Submitted to the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, December 2014
Submitted to the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, January 2015
Transformation is a word higher education institutions tend to exploit, regardless of the size or scope of change occurring. As you’ll discover in this 2015 Self-Study, at the University of Kansas it is a phrase that, perhaps, comes up short in describing our activity during the past decade.
We are in the midst of implementing a trio of initiatives most institutions would consider transformative if accomplished individually: Bold Aspirations, a five-year strategic plan for the Lawrence and Edwards campus, and the corresponding strategic plan at the Medical Center; Changing for Excellence, a comprehensive overhaul of administrative functions; and Far Above, a comprehensive fundraising campaign for the KU Endowment Association, the nation’s oldest public university endowment.
The self-study confirms what we have heard from our stakeholders, from our alumni and supporters, and from the Board of Regents. We are on the right track, and are poised for even greater progress.
Our accomplishments are the result of the hard work and willingness of our dedicated and talented faculty and staff to drive needed changes, even when some transitions have been rocky at times. Because of their work, we are seeing results in the successes of our students, in communities that are made healthier and more vibrant, and in the discoveries that will change the world.
And our study confirms the tasks that still lay ahead. Our strategic plan is comprehensive, and for all our success there is still much work to be done. To back those efforts, we will continue to find new ways to operate more efficiently and effectively, and to engage our donors in new ways to support the university.
There have been many challenges during the past decade, and certainly there are challenges to come. Kansas has not been alone in seeing a dramatic decline in state support for higher education over the past 15 years. And despite many states reinvesting in their universities, overall funding for higher education nationally has yet to return to pre-recession levels, and here in Kansas the prospects for that happening anytime soon are dim.
Our university has faced challenging times before. Yet in the face of these challenges our predecessors never gave up on the mission of this university, because they knew, like the founders of our nation and the founders of our state, that public higher education is vital to a prosperous democracy. So as we face challenges, we will remain focused on our bold aspirations, and we will continue to uphold our responsibilities to our students and society.
We look forward to your visit. Rock Chalk!