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K-State Today

September 12, 2022

Charting our future with Next-Gen K-State strategic planning

Submitted by President Richard Linton

Dear K-State Community,

Today I am excited to formally launch Next-Gen K-State, our universitywide strategic planning initiative to define our future as a Next-Generation Land-Grant University.

We have made great progress since announcing this initiative in May. Over the past several months, we have built out a framework and timeline to guide a comprehensive planning process, which will heavily engage our K-State community — on campus and off campus — throughout the fall and spring semesters. Our students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, partners, friends and residents of Kansas are all key stakeholders in this work and their perspectives will be invaluable as we work together to shape our future.

We want to hear from you about what's working at K-State, what we can improve, what we collectively value as a university, and how we should define our future vision and priorities. Throughout this academic year, there will be numerous inclusive opportunities for you to engage in our strategic planning to think about what the Next-Generation Land-Grant University could be and how to best position K-State to be the most successful and impactful within our communities, our state, the nation and the world.

We want everyone to have an opportunity to participate and we will reach far and wide across our university and our state to gather your input, suggestions and comments. These opportunities will include surveys, listening sessions, town halls, college and major unit visits, focus groups, a dedicated nextgen@k-state.edu email address and more. As the public land-grant university in Kansas, we serve Kansans and our Kansas communities and we have structured our presidential regional community visits to also help inform our strategic planning effort. If you have ideas you want to share now, visit the new Next-Gen K-State website to Get Involved.

Our future vision, priorities and goals must be driven by our K-State community, but also by data and research to guide our decision-making. Initial data collection began in July, supported by a Data and Information Team and data coordinators within each college. I very much appreciate their work in compiling the data, which will be so important to understand as we consider our future. We intend to leave no stone unturned when it comes to analyzing university operations to understand where we can operate more effectively or efficiently and ensure we are delivering on the expectations of our students, faculty, staff and other stakeholders.

We will deploy a phased approach to our planning process. This process includes broad engagement and comprehensive outreach to internal and external stakeholders throughout this fall; identifying our vision, values and thematic areas of focus in December; and drafting and seeking comment on the strategic plan in the spring. Please visit the Next-Gen K-State website for more details about the timeline and the six phases of the planning process.  

To support and guide the planning process, I have established a Next-Gen K-State Advisory Committee that will be chaired by Provost Chuck Taber and include faculty, staff, administrators, students, governance council leaders and alumni. The committee is being asked to review research and planning progress, ask questions, share insights, assist in identifying our vision, values and key themes and drafting the strategic plan, and advise me and university leadership throughout this process. The work of the Advisory Committee will occur between September and June and will be facilitated by our Emergent Method partners, John Snow and Robyn Stiles. Thank you to the committee members for committing their time and energy to our strategic planning effort this year.

In addition to the Advisory Committee, the planning structure will include theme task forces, which will be created in January once the plan themes are finalized. These task forces will include broad representation across the K-State community with students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni. They will meet regularly throughout the spring 2023 semester to propose programmatic priorities, strategies and measurable outcomes for the theme focus areas.

I will be working in close coordination with each of these teams throughout each phase of the planning process. I have also established a core project management team supporting the Next-Gen initiative, which includes Provost Chuck Taber, Special Assistant Lynn Carlin, Interim Vice President and CFO Ethan Erickson and Interim Vice President for Communications and Marketing Ashley Martin. They will meet regularly with John Snow and Robyn Stiles, our consulting partners, to execute the overall planning effort.

Throughout this process, we will set a vision to transform K-State and position our university as the model for land-grant universities throughout the U.S. We will do so in a way that builds upon our storied history and numerous successes — including those that benefited the university through the current K-State 2025 plan — but also looks toward a bright future in a world that is very different than a decade ago.

We must challenge ourselves and one another throughout this process. We must embrace change in ways that help advance our core mission of teaching, research and service. We must aggressively pursue new opportunities that further position us to serve Kansans in ways that help meet the future needs of our state. And we must be bold and visionary in our thinking as we think about how to best position K-State to meet the evolving needs of our students, our communities, our state and nation, and the world.

This strategic planning process is about much more than a strategic plan. It's about coming together as a community to determine our future. I look forward to working with all of you to build the Next-Gen K-State.

Go 'Cats!

Richard Linton

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