June 13, 2023
A letter from Provost Taber
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
It is with gratitude, appreciation, and yes, some sadness, that I write to tell you I will retire following the 2023 fall semester. Serving Kansas State University as your provost has been a great privilege, and I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished together in the last five years. It may seem cliché to say, but the time has arrived for me to turn the page to the next chapter, one in which I spend more time with family and focus on my music.
When I first stepped onto this beautiful limestone campus in the spring of 2018, I did not know the journey I was beginning. I was drawn to K-State's land-grant focus on service and students in a powerhouse research university. From the moment I donned my first purple tie as a job candidate, I have always felt that culture of care and community, that special purple sauce that cannot be understood without experience. During COVID, my Monday morning "Dear K-State Family" tweets were intended to reflect this love, hope and solidarity back to all of you across our university community. K-State prioritizes people. It seems not enough to say, but simply put, I will miss you.
Of course, we have had frustrations. Past every solution, there has always loomed another crisis. A decadelong enrollment decline, budget cuts, a pandemic. But as K-Staters, we roll up our sleeves and find solutions. I deeply respect your resolve, and I love your kindness.
We have so much to be proud of beyond being a creatively resilient university in the face of COVID. You recognized the need to change. You stepped into the unknown and embraced a new strategic approach to enrollment management, with new tactics, technology and organizational structures. You launched a new budget model, one that drilled in on enrollment, our deepest challenge, because you knew we must change our historical budget process. And through hard work and the courage to try new things, we have driven up applications, admissions and new students. You have adopted a new approach to academic program review that empowers faculty and staff to revitalize the curriculum to better serve students within a framework of accountability. Advancing these strategic initiatives has required K-State to develop a more transparent, data-informed culture. I am proud of the role I have played in leading these and many other projects, and we still have much to accomplish in my final semester.
I am excited for the future of K-State! We are on a path to becoming something unique: A university that deploys knowledge and curiosity to understand and meet our world; that serves all learners through dynamic and accessible education; that brings world-class research to important problems; that lives with communities in partnerships of care; that leads social, political and economic transformation. We will be a great next-generation land-grant university.
Though we all have different reasons for working in higher education, I think we share the desire to make the world a better place. As a child of missionaries, this has always been a part of me. Thank you, K-State, for allowing me to lead this noble mission with you.
Provost and Executive Vice President