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K-State Today

July 19, 2023

Next-Gen K-State strategic plan draft and operational excellence structural framework

Submitted by Richard Linton and Chuck Taber

Dear faculty, staff and students, 

Last September, we launched Next-Gen K-State, an ambitious, inclusive and comprehensive yearlong university strategic planning initiative to define our future as a next-generation land-grant university. From the beginning, our planning initiative included several components — defining our core vision and values and establishing goals, programmatic priorities and strategies to drive our path forward in a new university strategic plan; creating more efficient and effective structures to support our work; and identifying new fiscal and investment strategies. Connecting our core values, collective vision, strategic direction and unique K-State experience through refreshed marketing and branding is another key component of our planning work. Our brand task force is also finalizing their work with recommendations that will connect to and elevate our strategic plan in both the short and long term. 

Today, we are excited to share the draft Next-Gen K-State strategic plan (pdf) for your feedback. This draft plan contains a number of exciting, bold ideas and strategies that will take us into 2030 and beyond. One of those bold ideas we know must move forward immediately involves recruiting, retaining, supporting, and maximizing our students' success and putting in place the structures and systems that enable us to achieve our goals. That is why we are also announcing today a new organizational framework to drive operational excellence and transformational change in the areas of strategic enrollment management, undergraduate recruitment and retention, and academic success and student affairs. 

Next-Gen K-State strategic plan draft

More than 10,000 members of our K-State community lent their voices to the planning effort over the past year through interviews, focus groups, surveys, committees and task forces. We defined our vision and values — these are the threads that bind us in how we live out our mission and do our vitally important work. Six planning task forces met throughout the spring with our Emergent Method planning partners to develop recommended goals and strategies in each of our theme areas of focus. Read the task force reports and recommendations. At a May retreat, our strategic planning advisory committee considered the task force recommendations and provided additional suggestions for the draft plan. 

You will see that the draft plan includes aggressive goals framed as strategic imperatives that we must rally around to be successful. It calls for ambitious enrollment growth across our campuses and formats by steadily increasing our traditional student population while significantly expanding our nontraditional and noncredit learners seeking microcredentials or certificates, growing our international markets, expanding our graduate student population both on campus and online, and investing in and growing each of our campuses in Manhattan, Salina and Olathe. It calls for an opportunity agenda framed around strategic interdisciplinary areas of focus to leverage strengths across each pillar of our mission and lean into problems K-State is positioned to help solve on a grand scale. It outlines priority areas of focus, bold ideas and strategies, and targeted measures of success. It calls on us to realize our opportunities, rise to our challenges and embrace transformative change on behalf of the people we serve. 

The next step is to hear from you. Please provide your feedback and suggestions through the Strategic Plan Feedback Survey by Aug. 25. Your input will help shape the final plan, to be completed in early September. As you review the plan, please keep in mind that the university strategic plan is our roadmap to 2030, setting our direction. It is not a detailed implementation plan — we will need to develop those plans in the coming year as colleges, major units and departments align their plans with our Next-Gen K-State imperatives, priorities and goals. 

We want to express our sincere thanks to the more than 100 members of the theme task force and advisory committee members who committed their time, energy and bold thinking during the past months to identify goals, strategies and outcomes that will power our future as we chart our path forward. Thanks to the talented faculty, staff, students, administrators and alumni on the committees, we are well on our way to advancing our vision to "lead the nation as a next-generation land-grant university setting the standard for inspiring learning, creativity, discovery and engagement that positively impacts society and transforms lives in Kansas and around the world."  

SEM operational excellence organizational framework realignment

The pursuit of operational excellence is a priority if we are truly going to set the standard as a leading land-grant university. As we said in April when we announced organizational changes in the areas of human resources, information technology, risk, and data analytics and management, we can't wait to address key foundational areas that must be optimized as critical enablers of our future. Our draft strategic plan calls for aggressive enrollment growth and reimagining our student services and support by focusing more holistically on students and their academic and career success and well-being. It also calls on us to create more integrated, less-siloed environments to promote operational excellence, efficiencies, collaborations and optimal use of resources. 

Building on what we heard during the planning process and the lessons learned since our strategic enrollment management organizational framework was put in place in 2018, it is time to strategically realign this framework in our central units to provide a new path forward for student recruitment, retention and enrollment. The changes included in the new framework are outlined below. 

  • Many of the programs and services in the Office of Student Success are naturally aligned with the Division of Student Life. These programs and services will be moved to the Division of Student Life, which will be renamed the Division of Academic Success and Student Affairs, reporting to Vice President and Dean of Students Thomas Lane. 
    • A solid-line, dual-reporting relationship from the vice president for academic success and student affairs and dean of students to both the president and provost is being established to ensure academic and career success functions balance with student life and student affairs functions and to further facilitate collaborative work with the colleges and other academic units. The vice president will serve on the President’s Cabinet as well as the Deans Council as dean of students.
    • Services moving from the Office of Student Success to the Division of Academic Success and Student Affairs include academic advising and SSC-Navigate administration; the Academic Achievement Center with academic coaching and tutoring services; the pre-professional advising center; K-State First; convocation; testing services; the Office of First-Generation Students; educational support services, and Salina Upward Bound/Student Support Services.
    • The Office of Honor and Integrity will move from the Office of Institutional Effectiveness to the Division of Academic Success and Student Affairs to further align student support and accountability services.
    • A new center for military student services coordination will be established with a dotted line reporting relationship to the Office of Enrollment Management.
  • The academic student enrichment and scholar programs in the Office of Student Success will shift to the Staley School of Leadership, including Undergraduate Research, Developing Scholars, McNair Scholars and KS-LSAMP, creating synergies with other programs like University Honors and Nationally Competitive Scholarships.
  • The K-State Office for the Advancement of Women in Science and Engineering, or KAWSE, will report to the vice president for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging to continue building capacity for promoting equity for faculty and staff, including women in STEM. 

You can see these changes outlined in these PDF charts. New structures incorporating these realignments will be identified in early August and fully implemented no later than Oct. 1. Vice President Lane, Vice President Rana Johnson, and Dean Mary Tolar will work with a small transition project team co-led by Shanna Legleiter, Division of Human Resources, and Lynn Carlin, Office of the Provost, to help facilitate the transition. During this transition period, the Office of Student Success will report to Vice President Lane, effective Monday, July 24.

To learn more about the new framework, please visit the Next-Gen K-State operational excellence webpage, where you will find more detailed information, including FAQs. 

As we complete and begin implementing our university strategic plan, we expect other changes may need to be made. We must continue to be agile as an institution and open to change that will align us in new ways, build up our collective capacity and ensure we are able to achieve excellence in all we do to achieve our vision as a next-generation land-grant university. 

You will see references to the concept of "One K-State" throughout the draft strategic plan. This is a plan that no one individual or team at K-State can implement alone. In order to move K-State forward and truly achieve our goals, we must adopt this One K-State mindset in all we do. It must be the foundation of our culture. It must drive all decisions we make, in close coordination with our core values. And it must be the basis for how we come together to navigate challenges, seize opportunities and propel our university to even greater heights. 

The future of K-State is bright and filled with opportunity, potential and promise. Together, we will achieve our vision of becoming a leading next-generation land-grant university. Together, as One K-State. 

Go 'Cats!

Richard Linton

Chuck Taber
Provost and executive vice president

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