by July 2023. To assist with the overall planning process and meeting this aggressive timeline, we will be using an external consulting firm, yet to be determined. Below is an overview of a timeline for the overall strategic planning process. 

  • May-July 2022: Completion of a Request for Proposal (RFP) procurement process
    • RFP issued in mid-May with award and onboarding of consulting firm in early July.    
  • July 2022-June 2023: Development of the strategic plan
    • Design of an inclusive and transparent planning process with broad stakeholder engagement (listening sessions, online surveys, thematic teams).
    • Creation of the new plan with measurable outcomes and metrics.
    • Connecting the plan with the KBOR strategic plan.
    • Aligning the plan with other university plans (for example, SEM, DEIB, Economic Prosperity).
    • Validation of the plan.
  • July 2023-October 2023: Begin plan implementation
    • Launch the plan, begin implementation and communicate expectations for accountability.
  • Fall 2023-Spring 2024
    • Colleges/divisions and departments update and align their strategic plans.

We plan to launch the new strategic planning process in September, with work being done in July and August to design an inclusive process that engages us all. Provost Chuck Taber and the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President will continue to work across the university to coordinate the overall university strategic planning process and lead the development of a request for proposal and the procurement process over the next two months. Lynn Carlin, special assistant to the provost, will serve as the point person leading overall coordination of the strategic planning process, working in concert with the selected consulting firm. A new strategic planning website is also being developed by the Division of Communications and Marketing, where you will be able to find the most up-to-date information on our new strategic planning effort, as well as links to our current K-State 2025 plan and related initiatives. 

As I said in my open forums last week, I am so excited to be here at K-State as part of this proud land-grant tradition and commitment to education, research and service impacting Kansas and its communities, our nation and the world. I look forward to working with all of you as we come together to create a new strategic plan charting our path to becoming a next-generation land-grant university.  

Go 'Cats!
Richard Linton